According to a report by WKRG News 5, new Mobile County teachers are in orientation and training sessions this week, and the Alabama Education Association (AEA) is heated that they can’t be on hand at the school district’s office to provide lunch.
According to the news story, AEA Director Jessie McDaniel was apparently informed in a Friday email that “vendors” are no longer allowed at the teacher orientation. This news was not well received. McDaniel was quoted by WKRG as saying,
“We were obviously very disappointed, not just for us, but for the teachers who need this information and these services that we provide..It makes me wonder why this policy hasn’t been enforced for 10, 20 years and does it even apply to AEA.? We technically are not even a vendor. We are the professional organization for public school employees.”
Mobile County Public School’s Superintendent Martha Peek told WKRG the decision was simply made to keep the teachers focused on their professional development, stating:
“This year, beginning Tuesday through next Monday, we will have professional development that will be taking place throughout the school system. We looked at that and thought how can we really make sure it’s focused, that there are not any interruptions, that people come in and we go right into our program? With that being said, we asked that no vendors come in,” Peek said. “It’s not specific to any organization or vendor, it’s for everyone who comes in and interacts in the Mobile County Public School System.”
Professional development aside, the AEA appeared quite displeased with the decision.
“It makes me wonder why this policy hasn’t been enforced for 10, 20 years and does it even apply to AEA?, McDaniel was quoted as saying. “We technically are not even a vendor. We are the professional organization for public school employees. There are some question marks more than anything about ‘why now.’ We don’t even understand if this applies to us.”
Alabama Senator Phil Williams does not buy into the assumption that the AEA is entitled to such access.
Republicans in Alabama have ensured that we are now a 100% right to work state. Regardless of whether or not the AEA considers themselves a union it has always acted like one. They should get over the idea that they are entitled to have unfettered access to all of our wonderful public school teachers, and I’m glad to hear that they’re now having to work for it.
Not to be deterred from its recruiting efforts, the report said that the AEA set up tents in a nearby parking lot where they were handing out dozens of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches to the new teachers on their lunch break.