Teachers & Parents Push Back On TEA’s Merry Christmas Wishes
On December 22, Texas Education Agency posted the following on their Facebook page, “In observance of the Christmas holiday, TEA will be closed December 23-25, 2020. We will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 28. All of us at TEA wish you and your family a safe, healthy, and joyful holiday season – Merry Christmas!” But the Facebook community clapped back at their ‘hollow’ sentiment with over one thousand comments. One joked that it was time for parents and teachers to air their grievances in the spirit of Festivus.
However, teachers and staff aren’t laughing at the TEA, there’s nothing funny about the ‘tone deaf’ manner in which TEA has responded to this public health crisis. Teachers across Texas are frustrated and enraged that teachers are expected to teach in person while TEA employees have been working remotely since March.
As one commenter asked, “The offices of TEA have been closed since March, so what exactly does this post mean?”
Another said, “Closed??!!! YOU NEVER OPENED!! You got to stay home while making us work in our buildings!😡😡You and Gov Abbott continually showed us just how much you truly value us. He really showed us that value by getting himself the COVID vaccine and knocking us out of the first group of essential workers. 😡”
This Facebook user replied, “I just had a quick question, it’s been explained to me that if our kids work 100% remote; no one goes into the building in person, that funding, credit, & pay are cut in half.
So I was just wondering how all y’all at TEA been coping w that 50% reduction in pay, credit, funding since you been 100% remote since March hmmm? Fair is fair.”
One responded, “Thanks guys! I absolutely LOVE being a social experiment while you work from home.”
Alex Marquez wrote, “Your well wishes don’t mean much more than the condolences you *DON’T ** send to sick and dying teachers who were forced to return in-person while y’all hide at home in your jammies!”
Jillian Wilkison wrote, “TEA should go back to work in the office building that our taxes pay for and utilize the measures that have been put in place. Masking, social distancing, and hand washing. If we can do it all day in schools, then they can do it in the office. Social distancing is a massive struggle but we do the best we can and they should also.”
Lance Walker wrote, “You all have been closed since March. Meanwhile we have been f2f for months. I think it’s absurd you hold teachers to a different standard than you hold yourselves to.I hold my students to the same standard that I operate. I would never ask a student to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do. I’ve cleaned band halls, trailers, and student used instruments during this pandemic.
Meanwhile you are all still working from home. Despicable! I put my life at risk every day being forced to teach f2f… and take my bands to contest. I mean I understand why we need to be evaluated…your fearless leader Mike Morath says teaching without testing is merely talking. So there’s that! I don’t think it’s to much to ask for you all to return to the office if you’re requiring us as teachers to do this. Maybe I’m sensationalizing… I’ll refer to your previous posts and just “breathe”.” According to Mr. Walker’s Facebook profile he’s the Associate Band Director at North Mesquite High School.
On December 25th, Mr. Walker commented on another TEA post that he was now COVID positive. “Just an FYI… I am a teacher and I got covid from school the day before break. I’ve spent my entire break with fever, chills, and no taste or smell. Merry Christmas indeed TEA!”
CJ Westmoreland wrote, “Since TEA is so data driven, can we talk about the data of how many staff members have contracted covid and died or passed it to loved ones since they forced us back face to face while they were working safely from home?
~Asking for a friend(me) who got covid, whose husband (mine) then got covid and almost died.”
Missy Masters, “I think all the members of TEA should substitute in my school. Where parents LIE about sending their sick and exposed children to school putting me at risk. Oh and you only get the one cotton mask to wear the entire time. Bring your own sanitizer too!”
Others posted links to articles about teachers and staff that have died from COVID, like this article from EdWeek, “Educators we’ve lost to the coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the Texas State Teachers Association is urging Governor Abbott, to end in person learning until ever educator that wants a vaccine can get one. “Allow schools to end in-person instruction until every educator who wants a vaccine can get one
The Texas State Teachers Association encourages every school employee who is 65 or older or who has underlying health conditions to take the COVID vaccine, if their physicians approve. But our public schools and students will not be safe until every educator who wants a vaccine can get one.”
If you are a teacher in the DFW area and would like to share your story, please contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.