The challenge of dealing with unions: Albuquerque Teachers Federation pushes back against informing parents on academic progress

At the Rio Grande Foundation our position on education unions is nuanced. We generally oppose public sector unions, but blame the government-run monopoly for our educational woes. After reading this memo from the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, we may reconsider that position.

In the document which is written in response to a memo from the District (APS), the union attempts to thwart efforts to engage and inform parents in the educational process as relates to their children.

  • It starts off with a “bang” with the following statement by the union: “The memo indicates that parent communication must include “Access to the district’s standardized electronic grade book via ParentVue.”

ParentVue is clearly defined as one option for communicating with parents.

  • Another gem from the AFT follows: The memo states that “If students are in danger of failing, or not making adequate academic progress, teachers will proactively notify parents in time for early and appropriate intervention.” For high school teachers, this rule is a violation Article 5.L.4 of the APS-ATF Negotiated Agreement, which reads: “If a high school teacher anticipates that any student is failing at the end of the semester, they will be required to provide a list of all students who are at risk of failing a class one week prior to winter break so that the student(s) may be scheduled appropriately. The list is nonbinding and intended for planning purposes only.” 

While there is much more in the document, the final point we’ll focus on is:,

  • “Elementary educators must communicate students’ progress in core academic subjects to families weekly via the district electronic gradebook.” This is also in violation of Article 5.L.1, which reads (emphasis added): Teachers are responsible for evaluating student progress and interpreting grades or reports given. If a student is not assigned to a teacher, a professional staff member shall be responsible for the grade. 

A union pushing back against even basic attempts to codify ways in which parents will be informed of their child’s progress is unfortunate. Whether these are indeed “violations” of the APS contract is not our concern. Rather, the whole situation simply highlights how bureaucracies fail to keep the education of our children front and center. Instead it becomes a power struggle.

APS Logo — Albuquerque Public Schools

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2 Replies to “The challenge of dealing with unions: Albuquerque Teachers Federation pushes back against informing parents on academic progress”

  1. It’s always convenient if your one compelling mantra is “No business regulation is good and anything workers do to organize and protect themselves is bad”. That’s all you need to know about the Rio Grande Foundation. They are a right wing organization that pretends it’s bipartisan and ignores some of the crazier right wing stances on guns and abortion because they know they’re real losers.

  2. As a democrat of over 50 years, I find Dave’s comments misplaced. Even FDR, with whom I agree only on one subject, said (Basically, “Public employees should not have unions”). Public education has been severely degraded especially over the past 50 years (although efforts to do so began in the 1890s). Public teacher’s unions have been the culprit, unequivocally. As for guns, gun owners and related groups have done more for gun safety than all the left-wing knee-jerkers in history (Safety, not confiscation). I am very familiar with the Constitution, and have written extensively about the Bill of Rights since college (I also wrote a paper as an early postgrad student in PoliSci about our current president, about whom I said in 1973, I could find no valid reason for this man to hold Federal office). As to his final complaint, about abortion, Roe v Wade was a disastrous opinion, and should have been replaced by an order for states to vote on the issue by referendum, and not by their “representative bodies”. This was a great opportunity to right the wrong of unconstitutional Federal interference with states’ rights.
    Oh, I am a Jeffersonian Democrat, and Constitutionalist, and Federalist, not an authoritarian nationalist by whom we now are subjected.

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