The Lens: Morris Jeff charter school board embraces new teachers union

New Orleans, La. - Almost eight years since Hurricane Katrina set the stage for sweeping education reform that radically weakened New Orleans teachers unions, one charter school board has decided to embrace its faculty's decision to organize.

The Morris Jeff Community School board of directors unanimously voted Thursday to recognize a new local teachers' union.

Formed with the support of 94 percent of the school's staff members, The Morris Jeff Association of Educators will be a union solely comprised of Morris Jeff Community School educators, according to terms discussed in the meeting.

Theirs is the first charter teachers group to formally organize since the Orleans Parish School Board decided not to renew a collective bargaining agreement for the city's schools after Hurricane Katrina.

"We are driven by two, unwavering goals," teacher Aaron Forbes told the board as he spoke on behalf of teachers. "Providing the highest quality education to ensure all children achieve their maximum potential and transforming the landscape for teacher organization and development in New Orleans."

Though the association plans to receive support from the Louisiana Association of Educators, one of the state's teachers unions, it will not be considered the New Orleans chapter of LAE, organizers said.

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