Esteemed Members of the State Board,
My name is Dieter Lehmann Morales and I thank you for granting me the opportunity to speak tonight.
Those who know me best know that I wear many hats - I am an ANC and I sit on the Executive Board of the WTU. But nothing makes me prouder than being able to say that I teach world history to 10th Graders at Columbia Heights Education Campus - in the name neighborhood that I live in and represent.
I started my teaching career just last year and it has been the most rewarding experience of my life thus far and I do not regret changing careers for one second. But this has also been an eye-opening experience for many reasons. High on the list is seeing first hand how little our school district and our mayor regard our teachers and our students in this city. It is demoralizing, but seeing the disdain with which we are treated is also galvanizing, and I am glad to have my 5,000 sisters and brothers in the WTU with me in this struggle for a new contract.
As a 31-year old Latino teacher, I take my duty to lead by example seriously. That is why I decided to join my union’s Contract Negotiation Team and fight on behalf of our District’s teachers and students for a contract that will diversify our workforce, for a contract that will prepare our schools for the climate crisis, and for a contract that will entice our teachers - and students - to stay in the District.
To close, from one elected official to another, I want to implore the State Board - through this resolution - to demand in the strongest possible terms that Mayor Bowser do her job and get Chancellor Farabee to come to the bargaining table. But don’t stop there, name DCPS as failing to negotiate, advocate for open negotiations, demand a hearing.
So Chancellor Farabee and Mayor Bowser, if you are watching this, my name is Dieter Lehmann Morales and I am a proud DCPS teacher and WTU member. I want you to know that my comrades and I have done our job and now it’s time for you to do yours. And stop gaslighting the people of the District of Columbia with false claims about negotiating in good faith. Because what’s done in the dark will always come to light.
I yield my time.