Member At Large Junior High School
What position are you running for in the WTU? Member At Large Junior High School
If you are running on a slate, provide the name: Pogue Lyons-Bell
What school(s) do you work at? Deal MS
What is your current role at your school? Spanish Teacher & Building Rep
How many years have you worked for DCPS? 8
Describe your leadership experience, including what you have done in the WTU Within the WTU, I have attended rallies and protests for a fair wage and a safe return, strongly represented the interests of my Teachers at the Representative Assembly, and most recently participated as an active member and panelist for the WTU’s Committee on Political Education (C.O.P.E.).
Why are you running? (Max. 1000 characters) I’m running because we are at an inflection point. This is our opportunity to correct the system that has been failing our students and Teachers.
What is your vision for the union? (Max. 1000 characters) At a time when teachers’ unions are being demonized, we can regain control of the narrative by organizing to advocate for fully-funded social and emotional support, safer schools, better working conditions and wages for teachers, an evaluation system that is non-punitive, fair, and growth-oriented, and a democratic public education system where policymakers are held accountable by students, parents, and teachers.
If elected, what are your top 3 priorities that you would focus on to achieve your vision for the WTU? (Max. 1000 characters) My top three priorities are (1) finishing a new contract with wages that meet inflation without giving up teacher protections, (2) replacing IMPACT with an evaluation system that is non-punitive, fair, and growth-oriented, and (3) advocating for the DC Council to decentralize power from mayoral control and hold DCPS accountable for consistently failing to uphold their end of the CBA.
What are your top 3 contract priorities for future negotiations? My top three priorities for contract negotiations (while advocating with the council for a fair evaluation system) are (1) a timely contract with realistic cost of living increases, (2) strengthening Teacher protections for physical safety and a more manageable workload/caseload, and (3) strengthening and clarifying the grievance process.
What is the strategy the WTU should take to achieve that vision? The WTU must support and strengthen the role of LSATs, SCACs, and building reps at every school. The WTU must work with parents and students using the press, social media, and direct communication with council members, the chancellor, and the mayor.
If elected, what is your role in achieving that vision? My role will be to listen to the voices of the Teachers and building reps from every middle school to address and advocate for their needs.
If elected, how do you see yourself working with caucuses like DC-CORE? It would be my responsibility to listen to every voice in the WTU. I believe that caucuses can help focus and organize the union’s attention on specific issues affecting members. I want to address the last question here. While I strongly believe in organizing, striking by DC government employees or unions is illegal in DC and expressly prohibited in Article 33 of the CBA. Many teachers cannot afford to lose their job or face difficulty finding another one. Unless the law is changed, we have to use other options (e.g., protests, rallies, etc.) that do not rise to the level of a “work stoppage” or “strike” as defined by law and the CBA.
Do you believe that the WTU should organize and prepare to be "strike ready"? No