To: Holyoke School Committee

Teachers' Voices Must Be Heard - Support Gus Morales

To the Holyoke School Committee:

We urge you to investigate the non-renewal of the contract of Gus Morales. Gus received strongly positive evaluations until he became a leader in speaking out against illegal posting of student scores on standardized tests. Since then, and especially since he was overwhelmingly elected president of the union local, Gus has been targeted. He was given highly dubious negative evaluations and has now been told his contract will not be renewed. Gus is an asset to Holyoke and should be retained. He should not be punished for speaking up for students and the schools they deserve.

Why is this important?

Gus Morales was a highly rated teacher for two years. Then on February 3 he spoke out to the School Committee about data walls, many of which listed students by name along with their scores on standardized tests and many of which were posted in areas accessible to the public (illegal under FERPA). After speaking out at the School Committee meetings, Gus was observed and given his first problematic evaluation. These observations and negative evaluations escalated after Gus was elected president of his local.

Gus grew up in Holyoke and graduated from Holyoke High School. He is a veteran, bilingual, and a teacher who has the support of students and parents. He is one of the few Puerto Rican teachers in Holyoke even though the student body is over 75 percent Hispanic. Gus is a male role model for many students. In May, Gus was elected president of the Holyoke Teachers Association with overwhelming support from his fellow teachers.

Gus is being non-renewed because he is a leader in the union and a leader in speaking out in support of students and the schools they deserve.