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Education unions merge

August 27th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports two unions representing teachers and staff in the area educational system have merged to form a single union. The Allegany County Teachers Association and the Allegany County Educational Services Council have merged to form the Allegany County Education Association. A press release was issued this week from the new ACEA announcing the merger. The educational services council had represented instructional assistants, secretaries and technical and maintenence staff. UniServ Director Evan West, who acted as a coordinator for the two unions, will remain in his role with the merged group. “The biggest advantage is that it will make us more efficient and makes communication better as one union,” said West. The merger, approved by a vote from members of both unions, was celebrated during the first meeting of the new ACEA at an annual Welcome Back Celebration on Aug. 20, according to the release.  John Reuschlein, ACEA president, said, “Our union advocates for the students and the public schools. He said the move “will forward our mission to elevate the quality of public education for all students.” Marlene Sallerson, ACEA vice president, said, “Together we are stronger. Now we are speaking with one voice for our students and the profession.” An issue that will be a high priority for the ACEA, according to West, will be the amount of time consumed with the new standardized testing, particularly the new PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests. Introduced in concurrence with Common Core, West said the new standardized testing has taken away from classroom time.

“We are concerned with the loss of instructional time due to mandated testing. The amount of instructional time lost has been astronomical,” he said.

West said that many teachers were not as frustrated with the material in Common Core, but that the “voices of the the people in the classroom, and the people that work in the building, were not included in it.”

Due to legal requirements, West said two separate bargaining agreements will still have to be negotiated with members under the former ACTA and the educational services council.

The offices for the ACEA will remain at the same location the teachers’ association occupied at 13145 Warrior Drive, Cresaptown.

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