Aug 18, 2008

Excerpts From an Activist Writer and Thinker

This piece appeared in Gary Imhoff's Opposed In the Mail, dated August 17, 2008. I challenge all who drop by here to take a minute to consider: Should DC Teachers Swap Raises for Job Protections ? With the release of the AFT secured legal opinion- I ask if it were you - would you - sell your integrity for a bigger check that takes away ALL DC teachers due process rights on both tiers ? My goal here is to provide food for thought for those who make the argument, they desperately need more dolla' bills y'all- is it fair to the rest of DC teachers only to satisfy a small few ? I encourage my colleagues to request that AFT release the legal opinion to all WTU members so that our members can make an informed decision. Please join me by writing our AFT/WTU National Representative- Mr. George Bordenave @ gbordena@aft.org and our AFT President- Ms. Randi Weingarten @ rweingar@aft.org. In solidarity,
Posted By: Candi Peterson


Should DC Teachers Swap Raises for Job Protections ?

Written by: Candi Peterson

"WTU President George Parker caused a controversy by releasing an incomplete tentative agreement, which has caused many to weigh in and attempt to negotiate teacher contract talks on blogs, directly with Chancellor Rhee, and in the press. It is baffling that Mr. Parker demonstrates an unwillingness to heed the legal analysis of O’Donnell, Schwartz and Anderson, the DC law firm under contract to the WTU. He seems determined to release the Rhee/Parker Tentative Agreement by mid-September despite its many legal flaws.

On August 1, the American Federation of Teachers secured a six-page legal opinion at the direction of the WTU Executive Board. Attorney Jackson delivered the legal analysis to WTU Board members a week and a half ago. It refers to the WTU contract information packet, which was disseminated in recent informational sessions. This packet indicates that seniority would no longer play a role in hiring, excessing, or placement of DC teachers in both the Red or Green tiers (page 12). The legal analysis, titled “Seniority for Teachers,” specifically states, “this proposal replaces teachers rights with automatic termination in the Green system and eventual termination in the Red system.” The analysis notes “DC teachers would lose their ‘career status’ as tenured professionals and the characteristics of tenure” and concludes, “this proposal suggests a quick method to terminate teachers without due process.” Further, the legal analysis reveals that under the proposal, “excessing would seem almost always to lead to termination. Although excessed teachers could be placed in another position, this happens only if there is mutual consent between a teacher and a principal. If mutual consent cannot be reached what happens to the excessed teacher depends on whether he is in the Red system or Green system. If he is in the Red system, he has three options: early retirement with full benefits if he has more than twenty years of creditable service, a $25,000 buy out, a one-year grace period including salary benefits to secure another position. If the excessed teacher is in the Green system, however, he is automatically separated from the school system.” However, if the excessed teacher in the Red system does not find a job within one year, he will then be terminated.

Given that six hundred DC teachers were excessed this school year, many argue that we are headed down a very slippery slope should we choose to support this proposal. Should DC teachers swap pay raises for job protections? Whatever our members decide, it is imperative that teachers have as much information as possible before making an informed decision on whether to vote yes or no on a tentative agreement. "

2 comments:

Valerie said...

Thanks for your advocacy ! I like the blog- alot, alot ! Keep up the great work my friend.

Anonymous said...

What a tragic contract for teachers !