Aug 19, 2008

Much Ado about DC Teachers contract

DC Teachers vacation just ended on Monday. All DC Teachers started back to work officially today. Many attended pre-arranged staff development sessions. Ours was at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Galludet University. While I was glad to see faces that I hadn't seen for over nine weeks- hugs and kisses were exchanged while teacher contract talks were all the buzz amongst teacher and service provider colleagues during lunch and mini- break sessions.

Contrary to what our mainstream media reports, today many teachers young and old contemplated the validity of a teachers contract that takes away not only contractual rights but statutory job protections for hefty raises. One teacher argued "don't buy the hype" while she vehemently voiced her frustration at our lunch table over Chancellor Rhee's regular media campaigns which castigates veteran teachers leaving many feeling devalued to talks ranging from what is wrong with our union and why isn't George Parker representing our best interests and why must we lose tenure if we choose the green tier especially since we have earned tenure to why will excessing lead to termination ?

In our mist is much ado about our teachers contract and I contend that we are intentionally being fed a regular diet of distorted and inaccurate information in the mainstream media, by uninformed others and by DC teachers whose votes have been purchased for a motley sum of $1,000 per week. What we know is there has been a campaign funded by City Bridge to buy union members votes . Lauren Castillo, DCPS teacher at Jefferson admits in an email to accepting $1,000 weekly in exchange for lobbying teachers to vote yes on the Rhee/Parker tentative agreement. There are other un-named others. Bill Turque, Washington Post reporter uncovered that City Bridge has funded this campaign. What's wrong with this picture I ask you ?

While I am bothered by these unprincipled people , rather than criticize and complain - I have embraced a pro-active position to get out as much factual information to our DC teachers as I can. I am committed to encouraging our American Federation of Teachers (parent union) to release the 6 page legal opinion by O'Donnell, Schwartz and Anderson, P.C. - titled "Seniority Rights," dated August 1st to all DC teachers who are WTU members which states "... This proposal replaces teachers rights with automatic termination on the Green system and eventual termination on the Red system.... DC Teachers would lose their career status as tenured professionals and the characteristics of tenure...." (for additional excerpts from the legal opinion - see "Should DC teachers Swap Raises for Job Protections ?- post 8/18/08). For me, this legal opinion confirms/solidifies my belief that "information is power." Spread the word to a DC teacher that you know. Posted by Candi Peterson


Harold said...

Although I am very concerned about contract talks I must be at this time more concerned about the stability of my current position. Until the tentative contract has been ratified by the membership it remains just that tentative. Right now I am one of the many teachers that showed up and HR on Tuesday to be sent to a school (Wilson) and upon arriving being told there is no position for me. This is something that needs to be addressed by the Union Leadership. When other members of the staff here are busy fixing their rooms for student arrival on Monday, I sit doing nothing at all. As a tax paying citizen of the District of Columbia I am outraged at this waste of the taxpayers' money!!!

Anonymous said...

Your information about teachers being paid to support the contract is inaccurate and you know it. How can you write such lies? Those teachers were ALL folks who supported the contract who were paid to lobby for it. Lobbying wasn't criminal in this situation. What they are doing is peanuts compared to YOUR unethical and inaccurate blog postings and questionable professional tactics. Your salary is being paid by DCPS teachers, so you should represent ALL DCPS teachers. Clearly, you don't. What's worse- a grassroots movement by teachers or a corrupt union official spreading lies and misinformation? The answer is clear.

jmannii said...

Anonymous at 11:37 is correct. No one has been paid to vote a certain way. The organization paid people to lobby for them, and that is legal.

Anonymous said...

I don't want a liar representing me.

When are the next WTU elections?

Candi Peterson said...

Response to Anonymous blogger: Actually I am not paid by DC Teachers or the WTU. WTU Board of Trustee members are not paid positions.

Many would argue with you about whether teachers were paid to lobby votes. This is an unfair labor practice and is an illegal practice as well. Sorry but I have to agree to disagree with you.

Anonymous said...


Please explain how paying teachers to lobby is illegal? If lobbying was illegal, a huge chunk of the DC metropolitan area would be out of a job and behind bars. You may consider it unfair, but lobbying is a part of the American political system. So funny that you view lobbying as an unfair labor practice since the union lobby is one of the biggest.

Didn't know you were unpaid, but I agree with the previous anonymous poster and can't wait for the next elections. I've never voted on anything for the union before, but look forward to it now.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous blogger@11:37am should know her facts before spreading lies just as she is accusing others of doing. There are only two union officials who get paid salaries. Everyone else is VOLUNTEERING their time. Be clear!

Maybe all of us should get more involved voluntarily especially when it comes to issues other than MONEY!!! then these discussion wouldn't seem so disingenuious...

For the kids, you say..... really?????

There wasn't this much blog chatter when block scheduling was introduced, when substitues were no longer budgeted, when special education laws were reauthorized or inclusion mandated.

Who do you think you're fooling?

Peace said...

Uh oh and it's the Orginal Hamptser Dance ! Here we go !Check out the dad and the kids dancing for a laugh that won't stop ! The contract may break but they'll never crack the love as teacher's we have for our students !Roger that !You'll love the kids kicking into this Hampster Dance !Ya gotta take a break to laugh !Some of this mess on the inner net needs to be cleaned up and out !Check out Brooks on the Hamster Dance !God Bless America and Public Education !The more parents we get to monitor the inner net the better !No sneaking around and do your homework !