Nov 18, 2008

AFT Watch

Many spectators are conducting an American Federation of Teachers' watch now that AFT President Randi Weingarten recently retracted her original position to stay out of local union matters and has now become involved in DC teacher contract talks. A meeting has recently been scheduled with Chancellor Rhee in order to forge discussions ahead according to today's WA PO articled titled: "Union Chiefs and Rhee Will Meet- Talks Will Involve DC National Teachers' Group" by Bill Turque. Weingarten made it clear that she "disagrees" with Fenty and Rhee's recent proposal to possibly seek federal legislation declaring the DC school system in a "state of emergency".

In today's article , Randi Weingarten stated , "I've reached out to the chancellor. In an interview later, she said she and WTU President George Parker "are anxious to meet with the chancellor. . . . There's been a lot of buzzing back and forth trying to find a date." ....

Weingarten appeared before an audience of union leaders including Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Rep. George Miller (D- Calif), New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt. In her speech she indicated that -- "no issue should be off the table, provided it is good for children and fair for teachers. She also cautioned school administrators and policymakers to reconsider their demonization of teachers unions as the main impediment to school reform. Think of a teacher who is staying up past midnight to prepare her lesson plan . . . a teacher who is paying for equipment out of his own pocket so his students can conduct science experiments. . . . These are the people the AFT represents. Make no mistake about it -- when you attack us, you attack them."

The Post reported that, "Weingarten did not mention Rhee by name in her prepared comments. But during a brief interview after her speech, she criticized Rhee's consideration of measures that would release the District from its legal obligation to bargain with the Washington Teachers' Union. These include seeking revival of the city's ability to open nonunion charter schools, and legislation that would declare a post-Katrina-style "state of emergency" that would effectively allow Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) to create a new, union-free school system."

Education notes on line blogger from New York had this to say about AFT President Weingarten's involvement in DC contract talks: " Mayor Mike is showing his appreciation by introducing Randi Weingarten at a big shindig in DC. Randi watchers are sitting back to see how Randi, with her speak-out-of-5-sides-of-her-mouth tendencies," handles the Rhee situation."

Given the fact that the AFT has historically chosen to not become involved in local union issues even while the WTU, local 6 was swindled out of millions of dollars by former WTU President Barbara Bullock it will be interesting to watch the outcome of these discussion with Rhee. Feel free to weigh in on this latest development. (posted by The Washington Teacher).

Link to today's article in its entirety :


Anonymous said...

CNN reported AFT in DC office was empty. They're all out helping teachers.Good job !

Sheila said...

Hi Candi:

It is my perspective that Randi Weingarten will make the final offer instead of George Parker to the Chancellor. Unfortunately, Chancellor Rhee doesn't have any respect for George. It appears to me that George may have been the Chancellor's union puppet. The Chancellor is very disappointed in George's action because he was unable to deliever the red/green tier without tenure and seniority plan to her on a silver platter.

I have a very careful watch of this outcome as well. The playing field is even now, with two ladies debating the red/green proposal. Let's get ready to rumble.

Lorri said...

Ms. Weingarten has been disappointing us quite a bit lately in New York.
Let's hope that she can redeem herself in DC.

Peace said...

"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just."A.L. It's the Gettysburg Address with generous reconciliation. Discourage litigation and promote peace making, fair proceedures balanced with interests driven for schools and support needed of which directly effects progress of the students success. Rhee's approach to educational reform ? "If this is coffee,please bring me some tea,but if this tea,please bring me some coffee." Lincoln. Just not sure Public Education understands Rhee's academic affairs,operations and proceedures manual.The innovational spirit and unconventional flight to see change is beautiful and yet as a leader you are as strong as your weakest teacher,department.....! It's okay to disagree without being worried you're fired and difference of opinion drives excellence !

ed notes online said...

Have very little hope for good outcomes with Weingarten dealing with Rhee. Look for an agreement with a few crumbs to make it look like a victory for teachers. But look deep under the carpet for the bugs.

The policy in the UFT in NYC has been to backpeddle consistently while holding onto slivers of the contract.

Keep an eye out for a modified tenure situation that will give Rhee enough room to roam.


Anonymous said...

Rhee is spending millions on K-8 program per Washington Post and also renovations for school buligings.The details of her blue print are questionable but never the less she bull dozed through the system.