Aug 16, 2009

The Proposal To Sell Out DC Teachers

Did AFT Prez Randi Weingarten and WTU Prez George Parker Cut A Deal With Rhee ? Guess what an insider told me about teacher contract negotiations. If it is true then only some teachers will be celebrating. This proposal could wipe out a 'significant share of our teacher workforce' through buyouts. (Sound familiar to Rhee's five year education plan which promises to get rid of a significant share of DC's teacher work force. ) It seems that AFT President Randi Weingarten, WTU George Parker and the WTU (Washington Teachers' Union ) negotiation team have agreed to a teachers contract proposal with Chancellor Michell Rhee. A recent letter to WTU members indicates that Rhee is trying to determine whether this contract proposal is financially feasible during these cash strapped times.

According to my inside source, teachers with a minimum of 20 years of experience in DC public schools would be afforded an 'early out' to retire with full retirement benefits. This would be the deal breaker and would be unprecedented. I imagine if the money is approved then many highly qualified and experienced teachers not yet eligible for retirement would walk out the door and leave our school system. Can anyone blame them ? For those who remain, this news would come as just another sorry reminder of how our labor union has failed to protect all of its members. It also would confirm what New York teachers have been warning us for a long time that AFT President Randi Weingarten is promoting her sell-out tour nation wide. The implications of this type of teacher contract proposal if approved by the WTU membership would have devastating national implications.

Mutual consent would be a component of this teacher contract proposal. This was confirmed by AFT President Randi Weingarten during the spring of this year. Mutual consent or mutual agreement simply means that if a teacher is excessed from a school and could not get a principal to hire them- they would not have a job. Basically in a nutshell, you need mutual consent of the principal in order to work. According to Ed Notes On Line blogger "Excessed NY teachers stay in their schools and work as subs. They have to get paid full salary but are not placed. They have to find their own jobs.They are vilified if they don't find a job on the open market system which is where you are heading. There is a feeling they become targets to be sent to rubber rooms especially if they are senior and high salaried. "
Giving principals this type of absolute power involved with mutual consent will be devastating for any remaining teachers in DC. So I am told that our mutual consent WOULD NOT have the benefits of the NY public school system. Given that we have many teachers who are excessed yearly, they may be given a year to find a new teaching position. If unable to find a new position then technically they would be out of a job or be forced to retire if eligible. It would lead to a revolving door workforce of teachers and related school personnel. I can only imagine that Chancellor Rhee is thrilled at the prospect of such a contract proposal. If funded, it would not be in the best interests of our students. Certainly it would discourage career teachers from applying to our school system. Under this proposal, I believe that new teachers would never make twenty years in our school system as many will eventually leave or be excessed or eventually be fired under Rhee's new evaluation system with the assistance of willing principals and master teachers and our infamous 90 day termination plans.I find all of this disgusting and disheartening. Our union may be "working" for some but it isn't working for all its members. What a way to begin a new school year.

Posted by The Washington Teacher

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Candi, you should run for president of WTU. You have the values, morals and knowledge-base to do the job. Something has to give!

ed notes online said...

Some clarification on rubber rooms. In NYC they are teacher detention centers. Excessed teachers are not sent there but stay in their schools and work as subs. They have to get paid full salary but are not placed. They have to find their own jobs.

They are vilified if they don't find a job on the open market system which is where you are heading. There is a feeling they become targets to be sent to rubber rooms especially if they are senior and high salaried.

norm

Kings said...

This system sure would be a boon for teachers with 20 years in who are already being treated like crap.

It would also assure that teachers approaching twenty years would start getting bad treatment to hound them out by the time they're qualified to leave with full benefits, and that as more teachers see the treatment of their fellow teachers, they will be more likely to get out before things start going bad for them.

Soon the only vets left will be lap dogs for the administration or gluttons for punishment.

Anonymous said...

Candi,
You have the rubber room situation confused with the ATR (Absence Teacher Reserve) situation
They are two separate and distinct situations.
ATRs are tenured, veteran teachers who have been excessed from their schools without being given new, permanent teaching assignments. These teachers are, by and large, not sent to the rubber rooms, as these teachers are basically utilized as substitute teachers in the NYC public schools.
Teachers who are in the rubber rooms are teachers who have been brought up on disciplinary charges. These teachers report on a daily basis to rubber room detention centers or reassignment centers. Most rubber room inmates are not ATRs. However, some of them are.

A Veteran Teacher said...

Candi, I read your blog every now and then and respect your work with and for DC teachers. But I don't get something. Why would offering an early out to all teachers with 20 or more years' experience, regardless of age, be selling us out? A few years ago, I remember that there was an early out. Several of my coworkers at that time left DCPS. None of them felt that they were being disrespected or forced out. They were glad to have the opportunity to leave the system with full benefits even though they were a few years short of regular retirement. Why would an early out now be different? Yes, I know many veteran teachers feel that Rhee wants us out, but if they offer an early out, I'd take it. And not feel disrespected, but grateful I could persue career options elsewhere yet still have my DCPS retirement.

Linda said...

DC teachers need the best lawyers money can buy. I hope you are able to hire them.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be so jaded but does this surprise anyone. George Parker and apparently Traci Weingarten do not care a damn about teachers just as long our union dues pay their salaries.

Anonymous said...

Wahooo! I am out of here! I hope this all goes through! Yes! Thanks for making my day..
Yup... I am one of those "walking out!"
Thanks for the news!

I educ8 said...

Thank you again, Candi, for shining a spotlight on contract details. It's great to have a site where we can read and discuss issues pertinent to our jobs.

I hope teachers are not blinded by dollar signs and read EVERY detail in the proposed contract. We have the power NOT to affirm this contract. Personally, I would not accept such a deal for double my salary! The nefarious nature of this plan is extremely palpable. If your inside details are true, Candi, Randi and George deserve the boot--posthaste!!

The Washington Teacher said...

Norm Thanks for the clarification.

The Washington Teacher said...

Response to a veteran teacher's question: "Why would offering an early out to all teachers with 20 or more years' experience, regardless of age, be selling us out?"

I think what we have to look at is the entire picture for all teachers and related school personnel. AFter all unions receive all members dues and have an obligation to pursue a contract that is fair to all of our members not just some.

There is something wrong with any bargaining agent trying to assist management in riding the school system of a significant share of the teacher work force. This means a high percentage of mid level and our most experienced educators would be exiting the system if this plan is offered. This robs students of some of DC's best teachers and the backbone of our school system. It is unclear if this 20 year offer to retire early would be a 1 time offer or not. I am not against early outs and would not have been surprised if a 25 year buyout was offered. But someone's got to ask what's the motivation behind offering a 20 year buyout when we can least afford it during the DC budget deficit. Is this another form of gentrification ?

For those of you who see this as a good proposal for yourself personally- I can't imagine that you think it is okay to kick your colleagues and future DC teachers to the curb. This represents I got mine- you got yours to get mentality. This proposal would be as good as saying all the rights that former teachers worked so hard to achieve will all be lost. If teachers are excessed then these teachers careers in DCPS are basically over and they have a great likelihood of facing dismissal if they cannot find a principal to hire them. During this financial crisis, the higher the salary the harder it is to match it. Surely teachers may eventually find another job but these major losses to one's salary would have an adverse imapct on our future retirement, our families, and the overall economy. The long term impact would be detrimental particularly to students of a lower socio economic background. Not to mention that teachers would have to pay for more healthcare after termination at a time when they are least able to afford it.

If the Chancellor can demand that principals place a minimum of 3 teachers on a 90 day plan- then isn't it reasonable to conclude that the Chancellor would demand that principals not hire excessed teachers. If this were to happen, our workforce would become a revolving door, lack any type of stability and would not be in the best interest of students. Certainly we would be headed toward the demise of public education in the District of Columbia.

I also believe this deal will lead to the eventual end of our union as well. This would be a travesty.

At the end of the day- I want to be able to live with whatever decisions I make and somehow I sleep better at night knowing that I treat my fellow man like I want to be treated. I want a proposal that is like AFT's advertisement- good for kids and fair to teachers- all teachers.

Kings said...

Candi, you say, " Not to mention that teachers would have to pay for more healthcare after termination at a time when they are least able to afford it."

Are you saying that "full retirement benefits for those who leave at 20 years, does NOT include health care? Or are you referring to something else.

Anonymous said...

I must not be reading your post correctly... I don't understand why you think an early out for teachers is a bad thing and a sell out for everyone else. That doesn't make sense. If they offer an early out for veteran teachers I am fine with it. I would only hope that the offer comes around when it is my turn! I don't think that would be selling out the other teachers in the district at all. I may not be seeing something but from what I understand.. there will be a buy out for 20+ and then nice big raises for those that stay. That to me... is fair for all of us. Candi... your explanation just doesn't make sense to me. You keep going on about excessed teachers and a rubber room. That has nothing to do with the buy out!! Sorry.

Sally said...

Candi I would not bother to explain any further to anonymous.

I think you said it plain enough. Anyone wants to take this deal with Rhee will probably find out they have been bamboozled. I don't believe she will provide full retirement benefits of 56 percent with no penalities. There probably is some loop hole clause in this deal waiting for an everyday sucker to come along.

I thought you said this was a 1 time deal. Rhee is not gonna offer a 20 year retirement on an ongoing basis.

I remember a similar situation with buy outs that Rhee offered to DC teachers from closing schools. When teachers submitted their retirement paperwork and some decided to rescind their offer- Rhee said he-- no. Better find a financial adviser & a lawyer when you sign this deal. LOL

Watch Out For Weingarten said...

What some of your constituents who don't know AFT President Randi Weingarten teacher contract deals can have givebacks and secret side deals the union members know nothing about. Sometimes teachers on the negotiating team don't even know all of the details of a given proposal. You may think you are getting a 20 year retirement with full benefits when in fact you are not. Check out the side deals and do your research.

The Washington Teacher said...

The health coverage issue applied to terminated teachers. By law DC government is required to pay 65% of health acre costs for their former employees for 18 months. DCPS was trying not to pay this portion & only pay for 1 month.

Old School DCPS said...

I don't understand what would be wrong with a simple early out for teachers with 20 or more years of service in the system. Some of us have several years to go before retirement and though we love teaching, wouldn't turn down such an offer. Please clarify.

Linda said...

In John Merrow's podcast on testing, Michelle Rhee gives the impression that she thinks a standardized test and the curriculum are one and the same. She also thinks that teaching to the test(and drilling the kids on specific items) is appropriate. Any testing expert will tell you that this iinvalidates the test. If a teacher was dismissed on the basis of test scores, she might be able to argue, correctly I think, that these scores are not valid.

Kings said...

such an early out would not be "simple" - it would be an attempt to rid the system of vet teachers. It's likely that people having close to twenty years would be harrassed into leaving - treated poorly, threatened with 90 plans, etc.

Old School DCPS said...

Kings, though I appreciate your comment and insight, in my school and in my friends' schools, we don't see what you are alluding to. Those of us with 20 or more years are on the school leadership teams, thought of as the dedicated, experienced professional educators that we are. When an early out was offered a few years ago, no one said that it was an attempt by the system to get rid of older, veteran teachers. Why can't we have the opportunity to vote on something like this as part of a contract?

Anonymous said...

Kings... so what??? It is an early out!! Hello...many school districts offer early outs. I don't see what the big deal is... so, we get rid of some of the veteran teachers. There are so many good, intelligent, young teachers coming to our school district to teach! Let them take their turn! If the veterans take the opportunity...then that means that they are ready and if not, they stay! They are not being forced out! The tone of this blog is always so negative! Come on people... stop the madness. There is nothing wrong with an early out. Let's just VOTE for goodness sake!

Kings said...

Old school - a few years ago things were different. There was not a concerted attempt to get rid of vets. People who retired did so voluntarily and did not feel drummed out of the system

you may well have the chance to vote on this and you may get your wish - and people hovering around 20 years may or may not feel hassled into getting out.

We'll see.

Sheila said...

Anonymous confuses negativity with critical thinking.

Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative, or being critical of other people.Critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning. It can help us to acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments.

You are hating on The Washington Teacher blog because Candi is a critical thinker. Next time when this anonymous person surfaces just hit the DELETE button for me PLEASE.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please give evidence that a minimum of 3 teachers have to be on the early out plan? I'm pretty sure this did not happen at my school....

Anonymous said...

I think Anonymous "The tone of this blog is always so negative! Come on people... stop the madness. There is nothing wrong with an early out. Let's just VOTE for goodness sake!" is a FAKE. THIS IS A NEWBIE and a RHEE Kool-Aid drinker trying to push Rhee's agenda. Anonymous probably has one year left on the "provisional certification" and wants as much CASH AS POSSIBLE before LEAVING DCPS.

If, the city is broke, where will this money come from to pay for early outs. Firing excess teachers and other in the system. Open your eyes, this is not about YOU and those who think like you.

It is about a city that has gone straight to H. People are no longer important. It is all about the plan--not to give our students the best education possible but to turn public schools into privately controlled schools where people like Rhee and others can make BIG BUCKS.

Yes, it is time to vote NO ON THIS JOKE OF A CONTRACT AND EARLY OUT DEAL. TEACHERS GROW SOME!!!

Anonymous said...

Sheila...pleassssssse stop the madness! We are where we are because of people like you! I don't care if you call it "critical thinking" or "negativity!" It is what it is... In this case, it is an EARLY OUT! So be it! Take it if you like and stay if you like! Just like the RED and GREEN choice we were SUPPOSED to have. Take the one that YOU want and let everyone else take theirs! Why, why, why is it that people feel the need to make decisions for everyone?? Please let me vote on the contract! Gosh... both of these topics give people an OPTION! Just take yours and I will take mine!

I'm also anonymous said...

I too don't consider an early out for teachers with 20 or more years in the system to be something negative!! That's absolutely illogical. We had hoped for a general one last year and it didn't come. I so hope that this gets put on the contract, as everyone I know with 20 or more will be voting on it. They might not all go out, as they'll have to look at their family's finances. But at least give us this option!!
I have never felt disrespected by the principals I have had over my years in DCPS and I've worked for many. They all value my hard work and my many contributions to the school.

The Washington Teacher said...

To Anonymous: Re: the 3 teacher per school on a 90 day plan: All I can do is tell you about my conversation with a principal who shared with me that principals were aksed to place a quota of teachers on a 90 day plan. It is my understanding that some principals refused to comply with this directive from the Rhee administration. I know of a principal who refused to go along with this. I also know that this is what the former Patterson ES principal told her staff before she resigned.

Anonymous said...

To the Anon... that called me a Kool-Aid drinker... I have been in the system for 22 years baby-cakes! I am no NEWBIE!!! But I will tell you what... I certainly do want cash... and as much of it as I can get! I am pushing Rhee's agenda and I do think that she is doing great things for the district. So there... all veteran teachers aren't as closed minded as you!!! I will be voting YES for the EARLY OUT!

Anonymous said...

There go the pro's in Public Education !Thank-you so much for all you gave. Can't afford to pay for experienced and highly effective teachers ? End NCLB !

Anonymous said...

This contract is twisted! "We're Not Going To Take It" Rebel roar in the rubber room ! 20 years teaching inner city ? Hand them medals and pay them what they want !

Anonymous said...

WE ARE GOING TO TAKE IT! Rebel all you want... the contract goes through!!

Veteran, too said...

I also will be voting for a contract and hope to God there is an early out. Have any of you looked at the new Teaching and Learning Framework? A whole lot of teachers will be having to revamp what and how they teach. It is not expected that we base our lessons solely on textbooks, workbooks and worksheets. This was made clear during last week's training. I truly expect a lot more 90 day plans during this SY, for people not changing their practice and adhering to the new framework. So a least we can get paid. I represent another yes vote. And for the record, I don't drink Kool Aid, have over 20 years experience and only moderately support Rhee.

Anonymous said...

Lock down on the pro's ! You can get in but you can't get out ! They lost your contract,Rhee's dog ate it !You better check the fine print and money on this buy out.

Anonymous said...

If only she'd gotton on that broom and flown away ! The pro's see that early out contract under Rhee reform and they get some pay ? I'd be out the door and down the river too and would get along with Rhee about a day.How much and what's in the fine print ? 20 years is a long time and don't sell out now, until you're sure that contract is right !

Anonymous said...

Regarding retiring early.

In NYC the UFT said they were going to get us *Full* early retirement. They called it 55/25.

For years full pensions in NYC meant working 30 years and, essentially, getting a pension that was 60% of one's ending salary.

This 55/25 came about eventually came about -- but at a high cost: higher payroll contributions AND a lower lifetime pension. Yes, it means working 25 years but it also means getting a pension equal about 50% of one's base salary.

That can mean a difference in the order of $10,000 a year for life!!!

(NB As with any pension there are many, many more details beginning with retirement age.)

So you DC folks do not think for a second that you'll get out with whatever your typical top rate is after 20 years.

"The Devil is in the Details."

The Washington Teacher Responds to Anonymous comment said...

Response to Anonymous comment (below):

As the moderator- I feel compelled to respond to this post. For starters, I am not a lier. When I receive information that I deem to be valid I post it on my blog. I don't need to lie to get more hits on my blog as it is already quite popular. Perhaps you should ask our chief negotiator, George Parker and AFT Prez Randi Weingarten what's taking so long with our contract proposal. I have provided information that I received from an insider on the negotiation team. Take it or leave it. Happy Trails.....
The Washington Teacher

Comment from Anonymous:

"So... Washington Teacher... all of this information and all of these posts about an agreement that supposedly has been reached... AND... where is it??? You posted this weeks ago... We have heard nothing. Is there really an agreement??? Or did you just want a few more hits on the blog???"