Sep 1, 2009

DC Teachers: Are You Ready For A Buyout, Early Retirement Or 1 year To Get Another Job ?

All these options are subject to government approval and could be the new reality for DC teachers' futures, that is if we get to vote on a proposed WTU contract (excerpts listed below). Oh by the way, DC probationary teachers seems you've been left out in the cold again by Chancellor Rhee, WTU President George Parker and AFT President Randi Weingarten. I don't know about you but I think we should all throw out those 'STUPID buttons' that AFT mass-produced which state we want "a contract that is good for students and fair to teachers." Oh really ?

I am sure that you have been anxiously awaiting the inside details of the status of our DC Teacher contract proposal as I have. On this past Saturday at the WTU Building Representative training at the AFT office- WTU president George Parker stated he still does not have a contract proposal to deliver to DC teachers despite his letter to union members that we were awaiting a feasibility study by the Rhee administration. So it seems according to Parker that now there are sticking points which in his words could lead to an impasse. I think we have heard this before and it is unclear what games Parker and Rhee are really playing. I thought the issue was determining whether there was the money to fund the most recent contract proposal. Now Parker states that it's more than that.

My inside source has provided me with a look-see at various sections of the DC teacher contract proposal. Despite earlier claims from my informant that there would be a 20 year retirement offered to DC teachers, so it seems based on this written proposal that teachers would only be given this option at the government's discretion. The bad news is that teachers could be subjected to performance based excessing. Even if teachers perform well on their annual performance appraisal- this does not guarentee them a job. They could be terminated if they are unable to get hired by another school and may be subjected to being a long term sub at various schools or other designated jobs even within the central office.

It sounds exactly like what Rhee proposed in her five year educational plan to rid our school system of a significant share of her teacher and related school personnel work force. Read this section which appears in Article 2. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the impact of performance based-excessing.

Article 2 - Performance Based Excessing Policy. This section states:

2.1.1 An excess is an elimination of a Member's position at a particular school due to a decline in student enrollment, a reduction in the local school budget, a closing or consolidation, a restructuring, a change in the local school program, or a reduction in force.

2.1.1 A Member of a particular school shall not be excessed when a change in that school creates a position in that school for which the current staff Member is certified.

2.2.2 When the competitive area (determined in accordance with Title 5 of the DCMR) is the School, the Local School Restructuring Team (LSRT) shall make a recommendation as to the area(s) of certification to be affected and the Personnel Committee shall make a recommendation as to the individual(s) to be affected.

2.2.3 DCPS shall retain the right to make the final excessing decision according to the following rubric:

1) previous year's final evaluation (highest earns 70 points, second highest earns 60 points, third highest earns 50 points, fourth highest earns 0 points and lowest earns 0 points.

2). unique skills and qualifications (high earns 10 points, medium earns 5 points and low earns 0 points.

3). other contributions to the local education program (high earns 10 points, medium earns 5 points and low earns 0 points.

4. length of service (20 plus years earns 10 points, 10-19 years earns 5 points and 1-9 years earns 1 point. *Individuals with DC residency at the time of excessing shall receive a 5 year serice credit. Individuals with a veteran preference at the time of excessing shall also receive a 5 year service credit.

2.2.5 The Member in the competitive area with the lowest point value overall according to the rubric shall be the first Member to be excessed. The Member with the second lowest point value shall be the second Member to be excessed, and so on.

2.2.6 When the competitive area is the school, and when DCPS's final decision (based on the above rubric) departs from the recommendation of the LSRT or the Personnel Committee, the Supervisor shall prepare a written justification. A copy of the justification shall be provided to the President of the Washington Teachers' Union.

2.5.1 Any permanent status Member who received a rating of effective or higher on the DCPS educator evaluation system and was excessed shall be placed by DCPS in a new position for which they are certified before any new hires in that area of certification. If no position exists, the Member will have a year to secure a new position as outlined in Option3 in section

2.6 Excessed permanent status Members shall have sixty (60) calendar days following the effective date of the excess to secure another placement in DCPS under performance based placement OR select one of the following options: Option 1: BUYOUT

Excessed permanent status Members shall have the option to receive a $25,000 cash buyout resulting in separation from DCPS. This provision shall be the subject to necessary government approvals. An excesed permanent status Member who opts for the buyout shall not be eligible for employment with DCPS for a period of three (3) years. This option shall only be available to permanent status Members whose most recent evaluation was "Effective" or higher. Option 2: Early Retirement

Excessed permanent status Members with twenty (20) or more years of creditable service shall have the option of retiring with full benefits. This provision shall be subject to necessary government approvals. This option shall only be available to Members who have 20 or more years of creditable service. Option 3: A year to Secure a New Position Excessed permanent status Members who have been unable to secure a new placement during the sixty (60) days following the effective date of the excess, and who have not selected Option 1 or Option 2 above, shall have the right to select Option 3. The year to secure a new position hall begin on the 61st day following the effective date of excess and shall conclude exactly one calendar year thereafter. Excessed permanent status Members who opt for a year to secure a new positions shall during the year, be: provided with full salary and benefits; provided with multiple hiring opportunities provided with the opportunity of twelve (12) hours of professional development that shall include instruction or interviewing skills and the creation of professional portfolios; and assigned by DCPS to serve in one (1) or more instructional support capacities (e.g. one to one tutoring, small group instruction, class coverage, long-term teacher replacement or central office support) that are within the Member's discipline and located at a maximum of two (2) work locations per school year. The assignment referenced above shall not be subject to performance based placement. DCPS shall have the right, at the conclusion of the year to secure a new position, to terminate all excessed permanent status Members who are unable to secure a new placement within the school system under performance based placement during the year. The year to secure a new position option shall only be open to permanent status Members whose most recent evaluation was "Effective" or higher.

Assuming this proposal gets worked out, are you ready to vote this proposal up or down ? You tell me.

Posted by The Washington Teacher


DC Terminated Teacher said...

ok Candi even if this goes through, that still leaves the terminated teachers of 2009 out still swimming without a life jacket. Most of us have 20 years.. we were not offered a penny, a thank you,nothing. No benefits, no bonus, no way to retire with full benefits...nada...We haven't even heard a "how are you doing," we haven't forgotten about you" from WTU President George Parker although the terminated teachers still paid their dues up to the last check of August 28. We cant get jobs, half or more had to give up their houses, apts., condos whatever. Credit bureau love us now, because all of us are in or are going to be in debt, since we don't have the funds to pay anything. We are still fighting over our health insurance in which no one wants to pick up folks with pre existing health conditions. And DCPS does not want to pay the required 65% they are suppose to pay of health insurance costs.

If you live in DC and try to get emergency assistance with rental/mortgage or utilities...they stopped 90% of that. In order to get a modification of your house you have to be in default, which will not be long and it takes 45-90 days to complete. By that time your house will foreclose.
Good news, energy assistance for utilities, funds become available I believe October 1, if your are lucky to get it before it runs out. By that time, your lights, and everything else may be disconnected. Best thing is to go into training for a new career. No one wants DCPS terminated teachers. If only they knew the facts about how we got here. Then maybe they would feel pity and give us a helping hand.

Anonymous said...

From another DCPS terminated teacher. I would prefer to remain

All of this that I having to endure has a significant impact on me. I've been hitting the pavement hard to find another job since June 17, 2009 when I was given the letter of termination. I have been looking not only in the field of education, but outside of it. Many prospective employers outside the field of teaching, want the "ideal" candidate to have 1 - 2years expereince. How can a teacher qulaify for any other career other than teaching? Many times we do not have the experience that many prospective employers are looking for.
I often wonder if Chancellor Rhee, and Mayor Fenty know what they have done to many DCPS teachers. Many of us did not deserve to be terminated. I was never on a 90 day plan, and by the way was initially excessed. I attended a career fair. Had several interviews with principals. My principal was giving me dates and times for the career fairs. My principal had an opening for this year which I was qualified to teach. When I expressed interest in the position, she told me "I don't know what I am going to have available", and walked away from me when I tired to discuss it further with her. Here she knew
I was excessed, and needed a job.
I don't know how these principals sleep at night after what they have done to many of their teachers. In addition, I don't know how Michelle Rhee and Mayor Fenty sleep at night knowing they have displaced so many teachers who did not dersrve to be terminated. I am now struggling financially, and have a mortgage to support. How would Michelle Rhee like to be treated this way?
What would she do if she lost her
$275,000 a year job? Whose going to hire her since she would be over qualified. Sound familar teachers who are seeking jobs in education????

Kings said...

Dear Anonymous terminated teacher -
Rhee and Fenty are different from you and me. They have no trouble sleeping over their gross mistreatment of DC teachers.

Abagale said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you now, Candi, without even seeing the rest of the proposal, I'd vote this one DOWN. Suppose you don't want Options 1 and 3 and are not eligible for Option 2? This negotiation process has gone ridicuously long and we need to move on to something right away. Speaking of options, what, legally, are ours (WTU members) for demanding something to vote on immediately so we can go to the next step, if necessary?

Please let your blog readers know the count on those who would vote the contract up or down based on the proposed options.

Anonymous said...

Why of why does Rhee has a 74% approval rating? You know why? B/c the Post LOVES Rhee, so nobody knows. She has made no gains in the system, only enemies. Fired teachers, and the Union has cowtowed to her, for whatever unknown reason. Maybe we need to make the Post see the light?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous responding to Kings:

Well, perhaps Candi may want to
consider sending Rhee and Fenty
teacher comments as to how they have affected DCPS teachers who they have terminated unjustly.
I was asked to submit a letter to Chancellor Rhee if I wanted to be reconsidered. I followed through on this. I received word that my termination was being upheld.
Like I shared, I was never on
a 90 day plan, was initially
excessed on April 30, 2009,
and then terminated on June 17th.
My due process rights were clearly
violated as well as other rights according to the contract.

Lindsey said...

"Where or where has our union help gone? Oh, where, oh where have they gone?????"

(sung to the tune of Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone....)

Anonymous said...

The following sentence--pertaining to the proposed Options--says it all:

"This provision shall be subject to necessary government approvals."

We all know the devil is in the details and this one, in particular, is loaded. So, let's say a teacher chooses one of the options. His/Her paperwork is processed to exit from the system. Then, a notice is sent saying the government DID NOT approve the provision (i.e., buyout, early retirement, etc.) Guess what? Joke's on you now. You have effectively left the system--on your own accord--and have nothing to show for it. FentRhee then laughs and calls you a sucker.

Is this what you want in a contract, colleagues? I, for one, am not falling for the okie doke. I vote NO!!

Veteran Teacher said...

So this looks like the early out will not be general, but only for excessed teachers, am I correct? If so, will there also be an early out proposed on the contract for non-excessed DCPS with 20 years in the system, but too young to retire?

The Wash. Teacher responds to usereason said...

Moderated response to usereason comment (below)

If you are going to criticize me then get it right. I did not object to "Rhee making information about her contract proposal public" as you state. First of all it is not Rhee's contract proposal. It is The Washington Teachers Union contract proposal that was negotiated on behalf of our union members.

I objected to Rhee being invited to our union meeting to discuss the details of our contract proposal. I also stated that our members should have had the opportunity to review the WTU contract proposal in its entirety and not just the presentation of the financial components of the proposal. Members had the right to ask questions about what had been negotiated without the intrusion and influence of management being present. Union meetings are not open to management and the general public.

It's unfortunate that you are so quick to jump to attack mode while twisting the facts regarding what happened last summer and arriving at conclusions that are inaccurate and misleading. You do not know of what you speak. For this reason- I have moderated your inaccurate comment.

The Washington Teacher
Blog moderator

Usereason stated:

"Candi, last summer you objected to Rhee making information about her contract proposal public. You said the union was wrong to present this information to teachers while negotiations were still underway. Then why are you sharing this information with everyone now? Isn't this information part of the "negotiations" - even if Parker is preparing to declare an impasse? Looks like a double srandard exists here."

usereason said...

How can a teacher qulaify for any other career other than teaching? (sic)

I don't want to sound uncaring, but I had to answer this question anonymous asked. He/she's the second teacher I've heard ask this question.

Teaching is one of the most flexible careers you can go into. Teachers can write books, develop curricula, create educational songs/software/games, become professional speakers/trainers, open tutoring centers, tutor privately, become librarians, teach overseas, produce educational videos, teach in day care centers/private schools/charter schools/colleges, become adjunct professors and spend half of your time doing other activities, and become educational advocates, operate summer camps and educational supply stores, and become career specialists.

Those are just the education-related areas I can think of. Probably any position that requires a liberal-arts degree can be adequately filled by a teacher.

I'm not trying to get off the topic, but teaching is a flexible career

Anonymous said...

I not amazed a the cavalier attitude of self-serving teachers who won't stand up to management or for their students but will kick another teacher at the first oppurtunity. Teachers have allowed hundreds maybe thousands of their peers to be fired justly or unjustly and still have not found the courage to take mass action against management. I would tell you to "Go to Hell" but I know some of you are already there working for the insane Michelle Rhee.

Anonymous said...

I am voting UP!!! I want this contract!!! Don't forget that Candi is only showing you one small part of the proposal... as usual...not the whole picture!!! This blog is designed to go against Rhee in any way, shape or form. Don't do it teachers!! VOTE FOR THE CONTRACT... it is a good one!!!

Anonymous said...

To usereason:

I've applied to teacher stores,
daycare centers, charter schools, seven school systems, private schools, posted flyers for tutoring services, etc. I am offended about the posting you have made onto this blog site by saying "sic." Have you had to hit the pavement in trying to obtain a teaching posiiton or employment? By the way, many of the suggestions you have listed require qualifications that an Early Childhood/Elem. teachers may not have. For example, to become a librarian one must have a Library of Science degree. To work at the college level requires additional endorsements/ certification. It is my strong suggestion that before you place such posting onto a blog site that you "need to do your homework" before casting stones to those of us who are diligently seeking employment opportunities. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps many of us who have been terminated are not able to go back to school due to financial reasons ?

In order to obtain the necessary credentials in order to apply for some of the career choice you have posted? In addition, many of us who have been terminated have years of experience as teachers, and are unable to get another teaching position due to being over qualified. I have over 20 years teaching experience. Many schools,
school systems are unable to afford to pay those of us who have many years of experience, and
won't even bother to contact us once they review the resume and see the qualifications.

Kings said...

Anonymous - (sic)is a Latin term used in writing to indicate an error in the original quote, in this case, your misspelling of "qualify."

It wasn't a very nice thing for usereason to do.

Shakira said...

"The bad news is that teachers could be subjected to performance based excessing."

Maybe I'm dumb, but how is that bad? If a teacher fails to perform his or her duties, s/he should be terminated.

(Before you presume I need to be informed about what it's like to be a DCPS teacher, let me add this: I am one.)

The Washington Teacher said...

Reply to Veteran Teacher
You are correct that the early out will apply to those who have been excessed. Of course according to this contract proposal document it is subject to government approval.

There is no early out for anyone else according to the proposal. I suspect that there won't be an early out for anyone else because it would be too costly for the District of Columbia government to fund. I am not even sure if they can afford the proposal and perhaps this is why it is at a standstill as Mr. Parker indicated last week at the WTU B.R. training. Stay tuned.

Kings said...

"If a teacher fails to perform his or her duties, s/he should be terminated."

I think that any employees who don't do their jobs shouldn't be allowed to keep them.

However, the issue here is fairness. Some teachers have been put on the 90 day plan unfairly - just as a way of driving out vets or punishing squeaky wheels.

Teachers are excessed for reasons totally unrelated to performance -- because their school is closed or enrollment goes down or the school is restructured.

Anonymous said...

Is the WTU lawyer a part of negotiations ? I would like to know what his/her input is regarding this proposal?
Will there be a legal opinion of this proposal first ?

lindsey said...

To Anon,

Do you remember the last time the WTU lawyer came to a membership meeting at McKinley? When he was finally given the microphone to speak (two hours after the meeting started) and to answer members' questions, he stumbled around like a lost puppy. He attempted to soft step the relevant points of concern because he did not want to cover-up the real issues. when finally pressed, he admitted that the red/green thing and any loss of tenure and seniority rights including this performance based excessing would undermine worker's rights!!!!!! duh!!!

by the way, sources say that the WTU attorney has not been at the table on negotiations and is pretty damn (oops...sorry) perplexed as to why he is not in the loop!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Candi... now we have the WTU wasting more "negotiation time" writing letters to all of us about you!

Anonymous said...

I was initially excessed on
April 30, 2009. I was not given
any other options other to attend
career fairs that my principal was
providing me information about. I did not get picked up, however, had
several interviews with principals at the career fairs. In addition, when I learned of my excess status, I sent out letters of interest to prospective principals. Over the summer a few
principals called me to share they had openings, and would like to interview me. I was not able to schedule interviews because I am a terminated teacher. I was told that
I could not attend any interviews
by a union representative. According to what I have been reading, and please correct me if I am wrong....Shouldn't I have been given options since I was initially excessed before being terminated? Options like being able to substitute teach at the current pay rate I was making, or
filling in for positions that are not filled or being given a year to find another teaching position and being compensated at sametime?
I also read that I could bump a
new teacher whose been hired. None
of this has happened. Perhaps
I am misunderstanding something, and if so I would appreciate clarification. I just want to know
what rights I have being I was
initially excessed before being terminated. I also have proof of
being excessed first.
Many thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Find an international teaching job fair ? Be ready to re-locate ? God never closes a door he doesn't open a fire escape.If the alarms go off,keep going ? Just trying to keep a sense of humor.Washington teachers are on strike and 26,000 students are out of their classrooms.The judge says they will see a fine of $200.00 a day if they're not back to work on Monday.Strikes are illegal in Washington They're standing up for smaller class sizes.

Terminated teachers ? See budget and don't take it personally, cause it's happening all over the country. Our national educational bus transportation needs money or guess what ? The kids won't be picked up to be at school.These are scary times to fix and find solutions.Frame your termination papers on behalf of Rhee reform and don't look back.

Anonymous said...

Candi,where is the actual evaluation that will be used to score the teachers ?Do you have it to post and see ? Based on what ? 60 points if you're students pass the EOG and you get the next 10 for creativity ? How do teacher's get the 70 points ? Performance based excessing Article 2,2.1.1 ? A reduction in school budget and you're excessed ? That's not getting any points ! We've got a stimulus check for that and then thinking PL 107-110 penalities and mandates to resolve. Where is the criteria and actual evaluation to score 70 points ? How are operations in the building and the resources ? How many years experience does the principle have ? I'd love to see this evaluation the principles are using to score their teachers.20 years teaching inner city gets you 10 points ? No,that gets you a medal called hero and you get into heaven.That should score at least 25 points.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor sounds like he's on the way out and Rhee may be as well ? Hang in there !

AIDC said...

Wow, I had no issue teaching in DC was so perilous. Reading this blog and the comments has really opened my eyes.