Nov 25, 2009

Divided We Fall: Someone Must Take A Stand For DC Teachers

"When law is without order and  justice is far from just, someone must take a stand !"
 
I decided to post this entry after reading articles by Leah Fabel of the DC Examiner and Bill Turque of the WaPo this morning. Seems like the Washington Teachers' Union got brutalized yesterday by Judge Judith Bartnoff in her 23 page ruling . Many argue that the WTU's legal strategy was flawed right from the start. I knew we were in trouble when our WTU Prez George Parker indicated that the union's legal strategy was a secret so as not to tip off the other side. I was concerned that at no time was there a consultation with our laid off teachers and our union lawyers about our various legal strategies. Further there seemed to be little effort made to get affadavits' from teachers under oath and/or collect evidence for our legal case. I like many others worried when the WTU didn't file a TRO (temporary restraining order) as union members had been advised would happen right from the start. The TRO was filed after the preliminary injunction in late October.

Not until our WTU General Vice president, Nathan Saunders and I arranged for a free legal consultation with Joseph, Greenwald and Laake, P.A.- did the WTU decide to file a TRO, some say too little too late and well after the filing of the preliminary injunction. As Peter Nickles has been quoted this is a slam dunk for the Rhee administration. As much as I hate to admit it I have to agree with Nickles this time. 

Having been laid off, I know what it feels like to be laid off unfairly. I have recounted my story on this very blog about an experience when a principal, Dr. Margaret Labat illegally gave me all zero's on my competitive level documentation form in 1996 because in her words she was angry with me for going to the union to pursue getting approval for my permanent status.  My heart goes out to our laid off teachers and their families especially during this season of thanksgiving. I know how they feel today because I have walked a mile in their shoes. I have empathy for what they must be experiencing.

I am troubled by some teachers' reactions in a Tuesday WTU representative assembly meeting to be more focused on their own plight than that of their laid off teacher colleagues . While looking out for ourselves is a basic instinct of self-preservation/survival, someone has to fight and take a stand . I implore all of us to stop looking for cover and ducking our heads in the sand because it hasn't impacted in our little corner of the world yet. Give IMPACT sufficient time and there will be more of us fired by years' end. Isn't that the intent ?

 I recently watched a moving titled: "American Violet" which is a true story about racial injustices by a corrupt District Attorney against many poor black citizens in the state of Texas. How ironic, I thought to myself that I had picked such a movie with many parallels to the DC story. I couldn't help but wonder that maybe it wasn't just coincidence that I had selected this movie as I desperately needed some motivation. The injustices in this movie had been imposed by those in power for some time and many citizens felt powerless to do anything. Had it not been for the perseverence of the main character known as 'Dee" who decided to fight for not only for herself but many others who had been wronged- I imagine that many of those attrocities in Texas would still be going on today . I am inspired by the words in the movie American Violet :

When law is without order and justice is far from just, someone must take a stand ! 

Here's an anonymous comment about the goings on at our union representative meeting. What happened at Tuesday's union representative assembly can't continue to happen or we will all loose. 

"I went to the representative assembly meeting tonight. Saunders gave Parker the "business" about Parker's sorry advocacy of union members. I wish those RIF'd teachers had listened. Nathan did say very early in the ballgame teachers needed a different law firm. He knew something and now we have experienced it. In the future, trust legal recommendations from Saunders.

I am afraid Rhee will really think she is superwoman in her ease at running over Parker and those of us who depend on this union. I cannot imagine why she would not want to have another RIF next week. Teachers are terrified only 12 to 15 showed up tonight. A sad day for us but George Parker seemed to think nothing of this terrible loss of teacher jobs. He kept saying he never expected to win implying we should just move on.

Oh yeah, some teachers acted like they did not want to discuss the RIF'd teachers only IMPACT. We are so quick to forget one another. I have figured it out- The RIF'd teachers are no longer union members after being fired and their letters ban them from DCPS property that is why they are sight unseen at union meetings. This explains the church meeting locations for them."- signed anonymous


Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence

32 comments:

The Wash. Teacher said...

I welcome your comments today on how we can move forward to fight the many injustices that are occurring in this city against students, parents, teachers, city residents, government workers and the poor and disenfranchised.

I encourage you to read my blog rules featured on the left of the main page. I absolutely will not post any comments on this blog that seeks to belittle or castigate laid off DC teachers or blame them for their circumstances. Should you feel a need to vent your hostility- I strongly encourage you to check out the DC Wire and other more tolerant blogs.

Please don't write me about spelling errors either as we all make them. Writing without the benefit of an editor, spell check and sometimes posting in a rush- errors are likely occur.To the extent possible, I try to make corrections but this is a time consuming challenge and sometimes my weary eyes don't catch everything. Thanks for your understanding.

Glenn Watson said...

What you have witnessed is our system of government in action. The mayor was duly elected by the people. He appointed a woman to run a government agency. Rhee took action that you challenged in court. The Court found against you. The Courts job is to interpret the law. They did so.

You have the right to protest, appeal and work to elect a new mayor. But don't act like some injustice was done. This is democracy.

I_educ8 said...

Randi Weingarten has been curiously silent of late. Where is she now? What, no more grandstanding? Was she involved in Parker's alleged compromise to rhee that instead of RIFing teachers, she should furlough us for 28 days? That's preposterous!!

When are the next elections? I'm way past tired of Parker and his current regime/shenanigans. It's time for new blood in the WTU!

123 123 said...

Cool blog. As for me. I'd like to read a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Parker (Our Beloved President for life) is controlled by Weingarten (New AFT President meddling and micromanaging WTU affairs) in exchange for protection from Saunders. Parker is deftly afraid of Saunders (a DC guy you want to know if you got a problem) in this upcoming election. It seems Saunders has never lost a union race and routinely gets more votes than Parker. Interestingly enough Parker's motivations were always inclined towards Rhee's intentions which caused the original falling out with Saunders some 2 years ago. History shows Saunders and company killed Parker's early backstabbing of the members and Parker has been trying to off Saunders ever since. Remember the attempt to send him (Saunders) back to the classroom. Saunders wiggled out of that, too. Saunders (Mr. 9 lives) is a fighter with many management folks on his union belt as victims. In rides Weingarten (On a mare with a union made third leg) keeping Parker in her stable to screw (because she probably would screw) Rhee (who actually screws Kevin Johnson (who got busted screwing teenage girls). Weingarten and Rhee are old hate buddies from New York.

Us (we're passive drones sitting by the wayside with no contract, job security, or raises). Still wondering whose on first, whose on second, whose on third and Oops somebody stole my home.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope that George Parker is paying for the attorneys fees out of his pay check. The legal defense funds should not pay this misstep.

As regards to the IMPACT, the union must not only defend those who were Rif'd, but must serve all its members. The union must deal with IMPACT, lack of teacher support (some instructional coaches are incompetent and aiding in fueling the attack on teachers), need for professional development (actually assisting teachers with enhancing instructional practice not just how to teach the test), ensuring teachers has the materials and equipment they need instruct as well as differentiate instruction), etc. George Parker has people in place to assist him. He can not do it by himself. Mr. Sanders can aid these areas instead of trying to become the union president (which I hope will not happen), so can Ms. Corely, Mr. Moore, Mr. Colins and others.

More teachers will leave this system sooner than later. New teachers will continue to be hired despite the budget shortfall (as specified by MR).

The end of the fiscal year is around the corner. What will that bring? Now that MR has won her court case (no withstanding the appeals) she now thinks she is on easy street.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you! What a great article on that... Thank you, thank you!
What a great article on that sorry DCPS chancellor Michelle Rhee. This woman needs therapy. She really thinks she is doing "what's in the best interest of children". I'm so tired of hearing that statement, I could spit nails!
Candi, keep up the excellent work on uncovering this sham of a woman, and that equally sham of a mayor, Fenty.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that DCPS has laid-off teachers, but at the same time recruits for new teachers on craigslist. Note this recent posting:

Middle School History, Science, for. lang. or computer teachers needed (Washington DC)
Date: 2009-11-20, 2:17PM EST
Reply to: job-xwpxm-1474907978@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Looking for a challenging but rewarding job at a DC middle school teaching History, or Science, Foreign language or Computer? We have a definite position in American history and one for an elective course in either Science, computer or foreign language. We are expanding our offerings based on growing enrollment.

Our school in Southeast has students who run the gamut from gifted to many years below grade level and we are looking for teachers who are able to meet kids where they are and help them grow at least 1 1/2 years in a single year. We have four computer labs and are thinking about adding a technology focus over the next three years. We are also looking for people who understand that teaching is not an 8:00-3:15 job, but are willing to share their interests with students occasionally after school and during lunch. This is not the job for everyone, but if you want both challenge and high rewards, this is an opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of children.

A successful Candidate is one who is:

• committed to making a difference in the lives of kids from varied socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds
• willing to plan engaging lessons that help students stretch intellectually
• believes that all children can learn and have the persistence to try numerous strategies to reach their students even if they seem to not care.
• strong enough to set high standards for behavior and academic achievement and respectfully follow through with consequences if those expectations are not met. .
• an experienced teacher or practitioner who has experience with young adolescents.

Must be eligible for a DC teaching license (We will help you take the necessary tests, if you have not done so)


DCPS provides competitive salaries and benefits for its employees. For more information about working in DCPS in general, go to http://www.teachdc.org/web/guest/home.

Notice of non-discrimination. In accordance with the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, D.C. Official Code §§ 2-1401.01 et seq. (Act), the District of Columbia does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, or place of residence or business. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is prohibited by the Act. In addition, harassment based on any of the above protected categories is prohibited by the Act. Discrimination in violation of the Act will not be tolerated. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action. The following office has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Equal Employment Opportunity Office, District of Columbia Public Schools, 825 North Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 442-5424.

To Apply: email resume and cover letter to the address above

* Location: Washington DC
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.



PostingID: 1474907978

Anonymous said...

As a RIF'd teacher, I read your blog for up-to-date information about our current situation. Your article is right on point-the union didn't reach out to me until the night before the "Rally for Respect". I am determined that all that has happened to me over the past few months is not in vain. I, like others, will learn from this. Unfortunately, those who really don't know us personally only jump to conclusions about our competency based on the media's feeding frenzy.

Nearly two months later... I still run into former students who I taught from August to October. When they see me, they tell me that I am greatly missed and that they need me to come back. They tell me that "...those people don't care about us." That's what I hold on to. Maybe the students should be a part of the evaluation process. They can tell you who an effective teacher is and who wastes their time. The student's can see that they are being set up.

My hope is that after Rhee is married and moves to California (crossing fingers) that the system will learn from these tragic mistakes and really put the children first.

Kings said...

Glen says, " But don't act like some injustice was done. This is democracy."

I'm not a social studies teacher, but as I recall, in a democracy, people hold hearings, then are expected to abide by by the results of them. That doesn't mean that everyone agrees that justice is done in every case. In fact usually there is a large faction of people who believe justice was not done, but they abide by it nonetheless.

Do I have that right?

Classic said...

Candi,
I am going to repsect you and respect your blog, however I am soooo sick of your comments Glenn. I think that many of us have tried to enlighten you and you just refuse to see the other side of this issue. If you think that professionals being walked out of their classrooms in the middle of the day by the police in front of their students is demoracy in action then there is really nothing left to say.
As for the court case, I have said it a million times we did not loose because their is no case we lost because we had bad attorneys. I was in that court room and if I were the judge I would not have ruled for us either. The Union did not put on a good case and I was embarrassed that this man, Lee Jackson was representing me. It is not over and I will continue to fight even if it means using my own money. (Joseph Greenwald & Laake)
The City Council gave the Union all that they needed they had Michelle Rhee state UNDER OATH that she had the money to pay us but she choose to put the money in summer school. She also stated that she had other options but CHOOSE not to use them. It was not due to the City Council cuts. It seems to me all the Union had to do was get Vincent Gray to testify to that fact and case proven but hey I'm no lawyer.
As for Impact it is serious and it will do a lot of teachers in but understand that if Michelle Rhee is able to fire teachers "at will" and you are stuck with the attorneys we had then you are in trouble. So we must stand together and suport each other. Take a walk around your school and look at the empty classrooms of you former co-workers, but for the grace of God it wasn't you. What would you want us to do if your classroom was the empty one.
As for the Union I am so disgusted with all of it. George, Anita, Clay etc. etc. etc. all still have jobs and a paycheck and they don't seem to be too concerned about us. The AFT and Randy have left us out to dry so keep believing them if you want to open your eyes and see what is going on.

Anonymous said...

FYI have any of you read Glenn's Blog interesting reading.. I understand a lot better now.

The Wash. Teacher said...

Classic: Don't feed the trolls

My goal is for us to not get sidetracked by people who want to engage in negative rhetoric simply to deter us from fighting the injustices that have occurred to many city government workers in DC. People who don't live here and have not been a part of the movement like Take Back DC, Coalition to Save Our Neighborhood Schools, DC parents task force, etc. can't know what's happening in this city. They only know what they read in the news and on blogs which is only the half of it. We have to accept that some people will never be enlightened because they don't want to be. I am okay with that.

I'd encourage all of us to spend our time focusing on advocating to correct injustices against students, teachers and schools. The No Action Talk Only types are insignificant in the scheme of things. I encourage Classic and others to not feed the trolls here on this blog. It is akin to planned ignoring which is a behavioral technique used to extinct an undesirable behavior. It works and absent that there is always the delete button.

I hear what you are saying about the union's legal representation of teachers especially after hearing the 3 hour presentation by Joseph, Greenwald and Laake.I think this in-depth legal consult helped me to realize how much preparation was required to put on a sufficient legal defense. I believe that the union's legal strategy was flawed from the start and inadequate as they did not make the necessary time to collect evidence, speak to witnesses, take affadavits', etc. Obviously for those who attended the legal consult- we heard some different strategies these lawyers planned to pursue.

Like Classic, I am disappointed in the inadequate legal representation. I refuse to throw in the towel as Rhee is continuing to hire teachers and administrators. I don't believe there is a real budget deficit. While I may not be able to prove it at this point, I vow to continue to fight on behalf of teachers like Classic and others. The IMPACT evaluation which seeks to penalize teachers and not provide the needed supports is around the corner waiting to take out hundreds more teachers by years end. This fight is far from over.

Got your boxing gloves- I've got mine. There is another strategy that I would like to talk to you about offline Classic. Stay encouraged and don't feed the trolls !

The Wash. Teacher responds to Glenn said...

I have to respond to your comment that states
"Judges don't make decisions based on how good the lawyer is. They make decisions based on the facts and the law." While I partially agree with your comment in theory, I think it deserves clarification for people to gain a better understanding of what actually transpired and why we are concerned. This is not about Judge Bartnoff but from what members tell me -there are grave concerns about the quality of the legal defense that our members received. Having an adequate and well prepared legal defense team can make all the difference in whether your case succeeds or fails.

I have said it all along and will say it again -The WTU lawyers had a flawed legal strategy. it was poor legal representation for our members. It does help to have a lawyer who has expertise particularly if you are seeking to win a TRO (temporary restraining order) which has a high bar of proof. It also helps if your lawyers are adequately prepared once a legal strategy is determined and have the time to commit to a proper legal defense. I would prefer to have representation by someone who has previously won a TRO versus someone who has not. It is the equivalent of going to a brain surgeon who has a high success rate of operating on brain tumors versus a brain surgeon who has many patients who die on the table when operating on brain tumors. I would select the former.

In addition to a poor legal strategy, our union lawyers did not file a TRO until after they filed a preliminary injunction. This was confusing to the judge. They also failed to serve DCPS lawyers as required after filing the TRO which caused concern and alarm and resulted in Judge Bartnoff saying "you are not going to sandbag the District." The union lawyers did not meet with most of their clients and put on testimony from RIF'd teachers that had no relevance to the case they were proving. All of these are problems and have contributed to the frustration that our members are expereincing. While you may perceive that it is against Judge Bartnoff- I believe they are frustrated with the legal defense team, their situation and knowing that a chance of a legal remedy in the Superior court venue has been blown because of a weak and inadequate defense.

Glenn Watson comments:

Judges don't make decisions based on how good the lawyer is. They make decisions based on the facts and the law.

We live in a representative democracy. We elect representatives to represent us. Fenty was elected and is doing what he said he was going to do. It might work it might not but it is the democratic system at work.

I was surprised to see the sort of teachers that are being hired. I assumed it would be hard to find teachers in science, math and special ed but if they are hiring social studies teachers, who are a dime a dozen, then that's surprising and lends credence to the age discrimination accusations. (I'm a SS teacher.)

Still, at this point if I were I riffed teacher I would begin the process of moving on. The people, through their elected representatives, have spoken and they don't want you.

Some riffed teachers got a raw deal, that is undeniable. I'm sure some kids miss some of you. But the school system will survive and maybe just maybe improve. If not then you really can blame Rhee.

I'm still waiting for the first superintendent to start putting the responsibility for learning where it belongs, on the students.

just me talkin said...

Anonymous said: "FYI have any of you read Glenn's Blog interesting reading.. I understand a lot better now." November 26, 2009 1:31 AM

I don't get it. I visited the blog and only saw class-specific information. What are you talking about? I'd like to know what you "understand now."

Susan said...

Just slightly off topic, but Michelle Rhee's ex-husband, Kevin Huffman, was picked by the Washington Post as "America's Next Great Pundit." This despite the fact his screeds aren't particularly exceptional. However, the paper does love Rhee.

Link:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/1109/New_WaPo_pundit_is_Rhees_Ex.html?showall

Glenn Watson said...

Every defendant who ever lost a case blamed his lawyer. Here are some undeniable facts.

1. DC has hired and fired too many superintendents over the lasts 20 years.
2. DC spends more than most cities on a per pupil basis.
3. DC education results compare unfavorably to peer cites.
4. Union leaders were elected by the teachers.
5. Fenty came in with a mandate to fix the schools.

Here are some opinions

1. The problems with DC are not the teacher's fault.
2. The current problem in DC are Rhees fault.
3. Rhee is a bad person.
4. The lawyers were incompetant
5. The mayor is corrupt.
6. Nobody understands DC teacher problems.
7. Rhee is about to leave DC for Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Why does Glenn have any ability to post here? It is clear he has arrogantly and blatantly decided to assume that Rhee is correct and that every person in DCPS is inept. Glenn, you are in my opinion very ignorant and narrow-minded. Kindly stay in Huntsville, manage your classroom and be happy. By the way, it's not very smart to say on your blog that you're continuing to stare at a stack of ungraded papers.

"I came home from school today with my usual pile of ungraded papers. They are sitting there silently accusing me."

As for wondering about your classroom management, many teachers in DC are able to manage their students. Perhaps you should ask them this question you posted on your blog:


"I do like teaching I just wish I could do more of it."

Stop being afraid because you just might learn something.

Anonymous said...

Is this who you are, Glenn?

As taken from http://www.flashpointblog.com/2009/03/31/watson-campaign-event-thursday/

(HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA)—Former Huntsville City Councilman Glenn Watson will announce his candidacy for the Alabama Legislature Thursday, April 2nd, at 10:30 a.m. at Stanlieo’s Sub Villa at 605 Jordan Lane in Huntsville. Mr. Watson is a Republican candidate in the May 26th special election to replace Sue Schmitz in House District 6.

“I am seeking this seat to take my experience of sound fiscal management, delivering promises and integrity to the Alabama Legislature,” Watson stated.

“With the growth our area is currently experiencing, especially in this type of economy, it is imperative Huntsville and Madison county receive their fair share of what they send to Montgomery in tax revenue,” Mr. Watson said, adding, “Right now for every dollar we send to Montgomery we only receive back $0.53 while some areas of the State receive upwards of $1.77.”

Glenn Watson served as a Huntsville City Councilman from 1996 to 2008. He founded Stanlieo’s Sub Villa on Jordan Lane in 1971 and later sold the business to family members. He currently serves as a substitute teacher in the Huntsville school system.

Following his prepared remarks on Thursday, Mr. Watson will be available for questions.

It says you serve as a substitute teacher. Are you a veteran at that or is this a different Glenn Watson who is running for office?

You see, even people who work for DCPS can read and we can even use the internet!!

Glenn Watson said...

I thought I would try to blog. I posted twice a few months ago then gave up. Its not for me.

lodesterre said...

Concerning Mr. Huffman and the Post: why am I not surprised? And I agree, his writing is unexeptional to an incredibly boring degree. If this is what the Post wants to do to itself then more power to them. Thank God I canceled my subscription.

But the more troubling aspect of this is the constant back-scratching that seems to take place or has the appearance of taking place. The Post owns Kaplan, Impact is taken from Kaplan's own educator evaluation form, The Post holds some of Rhee's Principal Academy sessions at their offices, the Post unequivocally supports Rhee, the Post hires Rhee's ex and current Teach for America executive to be their next pundit. This is a circle dance that postively causes the stomach to churn.

JP said...

Way before this case was lost, there should have been a rude awakening that your union is ineffective and very non professional. If a service that you pay for doesn't work, get rid of it or whoever is still being represented by this union, should seriously think whether they want to continue to pay for ineffective services. What happened to the DCPS teachers and staff is an injustice and Kwame Brown and others politicians who supported this move should go. There is a process for everything and this whole process was outrageous and unacceptable. However as long as many are self absorbed and unwilling to work together in unity, they will certainly fall.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Glenn's posting at 4:27. The reasons he provides on both lists are dead on and if the teachers who are pursuing Rhee in this matter have legal counsel who formulate their arguments on these points, they will win.

Glenn Watson said...

I don't think Rhee is correct and I don't think every person in DCPS is inept. I think the citizens of DC deserve the chance to give her a chance.

The city councilman you googled is my father. We share the same name. I already posted my personal web site and my faculty website.

I would suggest we focus less on me and more on the purpose of this blog which is to discuss the DC school system.

As I said before I think the students need to work harder. That is the only path to real improvement.

I remember an education speaker telling a story about after when the bell rings to end school. The kids would come running out laughing and joking energized and happy. The teachers on the other hand would walk out tired and laden with work to do.

His position was that it should be just the opposite.

lodesterre said...

Glenn, it has been said often here and elsewhere that many of us did give Ms. Rhee a chance when she came on board. I had high hopes as did many I know and work with, as well as many parents that I know. The turn was gradual and achieved over the course of two and half years by the efforts of Ms. Rhee. Calling herself a "benevolent dictator" did not help much nor did calling collaboration "over-rated". She did not illicit ideas from teachers working in the schools until prodded to do so by the city council. After she did so she made quite a big thing of her effort but used little of what teachers said to her to inform her decision. One excuse for this was that you can't get consensus from teachers. I guess that is true especially when you don't look for consensus nor do anything to bring people to consensus.

Good management includes the workers in the process, it doesn't treat the worker as a mere cog in the machinery. Had Ms. Rhee truly tried to invest us in her goals instead of buy us with the aid of a divisive contract, had she come to us from the beginning and asked us what we see as the problems (we being the ones faced with the daily challenges that need to be met) and perhaps used what she learned to inform her decisions, had she included the community from the start instead of waiting til many were screaming mad at her decisions, and if she weren't so dismissive of the idea of collaboration, of transparancy, and ideas other than her own, she would have won many of us to her cause. A good leader inspires people to come on-board the train; Ms. Rhee says if you are not on board then get off or be thrown off.

As for your last bit: why is it either or? Why can't the kids go home energized and the teachers be equally inspired by this energy? I don't think I want my students walking out of my room looking like someone took the life out of them. In what way would this instill a desire for learning? The more I hear you talk about what you think students need the more I wonder at what kind of teacher you must be.

Glenn Watson said...

You have to admit DC has a poor track record when it comes to superintendants. You get rid of them faster than the NFL gets rid of coaches. And I really don't think two years is much of a chance.

I agree Rhee is abrasive and confrontational. I have heard her talk several time and cringe every time. The contract she offered was a joke. It was never going to happen. Anyone with a brain knew that. But the reality is, teachers, especially fired teachers, would have a hard time with any superintendant who instituted real change. One thing she did do right was closing all those underutilized schools. That alone deserves praise. My system is currently doing the same thing.

As for consensus, it is overrated! There are many kinds of good management not just the kind you favor. Rhee's top down tough love methodology can work. But Rhee's position is valid only if it works, and so far we don't know if it will or won't. We do know what the system was doing before was not working.

As for Rhee, she has inspired people. She inspires her constituency, and that ain't you, it's the citizens of DC and the major. She does not care about you. She made that crystal clear from day one. She came to fix a broken system not make you feel included.

I loved your post until the end when you made a personal attack. You want to wonder what kind of teacher I am. Fine. But is that really what this blog is about, my teaching skills? Instead of looking inward too many people look for someone to blame. The last ten superintendants were a good target. Mayor Fenty is a good target. Glenn Watson is a good target.

I blame the kids who disrupt class and hinder learning for others. You blame the new superintendant. I think I am right but I have not made an assessment of your skills as a teacher.

The Washington Teacher does not do this as much but other DC teacher blogs like Potter and DC Chic talk about the behavior of their students and the difficult time they have teaching due to poor behavior.

The problem is not Rhee. The problem is not Fenty. The problem is not the last ten superintendants. The problem is not too many bad teachers. The problem is not lack of money. The problem is not Watson's bad attitude.

Sorry for the rambling post but lets trye and stay focused on the issue rather that googling each other for ammunition.

The Wash. Teacher said...

I think there has been a lot of back and forth on this blog. Many will have to agree to disagree with Glenn. I don't think that anyone here is going to change his mind on what he believes about students and Rhee & Company.

Let's put a period at the end of this sentence and perhaps talk about those things that we do agree on. After all the title of this entry is Divided We Fall. Teachers and related school personnel here in DC have become more involved and obviously want a voice on the public education reform front. They have become involved in protests, lobbying city council members, congress, participating on task forces, submitting a recall petition of Mayor Fenty, and networking with parents and students, etc.

As Rhee doesn't have to accept input with any of the stakeholders, the stakeholders have right to challenge whether Rhee is the right fit for our schools. I challenge all of us to utilize our energies more productively here in DC by helping to see to it that this is Mayor Fenty's last term. This is not just about DC public schools but also the adverse impact this mayor has had on city services, crime and city government employees. I encourage all of us to explore some viable ways we can get Fenty and Rhee out by 2010. You have the power !

I suggest attending the next Take Back DC meeting to lend your support which will be held next Thursday @ 6:30 pm. @ 80 F St NW

Any other ideas ? I'm listening.

1 more thing from The Wash. Teacher said...

I am really trying to hear what all of you are saying. Let's really try to keep this professional and not personal without personal snipes or attacks. I hate to have to resort to deleting parts of your comments but I will. I absolutely think we need to refrain from being disrespectful, using profanity which btw I have deleted and any personal snipes against each other.

If the dialogue gets too heated- I have no problem changing the subject.

Anonymous said...

To change the subject, I have listed information for those who are seeking jobs. If it cost you money out of your pocket for someone to find you a job, look elsewhere. You just have spend time searching.

Candi, keep up the good job. Please post this information in numerous places on your blog. Just a Rif'd teacher (retired) trying to help. I will continue to post positions/information as I search various search engines.

Now is the time to start looking for a job. Use this search engine "Indeed.com." It make looking for job so much easier. You can upload your resume and complete applications online for positions posted.

Fairfax is accepting applications for the 2010-2011 SY.

Some DC Public Charter Schools have immediate openings.

Also, this is the time of year school systems across the country begin conducting job fairs.

Good Luck!

lodesterre said...

To Glenn

I had no intention of offending by my last comment. It was one of honest curiosity based on a number of things you have said regarding children. I do not expect us to agree and I apologize that my last comment was offensive to you. I do not blame the superintendent for our problems, but I also do not blame the kids. I feel there is much more complexity to this issue.

Sharon B. said...

I haven't posted here for a minute but now, I'm back. I would be amiss if I didn't say that some of you are hard-headed. I suggested that Mr. Watson was to be ignored. You see, if you don't succumb and respond to his "stuff" then he should get the message. He really isn't worth your energy. The Washington Teacher said it "planned ignoring". If you don't your blood pressure will rise and you will be "heated" because his comments are "planned" to incite other "feelings". Let's stay focused as has bben said previously. We have work to do. We need positive energy, a clear mind, and positive communication.

NE DC Teacher said...

Candi,

I agree there is plenty to debate about Rhee and education, and I respect your blog for asking these questions, even if I don't always agree. But I question this quote:"This is not just about DC public schools but also the adverse impact this mayor has had on city services, crime and city government employees."

You said this mayor has had an adverse effect on crime? That is one area where things are definitely moving in the right direction. I just read an article that the murder rate will probably be the lowest in decades this year. There's lots to be done, sure, but I for one am thankful that fewer are being killed in my neighborhood and in ALL neighborhoods around the city.