Dec 12, 2009

No WTU Executive Board Meeting For You, Again !

There will be no Washington Teachers' Union Executive Board meeting this Saturday at 9:00 A.M. Our WTU Executive Board meeting has been cancelled AGAIN ! Just last month in November, our second Saturday board meeting was postponed by our union president, George Parker and never rescheduled. Of course there was no fourth Thursday board meeting held in November due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

 Wonder who is managing the union ? It certainly isn't the WTU Executive Board that's for sure. Well due to the cancellations of executive board meetings by WTU President George Parker in the past year, certainly our elected executive board teacher members have little to say about union business. Pity, isn't it ?

Just in case you are wondering who are the teachers and related school personnel you elected to represent your interests, well here is a list of their names (below). Don't forget that four of our  WTU Executive Board members were terminated November 2, 2009 due to a reduction in force. These hard working executive board members are allowed to serve out their terms should we ever have another WTU executive board meeting. 

Elected WTU Executive Board members:
Maria Angala , Joyce Armoo (Secretary), Willie Brewer , Agnes Dyson , Sheila Gill, Pablo Giron', Deborah Hines, Sallie Littlejohn Dorsey (Treasurer), Camille Locke, Erich Martel, Nathan Saunders, Lorraine Smith, Andre' Taylor, Dianne Terrell,  Milton Bruce Williams, Robert Willis, Rashida Young and Leslie Aranha (member of the WTU retiree's chapter). 
Elected WTU Board of Trustees: Jacqueline Hines and Candi Peterson.

Posted below is a letter I sent to WTU Prez George Parker and members of the WTU Executive Board and AFT Prez Randi Weingarten about cancellation of WTU's scheduled board meeting.

E-Mail sent to WTU President, George Parker, WTU General V.P. Nathan Saunders, WTU Executive Board members, Board of Trustee members, AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT National Representatives, WTU Chief of Staff, and WTU Asst. to President Parker


To: Herb Thomas, WTU President, WTU General Vice President, WTU Executive Board members, Board of Trustees, WTU Chief of Staff, WU Asst. to the President, AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT National Representatives

In fairness to all WTU Executive Board members and Board of Trustees- the initial WTU email from Herb Thomas on behalf of WTU President George Parker was sent out with less than 24 hours notice. I also think it is unfair to presume that teachers/board members are sitting idly by ready to respond on short notice on a work day when many are teaching and not able to check the internet. It is also a possibility that everyone will not go directly home this evening and may not be aware of the need to respond . It should also be noted that many of our Board members do not check their email regularly.

Given that WTU Executive Board meetings are supposed to be held on the second Saturday- then we should adhere to the regular meeting schedule. I know that Sheila Gill has been asking for a WTU Board meeting for sometime to no avail. Having the regularly scheduled board meeting when it is supposed to be held will satisfy Sheila's request as well as more than likely produce a greater number in attendance as we anticipate having our meetings on the second Saturday and not changed to Tuesday especially during the holiday season.

I do hope that the motion that was previously passed by the WTU E-Board will not continue to be ignored requiring 72 hours notice of our board meetings as well as requesting input from WTU Board members in the event of a cancellation. I presume that we do want to conduct the business of the WTU given that the postponed November meeting was never rescheduled. 

I request a timely response and telephone call to all WTU Board members expeditiously. I think that there SHOULD NOT BE ANOTHER cancellation. As a Board member committed to teachers and related school personnel, I plan to be in attendance on Saturday. Thanks
for your attention.

Candi Peterson
WTU Board of Trustees

Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson blogger in residence


lodesterre said...

It simply defies logic that, after almost 3 years without a contract nor any progress on a contract, George Parker would not be marshaling every available resource, even those he obviously disagrees with, to come up with a strategy to counter what is happening in our schools. There have been a number of available opportunities for Parker to turn to our advantage and he sits (or so it seems to me) idle. The vote cannot come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Chicken George Parker likes to duck his head in the sand and avoid problems.Anybody who knew George when he was a building representative knows he doesn't like to deal with conflict.I bet he doesn't want to hear from the laid off teachers and hopes they will give up and go away.George has gotta go before he destroys the union.

Anonymous said...

My building rep. is a board member and she is sorry. I bet she didn't utter a word when George cancelled the meeting. My new name for her is POS.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we have been trying to figure out at my school when the next wtu elections are and I had the bright idea that you might know.

The Wash Teacher said...

It is my understanding that WTU election will be held sometime in May 2010.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the lack of cooperation and interest in WTU bussiness illustrated by Parker. As a full dues paying member, I don't have confidence that Parker has our best interest of the membership. Can the board hold a meeting? What other options does the Executive board have?

Maybe he is afraid to face the Executive Board and in order to avoid answering some tough questions about his decisions in reference to the Union and Management releationship.

Could this be the reason why he has not held a general membership meeting as stated in the Union's by-laws. In his tenture I can only recall one meetig, but that was to give information about the contract. We never got to really solve anything, because he would cut people off (Taking it as a personal attack).

I can't wait until the next election, I hope people do not relect him.

laid-off DC teacher said...

As a laid off teacher, I am so disappointed in Parker. I believe that he is in bed with Rhee and has been for sometime. When will these teachers who are on the board do something for teachers?

Thanks for keeping us updated on this blog.

Anonymous said...

George Parker is not in bed with Rhee. They hate each other. Rather, George Parker is doing what the WTU leadership has always done - look out for its own survival. Did you really think they cared about children OR teachers? Hardly.

classic said...

If the Board ever meets again. I say they vote "no confidence" in George Parker!! As a wrongfuly teminated teacher I am trying to get a meeting with the AFT. Not that I think that will do a lot of good because I feel they left us hanging just like George but I want to tell them to their face how I feel just like I told George.

just me talkin said...

I think people are not giving George Parker credit for his intelligence.

He told teachers last fall that they don't have the tenure that they think they have, and apparently he was right - as seen by the latest RIF. Instead of taking him and his presentation seriously, someone responded with, "He's just trying to scare us."

He said early on in Rhee's participation here in DC that unions should have a cooperative approach rather than a combative approach. That is the general mood of society when it comes to teacher unions.

Finally, I think he knows that the times we are living in are moving towards pay-for-performance programs and that if the Union continues to fight this issue, it will continue to slowly kill itself.

Look at this quote from WAPO today.
Through an initiative that Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls a model for the nation, Louisiana has become the first state to tie student test scores into a chain of evaluation that reaches all the way to teacher colleges. Those that fail to perform on this new metric someday could face shake-ups or, in extreme cases, closure.
"It's accountability on steroids."

I was impressed with the hundreds of people who showed up for the Rally for Respect. Very few showed up for the other side, but don't get hoodwinked by attendance numbers. Education is being reformed nationwide in a Rhee-style way like a giant tsunami passing over our nation. Some of us will move with the change and others will be swept away by it.

I propose that we all aim to be part of the DISCUSSION and not part of the PROTEST. When you are part of the discussion, you are ensuring that your voice is heard in a way that people will listen - including influential people like Oprah, Spike Lee, and President Obama. Those are people that some commenters on this site wanted to contact to protest Rhee - however, they all happen to be Rhee-supporters.

One more thing, when you go to meetings about IMPACT, be prepared to work on IMPROVING and not just criticizing it. It's not going away - states all across the country are trying to develop what we now have - a concrete evaluation system. Be prepared to say something like, "It's a good start (because it is) and here are a few things I think can make it better."

Remember, you don't have to take my post seriously. You can be like the person who said, "George Parker is just trying to scare us."

Anonymous said...

Gosh, just me talking, I wish I had written your post because most of your ideas are mine too. And I don't consider myself a Parker supporter, more a realist. It is certainly true, proven by the RIF, that we don't have as much tenure as we think. The competitive levels form, posted here earlier, with its almost tutorial annotations for principals supplied by 825, clearly made that point. In my school, a teacher with over 10 years in DCPS was RIFfed and a new man recently hired from another state was kept. One taught (and was kept) the other sat around with the kids and discussed life issues (instead of teaching the standards).
Your thoughts on IMPACT are also probably correct. It's not going anywhere and we better step up our teaching, if we need to, and instruct as it prescribes. Most of my coworkers are and we're getting 3s and 4s. We are also focusing more on using various methods to get across our objectives (using differing learning styles) and checking more for student understanding. I've been in DCPS for more than a minute and this is the first time we have been consistently informed how the system expects us to instruct. I actually find it useful.
What really pisses me off is that the hate for Rhee out there is so overwhelming that we'll never have a new contract, a raise or any upgrades.

Kings said...

Don't worry, "just me talking" - I won't take your post seriously - not because some of what you say isn't valuable, but because some of what you say simply isn't accurate.

I wager that before long, people will see that tying teacher salary to student improvement is a bad idea. Any good teacher knows that already. They know that from year to year, they are not the only factor, or in some cases not even the most influential factor in how much kids learn.

They can't say it right now, because it isn't "in" to suggest that anything but "good teaching" affects how much children learn. But everyone knows it and will have to face it - and try to actually do something about it - when all this hoopla dies down.

The Wash. Teacher responds to Just me Talkin said...

Response to Just me talkin:

Acutally. I am replying to your statement in which you stated the following: "He George) told teachers last fall that they don't have the tenure that they think they have, and apparently he was right - as seen by the latest RIF."

This is an inaccurate statement. DCPS Teachers do have tenure. We have a WTU legal opinion which substantiates this based on extensive legal research. George corrected himself before the board on this matter after we secured the WTU legal opinion.

You are mixing apples with oranges. A RIF and tenure are two different animals and should not be compared. Reduction in force regulations were changed by the DC City Council over ten years ago. A tenured teacher can be laid off or RIF'd. The DCMR regulations state that a RIF has to be based on a budget deficit as it has nothing to do with tenure. You compete in a class of teachers or school personnel and get ranked competitively through a Competitive Level Documentation Form (CLDF). The problem was that our veteran teachers were not ranked fairly on the CLDF as I have seen a number of them. Many principals did not even consult with teachers.Some were given as little as 5 points even though they should have received points in 4 categories. If you recall I wrote a piece on this about my RIF in 1996 when a principal got mad at me and gave me 0 points even though I had above average performance evaluations, and gave me no credit for my advanced degrees and no credit for my specialized experiences or contributions to the school.

Many procedural violations were intentional in this latest reduction in force as well as the 1996 RIF. Scores on the CLDF can be manipulated very easily and the problem is it has to be challenged after teachers lose their jobs. These procedural violations as they are called have to be fought at OEA which is the Office of Employee Appeals.

I believe that it is important that my readers get accurate information. As a board member, I take the time to read and understand the DCMR as well as review legal opinions that have been requested by WTU board members including myself. When We were told that we didn't have tenure- I wanted a legal opinion to substantiate what turned out to be a false claim by George. The reason that we retain legal counsel is so that when in doubt we can request the legal research needed to gain a better understanding of our statutory and contractual rights. Tenure is a statutory right not a contractual
right and you better believe we have it.

classic said...

I think that some of us are missing something. The RIF was not about tenure, by law in a RIF Michelle Rhee was able to bypass tenure that is why she manufactured the budget crisis. Also tenure is not as strong as it once was because of George Parker. He signed an agreement with Michelle Rhee a few years ago that gave away our retrieval rights, and bumping rights based on tenure. That is one of the things that Nathan challenged George on, so for those of you that think that what Nathan is doing is all about his ego or political agenda pay attention to what he is fighting George over.

I do agree that there is a current trend in education towards merit pay but remember when open space classrooms were the new trend, or whole language. We have to make our union work for us. I applaud Candi for holding all parties involved accountable for making the union work. I continue to say to those of you that are still in the union you need to MAKE Greorge do his job, right now he is not.

I see that some of you are still George Parker supporters and that is your right to do that. However as someone that was sold out by the Union please pay attention to what is going on, there were people crying at that last Union meeting with the RIF'd teacher because they put all their faith in George and the union and they sold us out. George lied under oath at the court hearing. He knew about the RIF on September 11 and his legal team did nothing to stop the RIF's. He even meet with a team to create the guidelines that the principals had to follow for the RIF. Pay attention people the union is not working for you right now. You guys have to MAKE them work. ALL OF THEM.

it's not personal said...

anonymous at 9:05:
You silly fool- no one hates Rhee. This isn't personal its professional.Many parents were willing to give her a chance in the beginning. I was one of them.Rhee disenfranchised parents or were you asleep at the wheel. Many parents are leaving DCPS because they do not like the way that Rhee has managed reform and has made changes like the Pre K-8th model as well as changes that aren't based on solid research that has been successful. Also changing administrators and starting over from scratch every year in many schools is not my idea of reform. Rhee never gives anything a chance to work even when schools are performing well.

BTW, you don't have a union contract because your union president, Mr Parker said he can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Parker was quoted in a number of papers saying the teachers' contract had to be put on hold due to the layoffs of DC teachers. Maybe you should start a campaign to get a new president who can multi task. I know I would.

DC parent and voter

Anonymous said...

Well, all I have to say is found in a old James Brown song. "Sold me out for chicken change" (Parker, et al). "Told me you had it all arranged" (Rhee and Parker). 'Had me down (all teachers)"and that's a fact." "But get ready you 'mother' ( Fenty-Rhee-Parker, et al), for the Big Payback"(mayorial election and the WTU elections of 2010).If you can find a copy of this classic song, it will speak volumes of information about life.
I will use my vote in the DC mayorial primaries to get my Big Payback!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, The Washington Teacher, for responding to "just me talkin at 3:22am. You told JMT that they were mixing apples and oranges...I say JMT was mixing dogs and airplanes (two totally different things with no connection at all)...And so, not to belabor your very detailed explanation to JMT, I would just like to say that JMT demonstrates our problem as union members. We do not know the issues and we only want to talk about things we feel and things we hear.....not of things we have researched. I believe that's why we let anyone say anything to us as we sit idly by believing everything. Do your own homework people! If you don't know what you are talking about, please research it. Believe me, whatever you need to know is on the internet.......just two clicks away.

It makes me sick that we have so many earned degrees but cannot think for ourselves based on our own research and we appear to be unable to make logical conclusions based on that same research.

Parker is only able to get away with this lack of representation because we allow it!

That's a fact!

Anonymous said...

The pitiful thing about this entire situation is that a lot of good people have been fired during all of Rhee's reform efforts. She has managed to deflect her responsibility for the poor way in which she is running the schools by making it personal. No one hates Rhee but people do abhor the demonic tactics she uses along with her boss. Never before has DC been so completely bifurcated along racial and economic lines.

In my opinion DC's leaders need reform Rhee-style. In other words, they need to go. Let's make certain it happens in 2010. The city cannot withstand much more of their divisive my way or else tactics.

just me talkin said...

Washington Teacher,

I didn't confuse the RIF and tenure. I understand exactly how they both work. Parker's exact statement in the membership meeting was "You don't have the tenure that you THINK you have." He didn't say, "You don't have any tenure, period." He even mentioned the RIF from the 1990's to support his point.

I believe he was warning people that "tenure" won't protect people under any and all circumstances - as in a RIF. I heard two teachers (before Rhee came to town) say that they can't be fired because they have tenure. I think he was speaking to people who believed this.

Also, let's not forget, Classic, that some educational trends die, but many continue on at least in some forms. The Open Space Classrooms Movement died, but from that movement we got learning centers (kept the positive and threw out the rest). If everyone just protested the Open Space, we would have lost this valuable teaching tool.

Whole language has largely died, but mainstreaming/inclusion is still gaining momentum after 20 years.

NCLB is still around after 8 years of complaints. Despite the complaints, many people just want to reform it-not get rid of it.

So the whole pay-for-performace idea may be just a fad for the next 10 years. However, 10 years is a long time to play around with your career. If you are concerned about this trend - bring your ideas and join the
Discussion, and not the Protest.

Classic said...

@ Just me talking
Trust me I have done both, joined the discussion and the protest. I have never been a quiet person that just sat back and let myself be mistreated, that is probably one of the reasons why I was fired. But in all honesty talk is cheap. I will fight for my job and fight the union and make them do what they are supposed to do for all of us. I paid dues for a long time and got nothing in return I refuse to continue in that direction. I will work hard to get Fenty, Rhee, and George out of their current positions but I will also do research and support people that I think will work towards my best interest.

The Wash. Teacher moderates said...

The Wash. Teacher moderates Glenn's comment said...
The latter portions of Glenn Watson's comments have been deleted as I find them to be intentionally insulting and demeaning to readers.
The Wash. Teacher
Glenn Watson comments:
Anonymous1 "You silly fool- no one hates Rhee. This isn't personal it's professional."

Anonymous2 "No one hates Rhee but people do abhor the demonic tactics she uses."

Me: Yeah real proffesional. Am I the only one that sees this sort of Anti-Rhee hypocrisy and thinks Rhee might have point.

Glenn Watson said...

Let me get this straight. Calling someone a fool is ok but I was being demeaning. OK then Good by.

Anonymous said...

George has got to go... how do we get him out? We can't wait until MAY!!! That is almost 6 months away... we can't go without a contract and we can't risk the fact that more of us may get RIF'd or IMPACTED! Can anyone out there help us get rid of him? Let's call a meeting... our exec. board should meet without George and make plans to have a NO CONFIDENCE meeting with the union members. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I think that people need to get a copy of the bylaws and find out how to impeach George and then move forward.

The Wash Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 12:14:
The WTU Contract (existing), By-Laws and Constitution are on line at You can download them from the WTU site.