Jan 16, 2010

The Washington Teachers' Union Can Do Better ! Nathan Saunders Runs For WTU President 2010

Last Saturday, 120 people gathered together at the invitation of Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) General Vice President Nathan A. Saunders to celebrate his graduation from the National Labor College in Baltimore, Maryland. What was significant about this event was that Nathan announced that he would run for the WTU President seat when elections are held in May 2010. With a campaign slogan of "We Can Do Better," Nathan shared his vision of building an organizing union that is proactive and embraces members ideas, encourages the participation of teachers, parents and community working collectively to improve teaching and learning conditions.
The gathering included not only community members, parents, and teachers/school personnel many of whom remarked throughout the night that there were excited and interested in working collaboratively to fight for meaningful education reform that doesn't exclude critical stakeholders. Nathan's speech focused on the obvious that teachers have not had a contract for three years and many of our members have lost their jobs in part due to our union's being reactive to Chancellor Rhee's education plan which seeks to terminate a significant share of the teaching force. In a recent press release, Nathan A. Saunders stated "Teachers are more besieged today than ever," The collective bargaining agreement is expired by three years, working conditions have deteriorated, and teachers are working harder for less money under greater pressure."
Nathan's announcement for WTU President 2010 was covered by Washington Post writer Bill Turque on the DC Wire blog in which he wrote "Saunders' candidacy raises at least the possibility that if Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee fails to secure a new contract with the WTU before spring, she could be dealing with a union president who qualifies as her worst nightmare. " After all many remarked at the recent campaign gathering that we are at war in this city as teachers and other city workers are in a fight to save their jobs. Turque's quote got me to thinking that teachers are desperately in need of a union president who will stand up to Rhee and be willing to fight.
On this blog I often read your comments about how you are sick and tired of our teachers' union current state of apathy and unwillingness to lead us in the fight of our lives. As we sit and watch as DC teachers and school personnel continue to be unjustly terminated and laid-off, imagine a future with even more terminations with an IMPACT evaluation that is unfair- I know We Can Do Better. As Nathan's campaign website states We Must Do Better ! As I often state for everything there is a season. It is the season for all of us to gather stones because it is time to fight. I strongly encourage all who read The Washington Teacher blog to check out Nathan Saunders' campaign website for WTU President 2010 and read about his platform.
Visit: http://www.votesaunders2010.com/ to get more information about Nathan's campaign. If you may be interested in working on his campaign for WTU President 2010, please feel free to sign up via his website or by email c/o votesaunders2010@ gmail.com

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


Lindsey said...

Thanks for the update! I figured he would probably run.

Bill turque's says: "Saunders qualifies as her (Rhee's) worst nightmare......" All I have to say is that it is about time someone spoke up for teachers. She (Rhee) needs to know that everyone is not just going to sit back and watch her lead us down a path of joblessness and fear! I'm sick and tired of begin shoved around in my own backyard!

Saunders should focus on the (not yet finished-but totally in force) IMPACT, the contract (if George doesn't get one first...ugh!) and
the fact that the classroom teacher is the fall guy for "everything awful in the lives of children"

I'm going to his website now, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank, God!

At least there is a choice!

Now, let's whip Saunders into shape!

RIF'd Teacher With No Help From The Union, said...


Will the Rif'd teachers be able to vote? I know Parker doesn't want 'em to be able to vote, but since the case is on appeal, will they be included in the vote?

I am asking, because I am one of them.

The Wash Teacher said...

Reply to Anonymous on Jan. 16 @ 10:52 AM

Please feel free to write me c/o
saveourcounselors@gmail.com so we can discuss off line. Thanks.

NYC Educator said...

Good luck! I hope you get someone who can help and support teachers.

Anonymous said...

There is one more IMPACT issue, this time for SPED teachers and IEP Quality Assessment.

Candi, please talk to any SEC who attended Friday's PD at Washington Convention center. You'll have more info from the SEC's. - from a teacher who attended that PD

Old School DCPS said...

This is really welcome news for DC teachers and DCPS in general. I expect Nathan to win, as there can't be any amount of support for George Parker in the schools. Even if a new contract is negotiated, people will still see Parker's horrible lack of leadership and not vote him back for another term. Nathan will be a strong voice that will not let Rhee do whatever she wants to do with DC teachers.
Yes, IMPACT is a big issue among teachers, though most in my school have been doing at least satisfactorily on their observations under IMPACT. But the pettiness of it! And next year, it will be even worse with the additional components of IMPACT being rolled out. Can't wait to vote GP out.

Sharon B. said...

Understand that part of the reason for letting so many teachers go and hiring so many teachers in their place is so that when a new contract proposal is submitted to the membership it may pass. Everything that is being done is all working hand in hand. Newbies are more likely to go for the previous "tier" contract. Just a word to the wise: Don't be in such a hurry to get a contract. You know that George is not being honest and by the same token, you know that Rhee has nothing good in store for anyone. Please do as Madea says "watch and pray".

Anonymous said...

Nathan needs to start having roundtable discussions with teachers. He's definitely the man for the job and all of the teachers need to know that. Unfortunately, George Parker has attempted to paint him as this uncooperative hostile worker where Nathan's level of frustration had more to do with the UNION not standing up for teachers than anything else. As a teacher in DCPS, whenever I needed something done the right way, I called Nathan Saunders and when they were on speaking terms, George would tell you to call Nathan. Nathan has been working for the rights of the teachers and has proven that he's capable of dealing with the Michelle Rhee's of the world. The WTU needs leadership that advocates for the rights of teachers and doesn't demonize the profession leaving the teachers to feel worthless. George Parker has allowed Michelle Rhee to create such a hostile environment in the classroom that any DCPS teacher you talk to is fed up -- I say FINALLY!

undercover said...

It has been reported that Rhee fired more central office staff last week. Of course we aren't surprised that Rhee is keeping this on the down low and the Washington Post is keeping a lid on all things Rhee and Fenty.

classic said...

In my years at DCPS when ever our School Chapter Advisory Committee needed asssitance from the Union it was Nathan that came to our rescuse. George has NEVER been to my school and I never saw our field rep until George stopped talking to Nathan.

Nathan has always put teachers rights first and that is part of the reason that he is on the outs with George.

Please be leary of a new contract George is selling us out. Candi I too would like to know if legally the RIF'd teachers can vote. We have submitted a letter to the board stating that we are willing to pay dues out of our pocket until the situation is resolved. I am confident that I will get my job back and when I do I would hate to be stuck with George again.

Also we need to look into a recall of George they did it in Detriot after their Union President sold them out. We need to be proactive and do it NOW!! before the new contract.

The Wash Teacher said...

I have not find anything in the WTU Constitution and by-laws that says you have to be booted out.It does not speak to teachers who have been laid off. It speaks to retired teachers.

The WTU by laws under the section of membership states in Section 2. Any member who was in good standing while an employee of the Board of
Education may retain his membership.

Sheila H. Gill said...

This is very appropriate for Candi to highlight Nathan Saunders' campaign during the celebration of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Holiday.

Everyone is aware of Dr. King's dream and keeping his dream alive. Dr. King stood for dignity, integrity, civil and human rights. Timing is perfect.

Now is the time for Nathan to campaign for labor union rights for all WTU members.

It appears to me that Rhee's intent is to destroy the WTU as she continues on the path of destruction, corruption, and bashing WTU teachers/educators.

Hundreds of more WTU teachers/educators will be terminated in the near future, if we don't have a strong union leader who is willing to take risks.

With Nathan's dream, we must stand together and fight for our Labor Union Rights!!

Save Jobs, Save Students and Save WTU!!

Stand United with Nathan!

Sick and tired of Rhee said...

Nathan's website is awesome. Best of luck to him.

Anonymous said...

Candi... why won't you put up my comment on Nathan? You always say you are fair and you are here to spread the word and share the opinions of everyone? I would like to see my comment about Nathan running for President! I don't think Nathan is our man. I wrote earlier today and you haven't posted my comment. Thanks!

Classic said...

A Call to All RIF'd teachers.

I was a member in good standing, so I say that we ALL show up for Union meetings and continue to be a part of the Union. I plan on calling my attorney and getting his assistance in maintaing my voting rights for the duration of this schoolyear or when I get my job back which ever comes first. Stand with me people. Geroge can throw one person out of a meeting but he can't throw 266 of us out!!

I'm Steppin Up said...


Went to Saunders Campaign Website ...love the video--you guys did a great job!

I want to volunteer to help the campaign. Can I sign up to work within my school to build support?

Can I collect email addresses in my school for people who want to be on an email listing?

Any other ideas?

The Wash Teacher moderates said...

I challenge Anonymous statements @ 4:59 on
Jan. 17 as not accurate so therefore I chose to moderate your statement below. I believe you are anonymous because you are unwilling to stand behind your statement.

I have no problem with you disagreeing that Nathan, George and members of the WTU executive board are not the candidates for you but felt that I must moderate your post due to what I view are inaccurate statements in fact.

As a WTU Board of Trustee for the last 3 years- I wholeheartedly disagree with your statements about Nathan's not having done anything for us. While I did not know Nathan initially or George, I have come to know both sitting on the union board. As the blogger in residence, I retain the right to moderate any posts.

As a WTU BR, I have referred countless members to Nathan. He has also assisted me with complaints from union members as well and showed up to countless community meetings and numerous protests to save our schools. I have also referred many teachers to Nathan from the many emails I received from teachers due to having this blog . The reports have been that he has responded to them. On our executive board he has been an ally for teachers while a number of our teacher board representatives often read cookbooks, didn't attend meetings, routinely fell asleep and abstained to vote.

Your statements say we will be sorry, well I think we as union members should be sorry now because many members are not involved in any meaningful way and teachers have been terminated by the hundreds and more will be terminated by IMPACT at years end.

Moderated Comment by Anonymous @ 4:59
"Oh H*ll no... I would never vote for Saunders!! He is the VP and has not done one thing for us... OH NO WAY! People...we need fresh blood and no one that was ever connected to GP or the board members! I beg you NOT to vote for him! You will be sorry!"

The Wash Teacher said...

Response to I'm Steppin' Up:

I encourage you to share your ideas with Nathan's campaign c/o votesaunders2010@gmail.com

Sounds like you have some great ideas.

Valerie said...

I hope you are running in the WTU elections too. The anonymous comment that you moderated may have come from the Liz Davis crew who has been campaigning for many years.There will be many naysayers in this campaign. Don't fret that because teachers know the real deal. Go Nathan, go Nathan!

Sunshine said...

I'm sorry but I don't see anyone else who understands labor union laws and is willing to fight on behalf of the teachers other than Nathan Saunders. George has proven that he doesn't have the balls to really stand up and fight and he's caused the system to revert back to all that teachers have fought for over the last 40 years. I just hope that people really understand that this is a pivotal time in the history of the union and understand that the vote for Nathan will change everything and a vote for anyone else could make matters even worse.

Anonymous said...

My vote is for Nathan, not Chicken George who I believe is in bed with Rhee. George has sold us out throughout his term in office and tried to get us to give up many job protections in the red and green contract. As the chief negotiator which George brags about he has been a failure. Open your eyes and see George Parker for what he really is.

Cynthia said...


I saw a card in my school with Nathan's campaign information on it but I want to get some for my friends in other schools. Where can I get some more?

Who do I call? Is there a campaign phone number or should I go through the email listed on your post?

Thanks, I'm getting excited.....for change!

The Wash. Teacher said...

In reply to your message, on Nathan's website the number to call is 202.563-2144.Leave your name and contact phone number so Nathan can follow up with your request. You can also email his campaign c/o votesaunders2010@gmail.com

Old School DCPS said...

there's really a lot of excitement about Nathan's candidacy. He's someone who will stand up to Rhee for DC teachers, who she basically wants to get rid of. Despite our dedication to the children of DC, she wants us out. There will be more RIFs. We need a union president who will put this woman in her place.

Anonymous said...

off topic
Bill Gates is on Twitter
perhaps teachers could start using their twitter accounts to ask about his support for charter schools.

Anonymous said...

Nathan has my support 100 per cent.

Anonymous said...


any word on the teachers contract?

December 21,2009 to January 20, 2010....hmmmmmm.... 30 days yet?

what's the word....????

The Wash. Teacher said...

Reply to Anonymous 1/21/ @ 2:47 pm

My understanding from a Building Rep who attended last weeks Building Rep meeting at McKinley that there was only one contract negotiation meeting held to date. So far the word is NO CONTRACT PROPOSAL. Unfortunately many Building reps missed this meeting as there was no notice given that the meeting would be held.

WTU members have not received any recent robo calls to update us either. Looks like the 30 days will be up tomorrow as your post suggests. Another missed deadline.

Anonymous said...

‘Race to the Top’ Accountability Leaves Teachers Behind

Teacher Accountability has an Unintended Consequence there is a Legacy Fix…the world awaits our efforts
There are some great teachers, and even some great Teacher Preparation programs, but these are random occurrences where consistency is essential. The reason is simple: Professional Education is absent fundamental standards found in all other professions. There is no standard curriculum, no sincere, systemic effort to identify Best Instructional Practices, no guidance in what and how needs to be further researched and developed. To be called a profession it is imperative that a profession, one way or another, needs to convene a rolling forum to collect and prioritize the core content of principles and practices that every member ought to know. An honest Grammar of Teaching. Ironically, Teachers worldwide are being held to standards for annual yearly progress (AYP) of their students. Meanwhile, Professors, Learned Societies & commercial schools, and some painfully self-serving non-profit foundations and Universities never even address the fundamental need for solid pedagogic content. The US Department of Education should hold an ongoing “virtual convention” of the nation’s leading educators to consider and endorse a covenant of currently scattered principles and more importantly prescriptive practices. Ideally this should be done on a website that transparently allows these to be challenged, tweaked and further specified for different age-grade-situational conditions. This is an urgent orphan cause with no natural constituencies. This entire process would cost near nothing if we do so collaboratively. The entire globe would benefit. Especially schools opening in the developing world by NGO’s such as Greg Mortenson’s. Please help by joining the narrative at: http://teacherprofessoraccountability.ning.com/main/invitation/new?xg_source=msg_wel_network And…http://bestmethodsofinstruction.com/

Anthony V. Manzo, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus