Apr 11, 2010

WTU Tentative Agreement = 1000 Ways To Kill DC Teachers

Featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence with Celeste Jones, graphic artist
Given that DC public schools excessed approximately 600 plus teachers last school year, there is reason to believe as many DC teachers will be excessed in June 2010 due to impending school system budget cuts and school restructuring slated to take place. According to the Washington Teachers' Union Tentative Agreement (T.A.) by definition, "excess is an elimination of a teacher’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 or a change in the local school program when such an elimination is not a reduction in force (RIF) or abolishment.” (page 5 of WTU T.A.) Should DC teachers be excessed under the proposed agreement, there is a great likelihood that excessing would lead to termination as there would no longer be a requirement for placement according to system seniority.
Rather than have the central office place teachers into existing teacher vacancies, principals would now be able to hand pick who they want (aka mutual consent) under the WTU Tentative Agreement negotiated by WTU President and chief negotiator George Parker and AFT President Randi Weingarten. NYC Educator, a NY public school teacher turned blogger wrote that mutual consent “is a misleading term. What it actually indicates is that principals get a veto on any incoming transfers." By definition in WTU’s T.A., mutual consent means no teacher shall be placed without the teacher’s and supervisor’s consent (page 27).
Mutual consent has been negotiated in other teacher union contracts in places like New York where Randi Weingarten, now AFT President negotiated this clause as the former United Federation of Teachers Union (UFT) president. Many New York public school teachers believe that the mutual consent provision led to the explosion of what is now known as the absent teacher reserves (ATR) in their state. In New York, teachers are part of an pool of teachers and continue to draw salaries while awaiting job placement. Some work as substitutes while others seek employment opportunities daily as they wait to be hired. This has led to thousands of teachers being paid and has contributed to an 81 million dollar growing debt.
So it seems that teachers and related school personnel in DC could suffer an even worse fate than our New York counterparts. While the WTU T.A. does not specifically address the absent teacher reserves like in New York, it does suggest that eligible permanent teachers with effective or higher ratings have the option of being placed into what amounts to a teacher reserve for one year if they cannot find a mutual consent placement. For all other teachers, the WTU T.A. implies that probationary teachers regardless of annual performance ratings, teachers who opt in for individual performance based pay regardless of annual performance ratings and permanent teachers with less than effective ratings will be terminated within a two month time frame if they cannot find a mutual consent placement after excessing.
Permanent teachers with an effective rating or higher will face a number of obstacles in securing the three options available to them under this agreement if they are excessed. While they can select a $25,000 buy out or an early retirement with 20 years or more of creditable service, the catch is these options would be subject to government and budgetary approval. The Tentative Agreement clearly states in Article 40, on page 103, that “Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as a promise that Congress, the DC Council, or any other organization shall appropriate sufficient funds to meet the obligations set forth in this Agreement.”
In addition, should eligible teachers select to work an additional year, they must make a substantial effort to interview at a minimum of five schools or interview for all vacant positions for which they are qualified if the total number is less than five. Teachers assigned the one year extension would be assigned in one or more capacities to include one on one tutoring, small group instruction, class coverage, long term teacher replacement or central office support. If at the end of the calendar year, teachers had not secured a mutual consent placement, they would be terminated as well.
Given the WTU Tentative Agreement includes undisclosed side letters which were crafted in part by mediator Kurt Schmoke, Washington Teachers' Union members, as well as the DC City Council and DC residents must demand that these written documents be made readily available for review to union members and the DC City Council. Although previously promised, WTU members are still awaiting receipt of the WTU Tentative Agreement in the mail. I strongly encourage all WTU members to read the 103 page Tentative Agreement in its entirety and request a written legal opinion from our WTU Legal Counsel, Lee W. Jackson of O'Donnell, Schwartz and Anderson. As always the devil is in the details.
Posted by The Washington Teacher


Anonymous said...

What did you think of the crowd yesterday? Pretty small and few younger DC teachers. Regarding the TA, DC teachers need to move on. The enrollment is shrinking, obviously, and the pay is good. And we do not want the kind of "Rubber Room" where teachers are warehoused in NYC.

Anonymous said...

if you have access to the DCPS Educator Portal, you can download a copy of the agreement.

I_educ8 said...

"The Tentative Agreement clearly states in Article 40, on page 103, that “Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as a promise that Congress, the DC Council, or any other organization shall appropriate sufficient funds to meet the obligations set forth in this Agreement.”


So, the short of the above provision is that irrespective of the hoopla regarding the "promise" of significant raises, there is no guarantee the raises will be realized by teachers. But if the agreement is ratified, we will have already conceded erosion of tenure and due process rights.

I assume also that the statement "or any other organization" includes the private donors, who are supposed to underwrite the raises.

How stupid do they think we are?!

Lindsey said...

OMG I_educ8,

I saw the same clause, Article 40 on page 103. This has never been in a WTU Contract before. So, if the contract is breached because there are not enough funds for the 20 year no penalty early retirement, or the 25,000 buyout, or even the pay for performance (for any fool who is still considering this "green tier" as a viable option) then DCPS simply does not have to honor it because of this Article (page 103). And when you take it to court (Article 40.3), the judge will refer you back to Article 40.2 and say "stupid, you should have read your own contract before you agreed to it"...and then throw you out of his/her courtroom-all the while calling you a dumb teacher (in his/her mind, of course.)

Anonymous said...

Teachers should play close attention to the working conditions of this agreement. There are lots of language that will require teachers to spend more of their personal time planning without being compensated. I am concern with article 23.18. This will be used micro manage how teachers plan. Being an elementary teacher who spend about 3 hours daily outside of my tour of duty will have to spend much more. I wished the Union negotiated more planning time for elementary school teachers since we teach all subjects.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 6:22pm, thanks! Are the side letters on the DCPS website because they are not on the WTU website as of yet.

Has anyone seen the side letters to the agreement posted anywhere yet?

Has anyone received their Tentative Agreement in the mail?
If so, are the side letters with the TA?

classic said...

I am glad to see that some of us ar reading this contract. I hope that all teachers read this carefuly before voting. People need to look past the money which of course is not really 20 percent anyway. Spead the word about section 40.2

Anonymous said...

am i correct in interpreting Article I-B: ET Teachers’ Bargaining Unit that SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS are no longer ET-15 and that based on Article I-D: EG Teachers’ Bargaining Unit, SPED TEACHERS are now EG-09?

if this is the case, it means that SPED teachers will get much. much lower pay than their counterpart (General Ed, SLP, Social WOrker, and the likes).


Sheila H. Gill said...

Clearly, DCPS Educators are intelligent individuals and will say, "NO" to the WTU Tentative Agreement (TA).

Why will the DCPS Educators vote against the WTU T.A.? All of us know the facts listed below:

Rhee has no credentials in Education and is not certified to be a Superintendent.

Front Cover of Time Magazine with a broom in hand.

Red and Green tiers agreement 2008 and 2010. (At Will Employees Concept)

Manufactured a Reduction in Force and never stopped hiring. In fact, hired 513 new employees after the RIF on Ocober 2, 2009. A total of 2,211 new employees were hired since March 2009 through January 15, 2010.

Rhee’s reform is overspending, over hiring and firing.

Hardy Middle School Students and Parents don’t count at all in DCPS!!

Rhee Only travels for Public Education Reform and not DCPS.

Rhee Bashes DCPS Educators, parents and students.

Rhee's Famous Quote from Fast Company National Magazine, “I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn’t we take those things into consideration?”

Damage Controller for Kevin Johnson

Needs a $100,00.00 Image Makeover

Article 40 on Page 103 in the WTU T.A.

I salute all DCPS Educators for your willing spirit to stand united in solidarity and make the right choice, “VOTE NO!” to the Washington Teachers Union Tentative Agreement 2010!! I Appreciate You for Working Together in Support of Public Education!!!!! Again, I persoally thank each one of my DCPS colleagues for your integrity and dignity.

E Favorite said...

I'm struck by how the WTU is focused on telling teachers ABOUT the contract before showing them the contract. Why not attach or link to the full document at the same time they emailed the Q&A and Highlights?

This is a classic PR device to mold public opinion in the absence of real information. They are counting on few people taking the time to read a 100 page document and to instead to go on the sound bytes that the union is providing.

There is no GOOD reason why the union, which is supposed to represent teachers, would delay presenting full information to its members, while at the same time feeding them preferred info bits.

Anonymous said...

RT- For information about the foundation funding and its sources- check out:


Nat Turner said...

So the fate of the teaching corps in D.C. is to rest with the most violent and implacable foes of public education in the nation. The Wal-Mart family, Broad, Arnold, and Robertson must think something about this advances their cause. Here's a warning to the members of the WTU from the New York Daily News about the staying power of such alliances.

Saturday, April 10th 2010, 4:00 AM

A much-ballyhooed middle school improvement project funded by the largest-ever private grant to city schools has been scrapped after two years, the Daily News has learned.

The plug was pulled this week on the programs at 18 northern Manhattan middle schools - funded by an $18 million General Electric grant - because the city said it couldn't replicate the work citywide.

The private foundation has pledged to keep funding other projects at city schools, but the money will no longer focus on middle schools.

The move caught principals and teachers off guard.

"The rug has been pulled from under us. We're actually afraid to tell our teachers about it," said a principal at one school who had used the funding for "intensive workshops in math and science" to train teachers.

"That's sad because it's going to put a lot of programs down the tubes," said a teacher at another affected school.

Anonymous said...

@ sheila H. Gill said, you are correct on all points. Do Not Trust Adrian Fenty, Michelle Rhee, George Parker and the other Carpetbaggers. The contract is Not A Guarantee! You may lose your job on a humble. Ghandi etal, are on channel 13 right now covering up for Mayor Fenty. These people and this WTU contract is a bunch of BS!

Michael Fiorillo said...

As a New York City teacher who has observed Randi Weingarten for years and is currently working under the terms of the catastrophic contract she negotiated in 2005, I urge DC teachers to exercise extreme skepticism about anything she has a hand in.

In fact, given her concessionary and manipulative track record, any contract she negotiates should be considered guilty until proven innocent.

Anonymous said...

Lindsey, I dont get it. If 40.2 says that dcps can't promise the council or congress will appropoirate the money. and 40.3 says failure to provide sufficient funds is a breach -- doesnt that just mean that there are no promises until the council passes it? How can the council pass it without the money? at that point its good, right? Anyway, I am not deciding until the cfo certifies there is the money. If he doesnt then I am not voting for it. If he does, then I am going to. I am not trying to be some accountant or economist here.

Anonymous said...

is anon correct? SPED Teachers are no longer ET015 in the new contract?

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 8:57: That is what the WTU T.A. states about sped. teachers from what I read. Perhaps you can ask for clarification at the upcoming mtgs. held by George Parker.

Anonymous said...

The Tentative Agreement clearly states in Article 40, on page 103, that “Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as a promise that Congress, the DC Council, or any other organization shall appropriate sufficient funds to meet the obligations set forth in this Agreement.”

That says a lot right there. Here's what we'll give you, but we aren't promising you anything.

Anonymous said...

All teachers that work in DCPS, but do Not Live In DC. There is No Money in the upcoming Budget for any pay raises for any departments, including DCPS. DC has a $550 million dollar deficit. George Parker and Michelle Rhee both know that this contract is a lie. They both know that this is their ticket out of this big bunch of crap that they conspired to break this Union. George Parker knows that he will not be re-elected so he does not care how the teachers vote on this re-hashed 2008 red vs. green tier contract. Rhee also does not care about DCPS. She will slide out the back door on her belly, and go to California. This contract is also not a guarantee. It is in the contract, you might not get the 20 year retirement- nor the $25,000 buy out. You can not sue in court, because you signed away your life. Play it smart, if you have lived without a contract for three years, and you have lived off of your current salary, then you can wait for a new Union President and a new Mayor. "A bird in the hand "(current salary) is worth more than two in a bush" ($65 million Funny Money).

Anonymous said...

I just saw this on a neighborhood listsrv from Harry Thomas:


Washington, DC-Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. learned today that erroneous budget calculations led to the firing of 266 DC Public School (DCPS) teachers earlier this year. The teachers were dismissed through a Reduction in Force (RIF) to address a reported $43 million budget pressure.

Chancellor Rhee has acknowledged that the RIF was based on an average teacher salary of $81,000 provided by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, when the correct average is approximately $67,000. As a result, DCPS now has a $34 million surplus in its personnel budget. The Chancellor has indicated the surplus will be used to help fund the 22 percent teacher pay raises outlined in the newly proposed contract with the Washington Teachers Union. In response, Chairman Gray is requesting a cost analysis of the teachers' contract and Councilmember Thomas is calling for a strategy to fund the contract and make the dismissed teachers whole.

"It is unconscionable that teachers have lost their jobs because of faulty data, and it is morally reprehensible to turn around and then use those dollars to fund pay raises" said Councilmember Thomas. "I will be examining all legislative remedies available to reinstate the teachers who were dismissed," stated Thomas.

Anonymous said...

Please allow another NYC teacher to rail against any/all things Randi. What good is a salary increase if your professional lives are made miserable? What good is a salary increase if your school is shut down and you're excessed to the unemployment line?

"Those who would surrender their liberties for the sake of a few dollars will end up having neither"

Thanks for reading this

Anonymous said...


This is where Rhee will lead to if she is not put down. This is serious stuff so please watch the vid.

They need to leave that NY stuff up there and stop trying to bring it into DC.