May 29, 2010

Some DC Principals Move Up While Other DCPS Staffers Await Termination Letters !

In early May of this year, thirteen new instructional superintendent positions were posted on the DCPS website with annual salaries ranging from 120,000 to 150,000. Many were aghast after learning of the news especially in light of the 528 million dollar deficit that DC government is currently facing as well as Rhee's overspending of the central office budget. Rhee and company's rationale for doubling the number of school superintendents is to improve teacher quality and raise student achievement.
Once news of these management positions was broadcast, parents argued that if Rhee had the money to hire more senior level managers the money would have been better spent on bringing back the teachers and school staff who she (Rhee) laid off in November 2009, reducing class sizes or buying needed supplies at the local school level. A Washington Post article revealed that Rhee stated in interviews that although this increase in senior managers could cost as much as 2 million dollars, 'cuts to existing DCPS staff' will make the thirteen new hires- budget neutral. Reports are circulating that two vice principals were terminated from Jefferson Middle School as late as May 28. The Office of Special Education has been reorganizing and cuts to program manager positions and other reassignments were recently announced. Stay tuned as the story unfolds on whose job Rhee and her administration will cut next to make way for DC's instructional superintendents.
By the way, through a series of emails, I have learned that Rhee plans to promote five existing principals to the new instructional superintendent positions. My sources indicate that the following five principals will become DC's next instructional superintendents:
Amanda Alexander- principal @Ross ES- 1730 R St. NW, Wash. DC
Jeffrey Grant- principal @ Walker-Jones EC- 1125 New Jersey Ave. NW, Wash. DC
Willie Jackson-principal @ Elliot-Hines MS-1830 Constitution Ave. NE, Wash. DC
Wayne Ryan- principal @ Noyes EC-2725 10th St. NE, Wash, DC
Darrin Slade- principal @ Ron Brown MS- 4800 Meade St. NE, Wash. DC
Posted by The Washington Teacher

May 28, 2010

Saunders/Peterson Slate For WTU Elections Committee Wins Overwhelmingly !

For all those who came out to Logan School yesterday, I thank you for your support. The Nathan Saunders - Candi Peterson endorsed slate of candidates for the Washington Teachers' Union Elections Committee won overwhelmingly. (See the list of candidates below under May 27, 2010 entry). Candidates for AFT delegates will be announced soon.
Again, I thank you for your support.

Candi Peterson
Candidate for WTU General Vice President 2010
The Washington Teacher - blogger in residence

May 27, 2010

WTU Elections Committee Elections- Vote Today At Logan !

IMPORTANT WTU ELECTIONS COMMITTEE ELECTIONS TODAY!
4pm to 7:30pm @ Logan School 215 G Street, NE Washington, DC 20002
Full Dues Paying Members Urged To Come and Vote
We need your participation to elect this committee who will be responsible for properly conducting the upcoming WTU Officers Election!
We Need You To Vote!
Read below and learn why your participation in today's election is important!

Why AFT President Weingarten stole my elected union job!

By Claudette Carson, 2009 WTU Elections Committee Member

In April 2009, five Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) members submitted petitions for elected office-The WTU Elections Committee. The unpaid job is small but important; the committee is responsible for verifying union meeting quorums, and conducting all general and special elections. Because fewer than the maximum number (15) members submitted certified nominating petitions, I was informed by the Elections Committee chairperson that I was duly elected immediately. The secret ballot requirement was trumped by a Department of Labor rule stating that uncontested elections requiring secret ballot are not necessary. I felt comfortable but little did I know things could turn crazy quickly.

The DCPS/WTU tentative agreement and its benefactors soon considered us liabilities. We were not good enough to conduct a contract ratification vote, a special election, or maybe we were too honest? The result is that ratification ballots have been sent out without a verified membership list and with a membership status, with the AFT/WTU’s endorsement, which can be changed so that new members can vote up until ballot submission. $164 million tentative agreement makes new friends easily with union members and integrity being meaningless collateral damage. All the stops have been pulled out to guarantee this contract ratification. I am appalled at the radio commercials encouraging teachers to vote “Yes” for the contract with funds union members did not approve, selected teachers have been gifted time from teaching in order to sell the contract to other teachers during the school day, and first time voting by telephone and the internet.

The final nail in our coffin came as a result of a discovery. Another elections committee member and I deduced WTU President George Parker did not file any nominating petitions to run for President. I informed all parties involved at which point the AFT increased its efforts to disband the elections committee. AFT President Weingarten desires an elections committee to give George Parker the opportunity to file nominating petitions, irrespective of the WTU Constitution. The answer is not a hard one for me because I have a renewed sense of fair play and rights of the common man and woman. How President Weingarten took away my right to hold elected union office is a crime. She did not even follow her own constitution and is now bulldogging her way thru our local. She stole from teachers for George Parker’s benefit furthermore her actions are related to the tentative agreement ratification. This denigrates our union, profession and intelligence. I only desired to provide mutual aid, support and collective action to my fellow teachers- maybe that is not unionism.

I am Claudette Carson, a union member who has tried to participate in my union’s democratic process. I never have been a WTU insider but I have always voted for candidates that would represent me. I am running again for the elections committee which I rightfully won previously but for the efforts of special interests. I understand the issues and the relevance of representing union members. I know firsthand the impact of dollars on relationships and will not allow you to be hurt as I have been. We can beat the culprits at their own game by getting this message out and voting May 27, 2010 at Logan School between 4pm and 7pm.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VOTE FOR OUR ENDORSED ELECTIONS COMMITTEE CANDIDATES

1. Claudette Carson

2. Chandrai Jackson-Saunders

3. Marva Boatman

4. David Derricotte

5. Cheryl Gillette

6. Audrey Hudson

7. Harriet L. Kuhn

8. Linda Burnett

9. Geraldine Harris

10. Janis Carrington

11. Genell Penn

12. Darlene Nelson

13. Rosa Lee

14. Thomas O'Rourke

15. Laureen Smith-Butler

May 22, 2010

DC Principal Shuffle- 2010

*5/26/10- Update on Principal Firings
Starring: Michelle Rhee
DC Public Schools Chancellor

Hey folks, it's that time of year again when DC schools approaches its final days as the school year comes to an end. Some principals have already faced Chancellor Rhee's 'meat axe approach' to principal terminations or if you prefer a nice way of saying their contract was not-renewed.
As you may recall, last year some targeted DC principals on Rhee's hit list left many parents, staff and community activists baffled and questioning her guidelines for termination of local school principals. Even in cases when principals had performed well, Rhee's unconventional actions to get rid of these principals without as much as an explanation left many wondering how could this be happening ? Feel free to send me your list of departing principals c/o saveourcounselors@gmail.com

So far here's the short list of departing DC principals and their affiliated schools:

My sources report the following:
Principal terminated @ Amidon-Bowen ES 401 Eye St. SW, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ Anacostia SHS-1601 16th St. SE, Wash. DC not officially confirmed
Principal terminated @ Kelly Miller JHS, 301 49th St. NE, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ Kramer MS, 1700 Q St. SE, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ McFarland MS, 4400 Iowa Ave. NW, Wash. DC-Not yet officially confirmed.
Principal terminated @ McKinley TSHS -151 T St. NE, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ Sharpe Health School-4300 13th St. NW, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ Stanton Elementary School- 2701 Naylor Rd. SE, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ Theodore Roosevelt SHS, 4301 13th St. NW, Wash. DC
Principal terminated @ West Educational Center, 1338 Farragut St. NW, Wash. DC
Resignations
Principal resigns @ Aiton ES- 533 48th Pl. NE, Wash. DC (Principal To Be Determined)
Principal resigns @ Thomson ES-1200 L St. NW, Wash. DC
Principal resigns @ Tyler ES- 1001 G St. SE, Wash. DC (Principal To Be Determined)
Principal resigns@ Youth Engagement Academy -1830 Constitution Ave. NE, Wash. DC-
*As of 5/22/10- According to DCPS website principals at Aiton ES and Tyler ES are to be determined
Retirements
Principal is retiring @ John Burroughs EC -1820 Monroe St. NE, Wash. DC
Principal is retiring @ Ketcham ES- 1919 15th St. SE, Wash. DC
A teacher emailed me about Rhee's decision to let go of the principal of Stanton Elementary School in SE Washington. Here's the email questioning Rhee's decision not to renew Dr. Presswood's contract:
Dear Candi,
"On May 20, 2010 at around 3:30, my principal, Dr. Donald Presswood, asked some of us to meet for him for a couple of minutes. He then told us that the cluster 1 supervisor just told him his contract will not be renewed. This is a principal who has worked hard to turn Stanton around. Stanton was restructured in SY 2008-09 and 95% of the staff were new. He was invited to become its principal to turn it around and he was doing a fine job---the behavior of the kids was much better than last year. He was able to tap school volunteers so that there are a number of adults in the classroom at any given time. He literally stayed at Stanton everyday (weekends, holidays, he arrives very early, sometimes before 6:00 am and leaves late). He is the glue that holds us together to usher changes in a really needy neighborhood. His work is not yet done but now the DCPS administration showed him the door.
I just want you and your readers to know this."
Signed,
Stanton ES Teacher
Posted by The Washington Teacher

May 20, 2010

DC Teachers:Join Us For A Meet & Greet On Friday, May 21

Hope to see you on Friday,
May 21, 2010 @ 6:30 pm
Charles Sumner School
17th & M Streets NW
Washington, DC 20036

Let's Celebrate DC teachers & school personnel.

Join Nathan Saunders, WTU General V.P. at a meet
and greet to celebrate you.

May 18, 2010

Rhee To Hire 600 Teachers While Making Cuts To DCPS Staff

Breaking News

An inside source reports that DCPS principals were advised recently in a principals meeting that the Rhee administration plans to hire 600 new teachers for school year 2010-2011. On May 14, 2010, Chancellor Rhee appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi radio show with hosts Tom Sherwood and Mike Debonis . At that time Rhee indicated that up to as many as 400 teachers would be hired in the fall. So it seems this number has risen if we look at what was reported in a meeting with DC principals. It is not coincidental that George Parker, WTU president indicated back in March 2010 before WTU Representative Assembly members in a meeting that Rhee planned to fire 15% of WTU members through the IMPACT evaluation process in July 2010 . Roughly 15% of WTU membership equals 600 teachers/school personnel. That would mean that 600 teachers could be expected to be fired this summer. The million dollar question is how did Rhee know in March that she planned to fire 15% of our teachers through the IMPACT evaluation given that the process has yet to be completed ? Will the 600 teachers fired through IMPACT be replaced by the 600 new hires? These are questions we should all consider.

On another interesting note, many of our schools will face cuts to teaching staff by the end of June 2010. So far Cardozo SHS and McKinley SHS have been advised to expect teacher cuts in every department for the upcoming school year as well as cuts to other DCPS employees. This could represent as many as 15 teachers to be cut from both of these high schools. Other cuts which have been reported to date include 5 teachers to be cut from Luke C. Moore Academy. Please check with your Local School Restructuring Teams (LSRT's) to determine how many cuts to expect from your schools. Feel free to send me reductions to staff c/o saveourcounselors@gmail.com

Should teachers ratify the WTU Tentative Agreement, many of the teachers who will be excessed from their schools may be terminated within two months if they are probationary status. If not, they would be forced to consider some unpleasant options: buy-out if monies are available, forced into early retirement if eligible and monies are available and or have the option of a 1 year extension to continue to work as a tutor or long term substitute assuming they have a satisfactory performance rating or better. As most of you know Rhee's five year education plan seeks to rid our schools of a significant share of our teacher workforce through buy-outs, terminations, forced retirements and lay offs. Worst possible scenario, DCPS employees could face another reduction in force for the upcoming school year 2010-2011.

Inquiring minds want to know how Rhee is allowed to continue spending willy nilly without regard to the 528 million dollar budget that DC government currently faces. To date, Rhee has not been required to place a freeze on hiring and spending practices. While CFO Gandhi and Chancellor Rhee have proposed to rob Peter to pay Paul in our DCPS budget in order to fund the WTU Tentative Agreement, it seems that one thing we can be assured of more teacher and staff cuts are on the horizon.

Posted by The Washington Teacher

May 16, 2010

WTU's George Parker Fails To Submit Petition For Re-Election Bid For Union President

Breaking News
According to a press release sent to The Washington Teacher today, the author states: "For the first time in the history of the Washington Teachers Union (WTU), a sitting union president has failed to submit petitions to run for office in accordance with the requirement of the WTU Constitution and By-Laws rendering him ineligible to run for office." On May 10, 2010, during a special meeting at the headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers, George Parker, current President of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU), announced to Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Nathan Saunders, presidential candidate for WTU 2010 election, Candi Peterson, general vice presidential candidate for WTU 2010 election and others that he failed to submit nominating petitions for the upcoming General Election of WTU officers. The press release cites the WTU Constitution and By-Laws (Article 7, paragraph 2.C) which states “Official nominating petitions shall be made available to the membership at the March meeting or at the WTU office. Petitions must be returned to the office of the Washington Teachers’ Union on or before the close of the last regular working day of the Union in April. Verification of the receipt of each nominating position shall be in writing.”
WTU rank and file members believe that AFT's national president Randi Weingarten will resort to illegal means to keep George Parker in power at any cost even if it means over ruling a WTU constitutional requirement that states that petitions for the election of union officers be submitted on the last working day in April. Even though Randi Weingarten stated in our May 10 meeting that she only wants to 'get in and out' in order to assist with the WTU elections committee process, let's watch what Randi does in the days ahead. I believe Randi will do whatever it takes to undermine the ability of the other presidential candidates likelihood of success, particularly Nathan Saunders because she fears opposition from him on the WTU Tentative Agreement. With WTU George 'sell out' Parker at the helm, there is a greater probability that the WTU T.A. will be ratified. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds.- Candi Peterson, Blogger in residence
Posted by The Washington Teacher

May 13, 2010

Open Letter To AFT President Randi Weingarten From WTU Executive Board Members

This open letter below was sent to me by Washington Teachers' Union Executive Board members, Willie Brewer, Agnes Dyson and Sheila Gill who were wrongfully terminated in what many believe was a manufactured reduction in force created by the Rhee administration. Their email is addressed to American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President, Randi Weingarten requesting that our national union order that all 265 wrongfully terminated union members be reinstated their full membership rights pursuant to AFT's Constitution. - Candi Peterson, blogger in residence

May 13, 2010

Dear President Randi Weingarten,

As you well know, we are elected WTU Executive Board members who were laid off October 2, 2009. We have been denied our right to complete our elected term of office and right to continue our membership by WTU President George Parker. As a result, 265 other WTU members have been damaged by the loss of health insurance and other membership benefits directly attributable to these actions. Upon attempting to maintain those benefits, we were provided misinformation including a WTU parliamentary opinion thereby robbing us of our rights as a WTU, AFT, and AFL-CIO members. At no time were we advised of AFT’s constitution addressing the laid off member policy by the aforementioned or AFT personnel. AFT Constitution & Bylaws, art. III - Membership, §6, cl. C.

After our own research yielded the above, President Parker undertook obstreperous actions to disallow WTU Executive Board members consideration of our concerns. Constitutionally mandated Union meetings-executive board, delegate assembly and membership meetings- are often cancelled or they do not have voting quorums and are held in place which we are barred (DCPS and the WTU offices). This complaint/notice informs you that WTU is not being managed according to its constitution or AFT’s and AFT’s representative agents, Mr. George Bordenave and Mr. Jody Easley, sit idle while these significant violations transpire.

Since a fair hearing of our concerns are not available at our local union level, we must exhaust all intra union remedies. We are requesting you to inform us in writing, with the necessary citations, of our rights to complete our elected term of office as WTU officers. Furthermore, we are requesting you to order all 265 wrongfully terminated teachers full membership rights reinstated immediately pursuant to AFT’s constitution at a dues rate of $6.00 per month remitted to the AFT. We look forward to your prompt response as time is of essence.

Sincerely,

Willie Brewer

WTU Executive Board Member

Agnes Dyson

WTU Executive Board Member

Sheila H. Gill
WTU Executive Board Member

Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in reside
nce

May 7, 2010

AFT Prez Randi Weingarten Interferes in DC Teachers' Union Elections

I thought I would share this news worthy story with you as originally reported by Norm of Ed Notes On Line education blog. This story addresses intereference by AFT President Randi Weingarten in our Washington Teachers Union elections which are constitutionally required to be held mid May 2010. As I am sure that you are aware our Washington Teachers Union Constitution states that a member desiring to run for a position shall submit an official nominating petition signed by twenty (20) or more members in good standing to the office of the Washington Teachers’ Union on or before the last regular working day of the Union in April. Union members must submit their petitions on April 30 and that ballots must be mailed by mid May. Unfortunately, it appears that our local elections will be delayed in an unprecedented power play by AFT Prez Randi Weingarten. Please read insights from Norm of Ed Notes on line blog, a retired teacher activist from New York turned blogger as well as Nathan Saunders, WTU 2010 Presidential candidate. - Candi Peterson
Ed Notes on Line writes:
"History has taught us that autocrats will never give up power and will resort to illegal means to keep absolutism intact...... Ed Notes has been reporting on the Washington DC and Chicago teacher union elections. Both cities are hotbeds of potential activism and if Nathan Saunders and/or Karen Lewis (CORE) were to be elected, would indicate potential trouble for AFT President Randi Weingarten. Not that she has to worry too much with the NYC Unity Caucus machine being able to control the NY state NYSUT which in turn controls the AFT. But we know that Randi wants ZERO OPPOSITION and will do what she can to undercut the ability of these candidates to win.
Washington DC is a particularly interesting case where both Randi and Michelle Rhee's reps are on the line if Saunders should win. So now we hear the AFT is "getting involved" in the DC election. With elections in Washington DC about to take place, the AFT goon squad is out to undermine them. They found some excuse and there is talk about including the contract vote ballot in the same envelope as the election ballot. If true, why are we not surprised here in NYC?
The real reason is that Randi/Rhee/Parker are anxious to get the contract vote done before the election, which if Saunders wins will kill any chance of the contract Randi and Rhee want. With problems over the private money being assured, it is clear that the election will be done beforehand and Randi is trying to figure out a way to undermine it.
Is anyone surprised that Randi is more aligned with Rhee - remember my basic rule - ignore what Randi says, watch what she does? So here is Nathan Saunders' piece in May 6 edition of TheMail magazine- written by Norm of Ed Notes on line blog "
Nathan Saunders, WTU Presidential candidate writes.....
Is AFT Undermining DC Teachers ?
"Intense public school budget hearings on April 30 evidenced the significant impact WTU teachers have on the city’s budget. Charter school advocates presented the government a demand letter for comparable wages to the WTU Tentative Agreement (TA), or they would seek court action. A magnanimous Chief Financial Officer Gandhi refused to certify the TA’s financial soundness while simultaneously scaling back other programs and possibly raising taxes to reduce a $530 million deficit.
The 1960’s legislation allowing exclusive representation of DC’s Public teachers was theorized to encourage mutual cooperation yielding increased workplace productivity.
Unfortunately, some of the industrial labor union’s ills and social injustices, such as paternalism, permeated the teachers’ union movement.
Oftentimes national union interests will attack local dissident opinion by influencing union elections, producing propaganda, and controlling issues. All the while repeating, ad nauseam, “We never get involved in local issues.”
Amazingly, this is like the letter the American Federation of Teachers sent home to all DC teachers implying that the May 2010 elections will probably be delayed. Federal legislation, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, was created to combat union member abuses involving violations of free speech, violence, and elections tampering. It forces elections every three years and gives union members a special bill of rights akin to the US Constitution.
Empowering WTU teachers in democratic management and advocacy for themselves and their students is an often neglected education reform that is affordable. Paternalism is most dangerous in teachers’ unions, as it makes teachers feel trapped with two bosses — the DC Government and the AFT/WTU — their own union. Union democracy is suppressed.
The AFT should not be involved in the May 2010 union election or the upcoming contract ratification vote, as their ability to exercise self-control will deter additional controversies and challenges. The federal Department of Labor should be involved.
Unfortunately, the president of the AFT parent union, Randi Weingarten, is deeply entangled in election shenanigans, potentially stalling WTU’s election schedule past its constitutionally required May 2010 date. Her beneficiary is WTU President George Parker the embattled negotiator of the Rhee/Parker tentative agreement. The agreement was supposed to harvest elections benefits of 20 percent pay raises, without members knowing most would probably be terminated or that a portion of the raises was financed with blood money of wrongfully terminated teachers, and the only job security in the deal belonged to Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
The problem with Weingarten’s election meddling is that it makes DC teachers more vulnerable. Teachers are about to deal with hundreds of year-end layoffs, a hard summer fight to support a mayoral candidate and leaving approximately eighty other elected positions unfilled (Elections Committee, Delegates to the Maryland State AFL-CIO, and others). It smells to high heaven.
Any desire to place an election ballot with a contract ratification ballot in the same envelope is selfish and belittles the WTU’s members’ intelligence. Common sense, time, and economic realities may have broken up the Fenty/Rhee/Parker/Weingarten playbook, but law and the WTU’s Constitution require a paternalistic AFT to step aside and to allow dues paying members to vote on their future — now."
Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence

May 2, 2010

What Do DC Teachers And Billion-Dollar Foundations Have In Common ?

Answer: Both are Rhee’s Playthings.
As most of you probably already have heard by now , Dr. Natwar Gandhi, Chief Financial Officer officially confirmed on April 30 at a DC City Council hearing that he would not certify a WTU T.A. (tentative agreement) due to the conditions imposed by private foundations. Another reason that the T.A. cannot be certified at this time is due to the fact DC Government does not have the fiscal resources to fund the entire teacher compensation package. Reportedly DC government faces a total 528 million dollar budget deficit overall.
An interesting point that Efavorite highlights in the timely piece below is that DC school officials have proposed to lay off DC teachers in 2011 as a means to narrow the funding gap and win certification of teachers' retro pay and future raises. The million dollar question is: Should the WTU Tentative Agreement ever get ratified by our union members, will you still be around to collect your pay raise or will you be among those on the unemployment line? Candi Peterson, Blogger in residence
Featuring Efavorite- Guest Writer
"Bored with pushing lowly teachers around, Rhee has taken on billion-dollar foundations, setting them up to be the saviors of school reform, then watching as District CFO Gandhi predictably rejects them for having unacceptable strings attached to their generous gifts. Even better, this happened on the same day that a letter to the editor defending the foundations, written by their spokesperson Cate Swinburn, appeared in the Washington Post.
For Chancellor Rhee, the thrill of RIFing 266 teachers based on a bogus budget deficit was probably nothing compared to publicly humiliating billion-dollar foundations that had just pledged millions to her reform effort.
Now she’s saying, “the District is attempting to persuade the private funders -- the Broad, Arnold, Walton and Robertson foundations -- to modify their requirements.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if they do it. Once she has people dancing to her tune, it seems hard to stop.
In the same article, Gandhi said one of the ways that school officials had proposed “to narrow the contract funding gap” was “…expediting a planned reduction in the number of teachers to save $7.6 million in 2011….”
Got that, teachers? If the contract ever comes to a vote and passes, it could take a RIF to fund your back pay and pay raises, if you ever see them, before getting RIFd. It’s all laid out in front of you now. It’s a matter of deciding if you’re going to dance to that tune.
You’ll be in the company of billionaires, if you do."

Posted by The Washington Teacher courtesy of Efavorite