Nov 30, 2010

Finally!

Candi Peterson, blogger in residence and WTU General Vice President (effective December 1, 2010)

The Saunders slate won in the Washington Teachers' Union run-off election Tuesday evening at the AFT headquarters. This is the second win for the Saunders slate. We were the highest vote getter in round one of the WTU election on October 27. Given that WTU's Constitution required slates receive a 51% margin to win, a run-off election was held between the top two slates; the Saunders and Parker slate.

As I have often written about, this election has been a long protracted battle after another. To jog your memory, former" holdover" union president George Parker refused to step down and turn over union documents to the WTU Elections Committee. As a result, WTU elections were not held in May as required by our union's constitution. Long story short, AFT intervened as the WTU administrator and conducted our union elections. Fast forward to Tuesday evening and the Saunders slate can claim a victory with Nathan Saunders as the next WTU President, Candi Peterson, as the next WTU General Vice President and a host of committed and hard working Executive Board and Board of Trustee members.

Tonight we are humbled by all of the support and look forward to building a participatory union democracy committed within the next 30 days to publishing a membership and delegate assembly meetings for SY 2010-11; approving a WTU strategic plan to address IMPACT evaluations, job security and legal issues; meeting with AFT President Randi Weingarten; meeting with DC Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray to discuss IMPACT teacher evaluations and other educational issues affecting teachers, parents and students; meeting with City Council Chairman-Elect Kwame Brown to discuss IMPACT teacher evaluations and other educational issues, meeting with the 266 wrongfully terminated teachers to discuss an immediate change in their legal strategy; meeting with retired teachers and others who have been affected by the loss of retroactive pay and benefits under the new contract, hire personnel experts and human resource consultants to assist with a teacher evaluation tool, review all outstanding grievances and arbitrations, and revamp WTU's image and legal strategy to be proactive, progressive and productive.

Our slate looks forward to taking the helm and becoming the education-union leaders that DC teachers and school personnel deserve. I hope you will check out Bill Turque, Washington Post writer's coverage on "Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker loses run-off election" (click on title link for story).

Nov 23, 2010

Parker's Last Acts Of Desperation - Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: WTU Run-off Election Ballot Count will take place today, November 30, 2010 @ 4:30 pm @ AFT headquarters.

Featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence and WTU Candidate for General Vice President/Saunders slate

In the first Washington Teachers Union (WTU) election, two out of three teachers voted against WTU "holdover" President George Parker whose constitutional term ended June 30, 2010. Since those results were tallied, the Liz Davis/Emily Washington slate and Chris and Ben Bergfalk slate endorsed the Nathan Saunders slate of which I am a part. Parker’s loss to Saunders has brought out the worst in him. On the final leg of the WTU race, Parker's last acts of desperation reveal an underbelly of petulance, lies, small minded mean spiritedness and pure hate.

The Parker campaign conducted mass robo-calling using union resources which include repeated reminders about dental benefits and promises of meetings with teachers and another survey on IMPACT under the guise of conducting union business. Of late Parker has distributed hundreds of pamphlets to schools that instill fear that a vote for Nathan Saunders will result in our union going backwards neglecting the fact that for the last six years under Parker's leadership, WTU members democratic rights have been destroyed and teachers due process rights have been trampled along with the loss of 1,000 teacher jobs by an out of control Rhee administration.

Parker in his hate literature has alleged spurious, false and exaggerated allegations about Nathan Saunders work history and has left out pertinent details regarding an American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Executive Council investigation that resulted in an AFT order for Parker and the WTU Executive board to approve Saunders leave of absence and back pay forthwith. If we are to go down this road, then the obvious question is: How should these treasonous acts of Parker subverting the WTU Constitution as well as his refusal to comply with an AFT September 17, 2010 order from our parent organization be handled ? Further, how much is Parker paid in salary, how much salary should he (Parker) forgo by his refusal to have union membership and representative assembly meetings over the past year, his refusal to hold a timely union election last May as required by the WTU Constitution and his refusal to comply with the AFT Order ?

Parker's campaign has become an abomination, hell-bent on victory no matter the cost to teachers and school personnel. Hollow promises, empty promises, and more absurd promises have been made to union members. Parker will meet with teachers, provide edible treats and salacious lies while guaranteeing teachers higher impact scores and better working conditions if they promise to vote for him. Parker's latest campaign trick is offering to pick up union members ballots from their homes during the Thanksgiving season.

Unfortunately Parker has no track record short of his devaluation of teacher employment rights by the concessions he has already made. The contract tidbits don’t pay the mortgage, put food on the table and clothe the kids when you have been terminated from your job. We do know our union is in pretty bad shape with mass teacher terminations, unfair IMPACT evaluations running amuck, related stress and low morale. The truth is that things can only get better with Nathan Saunders Slate, not worse.

Hastily called meetings after hastily called meetings, email after email, robo call after robo call, negative campaign ads after negative campaign ads - some say Parker has reached the bottom of the barrel and gone over the edge. These last ugly acts of desperation by Parker are a disgrace and insult to every WTU member. What is the proper response to Parker's campaign negativity? Do you want to see more negativity from "holdover president" Parker in this Thanksgiving season? Tell me what you think!

By the way- Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Nov 18, 2010

Precarious Predicament for DCPS Instructional Coaches

Featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence and candidate for WTU General Vice President

11/21/10 UPDATE: "Holdover" President Parker was a 'no show' at the Nov. 19 meeting, according to attendees.

DCPS Instructional Coaches (IC's) find themselves in a precarious predicament being government employees manipulated at taxpayer's expense. The Washington Teacher has confirmed that Instructional Coaches are required to attend a mandatory November 19 afternoon meeting with "Holdover" president George Parker during instructional time instead of their previously scheduled training.This is the second hastily called Friday meeting for IC's with Parker at taxpayer's expense and has some IC's feeling miffed about the misuse of instructional time and directive to meet with Parker.

In a November 18 email to Jason Kamras, one IC wrote: "In all my years as DCPS employee, I have never worked under administrators who disregarded the sanctity of instructional time. The last such meeting was a total sham! George Parker and Mary Collins presented nothing of educational, or professional value to teachers. Needless to say, I am shocked and disappointed by this administration's callous disregard for instructional time. I have no recourse but to respond to (Washington Post) Bill Turque's queries about this meeting as many WTU members have forwarded the email notices about this meeting to him. Please explain why this meeting is preempting one half day's training for Instructional Coaches for a Union meeting. I pay taxes in DC and I know that you and Kaya do too; thus, I do not believe that DC tax payers will look favorably upon this misuse of learning time for teachers and students."

Another union activist complained to Parker earlier this week in a terse email : "Despite the recent meeting with DC teaching fellows, you have not called a union meeting in six months. This violates our Constitution and you (Parker) are directly responsible for this on-going destruction of unionists' democratic rights." One has to wonder how important these IC's issues really are to Parker given that he hasn't conducted any union meetings (rep. assembly or membership mtgs.) as the WTU Constitution requires. Perhaps Parker's meeting with IC's is as Washington Post writer/blogger Bill Turque suggested about Parker's recent meeting with TFA/DC teaching fellows an attempt by him to reach out to a less active segment of the electorate to garner votes in the runoff election against the Nathan Saunders slate who received the most votes overall. I was in attendance at the TFA/DC Teacher Fellows meeting and the menu piled on crab cakes, London Broil and quesadillas while Parker promised to work on the DC fellows job related issues (i.e not being paid, exorbitant costs for private certification to the tune of $4000, etc.) and provide special IMPACT training.

Given that the city is demanding that teachers be held accountable for student performance- is this union meeting an appropriate use of Instructional Coaches time or is it the payback of Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson to Parker? As a Washington Teacher commenter wrote to me: "I expect this from Parker, who has pulled every trick out of the book to stay in office, but I'm feeling abused by Kaya Henderson right now. Gray better watch these actions. "


WTU Ballots Are In- We Need Your Vote!

Winning Round 1 of the WTU election was only the first step on this journey to build a participative democratic union that fights for the job security of our members, holds regular union meetings and legally challenges unfair IMPACT evaluations and wrongful terminations. The Saunders slate won the endorsement of former candidates - Liz Davis, Emily Washington, Chris and Ben Bergfalk.

Today we need to take another step together. The WTU run-off election decides who will be our union's leaders for the next three years.

That’s why we need you to vote and mail your ballot today.We have greatly appreciated your support over the years, but once again, we need your vote. Mark an X for the Saunders slate and place your ballot in the secret ballot envelope and mail it today. If you don't receive a ballot, call AAA @ 1-800-273-0726 to request a duplicate ballot.

Thanks,

Nathan Saunders

and

Candi Peterson

www.votesaunders2010.com

Nov 11, 2010

Vote Like Your Job Depends On It- WTU Ballots Are Coming Soon!

Candi Peterson, Candidate for WTU General Vice President & blogger in residence

Most voters agree that the Saunders slate is the best team for the job. Liz Davis , Emily Washington, Chris and Ben Bergfalk have given their personal endorsement to our slate. We won round 1 in the WTU elections. The election rules require the winner receive 51% of the vote. We need your vote again to win your vote in round 2 in the election run-off.

Recent events have created an atmosphere of instability and lack of respect previously unknown to DC teachers and school personnel. WTU "Hold Over" President Parker has failed to protect teachers jobs and secure teacher respect. The following factors threaten DC teachers and school personnel:

Unfair Impact Evaluations (i.e 737 teachers/school personnel were rated minimally effective, therefore subject to termination at the end of this school year). WTU hold over official says Impact Evaluations are not my fault.

Approximately 550 Highly Effective teachers are now vulnerable because their due process rights were traded for bonus pay.

In an October 29, 2010 DC Superior Court hearing, the 266 wrongfully terminated teachers were abandoned when the Parker supervised WTU legal counsel made no legal arguments for reinstatement, back pay and pain and suffering.

In the upcoming runoff election, some of the important considerations for voters must be due process rights, job security and teacher respect.

Vote Saunders Slate in the runoff election- mail your ballot immediately
Nathan Saunders and Candi Peterson have been working for teachers all along!