Oct 22, 2011

Silencing Dissent

I had the pleasure of doing an  interview with DC journalist, Pete Tucker who writes the FightBack blog and covers local news stories the main stream media shys away from. We were streaming live from Occupy DC. I hope you will read his article (below) and check out my interview @ http://thefightback.org/   


Seven months after the membership of the Washington Teachers’ Union elected Candi Peterson general vice president, she was unceremoniously, and possibly illegally, removed from office at the behest of WTU President Nathan Saunders. “Our president basically colluded with the chancellor’s office to [get rid of me],” Peterson said yesterday in an interview with TheFightBack that was livestreamed from Occupy DC at McPherson Square on K Street.
As a matter of contract, District of Columbia Public Schools grants WTU presidents and vice presidents leaves of absence from their teaching positions, which allows them to serve full time in their capacity as elected union officials. But DCPS and Saunders revoked Peterson’s leave in a September memorandum, forcing her to return to the classroom.
Peterson has been a fierce critic of the so-called school reform carried out by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee and her number two, Kaya Henderson, who replaced Rhee as chancellor. “Kaya Henderson has every reason to want to silence me. So does Nathan Saunders, I guess,” said Peterson.
The official word on Peterson’s status remains ambiguous. In a Sept. 21 letter to WTU members, Saunders said that Peterson “was not fired, terminated, nor ousted.” This is hard to square with the fact that she’s no longer general vice president and she didn’t step down by choice.
Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander questioned DCPS’s role in Peterson’s removal in an Oct. 18 email to the chancellor. Henderson responded, “President Saunders no longer required the full-time services of Ms. Peterson and therefore no longer needed her to be on leave from DCPS.”
Peterson, like Saunders, was elected by the WTU membership, and therefore it’s unclear whether DCPS has the legal right to revoke her absence based on the wishes of the president.
At a crucial time for DCPS, with talk of layoffs and school closings once again circulating, a critical voice is missing. Ironically, the effort to silence Peterson is being led not by the anti-union Rhee/Henderson team, but by the WTU president.
Related Links:
The Washington Teacher


Anonymous said...

I am all for fair play, but the "journalist" seemed to be just recording what Candi said, which is fine, but he should not claim this to be a news article, rather than a PR puff piece.

I am four square behind Candi receiving what is due her and the full benefit of due process, whatever that is.

That said, the WTU members continue to fight a difficult battle by trying to make the most of their perceived victimhood. It seems to me, and many other citizens and taxpayers, that that will never win us over. We need better education, and we would like the teachers to at least try and stop fighting every single change that comes down the pike. They got their raise, having voted overwhelmingly for the contract, and now they need to produce. Doesn't this make sense, eh?

Anonymous said...

Whats going on with special education teachers being expected to create lesson plans for 5 plus different subjects and classes off of a standard that the gen ed teacher may be teaching and not a LESSON
PLAN that the gen ed teacher would be using? Mind you we do not get any extra planning time compared to the other teachers who are only planning for one subject? This is even happening on the elementary and middle school levels. this is an average of 15-35 different lesson plans a week compared to a teacher having to create only 5 lesson plans a week.

Anonymous said...

Where are the comments Candi?

Candi Peterson said...

Reply to October 30 Anonymous @ 2:07 am
Unfortunately, I have no control over how journalists report the news. I suggest you contact Pete Tucker @ http://thefightback.org blog and let him know your dissatisfaction. Certainly, I had no control over how the Tucker's piece was crafted.

I agree there is too much bickering. I don't agree that teachers are fighting every change. Members like any employees want to be evaluated with an evaluation instrument that has been piloted and fair and doesn't change like the wind.

I am fighting the injustices done to me so I can back to do what I was elected to do as union VP. I am sorry if it appears to you that members are trying to make the most of being victims. That is just not the case with me.

Teachers are producing and working hard so I have to agree to disagree with your last comment- it just isn't true.

Candi Peterson said...

Reply to Anonymous, Oct. 30 9:29 pm

These are the types of issues I was fighting until I was silenced. I am sorry about the predicament and issues like these are why I need to get back to work.

Please refer these matters to the WTU Field Representative assigned to your school. Contact the WTU office @ 202-293-8600 to find out who the Field Rep is assigned to your school. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

the first post sounds like whiney jason kamras always complaining about teachers

Anonymous said...

Candi the interview format is no different than what Rhee always use to do. PR puff piece after PR puff piece. So I don't think anything is wrong when this format is used with you. Keep up the great work and I will look forward to your own story after you win.

usereason said...

anonymous at 2:07:

The teachers in DC are no different from teachers in Baltimore and other cities that have successfully negotiated teachers union contracts with the support of their teachers. DC teachers would not seem to "fight every single change that comes down the pike" if DCPS leadership would treat us like professionals as other cities have done.

Anonymous said...

Rhee constantly spoke out against teachers, principals and central office personnel at every opportunity, yet people didn't look at her as "whiny" or pesky. She self-aggrandized constantly, lying and exaggerating at will.

I am glad Candi is speaking out about how she is being silenced and censored, ironically by the very same Nathan Saunders who whined at every opportunity to any venue he could. Now, hypocrite that he is, he wants to shut Candi up.

Candi tries to fight for all teachers rights. Why is Saunders so much more quiet about the 266 riffed teachers? Is he, as Parker was with Rhee, in cahoots with Henderson?

History often repeats itself but in this case, WTU members have to stand up for their organization and not let Saunders' antics override the more important issues -- a fair evaluation system and protection from the Rhee regime, managed in name only by Kaya Henderson.