Nov 30, 2010


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).


Schoolgal said...

This is great news!!! You took on the big guys and won. The story is posted on Support.

AD said...

Congratulations!!! I am no longer with DCPS, but know that you have worked very hard to fight for the rights of those employed with DCPS, Now that Michelle Rhee is gone, I might just come back. Keep up the good work. I know that great things are to come under your leadership.

Kudos to you!

ed notes online said...

Greetings from NYC. Great News!!

Pogue said...

Congratulations! This is wonderful news for teachers not only in D.C., but across the U.S. We are envious in NYC.

DCNeverSleeps said...


Let's hope for better days.

Let's hope for more teacher support.

Good luck.

PS Rhee may be gone as chancellor but I heard she is still around. Does anybody know anything about her future?

NYC Educator said...

Congratulations Candi! I'm so happy for you--and for all the teachers in DC, who finally have something to be inspired by.

Anonymous said...

From good olde Bronx, NY, this teacher wants to tell you guys CONGRATS!!!

The members have chosen their leader and it's time for your union to start that strong and progressive movement as Karen Lewis is doing in Chicago.

It's time for educators to take back our schools.

From West EC said...

Congratulations, felicitaciones, mazel tov!! You guys did it!! This is great news for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you, Candi, and Nathan Saunders.

Celebration is in order.

Trying to overturn teacher evaluations and already justified terminations, though, are both wastes of time.

You should devote your efforts to the kids in your classrooms.

Efavorite said...

Candi - You and Saunders sure look happy!

You deserve to, after all your hard work and constant support for teachers - the primary purpose of a teachers union.

Best of luck to you in this totally new climate - no Rhee, no Fenty, no Parker. All gone and rightly so.

I do believe the nation is watching, so I'm counting on you to use your new influence to serve our students and teachers well.

Lynne said...

Dear Candi,
Congratulations. As a fellow social worker I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished. You have truly helped to elevate our image in the system. Who better than a social worker to advocate and fight for the rights of the common man. This is your calling and I know that our union is in great hands under your leadership.
Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

This is really not a celebration nor a victory! Only 558 teachers voted for you and Saunders which tells you that almost none of us have faith in you or Nathan. It is a scary world out there and now our union is in scary hands too! This is a tragedy.... we have just gone BACKWARDS! Back to the days of Marion Barry, Barbara Bullock and now Nathan Saunders. I am scared!!!

Quietstorm said...

Congratulations!!! Now that Fenty is on his way out and Rhee is gone my hope is that the "reign of terror" (i.e. mass firings, impact, students last mentality) will soon be over!!!

Sheila H. Gill said...

Happy Holidays!!

WTU Membership deserve better leadership and "NOW" we have a "DREAM TEAM!"

It pays to know the facts, commit and work together collectively!

Fenty, Rhee and Parker are "HISTORY!"
Candi and Nathan have the "VICTORY!"

Congratulations Candi and Nathan!!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:36 AM

You will not put a damper on this moment.

Keep your negative comments to yourself. Again, you are still lying with the dogs and drinking the Rheeform kool-aid.

Who are Kamras or Henderson?

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...


Candi, the national spotlight is on DC teachers and I believe you have the ability to place TEACHERS in the forefront of reform. Specifically I hope you and Mr. Saunders join Vincent Gray in seeking changes that will bring true benefits to the children of the district:

pre- and post-natal care for all infants;

high-quality preschool for toddlers;

fully qualified new teachers (do NOT accept people with six weeks of summer training);

support personnel (nurses, social workers, psychologists) for the most challenged schools;

small classes.

For teachers, insist on fair treatment, according to law. Start by getting as much input as possible from practitioners to make certain that all children have the best teachers possible. Other teachers know who is effective and who is not.

Encourage teachers to start and run their own charter schools. It's time for teachers to insist on full professional standing.

Make certain you have the best legal representation possible. It's illegal to fire experienced, fully qualified black teachers and replace them with inexperienced white girls. If this happened, seek redress in the courts. Also, look into the matter of paying agencies to find teachers when so many qualified people were available, free of charge. Follow the money.

Take the lead, Candi! You can do it!!!

Gloria said...

WOW! Wonderful to wake up to some good news for a change. As we struggle here in NYC, it sure does help to see victories in other cities. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Candi! I noticed you did not mention about the probationary teachers that were terminated in 2009, some without evaluations. Do you plan on looking into some of those cases?

David said...

Sisters and Brothers,

Nathan Saunders and Candi Peterson, reform union leaders who will stand up to the privatizers and the budget cuts, have won a tough race in DC, ground zero for the attacks on public education. This is a huge victory. Congratulations to them--and their entire slate.

This is another big step in the right direction for the reform movement beginning to sweep teacher unions. Nathan and Candi are our friends, our kind of people, and represent the new face of union leadership. During the summer of '09, they spent three days with some of us, along with activist militants from SF, NYC and Chicago, here at United Teachers L.A., where we discussed our fight against the attacks and how to reform our unions to meet the challenges we face.

Union "leaders" who want to give in to the districts and the politicians better watch out. Reformers like Nathan and Candi won't win every battle, but they come to play. And they will have many, many of us behind them.


Anonymous said...

Candi & Nathan,

Thanks 4 all you do! May GOD continue 2 bless you'll & ur families! We are ready move forward.


Anonymous said...

Hey folks,

Catina is trying to be the Chair of the Education Committee under the Gray/Brown leadership.

Looks like a new battle is forming. Please do not wait to speak out on this matter. Catina is a Rhee loving fake Rheeformer.

Five To Go said...

Candi and Nate Rock!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.12 You know what.. to all the "haters", I want you to know that in the midst of it all, there were more than 558 teachers who approve of this wonderful dream team slate!!! But,,,,the sad thing is... they did not vote. Have a coke and a smile!

Lori J said...

Congratulations from all your fans in Sacramento! Go Candi and here's to better days for DC teachers, students and parents.

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...


I have a suggestion. You and Mr.Saunders might want to offer a course to your teachers regarding the law: "The Teacher and the Law." Many teachers do not realize that along with their many legal responsibilities, they have many legal protections as well. For example, a teacher does not have to put up with a student who is violent or defiant. Along with most workers, s/he doesn't have to tolerate a hostile working environment, threats or discrimination based on gender, age and race.

Many teachers believe there is nothing they can do if administration ignores their pleas for help, but that's not necessarily true. The union, especially if they have a good attorney, can really help teachers who are suffering on the job.

A teacher does not give up her civil rights at the schoolhouse door.

Reading over my comments, it sounds like I'm just saying the obvious, but I know from experience that many teachers don't know their rights. I hope you help them find out what they are.

Jawaralal Snyder (not official name) said...

Y is Linda/Retired Teacher playing th race card, all the way from California? Is she some sort of outside agitator, or what?

Let's give Candi and Nate a chance without outside interference.

I hav a little concern that the new mgt of Local Six is going to stir the pot and get it too hot.

Time to settle down and educate. Let's not make enemies.

Kirt Undercoffer said...

As Ms. Gill said:

>> Fenty, Rhee and Parker are "HISTORY!"

Not totally since people who's idea of educational reform congruent with Rhee et all (abusive actions toward teachers, weak or no support for teachers, mass firings and in some cases firings for personal reasons) are still very much in power. Like David Pinder at McKinley for example.

Now hopefully the current union leadership can right the situation and also engage in real reform so that our kids can blossom and maximize their contributions and opportunities.

Kirt Undercoffer said...

Hello LindaRetiredTeacher-

>> For example, a teacher does not have to put up with a student who is violent or defiant. Along with most workers, s/he doesn't have to tolerate a hostile working environment, threats or discrimination based on gender, age and race.
Well I did have to put up with it while teaching computer science and web design at McKinley Technology HS from 2006-2009 (fired last day of school 2009 90 day plan - Spann conducting observations, no support at all from admin or teaching coaches or union.

I second your suggestion. DC will be a hostile environment for teachers going forward. I didn't realize how hostile it could be.

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

I did not understand what Snyder meant by my playing the race card. I was referring to all rights that people in our country, including teachers, enjoy. Many teachers do not know what these rights are but they should. Teachers need to know the law as it applies to schools and educators. When these laws are ignored, students are often the first to suffer.

For example, Kirt said that he received no help from the administration or the union. In DC is the administration required to help a teacher under the 90 day plan? Is a union legally obliged to help a teacher who might have been unfairly dismissed? These are answers teachers need to know and I'm hoping the union will help them find out.

Teachers all over the country are interested in what is happening in DC. We are proud of your accomplishment and wish you the very best!

Anonymous said...

Retired Teacher,
You clearly don't know the culture of fear and intimidation that DC teachers have experienced under Rhee and Fenty, in some schools more than others. I encourage you to read the article in today's Post re. Dunbar. I know for a fact that those teachers reached out to many people over the years, but it has taken until Rhee's departure and sadly the "rape or supposed rape" (the facts remain unknown) of a child for anything to happen. Teachers feel abandoned, demoralized, and disillusioned. I'm glad we have new leadership in the Union, and hope that it signals an era of support and equal treatment for all teachers regardless of which school they work in. Candi and Nathan, teachers in the partner schools really need your help right now, please reach out to them.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I voted for you because teachers deserve stronger representation.

Now I am anxious to see what you can do to improve the situation for DC teachers. Morale is very low. Many teachers who were rated “effective” last year are being rated “minimally effective” this year. At the beginning of the school year our principal let us know that people who received 3’s last year can expect 2’s this year. What are you going to do to help teachers who are working hard for their students, only to be insulted by a poor rating during their unannounced 1/2 hour evaluation?

At my school our primary interest is in finding a fair evaluation tool for teachers. We are passionate about our kid’s education and we are working at a break neck pace to improve for our students. Telling reflective, hardworking teachers that they are not effective does not help to improve their practice. Most of us are getting ready to throw in the towel. We love our students, but we will love our students in VA and MD too. Unless major changes are implemented soon, DCPS will be losing all of the teachers who are talented enough to find jobs elsewhere.

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

Anonymous @ 10:30 AM:

From what I've read I DO understand the constant fear and intimidation that DC teachers have to put up with. That's why I'm hoping the new leadership in the WTU can do something about it. Every employee has a right to a working environment free of harassment and intimidation.

We all know that an overly stressed parent is usually not able to do his best for his child; well, the same is true for the teacher.

As a retired teacher, I know that administrators fear teachers and parents who reach to the outside (the press, the law) for help and that's why I hope the union gets the best legal advice possible. It's also good to let journalists know what's going on.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the clarification Retired Teacher, we need all the support we can get.

Citizen said...

What happens to unqualified, non certified white teachers taking the teaching jobs from certified black teachers. No matter how anyone looks at it WRONG IS WRONG, RIGHT IS RIGHT and we will not give up because Fenty, Rhee, and School administrators did it on wrong purpose. The city Government will not rest until the new Mayor and his administration address the racial and age discrimination in DC Government, especially DCPS. We will fight by/and with All MEANS NECESSARY.

Anonymous said...

@Linda/Retired Teacher:

Why do you have to bring race into the discussion? Are you a racist, or at best, a race-baiter?

"...It's illegal to fire experienced, fully qualified black teachers and replace them with inexperienced white girls. If this happened, seek redress...

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...


In case you haven't noticed, there is bias in our country based on race, gender, disabilities, religion and ethnicity. There are federal and state laws that make it a crime to discriminate against people on the basis of these characteristics.

I support civil liberties for all people. Don't you?

If any laws were broken in regard to the dismissal of D.C. teachers, I hope the union and the city seek justice for these people. Don't you? If not, why not?

Do you know the definition of a racist? I am a person who believes in equal treatment, under the law, for people of all races. That's the opposite of "racist."