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Is Teacher Poll A "Push?"

Some D.C. public school teachers say that questions they got this week in a telephone survey sounded as if they were designed to encourage opposition to D.C. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's big money-for-tenure proposal. But the American Federation of Teachers, which hired Peter D. Hart Research Associates, said it was merely trying to help its local affiliate, the Washington Teachers Union, get a better handle on member sentiment.

That's not how it sounded to D.C. Teacher Chic, a blog authored by a southeast Washington elementary school teacher. "I was just push polled!" she declared Tuesday, describing some questions that she found tendentious.

Push polling is a tactic usually employed by political campaigns to spread negative information about a person or an issue. More likely, the Hart survey was a "message testing" poll, which can include positive and negative information about an issue or a candidate.

Bill Turque

By Marcia Davis  |  August 8, 2008; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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Very well, Turque. Technically speaking, by definition, this was probably not a push-poll. However, the AFT is still shameless in its attempts to kill this contract.

Posted by: | August 8, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The AFT is not guilty of trying to kill this contract. The organization represents ALL teachers--those for and against the contract. Rather, it is the overwhelming number of teachers who clearly see through Rhee's plan to arbitrarily fire teachers, likely those veterans at the top of the pay scale. DC teachers are not stupid enough to fall for this ploy. So, back to the negotiating table she must go!!

Posted by: Teach2 | August 9, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse


Don't you understand that the red plan offers NO change to tenure? In other words, teachers choosing that plan would still get huge pay increases, but would not lose their tenure at all?

I am tired of the opposition to this plan, since most of it is coming from people who haven't read it.

Posted by: | August 9, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Yet, D.C. Teacher Chic, there is no contract, and all NEW teachers would be green...why negotiate away your tenure when all you should be demanding is a fair evaluation that WORKS so we can get rid of bad teachers.

Posted by: Rationality | August 9, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

The reason why there is a poll question that includes the fact that teachers will be giving up tenure and seniority for big pay raises is not to ensure a fixed response but because Rhee and Parker said repeatedly at the meetings that the teachers lost seniority in 1996!!! Yes there is misinformation but it is being driven by Rhee's office. If a teacher chooses the red system they will NOT have the same rights as now. Currently, we do have seniority. The language in the information packet will completely strip us of this. Also, there is a serious problem here and that is that the only vague part of the proposal which they say still needs to be worked out is the criteria for firing teachers. This is a huge issue. I am not going to trust Rhee that it will be fair. Look at the 'at will' employees that were given no due process.

Posted by: mommyof2 | August 9, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Some of y'all don't understand that Rhee's reform agenda means getting rid of teachers. Or maybe you do get it. I support her proposal and want to vote on it. My frigging, unreprentative of me union, dominated by people unemployable anywhere else, has highjacked this thing. Some teachers, who have had years of union protection, and worn out principals trying to do it, just have to go. Their age, race, seniority and any other factors shouldn't matter. What matters is their performance and how their teaching impacts student learning, or not. These are the ones holding this contract hostage.

Posted by: Sasha | August 9, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Amen, Sasha. But I also understand others' mistrust of Rhee. Some of her actions (or the actions of her staff) have seemed arbitrary and motivated by something other than gains for students. She has yet to earn the trust of many and some of those who trusted her have been burned.

Posted by: terpteacher | August 10, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Teacher Chic:

I HAVE read the bogus plan!! Did you happen to notice several glaring omissions: No criteria for the bonus pay, no "contracted" source(s) identified to pay the bonuses, no criteria for how teachers will be evaluated, etc.? A rep from the Gates Foundation was quoted in the W. Post a couple weeks ago that they have not even discussed funding Rhee's plan, yet Rhee has intimated that they would be a source of the funding. This woman is a liar and thinks we are stupid enough to subject ourselves to arbitrary terminations. If we make concessions (e.g., voluntary probation) now, we likely will never get our rights back. (Remember the No-Strike clause? We never should have given up such a powerful bargaining option.) Rhee obviously thought we'd be blinded by the "prospect" of big paydays. Those of us "in the know", however, really do know better!

Yes, there are poor teachers. I say tweak the termination process. But giving up due-process rights is non-negotiable!

Posted by: Teach2 | August 11, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I simply cannot for the life of me understand why this administration is firing teachers such as the best biological science teacher my daughter ever had at Wilson Senior High. Except that maybe they can fire a proven master teacher with 18 years of demonstrated success and then hire a couple of new, untested college grads cheaper.

Posted by: citizenw | August 11, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

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