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Teachers to March on Union Offices

A group of D.C. public school teachers who want Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's salary proposal to come to a union vote say they will demonstrate outside of Washington Teachers' Union headquarters at 9 a.m. tomorrow. The protest is being promoted on the blog D.C. Teacher Chic, and several teachers have told The Washington Post of their plans to participate.

The teachers are upset by reports that union president George Parker is opposed to a provision of Rhee's plan that would require instructors to go on probation for a year and risk dismissal in order to remain in the top tier of proposed salaries and bonuses. The pay schedule could yield more than $100,000 annually for teachers with just five years of service.

Teachers also have the option under Rhee's system of taking less money and retaining tenure protections.

The union has been battling internally over Rhee's proposal, with some members initially upset that Parker would consider negotiating away seniority protections. They criticized the president for being too chummy with the chancellor. Tomorrow's protest will reflect those teachers who believe Rhee's proposals present an opportunity rather than a threat.

Bill Turque

By Marcia Davis  |  August 13, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
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Next: Fenty, Rhee Roadshow Goes to Denver


Love that closing line: Rhee's proposals represent an opportunity rather than a threat. And that's what it is, an opportunity for many hard-working teachers to get large salary increases, especially ones just starting out at the lowest rungs of the salary scale. With increased student achievement, what we all want as teachers anyway, we get paid. Let's bring this proposal to a vote, so we can all choose. Then we, as teachers, can individually decide which tier is best for us: red or green.

Posted by: Sasha | August 13, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is missing the point and that is, some studies have shown that parents have a great chance of improving student performance that the teachers or new fangle approaches. Rhee's plan is not tested.

Posted by: Jonathan R. Rees | August 13, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Bill, thank you. Thank you also for including the line about how teaching can choose another tier and retain tenure protection. :-)

Teachers, please join us tomorrow!

Posted by: | August 13, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Then let's test it by letting teachers choose. Rhee's plan may attract career changers who may become good teachers. With her plan, a career changer doesn't have to teach for 10 years before he/she gets a salary that is comparable to his/her old salary. He/she just have to do a good job teaching and build up experience.
We need to encourage good teachers to stay in the field and get the bad ones out.

Posted by: A teacher | August 13, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Bill can't wait for tomorrow's paper and movement! See you all there...

Posted by: mrshaight | August 13, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm just glad to hear that the contract isn't dead, that talks are continuing. Both Rhee and Parker need to know that there is a lot of support for this contract among various sectors of DC teachers. The above point about career changers is so true. I've worked with several retirees from different professions including the foreign service. I even knew of a former stock broker who left Wall Street to teach junior high math and make a difference in children's lives. It's time DCPS and other jurisdictions pay teachers as the professionals we are. And that is what this plan does. Let's vote on this plan!

Posted by: Toby | August 13, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I have worked for DCPS for 9 school years as a Speech Pathologist in the Dept. Special Education. How does this proposal measure the special education population (autism, mr, dd, ld, ed)? On both tiers red/green tenure is measured after the first year. I do not want my job performance to be at the subjective whimmperings of hormonal based, popularity contest, she think she knows to much, I just want to hire my friends, or the old she does not speak in the morning- under qualified, under educated, unvested hieracrchy that is ...........DCPS

Posted by: MS, CCC-SLP | August 13, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I can only imagine that the people in favor of Rhee's proposal are in the top achieving schools. Wouldn't it be nice to be placed at Wilson, instead of Ballou?!

Posted by: unionfriendly | August 13, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Screw the unions. Union leaders can go to hell.

Posted by: Karl | August 13, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Rhee, when she spoke at the informational sessions at McKinley recently said that most teachers in our bargaining unit are in untested grades. This probably means that something other than the DC CAS will have to be used. Exactly what types of measurement to be used for all the teachers teaching special ed, ESL, music, library, computer lab, PE, art, Pre-K, early childhood, cheminstry, Spanish, reading resource, speech therapy. etc. have yet to be determinded. Obviously measures other than the standardized DC CAS used to assess AYP will have to be devised. There are some precidents already. In special ed for the children with severe disabilities who don't take the DC CAS, a portfolio assessment is used. Pre-K begins the year with a skills pre-test given in September and ends the year with a post test. English language learners take an annual standardized assessment called ACCESS For ELLs. I see great flexibility and creativity in designing assessments to measure yearly student progress by teachers in the many special subjects. However, I still would like to hear some general thoughts or guidelines surrounding this by Rhee, as I know they've discussed this. Yet this piece does not make me against the plan at all. My students demonstrate progress and I have no problems documenting it.

Posted by: Toby | August 13, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Student progress happens throughout the system, not just in the so-called better schools. Though sometimes that progress looks different. If a teacher in SE is able to bring her 3rd graders, many not reading, some reading on the 1st or 2nd grade levels up to grade level by the end of the school year, that is progress. Shoot, that is significant progress. And this is the type of progress Rhee's plan seeks to reward in DCPS. Teachers, let's give this plan a try. In fact, it's the only union contract I've ever seen in DCPS that talks about student achievement.

Posted by: Sasha | August 13, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Here is the union greeting party:
Don't let that scare you teachers. Bring torches and use them generously on the devils.

Posted by: Derriere Chapeaux III | August 13, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Did you see this?

WOW, Kwame, my man. Go man go!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse


I teach at one of the lowest performing schools in the city, and I strongly support the green tier of this proposal. Do not assume.

Posted by: | August 13, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Most my students are learning to track objects, varigating babble, control saliva,; progress and what is determined to be progress is judge by the therapist and the functionality of the skill at hand. There is no one not the SLP supervisor, Rhee, or Fenty that has enough knowledge base to tell me if the skill although not academically based is worthy of a pay raise. There not the ones intervening with the children. Secondly, Im out on disability secondary to a severe injury that required surgery. No progress is being made or intervention by myself, so am I not worthy of the increase in salary secondary for being out for 2 months. Thank you to my UNION!!!!! whom without them I would not be recieving my salary to feed my family! So I will PASS on 100k salary, I'm close to making that already from DCPS without being subjected to your arbritrary bias based scales.

Posted by: MS, CCC-SLP | August 13, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

WELL LUCKY YOU MSCCC WHATEVER!!! I didn't know the union only serves YOU... that's what teachers like you don't understand... can the rest of us get up there without having to pay out more money to get more money or paying a baby sitter to watch our own personal kids so that we can go back to school and make more money or how about can you all share your salary with the teachers who have to use the "INCLUSION" methods going in our classrooms and keep those same kids from your classrooms when you are out that day or in one of your many meetngs!!! Did they go to s Special Ed babysitter???? No, they are in their classrooms too doing the same challenges but with the other 20+ students who are at different levels as well.. if anything ya'll have it easier because all of your kids are on the same level... mine even at the age of 3 and 4 year old students are below basic, basic, proficient, and comapre my 4 levels to your 1 level and then compare my barely making over 50k to your almost 100k... can I get my chance too!!! Good gracious! The nerve and selfishness of these people and our president of the union!!! If we choose to risk our jobs then that's what we choose!!! If you want to join green but want to bring your own need to stick with the red side and let the rest of us get green cause your rules aint working with Rhee's! Its not about U!!! Its about US ALL!!!!! If this contract becomes tentative it satisfies us all!!!!!!!

Posted by: | August 13, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

If this is about us all, why would we ever advocate a system where principals CAN fire us even if we're good performers? Tenure ensures that good teachers are able to stay in the classroom while bad teachers will do poorly on their evaluations...and they're outta there! And it doesn't matter green, red...ALL teachers deserve to be fairly treated, and therefore, be evaluated to determine whether or not they should be terminated. I won't even trust the appeal process; the Chancellor has already stated that she won't second-guess her principals. Where does that leave teachers? Out of a job...for what, being disloyal and raising concerns, let's say, about discipline in their school? No. Stand up FOR your rights, advocate for tenure AND the higher salaries! Who says you can't get both, teachers! It's your contract!

Posted by: AboutUsAll | August 13, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

You sound like a flake Mrs. Haight. One minute you saying one thing on the blog that Mr. Parker is right to request protection for the teachers and in the next breath you are saying something else. Take a position and stick with it. I am getting dizzy trying to follow your wavering opinions.

Posted by: teacherspet | August 13, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

to the last poster...

If you read on you would have seen where I did change my mind and then said disregaurd... I try to understand Mr.Parker, and he means well.. but he is a pro at charming and controlling the conversation which is my weakness with veterans... I become a child myself and they are an authority figure always to me! I give everyone the benefit of the doubt though, that is just me. An that was his point. Everyone needs a due process, which is what tenure protects. But he does prove a valid point which most people in the support the contract group don't worry about it and that's tenure as well. I would be highly upset if by getting caught up in a situation myself where I was on the chopping block, but...that's the risk I could take should I choose Green. I have the choice of choosing Red and that is what protects me and all that don't trust the contract but want to be supportive of those that do support the contract. I am not on the fence... I want the contract to go through for more reasons than money but for history as well! Like Bill said it is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY! Thanks.

Posted by: | August 13, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with many points here.. I disdain Unions who place worth on tenure not ability & performance.. commies.. but I also beleive "unionfriendly" has a point .. Teachers at schools such as Ballou deserve hazordous

Posted by: genbarlow | August 14, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

What people are obviously failing to acknowledge is that the pay plan is only one part of a contract. It is not the whole of a contract! Has Rhee ever identified the source(s) of the bonuses? NO!! Is there some commitment--in writing--from ANY foundation to fund the bonuses? NO!! What is the plan for pay beyond the proposed 5-year period ending in 2012? What are the criteria for evaluations and performance pay? None has been identified. What constitutes progress? I can't believe how some people are so blinded by the "promise" of a few extra dollars that they have not required answers to such critical questions before "demanding" that the Union bring this issue to a vote. We all could use extra $$$ in these tough financial times. However, I would not exchange my protections for double my salary (and I've received excellent evaluations for the past 10 years).

I can just see Rhee saying she "thought" some organizations were on board, but then they bailed. But, guess what? By then, we will have already signed away our protections--for nothing!!

And do you really believe that DCPS will pay an excessed teacher a full year's salary, with benefits, in exchange for no work at all? If you believe this, I really feel sorry for you. You cannot be this naive.

Don't be stupid colleagues. As "AboutUsAll" so eloquently stated, we should advocate for tenure AND higher salaries. There already is a process in place to terminate ineffective employees. In this political city, there is no way I would trust some "neutral party" to preside over an appeals process. Who will select such a person? And what criteria would s/he have in evaluating me. Tenure and seniority are non-negotiable items. We will not fall for this scam!!

Posted by: Special Educ8or | August 14, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

hazardous duty pay for attempting to provide an education to the unreachable .. statistically speaking. Bold steps are needed .. hence the new pay structure..

Posted by: genbarlow | August 14, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

What about that Wilson teacher who had high scores in a successful AP program and tons of support from parents and students but got dismissed anyhow?

Posted by: Wilson Fan | August 14, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Hello Haighters, Hello Hello....Look you do you..But I'm not about to be dazzled by the promise of money now and then at the end of the school year you worried and petrified if you offended the administration in someway that skews your job performance appraisal. If you think its soley going to based on test scores...than your an idiot and maybe should go back to school. We are dealing with humans that means personal relationships that means it is NEVER strictly objective!!! Rhee is known for firing without reason or justificiation. I refuse to give her that power. I have witness the pettiness, bickering, fighting, and degrading behaviors that go on at DCPS schools first hand...I would never leave it up to Rhee or her handpicked uneducated administrators to judge arbitraily wether or not I have a jobe the following school years. Yes, unfortunately there are more meetings and children than there are professionals, but if it wasn't for regular ed. teachers recommending every child whom was unruly as a way of getting them out of there classrooms, or parents, or the community , the ills of the world, etc...etc... Then I could be with my kids all the time. I like my job, but I love my profession. I went to school knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I went back to graduate to school ensure that regardless of what happens those initials make me employable, the credentials ensure I can provide for my family, be it in the educational arena, acute care, rehab, geriatrics, or pediatrics. Go ahead get your money HAITERS hopefully you can keep your job in the process.

Posted by: MS, CCC-SLP | August 14, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Under Rhee's proposed green/proformance based pay...will teacher's be held accountable for student's who are enrolled in their course, but absent from their classroom? My wife teaches at Dunbar and her class average for students who attended her class on a regular basis was a B. However, when the administrators at Dunbar calculated her class average for all students enrolled in her course, the average was an F.

So it begs the question...If there is a high correlation between attendance and grades/proformance...and I know it may be a jump...sigh... to assume a correlation to proformance on standardized tests will teachers, no matter how brilliant and motivating, meet the goals for the bonus?

Also, are DC truancy officers going to be paid on a proformance based system as well?

Posted by: New DC Resident | August 14, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

MSCCC, you are missing my point but... you sound like if this contract does favor those in support of it that you may leave the system...good riddens (sp...)holla...and please do write us in the future and tell us of how your profession is paying you the same and I will reply with how my first two years will be worth more than all of your years put together!!!! The majority of the meeting was based on this my dear! Satisfying people who feel the same way...
Futhermore... you all will find out soon the results of the meeting and it should satisfy the majority of us! Im not going into detail, find out on your should have been there MSCCC!...and I will leave you at that! I do enjoy my life aside teaching and e-arguing! Have a good day and an even better school year!

Posted by: mrshaight | August 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This is what DC Teacher Chick keep shouting: As an individual with tenure, you don't need to go green. Stay red, get a decent raise (for nothing) and keep your tenure. Let the rest of us risk for rewards. There's actually a tremendous advantage to those of us teaching lower performing students - there's more growth to show. If you're worried, go red! But why would you vote against my right to go green?

Posted by: Miguel_Thema | August 14, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Think People Think. Money isn't everything. Once you give up a hard won right you'll never get it back.

Posted by: DC Teach | August 14, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Bill, thanks for meddling in union affairs.
I'm sure your guild must be proud, your ego too since you seem to be a minor blog celebrity. I'm curious as to how this will be spun in your post or story tomorrow. 8-10 teachers show up for a protest. They portend to represent a sizable faction of DC teachers. I'm wondering where the other 3998 teachers were. Seem to be a slow news month. Also seems many outlets got punked.

Posted by: Urban Teacher | August 14, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Haight I guess you should have been there also only 8 teachers showed up? I dont understand your question about my salary. And if this proposal was a majority view point of teachers, then how come Rhee paid teachers a thousand dollars a week admin pay to try to convince other teachers that it was beneficial??????

Posted by: MS, CCC-SLP | August 14, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

DUH MCC I WAS THERE!!!! CHECK WJLA OR DCTEACHERCHIC.BLOGSPOT.COM There are many more... we gathered these few in 2 days over many of you read your emails while on vacation or everyday? Some but not manyu...and we mentioned it to hundreds of other supporters who are still tied up in NTO, vacations, doctor's appointments, whatever...we don't have to be "too deep" at the union... we are deep in George Parkers ear as those who oppose are too... he is doing what's right... there is a right and wrong to everything and the opposing team is wrong! Heis making it secure and that is all that we need... be ready to work people... CHANGE IS A COMING!!!

And stop being BAMBOOZLED by the opposing team as well folks! A job is not a scam... not working your job, relying on security, and being lazy all day is a SCAM!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Midnight on the oasis. Send your camel to bed.

Posted by: Joe Camel | August 15, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

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