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Private $$$ for teachers must be "legally binding"

If, for some reason, the private foundations Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee says are lined up to fund at least a portion of teacher salary increases don't deliver, the District is on the hook. That's the judgment of Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, as laid out in an Oct. 14, 2008 letter to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray.

Gandhi will soon be asked to evaluate a financial package in the proposed DCPS labor contract that is allegedly in the final stages of formation. Before any deal can be ratified by the council, he must provide a "certification of funding sufficiency," meaning that the money promised in the contract is actually available.

Ordinarily, this would involve Gandhi looking at the District's own resources -- not all that flush at the moment -- and rendering an opinion. In this case, he'll have to be persuaded that the potential private sources are stable enough to use as the basis for a contract with the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU).

"In the case of a labor agreement that involves the use of private funding, the OCFO [Office of the Chief Financial Officer] would use the same process in certifying fund sufficiency," Gandhi wrote. "Accordingly, in this case the OCFO would insist on some form of legally binding commitment from donors (e.g., a contract, notice of grant approval)."

Moreover, he said, it was his opinion that the District "would remain obligated to provide funding to uphold the collective bargaining agreement in the event that private funds became unavailable."

Gray asked Gandhi about the issue back in the fall of 2008, when Rhee and the Washington Teachers' Union were nearly a year into trying to hash out an agreement. Union president George Parker told teachers this week that details of a proposed contract could be available for their review after they return from spring break on April 6.

Read the letter here


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By Bill Turque  |  March 26, 2010; 2:16 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wow - she better have the money. This is going to be interesting.

Posted by: TheReflectiveEducator | March 26, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't the contract contain a provision rating the chancellor and firing her is she found to be unsatisfactory?

Posted by: resc | March 26, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Bill Gates had everything to do with the drive to give Mayor Fenty control of the DCPS. His money was behind it. Once that was accomplished Gates lobbied for Rhee as Chancellor.

Fenty, who really is not on the inside on this, just an ambitious politician ready to do as he's told for the sake of his own advancement, actually came to Miami with a small delegation of DC leaders to interview Dr. Rudy Crew for the job, someone far and away more qualified than Rhee, but then isn't everyone, more qualified that is?

Fenty would have given the job to someone like Crew but Bill and Melinda Gates wanted Rhee who is a darling of the forces who want to smash the public schools and privatize education in the US. She had proven herself to them as the steward of one of the cults they fund, the New Teacher Project. Rhee is a "true believer" so she took the job at a relatively low salary, $275,000, and she gave up the bonus she was eligible for this year. They were talking about $600,000 with Crew.

When Rhee tried to destroy the WTU with her two-tiered salary proposal it was completely beyond the funds available in the DCPS budget. But she claimed to have at her disposal private money from Gates, Eli Broad (multi-billionaire founder of KB Homes), Michael Dell (multi-billionaire owner of Dell computers), and the Walton (Wal-Mart, more money than God) Family.

We've come to the moment of truth for Ms. Rhee now. How many dollars are the oligarchs actually willing to invest in her and how strongly do they believe she can destroy the DCPS? Coincidentally, we'll also find out just how much George Parker can scratch and shuffle before the powers that be.

Posted by: natturner | March 27, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Bill Gates had everything to do with the drive to give Mayor Fenty control of the DCPS. His money was behind it. Once that was accomplished Gates lobbied for Rhee as Chancellor.

Fenty, who really is not on the inside on this, just an ambitious politician ready to do as he's told for the sake of his own advancement, actually came to Miami with a small delegation of DC leaders to interview Dr. Rudy Crew for the job, someone far and away more qualified than Rhee, but then isn't everyone, more qualified that is?

Fenty would have given the job to someone like Crew but Bill and Melinda Gates wanted Rhee who is a darling of the forces who want to smash the public schools and privatize education in the US. She had proven herself to them as the steward of one of the cults they fund, the New Teacher Project. Rhee is a "true believer" so she took the job at a relatively low salary, $275,000, and she gave up the bonus she was eligible for this year. They were talking about $600,000 with Crew.

When Rhee tried to destroy the WTU with her two-tiered salary proposal it was completely beyond the funds available in the DCPS budget. But she claimed to have at her disposal private money from Gates, Eli Broad (multi-billionaire founder of KB Homes), Michael Dell (multi-billionaire owner of Dell computers), and the Walton (Wal-Mart, more money than God) Family.

We have now arrived at the moment of truth for Ms. Rhee. How many dollars are the oligarchs actually ready to invest in her? How strongly do they believe she is the right person to accomplish the destruction of the DCPS? Coincidentally, we will also learn how well George Parker scratches and shuffles before the powers that be.

Posted by: natturner | March 27, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Slightly off topic, but there was this announcement recently, but I haven't seen it in the Post:

Will $99 Moby tablet swim or sink?

In a development that it claims will be a game-changer in education, technology company Marvell has announced the prototype of a $99 tablet computer that students can use to surf the web, interact with electronic textbooks and other digital media, and collaborate with each other around the globe.

Marvell also announced a pilot program in partnership with the Washington, D.C., Public Schools, in which the company will donate a Moby tablet to every child in an at-risk school as part of a multi-year program in new media and learning.
Marvell said it would announce more details about this program at a future date


http://www.eschoolnews.com/2010/03/26/will-99-tablet-swim-or-sink/

Posted by: edlharris | March 28, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Well, please get on topic, ed. Tablets are no panacea.

Posted by: axolotl | March 29, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

It's astounding to me that people have argued in other comments that this private money won't give these moguls influence over DCPS. Seriously? Did you all just get here from outer space?

Posted by: wakeupfolks99 | March 29, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

to wakeupfolks 99. Let us assume, for now, that you are right and donors will "have influence." How will they use it? To implement a plot? If so, to do what? How do the donors benefit?

Posted by: axolotl | March 29, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@axoloti

By breaking the Washington Teachers Union (WTU) and having DC-styled reform adopted as the model. Education becomes the 3rd largest unregulated industry in the U.S.
Look at the growth of Kaplan education, which is owned by the Washington Post Company, and is currently under investigation by the Department of Education. Buty you wouldn't know it by reading the Post. http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/34016

Posted by: KwameFan | March 30, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

KwameFan--Kaplan indeed produces most of WP profits. But Kaplan does not intrude on the businesses of K-12 public education. It does not do that. Seeks no biz w public school systems. I agree WP should cover it more.

Posted by: axolotl | March 30, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@ Axolotl
@ Bill Turque
Thanks for the civil response. Here is some food for thought:
http://www.broadcenter.org/

Check out the Board of Directors for the Broad Center
http://www.broadcenter.org/about/board.html

Review the Broad Center Website and Current CEO and tell me they are not into k-12 education. I await your reply

Posted by: KwameFan | March 30, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

and dollars to doughnuts The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation are part of the private donors for this bait and switch

Posted by: KwameFan | March 30, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

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