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Parker: New contract ready after spring break

Washington Teachers' Union president George Parker e-mailed and robo-called members late Wednesday night to say that he hoped details of the long-awaited labor pact with DCPS would be available as early as their return from spring break on April 6. (Break begins Friday).

There have been numerous "peace is at hand" declarations throughout the tortured two-year-plus course of talks between WTU and D.C. Public Schools, but this looks like the real deal. Both sides have been discussing the details of a roll out strategy, and Parker said in the e-mail that informational sessions will be set up for teachers to ask questions about the accord, which is expected to give Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee more latitude to replace ineffective teachers and set up a limited pay-for-performance system.

One big reason the pace has clearly picked up is because Rhee and Parker both know that they are working against the clock. Parker faces a challenge from general vice president Nathan Saunders in union elections scheduled for May. Without a contract that puts new money in the pockets of teachers who haven't had a raise in close to three years, he could face a tough race. In Saunders, Rhee would be dealing with a new union president who has been among her most outspoken critics.

Here's the full text of Parker's e-mail:

March 24, 2010


Dear WTU Member:

I am pleased to inform you that the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) is finalizing discussions with D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) on a new tentative contract agreement (TA). There still are a few technical issues we are working to resolve, but I hope to have an announcement and details on the new TA ready when you return from spring break. Shortly after your return, all members will receive an update outlining the next steps toward our new contract. In the meantime, I have impressed upon DCPS that it is imperative they move with all expediency to resolve the outstanding issues.

I am confident that the document we are crafting is an innovative agreement that provides a path toward the goal of supporting effective teaching and learning in our schools. In the coming weeks, we expect to make an official announcement of the TA. Immediately following the announcement, members will receive an information packet containing a copy of the tentative agreement, a TA summary and highlights, and a "Q&A" focusing on key changes in the agreement.

We will schedule a series of Contract Informational Sessions to give members a forum to ask questions and get further clarification on the TA. Finally, members will have an opportunity to participate in a secret ballot vote on the new agreement.

I want to commend the members of the WTU Negotiations Team for their hard work and commitment to bargaining a contract that will be good for students and fair to teachers.

Thank you for your continued patience and support throughout this process.



In unity,


George Parker
President

By Bill Turque  |  March 25, 2010; 6:47 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'll believe it when I see it.
(nothing substantive to say until I see the contract :-) )

Posted by: Wyrm1 | March 25, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Excellent, I hope this ends the WTU's astroturfing of these DCPS comments.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 25, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"which is expected to give Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee more latitude to replace ineffective teachers and set up a limited pay-for-performance system."

But teachers will no longer want to teach students whose parents aren't involved in their education, as those students perform lower. Not only that, but teachers will no longer want to teach slower students because they will again perform lower.

Not only that, but principals will give higher performing students to the teachers they favor (not the better teachers, but the ones that the principal recieves favors from).

IN ADDITION, WHERE IS THE REVIEW FOR HER? CHANCELORS WHO ARE INEFFECTIVE NEED TO BE REMOVED - BUT THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT REMOVING HER.

SHE NEEDS TO BE REMOVED BEFORE SHE DOES MORE DAMAGE.

Posted by: aby1 | March 25, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, I hope this ends the WTU's astroturfing of these DCPS comments.

Posted by: bbcrock | March 25, 2010 11:02 AM
***************

Ah, I see Rhee's pet, the EDUCATED polecat, did not fail to show up.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | March 25, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Ain't this something. I guess the principal union will be next and the world of DCPS will be a better place.

On another note...who did he [Parker] send this letter to...if the old-veterans were laid off in October and newbies are not joining the union?

Great job Kaya...you accomplished something where others in your position failed miserably.

Now we all be sitting real pretty when the race to the top money comes through and it's "dancing in the streets." You will begin to hear muzak piped into DCPS headquarters blaring..."happy days are here again...."

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 25, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

A new contract will not save Parker. Most people will not vote for a contract that gives more power to Rhee.

Posted by: fmurray20011 | March 25, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Your right fmurray2011...ratification of a contract can't definitely be a mood killer. I am sensing the challenge of membership is lurking somewhere in la-la land.

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 25, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say "it can be a mood-killer."

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 25, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

No, a new contract will not save Parker, even if it's ratified. My bet is the contract goes through and Parker still loses.

Posted by: chelita | March 25, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, I hope this ends the WTU's astroturfing of these DCPS comments.

************************************

Wow, if WTU is astroturfing, they are doing a horrible job since about 10-15 folks supportive(ish) of teachers regularly post.

Of course, in fairness, the WTU could be doing a horrible job of trying to astroturf, since they do a pretty poor job at most of their core functions.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | March 25, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

If any teacher buy into the Rhee and Parker new contract, their days will be limited at DCPS and will be seeking unemployment benefits.

Posted by: sheilahgill | March 25, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Sheila,

Why say that before we have even seen the contract? Everything I'm hearing is that it is easier to get rid of bad teachers in exchange for halfway decent pay raises.

Frankly, I don't mind if there is a better system to help to improve, but if that doesn't work get rid of ineffective teachers (because quite honestly there are a bunch of them where I teach).

I know that this will put me in the minority above teachers, but I do think that there should be some form of reasonably objective procedure (NOT test scores exclusively) that allows us to help teachers who need help, and if they don't improve leave the field.

I suppose it's possible that Rhee would cacklingly use this power to fire every teacher in DCPS, but that seems pretty unlikely given that there probably aren't a ton of good teachers dying to come to DC given her reputation.

I want to see the contract, hope it doesn't stink too much, and vote accordingly.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | March 26, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Wyrm1 -
Sheila Gill is one of riffed DCPS employees, which explains most of her posts.

I am glad to see you have an open mind about the contract. The truth is, the existing DCPS teachers contract is bad for new teachers (who can get bumped very easily) and overly protective of senior teachers. There needs to be a balance, and I hope it is struck in the new contract.

Posted by: trace1 | March 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Sheila,

Why are you so threatened by a contract you have not read?

Posted by: axolotl | March 29, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

George Parker: thanks so much for the support you gave to your hometown and DCPS colleagues by not signing the RttT application. You have shown your total allegiance to those who are totally self-focused teachers, rather than on education or the profession of teaching, or, to remind you, on the children. You and Randi deserve each other, but your members do not, except for those who don't want to improve their effectiveness. She's keeping her gigantic salary while you go back to the classroom. In doing so, please recommit to education of the District's children as your first priority. Thank you for your service as a teacher.

Posted by: axolotl | March 30, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Bill, I only hope that you will write an "reactionary" article upon the revealing of such contract. Communication is key. Someone mentioned "getting rid of bad teachers," STOP USING THAT AS AN EXCUSE, I HAVE BEEN HEARING THAT AS AN ALIAS FOR THE Topsey-turvey BUREAUCRACY. Why are we so afraid of "seniority". It is used in political realms, religious realms, business realms, congressional realms, educational realms, legality realms, and even medical realms. Definition- according to West's Encyclopedia
n.
"The state of being older than another or others or higher in rank than another or others.
Precedence of position, especially precedence over others of the same rank by reason of a longer span of service." Again, the same goes for "tenure". New teachers and old teachers alike, read the contract.

Posted by: abc1236 | March 30, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

abc126: for some teachers, time makes them better. and for some, time makes them worse, or they stay the same. Impact evaluations is the only tool we have to identify who is who. And if we appear to guarantee lifetime employment, the quality will go down further. So, we taxpayers/citizens/parents do not want to give teachers tenure without expecting steady improvement and performance.

Posted by: axolotl | March 30, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Impact is not a reliable or validated tool to measure "effectiveness." Hoepfully, the word" impact" is not used in the contact. Seniority is "the state of being older than another or others or higher in rank than another or others. Precedence of position, especially precedence over others of the same rank by reason of a longer span of service." It has nothing to do with bad teachers, good teachers or quality.

Posted by: abc1236 | March 30, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

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