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AFT moves on WTU election takeover

Update 8:30 pm: The WTU has filed suit against the AFT, asking a federal judge to issue an injunction blocking the national union from conducting the local's election.

It wasn't long ago that the Washington Teachers Union and its national parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers, were locked in a high-stakes contract fight with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Now it looks like they've gone to war against each other.

AFT president Randi Weingarten has made good on her threat to assume control of the WTU's stalled elections, announcing late Tuesday that she had placed the local under an "administratorship" to conduct the balloting in a timely manner. The move, which the AFT says does not interfere with the union's day-to-day operations, came after WTU president George Parker and the union executive board refused to comply with an Aug. 4, order to begin the election immediately.

You can read the details of the internecine feud here, here, here and here.

"The AFT intervened for one purpose only--to ensure that the WTU membership has the right to a timely and fair election of its officers," Weingarten said in a statement. "Intervention like this is uncommon, and we avoid in every way possible involving ourselves in political differences between union officers."

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By Bill Turque  |  August 18, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
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Next: Rhee to principals: 'Go hard or go home'


The WTU office needs a good flushing out. It's time for some new blood. I assume Saunders will win and I'm not thrilled about that. But I hope he will replace the vast majority in that office.

I also hope the new staff will mirror the racial and ethnic diversity now present among the teachers in DCPS.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 18, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

UrbanDweller, I wouldn't count on it. People of the Saunders' mindset are openly hostile to young and white teachers. You aren't likely to see either group well-represented in a Saunders' administration.

Posted by: alertcitizen1 | August 18, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

alertcitizen...I have to agree with you...there is definitely an us versus them type attitude with Saunders. Again, I would think the entire WTU...would fair so much better with a NEW group who can embrace the reform in its entirety. If not, this will be a version of when mommy and daddy is gone...I am in charge leadership.

Posted by: PowerandPride | August 18, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

To all who love impressions:

As I do understand the serious problem of Rhee taking children on an unscheduled field trip without their emergency contact information, I was even more disturbed by her enthusiastic depiction of her students, and the laughter of her future teacher audience...

"Lawwwd Ms.Rhee whatchu gonna do!!!!??" Rhee boomed, drawing a big laugh. "Lawwwd Ms. Rhee whatchu gonna do!!!!??"

If you have not listened to the audio, please do; it can be found here:

For those who find that funny, perhaps this YouTube video of a young white man doing impressions of Asians will make your day. It can be found here:

It is entitled "Asian Impressions", and he adds an explanation that, "I am not a racist. Just my attempt at Asian voices."

It is so revealing that this young, well-educated and mostly white audience that is about to "hit the beaches" of urban public schools finds such characterizations so entertaining.

You don't have to look very hard to find impressions of any race about another, but you better be in the right room before you decide to laugh out loud. Isn't that the true test?

Ms. Rhee felt so comfortable with this audience that she wanted them to understand that she was once just like them. This was obviously not rehearsed or written down. Even if it was hugely embellished (as is most of her autobiography), this is the type of conversation that truly provides a window into her perception of, and condescension towards the very children she claims to be her "raison de la vie".

My apologies, in advance, to all French people who would otherwise not wish to be identified with my commentary.

Posted by: AGAAIA | August 18, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Alertcitizen and Urbandweller you are both sounding (and looking) shortsighted. Don't be so narrowly focused that you begin to sound like the conspiracy theorists you accuse others of being.

Any sane individual knows that the makeup of DCPS is changing, wasn't that the goal?

So any candidate, Saunders included, would be foolish not to openly embrace any dues paying member who is interested in working for members (black, white, asian, gay, or green)they should simply step up to the plate. Teachers have been maligned in the press with misleading notions that we only care about job security and possess little regard for student achievement. As a teacher, I know for a fact that, for the combat duty we perform on a daily basis, we would kill (not literally) for the outcome to equally measure the input.
Our best advertisement would be measurable student progress. The problem is that most of you only want to look at numbers, in isolation, to determine teacher effectiveness and it is at this very point where we will always part.

The difference between you and me is that I know better!

Posted by: teachdc | August 18, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

George Parker, GET OUT!!!!!!!!

Posted by: vnm202 | August 18, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Parker is suing AFT?
What a clown?
Is he trying to be like Bullock?

Poor DCPS teachers, to be paying your money to a fool.
It like the dysfunctional PGCPS Board of Ed 10 years ago that the Maryland state legislature had to strip of its power.

Posted by: edlharris | August 18, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

GP all good things must come to an end, especially after you sold out the WTU!
As stated before, George Parker is the only WTU Chief Negotiator who has the authority to ratify a new WTU Contract, cancel WTU Executive Board/Membership meetings, and allowed Rhee to carry out her agenda.

George: Don't be mad at Randi, take responsibilities of your own actions and follow the AFT Hearing ORDER!!

Enough is Enough!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | August 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely unbelievable! I can not imagine anything of this sort happening in an NEA affliate.

Posted by: lacy41 | August 21, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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