Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

E-mail Bill | RSS Feed | In-depth coverage: Education Page | Follow The Post's education coverage: Twitter | Facebook

Posted at 6:09 PM ET, 11/30/2010

Parker out as Washington Teachers' Union chief

By Bill Turque

Updated 9:00 p.m.

George Parker, who negotiated a contract that left D.C. teachers better paid but less secure in their jobs, has lost the presidency of the Washington Teachers' Union to General Vice President Nathan Saunders by a vote of 556 to 480.

The total vote represents less than a quarter of the of the union's 4,200 members. But Saunders,who will be installed as president effective tomorrow, said the result reflects deep unhappiness with the new IMPACT evaluation system and Parker's lack of commitment to union democracy.

The new system, introduced by former Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee in 2009, holds some teachers accountable for growth in student test scores. All teachers must meet a series of criteria for classroom performance outlined in a detailed new framework. More than 120 teachers were dismissed last summer for low IMPACT scores. Saunders has vowed to pursue all judicial, legislative and lobbying efforts to address what he considers IMPACT's unfairness.

"The teachers are very clear about what they want," Saunders said Tuesday evening. "Clearly this is a race about job security and about IMPACT. It is also a race about teachers being participatory in the process and not just reactive."

Reached at WTU offices, a subdued Parker said he accepted the results and planned no legal challenge.

"The bottom line is we didn't turn the voters out," he said. "I would have loved to have had a higher turnout. It is clear there is a lot of apathy out there."

But Parker said he also paid a price for supporting some of the changes Rhee pressed for, including performance pay and greater latitude for principals hiring from the pool of "excessed" teachers who lost their jobs due to enrollment or program changes.

"Any union president that is pushing and getting in front of reform takes a risk and I took a risk," he said. "I don't feel bad about any of the decisions because I think ultimately to improve education in this country, union presidents are going to have to get in front of reform."

em>Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at schools. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at Bookmark it!

By Bill Turque  | November 30, 2010; 6:09 PM ET
Categories:  Washington Teachers' Union  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Henderson: "data craziness" is taking a toll
Next: Parker says Rhee not to blame for ouster


Amen. Send George and C. White back to the classroom to deal with IMPACT.

Posted by: guylady201001 | November 30, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: helluvateacher | November 30, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Parker lost his seat. It seemed to me that power went to his head and that he was disengaged from teachers' needs: what teachers on the ground floor deal with. Send his sorry _____ back to the classrooms for selling out DCPS' teachers.

Nathan Saunders, in my opinion, is no better, but it was definitely time for a change in Teacher Union leadership. We'll see what happens. Saunders certainly needs to be less radical and more business-minded when it comes teacher negotiations.

Posted by: rasheeedj | November 30, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree with rasheeedj. I'm no big fan of Saunders but I voted for him. It was time for a change. Parker gave away far too much in the new contract. The stress and anxiety created in DCPS by IMPACT and Rhee's bogus reforms makes for a toxic work environment. Especially for those of us who were already moving our students and had data to back it up.

It's time to reform the reforms and stop putting everything on the backs of teachers. I think Saunders has the guts to stand up and speak the truth no matter who doesn't want to hear it.

Personally, my choice was Chris Bergfalk and I hope Saunders has the good sense to include Bergfalk in the new WTU leadership somehow. He's bright, intelligent and has scores of data to show show Rhee lied her way through her "chancellorship."

As for Fenty, Rhee and Parker: What goes around finally comes around. Let this be a lesson.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | November 30, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

It probably would've been a greater landslide in Nathan's favor if the election had not included the "uninitiated" newbies.

Time for you to step up to the plate, Nathan. Prove to those who thought of you only as "the lesser of two evils" that you are truly worthy of the position. I voted for you. Please don't let us--or the students--down!

As for Parker (and you, too, C. White), you can't sling mud without getting dirty yourself. As others have already posted, let's see YOU deal with IMPACT now.

Posted by: BitterJill | November 30, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

George Parker paid a price for allowing Michelle Rheeform (Wannabe Superintendent) to take over his duties and responsibilities as the President of the WTU!

Parker, Fenty and Rhee will always be responsible for the Manufactured Reduction in Force on October 2, 2009.

In addition, Parker never supported the Wrongfully Terminated WTU Employees with due process and totally dismissed Rhee's comments in the Fast Company Magazine in February 2010 - "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"

Enough is Enough!!! Parker, Fenty and Rhee are OUT!!! Good Riddance!!

Congratulations to Nathan and Candi as the New WTU Leadership Team!!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | November 30, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse


Stop repeating the Parker slime line. It did not work before the election and it will not work now.

You might be a helluvateacher but you need to get a brain.

Posted by: guylady201001 | December 1, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company