Tuesday, May 27, 2008

WTU leadership rift widens

The Examiner has a piece about the growing rift between the president and vice president of the Washington Teachers Union.
Union Vice President Nathan Saunders is leading a growing charge to recall union President George Parker through a petition and online campaign.

Parker and Saunders have been at odds over the direction of the union and the long-overdue contract for some time. The previous contract with D.C. Public Schools expired in October.

But now the fight has widened past the two leaders, and Parker’s opponents are taking steps to remove him from his post as soon as possible, according to Candi Peterson, a school system social worker and member of the union’s board.

“Teachers are having to go to job fairs and turn in resumes,” she said. “So when it hits home it’s a different story than before. You’re more likely to say ‘This is poor leadership.’ ”.
The Eduwonks also weigh in on the matter with more from their own sources inside the union.
1) I'm getting emails from some really pissed off teachers who say that the Vice-President of the union, Nathan Saunders, is a little out of control. Here's one that was too good not to ask for permission to print:

"He [Saunders] went on a rant filled with propaganda and lies to incite the masses, it was unreal. He stated that the chancellor hates "old" teachers and only wants to hire new teachers. Saunders (who apparently used to work at Ballou High School and was found asleep at his desk when then-superintendent Janey came around for observations) put a lot of effort into trying to create a rift between new and old teachers. He stated some made up economic numbers to show that young people would be flocking to take our jobs, since we make more money than the average starting salary of a college grad. He said the union's job is to make sure that every member has a job next school year and that there should be a hiring freeze. He talked about going to Congress or holding some type of protest and signing petitions against the union president. Saunders actually said (in addition to many other jabs at George Parker) "kill the President." The kicker for me in the meeting was when Saunders said it wouldn't help schools to have new teachers, because even though our reading scores are low- veteran teachers have relationships with students and this helps students to "keep from jumping off roofs."

2) Word from more than a few folks is that the national AFT officials have a hand in this having concluded that current union President George Parker has gone all Neville Chamberlain on them in the face of the one who must be stopped: D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

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