The negotiations, which began in December, have come to focus on Rhee's efforts to win acceptance of an optional "pay-for-performance plan," a system of compensation historically opposed by teachers unions.The Post also has a copy of the letter WTU President George Parker has sent to union members regarding the negotiations with the District on a new teacher contract.
Citing union sources, none of whom was Parker, The Washington Post reported July 3 that Rhee was proposing a two-tiered salary system in which teachers could earn substantially more if they relinquished some seniority rights and assumed some accountability for test scores. Teachers could choose to retain seniority and receive smaller raises.
Rhee has said that parts of The Post story were incorrect. She refused to elaborate, however, saying she was legally prohibited from talking about the contract negotiations.
She did mention the teacher meetings, however, near the end of an appearance Thursday before the House Committee on Education and Labor, which held a hearing on student achievement and school system governance.
Congratulations on your success in helping our students achieve substantial growth on the DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS).
Although many educational experts are debating whether or not credit should go to the Chancellor or former Superintendent Janey, the reality is that substantial credit should go to you, the teachers of DC Public Schools (DCPS), for your hard work, dedication and perseverance in spite of the enormous challenges you were confronted with during the 2007-2008 school year. As a result of your performance and commitment to the children, DCPS test scores are now equivalent to scores from other school systems in several major cities.
As you know, the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) contract negotiations team has been engaged in negotiations on your behalf since December 2007.
Although there have been some references to contract negotiations in the media, several key facts have been inaccurate and misleading. We are now at a very critical stage in negotiations and believe that it is in the best interest of our members to implement a week long recess from negotiations so that we can conduct contract negotiations informational sessions with our members.
In order to ensure that our members have correct information regarding contract discussions and proposals, the negotiations team is conducting a series of contract negotiations informational sessions for our members during the week of July 21st. The purpose of these sessions is to share detailed information with our members and provide clarity about key issues as they relate to seniority, tenure and compensation. These are informational sessions only and will not be official union meetings. In addition to members of the WTU negotiations team, members of the DCPS negotiations team, as well as, Chancellor Rhee will also be available for Q and A at a designated time during each session.
For your convenience, we have scheduled several sessions to provide sufficient opportunity for interested members to attend. Each session will begin and end promptly in accordance with the included schedule. Please review the below schedule and notify the WTU via phone at (202) 293-8600 or by email at email@example.com as to which session you would like to attend. All sessions will take place at McKinley Technological High School located at 151 T Street, NE.
CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
WTU Delegate Assembly Information Session (un-official meeting)
Tuesday, July 22nd 1:30 pm -- 3:30 pm
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Teacher Information Session #1 -Tuesday, July 22nd 4:00 pm -- 5:30 pm
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Teacher Information Session #2 - Wednesday, July 23rd 10:00 am -- 11:30 am
Teacher Information Session #3 - Wednesday, July 23rd 12:00 pm -- 1:30 pm
Teacher Information Session #4 - Wednesday, July 23rd 2:00 pm -- 3:30 pm
Teacher Information Session #5 - Wednesday, July 23rd 4:00 pm -- 5:30 pm
Teacher Information Session #6 - Wednesday, July 23rd 6:00 pm -- 7:30 pm
Teacher Information Session #7 - Wednesday, July 23rd 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Thank you for your continued support of the Washington Teachers' Union!
George Parker, President