Newly elected as the head of the AFT and its 1.4 million members, Ms. Weingarten delivered her encouraging message for change at a speech last month at the National Press Club. Since then, she has met with Ms. Rhee in an apparent bid to break the high-profile standoff that threatens to paralyze the reform of Washington's troubled school system. Ms. Rhee negotiated for more than a year with local labor leaders of the Washington Teachers' Union and came up with what she believed to be a revolutionary agreement: D.C. teachers would become the country's highest paid but, in exchange, they would surrender tenure rights to allow the system to get rid of ineffective teachers. The bedrock of the proposal was the proposition that teachers would be judged by their effectiveness in boosting student achievement. Union officials -- particularly those in the national organization -- viewed the proposal as an unacceptable assault on teacher seniority, and it's never been put to a vote.ATF president Randi Weingarten responds to the editorial here.
It's sad commentary that the goals staked out by Ms. Rhee have been labeled as "scorched earth." What's so radical about expecting excellence in teachers or in demanding the ability to reward the best teachers while getting rid of the worst? Ms. Rhee has been accused of trying to break the union when, in truth, she rejected a plan to bring in a firm adept at union-busting in favor of working one-on-one with local labor officials whom she believed shared her philosophy that children come first.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
WaPo editorial board urging Rhee and AFT to work together
The Washington Post editorial board is urging DCPS and the ATF to work together to break the impasse around the overdue WTU/DCPS contract.