written by bendygirl at Thursday, August 07, 2008
I opened my e-mail to find this little ditty from DCLabor:
LABOR IN THE NEWS: Teacher Lobbying by Outside Group Raises Ire of DC Teachers: DC teachers and their union, the Washington Teachers Union (WTU) Local 6, are accusing a newly-created community group of inappropriately interfering in the ongoing teacher contract negotiations, reported Bill Turque in Wednesday’s Washington Post. The group, which has members with past ties to School Chancellor Michelle Rhee, has hired teachers to lobby co-workers to support the Chancellor’s controversial pay-for-performance plan that would end tenure rights for workers who take it. "We think it's inappropriate to interfere with the union's communications with its membership about a future contract," Local 6 President George Parker told the Post. Teachers have also voiced concern that Chancellor Rhee’s ties to the group may indicate she had a role in orchestrating the lobbying campaign.
From the Strong Schools website:
Strong Schools DC is an independent, informal group of individuals who came together last spring to support strong public schools and great teachers in the District. Through community meetings, literature distribution, and outreach to teachers, we have learned what teachers are looking for in a new teaching contract, and we have provided a solid, independent information source for teachers. Our mission is to support the growing movement to make Washington, DC the best place to teach in the country.
We are now eagerly awaiting the completion of negotiations for a new contract. When an agreement is reached, we will be prepared to mobilize support for the contract and to continue our role as a pro-teacher community advocate and source of independent information.
Gee, the way this site is written, it does sort of sound as if they intend to lobby teachers to get them on board instead of involving them in a crocess or collaborating in general. Teachers have a voice in negotiations with the Mayor and Rhee, they have their union. And one of the best things the union can do for them is to protect tenure, not for the scapegoat, "the poorly performing teacher" but for the next generation of teachers to come. But there's more than just tenure involved, there's safety, there's coordination, there's community, all subjects that DCVoice has been advocating for since 1998.
Growing up in rural Ohio, I know what it's like to have community involved in the school. All events centered around the school. From parties to girl and boy scouts to language classes, PTA meetings and plays, just to name a few. Together, we reinforced the idea that we really were all in it together. To organize a lobbying effort during district and teacher's negotiations sens a strong message to me, a DC parent, it tells me that you don't care about the teachers and aren't looking to work with the community. It says that you're willing to spend money to sway opinion, like the oil lobby or the insurance lobby. Is that the message you really want to send Rhee? If that what the entire message is Fenty?