Saturday, September 12, 2009

Candi is Dandy in DC But Will Rhee Have All the Glee?

Bill Turque in the Washington Post reports:

Rhee, Union May Be Close to Deal

While making it appear that Rhee has backed off on some of her more radical proposals, we in fact see this as a win-win for her due to this provision:

Under a proposed "mutual consent" provision, principals would have more power to pick and choose teachers. Teachers who failed to find new assignments would have three options. They could remain on the payroll for a year, accepting at least two spot assignments as substitutes or tutors or in some other support role. If they can't find a permanent job after a year, they would be fired. Teachers could also choose to take a $25,000 buyout or, if they have at least 20 years' service to the city school system, retire with full benefits.

This is the Chicago model of getting rid of ATRs after one year. What needs to be understood here is that Rhee will find reasons to close as many schools as necessary to create large numbers of ATRs who will be gone in a year.

This is what BloomKlein want for NYC where there are still over 1600 ATRs. With a UFT/DOE contract imminent, people will be looking for some kind of wedge that will be disguised as something innocuous in the contract that will allow them to cut into the ATR pool. Maybe a buyout offer of some kind this time.

Some people at the ICE meeting yesterday thought Bloomberg is focused on getting elected and will wait to try to get the hammer out in two years, at which point the charter school movement will be beginning to have a greater impact and the UFT will be even weaker than it is today. There might even be an agreement (under the table) that the UFT will back off on stopping the growth of charters. One idea floated is that even if the charter cap is not lifted, charters under a management group will be counted as one. Thus the 5 KIPP schools and the 4 Evil Moskowitz schools would count against the cap as 2 schools. Then it's Katy bar the door.

Turque gives a shout out to our favorite DC teacher, Candi Peterson, who has revealed provisions of the supposedly secret talks on her blog, The Washington Teacher. (I borrowed Candi's hangman graphic.)

The proposals have triggered new tensions within the union's leadership. Executive Vice President Nathan Saunders, a longtime critic of Parker's, said the proposals all but eliminate job security for teachers.

"This contract looks to be another approach to diminishing teachers' employment rights," Saunders said.

Peterson's decision to publish draft documents from the contract negotiations drew an unusual public rebuke from Parker, who sent a letter and a voice mail message to members denouncing her for having "maliciously undermined" the confidentiality of the talks.

Peterson, who said she is not bound by any confidentiality agreement, said teachers have grown frustrated with the lack of information available about the protracted negotiations.

"He's promised to tell members about the contract, but he never follows through," she said.

Of course, Randi Weingarten and the AFT have been up to their ears in these negotiations, tutoring Parker with their hand crafted best selling manual "Slick Sellout Tactics for Union Leaders: Or how to sell a sellout to your membership while making it look like a great victory."

How does this relate to us here in NYC? The UFT 3 million member negotiating committee, by estimates 75% dominated by Unity Caucus members (who don't advertise their ties) has a cone of silence over it, so that even the two ICE people who are on the committee cannot talk about what is going on so we as a caucus can take action to forestall the sellout aspects of the contract. As you will read in my upcoming post, there is a possibility we there may be a contract voted on this Wednesday. Back later.


Accountable Talk also deals with this item