Yes, the Rhee in DC story has captivated people's attention. I've noticed lots of our buddy bloggers have castigated Randi Weingarten for screwing the teachers in DC by negotiating the contract with Rhee that allowed for these firings.
What they haven't touched on is how Randi helped subvert the DC teacher union elections which were supposed to take place sometime in May. In essence Randi functioned as Michelle Rhee's agent. Is she a Manchurian Candidate?
As chronicled by Candi Peterson, the current president of the union, George Parker, has run the union into the ground. But he was more amenable to the contract than his opponent in the presidential race, Nathan Saunders, who currently is the VP. Except he isn't since both he and Parker's terms expired on July 1.
Now follow this bouncing ball. If the election had been held in May and Saunders were elected, the chances of the Rhee/Randi contract being voted up might have been jeopardized. I know, I know - it passed overwhelmingly. But if all the information as to repercussions had been distributed with a new union admin coming in, who knows what would have happened? Randi could not take that chance.
So when Parker did not submit the legally required petitions to enable him to run in time for the deadline, Randi was aghast. In essence, Parker has handed the election to Saunders at a crucial time when Rhee and Randi were about to seal the deal. Getting this done was very important to Randi as this would help seal her reputation as an ed reformer when in reality we know she is an ed deformer.
Now the Washington DC teachers union election is in the hands of an AFT committee and no matter what they say and do we know one thing- Randi does not want Saunders, a version of Karen Lewis in Chicago (who just called for the cancellation of Teach for America contracts as one example of someone with union moxie) to win.
At the AFT convention in Seattle a few weeks ago, I had a chance to do a brief interview with Nathan Saunders at the Chicago Teachers Union party and the next day filmed Candi Peterson as she made a presentation on the DC situation to an AFT Peace and Justice Committee event. I'll let them speak for themselves.
And here is the latest info from Candi:
Please take a look at this survey, designed by AFT - no doubt. I have never seen anything like it. Have you? Surveying our union members about the upcoming mayoral and DC City Council chairman race when we have a political arm of the WTU. My guess is that George Parker, WTU President and AFT President, Randi Weingarten may want to throw their support to Mayor Adrian Fenty . Another term with Fenty would guarantee Chancellor Rhee and company will stay at the helm. This is absurd when every other union in DC is supporting Chairman Vincent Gray for Mayor. Wonder why? because Fenty believes in firing everyone in this town.
(See Survey at Norms Notes)