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AFT Submits D.C. Contract Counterproposal

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The Washington Teachers' Union and the American Federation of Teachers have submitted their counterproposal to District of Columbia Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

There's probably a lot more in the actual proposal, which we apparently won't get to see anytime soon since that's a private matter between union and membership. But what stands out at least from this summary is the complete absence of the two-tiered pay proposal and any mention whatsoever of tenure. Though controversial, those ideas generated a lot of excitement about the contract, and they were apparently the reasons why private foundations were lining up with funding.

Some of the recommendations here sound more like tweaks than new ideas. There will be more on career ladders, but as Teacher Beat has pointed out before, those are already authorized under the current contract. There's a proposal for a schoolwide financial-incentives program, presumably modeled after New York City's, but D.C. already has one schoolwide pay program financed through a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant.

There's a mention of strengthening teacher evaluations, but no additional details.

In the meantime, the proposal says it would "raise base pay," which sounds like an across-the-board increase rather than a differentiated pay structure.

Without some mention of tenure and differentiated pay, AFT leader Randi Weingarten is likely going to get her bluff called by self-styled reformers on her promise to put everything on the table for school reform. Whether that's fair or unfair, we'll leave to you to decide.

1 Comment

Rather than speculating inaccurately about "tweaks" and "across the board increases," Steve, you really need to look at the actual proposal. You're extrapolating from bland summaries and missing what it says. What's interesting about the WTU/AFT proposal is that it manages to incorporate just about every concept, every issue, that Rhee's proposal and 5-year plan addressed and more. What's missing is the two-tiered red and green approach and the elimination of due process. But what is there seems like a radical proposal for DCPS and the WTU and deserves a careful look. The approapriate question to ask is not whether the new proposal preserves the two-tiered pay proposal, but rather whether either proposal will improve the quality of teaching and learning. I want to hear from teachers and parents in DCPS about the answer to that.

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