Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There Is Another Way!

Kerry,

You’re dead on target. Last week, I attended the quarterly meeting of the DC Area Writing Project (DCAWP) which is comprised of over 250 of the best and brightest teachers in our school district. When I arrived, teachers were discussing a letter writing campaign to our union leadership about the trade-offs proposed by Chancellor Rhee. The consensus was that such trade offs; (specifically the proposal for the ‘red and green tier’) will not improve teaching or learning in our schools. While teachers are concerned about pay raises and step increases, as anyone would be given the state of our economy, they are equally or more concerned about professional teaching conditions in their schools and the supports they need to do their jobs effectively.

Teachers are not satisfied with what DCPS and the WTU have brought to the table in contract negotiations. Yes, higher salaries are important and we’re not opposed to removing teachers who can’t teach. But the current proposal is a recipe for an anti-professional, fear-based culture in schools. A climate of fear, mistrust, and test pressure is not good for students nor teachers. The real tragedy in DCPS is the long-standing lack of system-wide support for the craft of teaching. While all the neighboring districts have designed real professional growth systems that begin with respect for teaching and teachers, DCPS has proposed firing teachers as the solution.

Teaching and learning requires teaching conditions and resources to get the job done! Teachers must demand these professional teaching conditions and engage in the ongoing dialogue about our contract and the reform agenda for our schools. Within our Union, the membership has been, and will always be, the ultimate authority.

3 comments:

Ame in DC said...

Demand is right! My administrators are constantly annoyed when I bring up the issues at our school. I am getting worn out by being one of THE ONLY voices. Step up to the plate, teachers and parents, and demand a real contract with real standards for teaching. Demand attention to our CRAFT -- one we learned in order to help children.

Kerry Sylvia said...

Hi Liz,

Thanks for your comments on my post. I'm glad that you shared the details of your meeting with DCAWP teachers because it is so important to get the truth out!

It has been so frustrating to hear over and over again that teachers who are not for Rhee's contract proposals are just trying to protect their jobs. We need to get the reality out that most of us simply want a contract that will address the real issues.

I also want respect given to me as a professional and a hard worker. Enough with the endless stories of incompetent DC teachers! Most of us are dedicated, caring, intelligent and effective teachers who have devoted much of our lives to providing a quality education to our students. It is time that DCPS step up and start giving teachers the supports that we need so that the rhetoric matches reality.

Kerry

D S said...

Incompetent teachers are very good at pointing fingers to explain their failures.