Union and Public School Officials Call Proposed Contract A "Breakthrough" | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

Union and Public School Officials Call Proposed Contract A "Breakthrough"

Play associated audio
From left to right: Washington Teachers Union George Parker, President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty came together to announce the new tentative union contract.
Kavitha Cardoza
From left to right: Washington Teachers Union George Parker, President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty came together to announce the new tentative union contract.

By Kavitha Cardoza

Private foundations have pledged almost $65 million to fund portions of the new tentative agreement between Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the Washington Teachers Union.

It's been almost three years since the two sides first attempted to hash out a contract, and the lengthy negotiations were not lost on Rhee.

"I'm surprised I haven't seen money exchanging hands yet 'cause I know there were lots of bets being placed on whether we would reach this day or not," says Rhee.

The new contract will give teachers a raise of more than 20 percent over five years. They could also opt to participate in a pay-for-performance program for improving student’s test scores, without giving up tenure. Rhee says she's "thrilled" with the contract, which she says focuses on teacher performance.

"Who may be leaving a school because of an excess or who may be placed in a school, will be driven by performance," she says. "So instead of being driven by seniority, we're driving those decisions by performance."

Washington Teacher's Union President George Parker says the contract offers more professional development and mentoring for new teachers.

Parker was asked about accepting money from private funders such as the Walton Foundation, created by the Wal Mart founder, which hasn't been sympathetic to unions.

"We can't allow charter schools and private schools to have an advantage in terms of funding because we have some principle we don't want money from private foundations to contribute funds," he says. "The key is for the Office of the CFO to deem these funds solid and it's there."

While both sides hailed the deal as a "breakthrough," teachers still have to vote on whether to accept it and then the city council has to sign off on the contract.

NPR

The Inauspicious Start To Susan Stamberg's Broadcasting Career

Susan Stamberg is an NPR "founding mother" and the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program. But her radio debut was not so glamorous: A fake weather report on a local radio station.
NPR

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

A star of molecular gastronomy, Homaro Cantu, 38, took his own life this week. Cantu owned a Michelin-starred restaurant, but he also wanted to cure world hunger and improve Americans' eating habits.
NPR

When Politicians Lose Their Accents

Some say Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's Midwestern accent has become less pronounced. Georgetown professor Deborah Tannen says politicians' voices often change, depending on their audience.
NPR

Company's Secret Weapon To Make Videos Go Viral

Videos don't always go viral just because they're clever or show a cat prancing on a skateboard. Often a company finds the video, promotes it and sells its licensing rights to media buyers.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.