Thursday, August 2, 2012

D.C. mass teacher firings and Randi's "new unionism"

Back in 2009 in D.C., the union's acceptance of the  IMPACT Evaluation System marked the start of what Randi Weingarten now refers to as "results-based" unionism. IMPACT drew national attention as one of the first attempts to link teacher pay and job security with classroom performance measured largely by student scores on high-stakes standardized tests. Weingarten's current new unionism approach calls for similar collaborations on merit pay and test-based teacher evaluation. 

The D.C. Teachers Union went along with Michelle Rhee's plan, supposedly in order to gain a seat at the table and avert even more draconian measures. But even though the union leadership bought into IMPACT, many rank-and-file teachers opposed Rhee's mass firings in exchange for merit-pay for the teachers. Rhee's IMPACT program proved to be full of holes. Her polices were soon met with voter revolt against her patron, Mayor Fenty and Rhee got the boot under new Mayor Vincent Gray. 

Rhee is gone but the district is still practicing Rhee-form under the new regime even though Gray has voiced concern that IMPACT is unfair to teachers working in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, where many children come to school with intensive needs. IMPACT still survives and the union is still going along with it. Today it was announced that 98 teachers are being fired under the rules of IMPACT agreed on under the contract. By the way, no charter school teachers are being fired. The numbers released Wednesday include only teachers in traditional public schools. Public charter schools have latitude to use their own evaluations.

The chickens have come home to roost. 


  1. It's a program to extinguish public education disguised as a program to extinguish the unions. From a results-based perspective, it's going to be highly effective. How does Randi pull off these 98% wins?

  2. She is a competent and engaging leader. Plus the delegates who vote were almost all from her caucus. I want to know who the other 2% were?

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  4. We are wondering the same in NY. Unbelievable and what can we do about it ?

  5. We are wondering the same here in N.Y. What can we do about it ?

  6. Billie36-I am newly retired- past union president of 12 years. My voice has been ignored. I have lots of passion and even more time. Let me know what I can do to help. FB: Gail DeBonis Richmond


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