Oops! Did I do THAT?!!

When I was on the LSRT committee at my old school I remember seeing the budget for the first time.  Our principal was trying to tell us that we had to lose several teachers due to the budget being short. One of the first things I noticed was that every position was budgeted at the highest teacher salary level at that time – around $80,000.  I noted that we only had 4 teachers out of 20 or so teachers who were making that amount. The average salary was around $50,000 with quite a few at the lower end of the salary scale due to being new (1-3 years) teachers.  When I redid the math not only did it wipe out the deficit but we had a $90,000 surplus.  I asked at the time why DCPS didn’t employ actual accounting when figuring their budget. No one could give me an answer.  There was no accounting for supplies, whether janitorial or teacher supplies we were given one lump sum to deal with and no one asked for an itemized accounting.  Think what would happen to most businesses if they ran their operations in such a manner.

Michelle Rhee knew this.  You cannot work in DCPS and not know this. As a “business” woman who wants to see public schools run on a corporate model she certainly would have looked at how our system operates, don’t you think? And that brings us to the brazen, outrageous statement she made to the DC Council about having a $34,000,000 surplus after thinking there was a deficit.  This was after she hired 900 new teachers in July only to “discover” this LOOMING deficit in the fall and have to fire 300 teachers (not 266 because that was the initial sweep, others were fired afterwards on the same RIF). With management such as this who needs chaos?  Either Ms. Rhee is a congenital liar, a deliberate deceiver or totally inept and way out of her league in running this school system. You decide.  But I do know this – despite the pleas of George Parker and Randi Weingarten – signing a contract, a binding legal document, with someone who plays with the truth as easily as does Ms. Rhee is nothing if not insane. I’d rather ink a deal with Satan, at least then I know where my soul is going. VOTE NO.

3 thoughts on “Oops! Did I do THAT?!!

  1. Dear Lodestarre,
    I am not a teacher but from what I’ve seen of how Ms. Rhee has treated the students of DCPS alone, I do not trust her and would not touch this “contract” with a ten foot pole.
    I’m convinced that she took the so-called chancellor’s job because it provided her an opportunity to prove her theory, shared by others in education and other fields, that teacher unions are THE problem in public education today and must be abolished. If she could pull that off in DC, “the Nation’s Capital”, she would be a hero to all who would like teacher unions gone and the door would be open for all to follow.
    But thank you for explaining all the verbiage of the contract so clearly for everyone.
    And thank you also for explaining Three Card Monte. I have been, even before the mysterious “surplus” appeared, thinking of this whole scheme (the Mayor, not known to be labor friendly, with control of the schools and 2 DMs-one for education and one for planning and economic development and a postion of almost unlimited authority over DCPS filled by a person known to be union unfriendly)as a shell game but the other day in a hearing CM Catania used the phrase Three Card Monty and now I know what that means.
    I was drawn to your blog a couple of nights ago while reading The Washington Teacher because of its name. I’ve always thought of education as enlightment and that’s just what you do so beautifully–I read the whole thing all the way back to the beginning.
    Complete sentences and quotes from sages are irresitible to me!

  2. Thanks so much for the kind words. I agree with you that Rhee has an agenda. I didn’t want to believe that at first but as time as gone by I certainly believe it now. Thanks again for the compliments, they are much appreciated.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful analysis. I think it is important for all to review this contract proposal in its entirety. It is troubling that our WTU union leader, George Parker is not representing our best interests. To negotiate a tentative agreement in which many parts have not even been developed could be likened to signing a home loan without knowing the rate of interest. It makes no sense. It is clear in Article 40 that Rhee has an out and would not be obligated to pay.

    Typically our legal counsel has been involved in some capacity in previous negotiations to secure a tentative agreement. It is curious to me that although the WTU retains legal counsel , Parker is not consulting with Attorney Lee Jackson of O’Donnell, Schwartz and Anderson and has failed to secure a legal opinion from him. Any organization worth its salt has input and review of any and all contracts by their attorney.

    I encourage all union members to ask for a legal opinion of this tentative agreement from the WTU. This will help us to have a more thorough understanding of all of the pros, cons or pitfalls from a legal perspective. After all our union dues pays the salary of Attorney Lee Jackson and his law firm. It is the membership who should direct the union leadership of the WTU (George Parker) and not the other way around.

    Keep up the good work Lodesterre !


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