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UNIONS: The AFT Side Of The Story

 Curious about what the AFT thinks about the DC teachers contract negotiations and unionized charter schools?  Sure you are.

The-rules-icon-0608lgwhitespaceRob Weil is the deputy director of the ed issues division at the AFT, and he was filling in at last week's education conference at the Yale School of Management for Randi Weingarten (who had a death in the family and couldn't be there). 

A former teacher and local president from Douglass County Colorado, Weil works on the real-world, practical side of things, rather than developing policy or working the Hill.  He says he's worked with 100s of districts where they're trying to redo the contract or implement some reforms that have been bargained. 

Below are my notes on some of the most interesting things that Weil said about KIPP AMP and the DC contract negotiations, as well as the link to an MP3 recording of the entire conversation.

About KIPP AMP, Weil said:  There are 86 charter schools that have already been organized by the AFT, nationwide. "Personalities and players" have as much a role as substantial issues in determining whether an organizing effort or contract negotiation goes smoothly (in reference to a question about why it was smooth organizing one KIPP NYC school but not the other).

About the Washington DC negotiations, Weil said: Only in a few places, like DC, can tenure be part of the discussion since tenure is usually defined at the state level.  What makes the Rhee proposal unusual is that it divides teachers with the same status into two different groups in terms of pay and tenure.  Randi Weingarten's "everything on the table" speech at the National Press Club opened up the discussion of tenure, but didn't concede it.  Chancellor Rhee has not responded to the counter-proposal put forth by the DCTU, which Weil describes as "extremely progressive" in addressing many of the issues raised by Rhee in a recent Washington Post story.  The full text of the Rhee proposal and the DCTU proposal are not publicly available.  It is standard procedure not to bring a contract proposal up for a vote until the negotiators have reached a tentative agreement.

Click here to download and listen to the session in its entirety. 

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