I don’t know exactly what’s happening inside the Washington D.C. teachers’ union but I do know the following two things:
1) I’m getting emails from some really pissed off teachers who say that the Vice-President of the union, Nathan Saunders, is a little out of control. Here’s one that was too good not to ask for permission to print:
“He [Saunders] went on a rant filled with propaganda and lies to incite the masses, it was unreal. He stated that the chancellor hates “old” teachers and only wants to hire new teachers. Saunders (who apparently used to work at Ballou High School and was found asleep at his desk when then-superintendent Janey came around for observations) put a lot of effort into trying to create a rift between new and old teachers. He stated some made up economic numbers to show that young people would be flocking to take our jobs, since we make more money than the average starting salary of a college grad. He said the union’s job is to make sure that every member has a job next school year and that there should be a hiring freeze. He talked about going to Congress or holding some type of protest and signing petitions against the union president. Saunders actually said (in addition to many other jabs at George Parker) “kill the President.” The kicker for me in the meeting was when Saunders said it wouldn’t help schools to have new teachers, because even though our reading scores are low- veteran teachers have relationships with students and this helps students to “keep from jumping off roofs.”
2) Word from more than a few folks is that the national AFT officials have a hand in this having concluded that current union President George Parker has gone all Neville Chamberlain on them in the face of the one who must be stopped: D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Update: Antonucci is not buying part 2. I should have worded it more precisely. What I’ve heard from multiple places is that some national AFT officials have a hand in this, I didn’t mean to imply all of them with the “the.”
Update II: Some speculation in the comments section about where Al Sharpton is or is not on this. I don’t know, but if he’s in DC attacking Rhee’s reform proposals that would be a pretty fast 180 from where he was last month, so I’m skeptical.
Update III: Not too hot, not too cold! Smart money says that many at the AFT don’t consider Saunders a picnic either, in part because of stuff like what is above. They say, keep your eye out for a stalking horse…