I've been thinking about writing this post for a little while -- I attended one of Rhee's teacher Q and A sessions at my school a while back, but didn't want to post on it immediately (mostly because I'm just egotistical enough to think that maybe someone at my school might read this blog, and I would prefer to remain anonymous). However, I can put it off no longer, thanks in large part to the idiotic comments made by Randi Weingarten recently. This woman is the Lord Voldemort of DCPS.
The comments come at the tail end of the article. Ms. Weingarten is quoted as saying the following about Chancellor Rhee: "Perhaps, instead of choosing to publicly negotiate directly with teachers, she should take the time she's set aside for 'Q&A sessions' and spend it at the bargaining table."
OK listen, jerkface. How self-important do you have to be to think that it's more valuable for a leader to spend time talking with a third party than to spend time talking with the very people she leads? Rhee shouldn't be speaking directly with teachers? On what planet does that make sense? From whom should we be getting our information? The union? Please. The union, which does little to nothing to engage its membership, suffers from a Sahara-like drought of information. I thought union was about having a voice. Apparently not. Apparently it's about Randi Weingarten having a voice.
Now, I agree that negotiations should be proceeding more quickly than they are. But sometimes a leader needs to get out and speak with the people she's leading. And that's what was needed in DCPS.
Personally, I was reassured after the session with Rhee at my school. She seemed intelligent, caring, and dedicated. More importantly, she seemed genuinely concerned about what we teachers had to say. She had articulate and well-reasoned answers to our questions, and she dispelled many myths about her and her office. I'll write more about some of what she said later, but I can say that I walked away from the meeting far more confident in her abilities and agenda than I was when I walked in.
Why are Weingarten and Parker so pissy about these meetings? Because the meetings are working. Teachers are becoming more supportive of the Chancellor, or at least more confident in her abilities. Rhee is circumventing the intelligence vacuum that is the WTU, and is engaging directly with teachers. Perhaps union leadership should take this idea from Rhee's play-book.
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