Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ginny Weasley-Potter v. Weingarten

One of the best things about being Mr. Potter is being married to my wife (for the purposes of this Harry Potter blog, we call her Ginny). Today we were talking about all of the hullabaloo about the 90 day plan, and she was expressing confusion about why so many teachers are freaked out about it.

Her question was "I hear so much from the WTU, the AFT, and Randi Weingarten about how Rhee's proposal and the 90 day plans are bad because they mean teachers will be fired arbitrarily. But certainly not all firings can be arbitrary. Some must be legitimate. So isn't the union there to protect good teachers from being fired arbitrarily? And if the union leaders are competent, then shouldn't they be telling teachers to not be concerned because they'll protect them from arbitrary firings? So why would you be concerned about being fired arbitrarily if you've got a union to protect you? Unless you don't think the union is competent enough to actually help you."

Pretty and smart. Sorry, folks, she's taken.

Obviously, teachers don't think the union leaders are competent enough to help them. And the union leaders, for their part, seem to agree. If the leaders felt they were themselves competent, wouldn't they just be against arbitrary firings instead of against all firings?

20 comments:

Kings said...

The union isn't against all firings. The union doesn't want incompetent teachers in the system either. The union's job is to protect teachers who are being treated unfairly - that's why it supports processes like the 90 day plan - it allows for the firing of teachers once they're proven to be incompetent.

Yes, certainly the union could be more competent in its job protecting teacher, and DCPS could be lesss determined to bust the union and to put competent but politically undesirable teachers on the 90 day plan. Noe of this helps the kids.

Union Member said...

This notion that politically active teachers are the ones being put on the 90 day, the big union leaders being persecuted by the evil principals put in power by union-busting Rhee, is a load of crap. Everyone I know about on the plan is completely ineffective in the classroom teaching and interacting with CHILDREN. And furthermore, they don't seem to want to change or upgrade their classroom practice despite numerous attempts by principals, coaches and colleagues to get these individuals help. Of course, they're the first ones to run to the phone and call the field reps, but it's their POOR CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE that put them on the plan and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Union member: I would like to ask what is the source of your data ? How many teachers are you referencing on a 90 day plan that you know of and how is it that you know that these colleagues don't want to change or upgrade their classroom practices ?

It seems that you have formed certain negative conclusions about these teachers. I would be interested to hear your answers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous asked, "I would like to see the source of your data."

I am not Union Member, but I can say that sometimes the sources of our data are our own two eyes and our own two ears.

If you say you've never seen an ineffective teacher in DCPS, I believe you. I can't argue with your experience.

But don't tell me that I HAVEN'T seen any uncaring, unprofessional, unwilling-to-improve teachers in DCPS.

If you need more data, just go back and read blog postings from those who support Rhee's reform efforts. The postings are full of "data."

Union Member said...

Of course I do not have empirical data: I have anecdotes, informal observations, conversations. I'm a teacher out there like most of us. One teacher I know of on the plan said to a colleague that she's been doing what she's been doing for the past x number of years and isn't going to change, they can fire me if they want to. Our principal is resonable and not vindictive. This teacher just doesn't seem to care and as a consequence, may well lose her job. Another I know was on the plan last year. She did everything the principal asked her to do, really worked to get off it. She took it very seriously. I don't mean to sound flippnat about this, but there are some people who either need to go home or find another line of work.

Kings said...

Union member - the fact that you know teachers on the 90 day plan who are bad teachers tells me it's working.

The fact that I know of good teachers who are on it for political reasons tells me that it is also being misused.

If you don't want to sound flippant, I suggest you avoid "load of crap" type language.

Union Member said...

What I meant by flippant, and I don't think I used any load of crap type language, whatever that is, is the following. The economy is in the toilet (now here's some realy load of crap language). I know people looking for work who just aren't getting hired, from recent college grads to career professionals. It's hard out there. So I feel a little guilty when it comes to people getting firedd, even people I know to be poor teachers. But these children's education is precious.

Kings said...

Quoting you:

"Union Member said...
This notion that politically active teachers are the ones being put on the 90 day, the big union leaders being persecuted by the evil principals put in power by union-busting Rhee, is a load of crap."

Union Member said...

That statement was not flippant at all. What was may have been a seeming lack of concern for teachers' jobs in the middle of a recession.

Kings said...

Union member - do you acknowledge that you used "load of crap" type language?

Union Member said...

I used the words load of crap and so...

Glenn Watson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn Watson said...

I used the words load of crap and so...>>>

Don't you understand? The phrase, "load of crap," is flippant. Jeez!

Kings said...

Perhaps I'm being a stickler, but I think it's worthy of comment when someone seems to deny something they said that is in black and white for all to see.

Union Member said...

I'm not denying I used the phrase load of crap. So what? what I was questioning was what was considered flippant. I maintain that I may have sounded flippant in discussing people's jobs on the 90 day plan. THAT was what I thought may have been constued as flippant. Writing or saying a load of crap is slightly vulgar. However, I wouldn't have called it flippant. So maybe Kings does. This is a discussion about style and is becoming so trivial.

Kat said...

please god, make it stop...

usereason said...

yes...

oboe said...

I think that's one of the reasons you find this shrill demonizing tone when you hear from the anti-Rhee forces.

After all, unless Rhee and the reformers are just constitutionally evil, with nothing in their hearts but malice towards schoolchildren and noble teachers, then the anti-Rhee forces just end up sounding deranged.

You know, because it's much easier to believe that Rhee and all principals are out to get you, for no reason other than malice.

And what does "politically undesirable" even mean? I think someone may have watched a few too many movies.

Anonymous said...

This conversation is interesting. For the sake of enlightment. I'm a teacher who has just finished a ninety day plan. I was placed on the plan after having the best test scores in my school which according to the Washington Post is one of the best schools in the city. Since, I'm in a testing grade. Let me ask you all this question who does a Prinicpal place in a testing grade his worst teachers or his best. A little food for thought. The kids in my classroom were always doing extremely well so explain the ninety day plan? Maybe the fact the parent's write me and thank you letters and give gifts at the end of the year signals their dissafaction with my performance? Maybe it's the fact that children routinely state I'm their favorite teacher? Why the ninety day plan? It was politically motivated. Maybe my complaints to management to improve school conditions? I wonder about the lenses you use to view rhee-form in the District. Maybe it's time to wipe off the narrow self-interest....

Kings said...

Oboe - who said anything about "malice" except you?

Rhee wants to prove her narrow view of what it takes to reform education (great teachers) is correct and will stand in the way - even of great teachers, like anon - to prove she's right.

She sees herself as the leader of a great cause and doesn't see the self-interest of always having to be right as preventing her from achieving her goals. She's fooled a lot of leaders with her incredible verbal skills and and drawn in young, idealistic teachers who like to think that they alone can save american education. They will burn out and realize she was wrong before she does, I think, as long as teachers and principals are afraid to speak up.