Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Detroit Federation of Teachers Defend DC Teachers

Dear fellow AFT member,

This is an urgent plea for your support.

The resolution below was adopted by the Detroit Federation of Teachers in support of our brothers and sisters with the Washington Teachers Union of Washington, DC. Similar resolutions have been adopted by the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the Oakland California Education Association, The Missouri AFT, and several other unions.

We urge you to act now -- this week if possible -- and get your union to sign on by passing this resolution, too.

Teachers everywhere have a huge stake in the outcome of the DC teachers' contract fight against Superintendent Michelle Rhee's efforts to destroy tenure and seniority, and implement merit-pay. Rhee is even trying to circumvent the union entirely -- a move which threatens the very existence of the WTU if it left unchallenged.

This is an extremely winnable fight, but we must act quickly and show real unity. If we defeat Rhee, we will have dealt a major blow not only to her, but to the right wing offensive that threatens public education and teachers unions everywhere.

A victory for our side will also go a long way towards setting a progressive agenda for education under the new Obama administration. Americans everywhere voted for Obama because they wanted real, positive change, not for more attacks on our schools and our students' futures.

For more information, you can contact me, or go to .

The Detroit Federation of Teachers website is .

Steve Conn

Detroit Federation of Teachers
DFT Defends Washington, D.C. Teachers Union
Resolution in Defense of the WashingtonDC Teachers Union
Submitted to the December 11, 2008 General Membership Meeting

Whereas, the WashingtonDC teachers are fighting for all of us, Washington schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee closed 26 public schools in her first year after being hired. Now she proposes to impose merit pay on teachers and overturn 100 years of teachers’ union protections on tenure, established in part to protect minority teachers and union leaders from victimization. This union-busting proposal would tie all instruction to standardized test scores and scripted curriculum. She is trying to establish the WashingtonDC schools as a national model for the whole right-wing program for education.
Whereas, Rhee is attempting to force a Washington Teachers Union (WTU) membership vote on her proposal in order to undercut the independence of the union and to substitute herself for the union leadership. Having failed at this so far, she is now trying to get Congress to declare a New Orleans-style state of emergency in DC schools in order that she be granted extraordinary powers. She is also urging President-elect Obama to intervene in her favor.
Whereas, this right-wing knows that its program of charters, privatization, and attacks on teachers and students has no real popular support, but preys on peoples’ desperation and confusion. This right-wing agenda is an outgrowth of earlier attacks on school integration, which were the basis of the whole Republican “silent majority” southern electoral strategy – a strategy roundly rejected in the Obama election.
Therefore be it resolved, that we, the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), AFT Local 231, support the decision of the Washington Teachers Union to reject Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s reactionary proposal to abolish tenure and impose merit pay on WashingtonDC teachers and to refuse to bow to her pressure to put it to a membership vote.
Therefore be it resolved, that we support and will fight for real solutions for public education now – school integration, smaller class sizes and a massive increase in funding for the nation’s public schools. We reject this attack on the teachers of WashingtonDC and all attacks on public education nationally.

Therefore be it resolved, that copies of this resolution will be printed on official union stationary and made available at the DFT office front desk. The resolution will also be printed in the next issue of the DFT newspaper.

December 12, 2008

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