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Issues We Care About

WTU, PARENTS AND OTHERS TESTIFY ON ESSA ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN

On March 15, 2017, the State Board of Education (SBOE) held a hearing on the Office of State Superintendent of Education’s accountability plans for the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). Those testifying included WTU President Elizabeth Davis, teachers, parents and education experts. Issues raised by speakers included the pitfalls of relying too heavily on high stakes tests, the role of family engagement and the importance of school climate. Here are some of the testimonies.


NEW CHANCELLOR WILL SHAPE HOW OUR SCHOOLS ARE RUN AND OUR CHILDREN ARE EDUCATED
In the upcoming weeks and months, teachers, parents, students and other education stakeholders here in D.C. will have an opportunity to participate in a process that will result in the selection of a new Chancellor for the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Needless to say, the decision as to who will lead our school system, and shape how our schools are run and our children are educated is an extremely important one.

The WTU invites parents and the community to take its Chancellor Selection Survey. Click here to begin the survey.  

Contract Update
The union and the school district are currently in the process of negotiating a new agreement. The WTU's goal is to negotiate a contract that recognizes and values the role of teachers and other educators in building a first-class school system, one that sets the stage for improving teaching and learning in schools across our city.

Click here to find critical documents, including FAQs about the contract as well as the negotiations schedule that the WTU has proposed to the DCPS in an effort to speed up the process.

Making Change at Walmart Campaign
On Friday, August 12, 2016, Making Change at Walmart, along with Washington Teachers’ Union joined together to call attention to the Walton family’s funding of charter schools at the expense of public schools and teachers in Washington, DC which are in desperate need of aid.

Unilateral imposition of extended school year violates school employee’ contracts
Sign this petition and tell Mayor Bowser and DCPS to bargain in good faith with unions. While the Washington Teachers’ Union and its members are not against extended learning opportunities for our students, the union is opposed to the manner in which the Mayor and DCPS unilaterally imposed the extended year plan in violation of the collective bargaining agreement between the WTU and the school district—as well as the school district’s CBA with three other unions  (Council of School Officers, Local 4, Teamsters Local 639 and District Council 20).

By ignoring these bargaining agreements and going directly to union members to discuss the extended year plan—and changes in working hours and conditions, and compensation—Mayor Bowser has abused her executive power and Chancellor Henderson has violated the contracts of the four unions representing DCPS employees.

On average, American children are in school 1,100 hours per year in the United States, compared to 701 hours in developed nations. We do a lot of things in school that are good, but aren’t related to learning. Adding time does not necessarily translate into higher achievement. We need to think about how we use the existing time kids already have in school. We need to look at the current school day holistically and educationally instead of merely boiling it down to 'more time. "Education reform, certainly reform that isrevolutionary, cannot be boiled down to just the minutes, hours and weeks of the school calendar. Only when time is used more effectively will adding more of it begin to result in improved learning outcomes." - A report from National Association of Elementary school Principals(NAESP), On the Clock: Rethinking the Way Schools Use Time 
  
We urge you to sign this petition insisting that the Mayor and Chancellor bargain in good faith with those unions representing teachers and other DCPS employees any extension of the school year or day.

Center for Individual Rights: Stop Attacking Working People
Enough is enough! It's time to stop attacking working people, including teachers like me and other public service workers who work to make our communities better. Corporate CEOs and the wealthy special interests cannot stop us from banding together and forming unions to make our lives better.

ESSA Thank You - House and Senate Leadership for passing ESSA
ESSA represents a significant course correction acknowledging that more than a decade's worth of education reforms based on test-and-sanction policies were a failure, and sends a strong signal to states that these failed policies should not be pursued. Add your signature to thank the leaders in the House and Senate for getting this important step done.

What is Congress Doing?
Congress isn't able to work together to pass legislation on just about anything, even though millions of Americans are counting on them. But this week, Congress has found the time to take up an issue that they should have no say in: voting on a voucher system affecting only Washington, D.C., schools.

Extended Learning vs. Extend Time
The Washington Teachers Union (WTU) recognizes the need for varied learning opportunities for our students in the District of Columbia. If we are to improve student outcomes on the whole, we should learn from effective and progressive education practices demonstrated both at home and abroad.

A safer school is a victory for all
Bullying at schools is a problem that denies our kids a safe and healthy learning environment. To combat this challenge that harms far too many children, AFT, our national organization is part of a coalition of more than 110 leading national organizations that support the Safe Schools Improvement Act. This federal legislation would ensure that schools nationwide implement comprehensive, effective anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies to protect all students.
Stand with us to stop bullying at school and ensure our children have safe, happy learning environments. 

Education Starts with Pre-K
The introduction of this historic early learning bill, which has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, provides an opportunity we can't afford to miss. When we invest in early learning, we invest in our children, our economy and America's future.
The promise of public education starts early, with high-quality early education. Write your members of Congress.

Public School Funding Is On Thin Ice
Allowing the majority of our education funding to flow to private schools would have a devastating effect on children living in poverty, who are the primary beneficiaries of these federal dollars. Studies prove vouchers do not help students and families: They do not improve student achievement, they deprive students of the rights public school students have, they threaten religious liberty by funding religious education, and they lack accountability to taxpayers.

We need your help to ensure public schools don't get left out in the cold. Contact your members of Congress today and tell them you want them to oppose these bills. 

Take Action on IMPACT!
DCPS is telling us there are two different errors in the way the District has calculated IMPACT scores: some teachers who got high scores weren't that good, and some teachers who received low scores weren't that bad. In other words, we now know that IMPACT's flaws are even worse than we feared.

These miscalculations have created a significant problem for everyone in the community' teachers, students and parents' because IMPACT scores determine which teachers are retained, rewarded and even fired. Nearly 600 DCPS teachers have been fired in recent years, most because of IMPACT scores. And, this latest arithmetic mistake appears to have affected 1 out of 10 teachers whose evaluations include student test results.

We cannot let this pattern continue. Write Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Mayor Vincent Gray and urge them to change the high-handed way DCPS operates and to involve teachers and parents in the decision-making process.
 

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