Teacher Union Politics in Washington, DC

Washington Post Editorial:

Let’s review the record to examine the plausibility of those charges.
More than 14 months ago , Ms. Rhee offered a contract to Washington’s teachers that was unprecedented in its largess. The proposal would have provided teachers with, at a minimum, a 28 percent pay raise over five years, plus $10,000 in bonuses. They would have had to give up nothing in the way of job security to obtain the raise. All Ms. Rhee asked in return was the freedom to offer, on a voluntary basis, even more money to a subset of teachers, if they would agree to have their compensation linked to performance. Their evaluation would have been based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the improvement their students showed from the beginning of the school year to the end. Ms. Rhee — who has been branded anti-teacher — wanted to make the District’s teachers among the highest paid in America, and she had managed to raise private funds to make it possible.
Washington’s teachers might well have welcomed this generous offer — who wouldn’t? — but we don’t know because Mr. Parker and other union leaders never allowed them to vote on a proposed contract. Labor law barred Ms. Rhee from directly explaining to teachers what she had in mind. At one point, it seemed that Mr. Parker and Ms. Rhee were close to an agreement, but then the national leadership stepped in. Since Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, involved herself, another 10 months have passed, and Washington’s teachers remain without a contract. Talks are said to be continuing.