Why is the WTU Blocking Education Reform in D.C.?
Washington, D.C. public schools are the worst in the nation. Despite spending more money per student than almost any district in the country, D.C.’s graduation rate and test scores remain shamefully low. Michelle Rhee, chancellor of Washington, D.C. schools since 2007, is in the middle of a very real campaign to shake up this failing education system. Her plan is simple: Fire ineffective teachers and pay the ones who are effective more money.
The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) has worked to block Rhee’s reforms every step of the way. Why? Because teachers unions care more about political power than student achievement. The WTU is currently threatening to launch a class-action lawsuit to undo the dismissal of 241 ineffective teachers. The union is doing everything in its power to portray these fired teachers as victims.
Prior to Michelle Rhee’s appearance on the scene, Washington, D.C.’s public schools were in dire straits. Only eight percent of ninth graders are proficient in math. The achievement gap between white and black students is around 70 percent. Only nine percent of students will graduate from college within five years of graduating high school. Such numbers should be frightening for teachers, parents, and students alike. Teachers unions, however, found something even more terrifying: Reforms that will hold educators accountable for the achievement of the children in their care.
The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) and its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), have fought tooth and nail against any reform that weeds out bad teachers and promotes good teachers instead. Just months after signing a new contract, the union has threatened to file a class-action lawsuit against the city for the dismissal of 241 teachers rated “ineffective” by the school system’s new teacher evaluation process.
This is just the latest in a long line of obstructionist tactics from the WTU… Learn More
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