WTU News and Information 
MARCH 2017

JOIN THE "REAL"
STANDING OVATION ON MARCH 13 OUTSIDE THE KENNEDY CENTER!

 
Outstanding DC teachers who have not had a cost of living pay raise for five years are being honored at the annual Standing Ovation for Teachers on Monday, March 13th, 6 pm at the Kennedy Center.
Many of these teachers have decided to participate in the "Real Standing Ovation " outside of the Kennedy Center as a demonstration of our dissatisfaction with a city that touts a $2.4 billion budget surplus but unwilling to pay its teachers.

These teachers believe that the best "standing ovation" for teachers would be a fair contract that includes fair compensation for the great work they have done and continue to do in our schools each day. 
Get on the free bus with them at 5:30 pm on Monday at McKinley Tech HS. The bus will transport teachers to and from the Kennedy Center to avoid parking and transportation costs.

Check your emails for additional details.
 
Go HERE to sign up to participate.

Go HERE to see the Contract FAQ. 
#PayFairPlayFair!
WASHINGTON POST PUBLISHES OPINION
PIECE BY PRES. DAVIS ON SEC. DeVOS'S VISIT
TO DC SCHOOL


An opinion piece written by WTU Pres. Davis about U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's visit to DC's Jefferson Academy in February was posted on the Washington Post website on March 10. It will appear on the Local Opinions page in the Post's Metro Section on Sunday, March 12.

Go HERE to read President Davis's Op-Ed 
TEACHERS' RETIREMENT PLAN WORKSHOPS

WTU members currently enrolled in the Teachers' Retirement Plan are invited to attend one of the Teachers' Retirement Plan Workshops.
 
LOCATION:  
DC Retirement Board
900 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
          (One block from the Gallery Place Metro Station. First-come,
first-served street parking is available.)
 
DATES:
          Thursday, March 23rd  or    Tuesday, March 28th
        (The same program will be provided on each date.
Please sign up for only one workshop!)
 
TIME:
 4 to 7 pm
 
During the workshop you will receive an overview of the Plan, learn about Social Security and Medicare, and hear about supplemental retirement options through the 403b tax shelter annuity plan. In addition, our 403b vendors will be on site to answer your specific questions.
 
Dinner will be provided by the Washington Teachers' Union and the Council of School Officers.
 
To register to attend on either March 23rdor March 28th, click here.
 
COME OUT AND SHOW 
YO UR S UPPORT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The WTU is supporting the Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development and its efforts to ensure that affordable housing is available for citizens in the District of Columbia. The coalition will be hold a More for Housing Now Rally on
Saturday, March 18th. 
 
AN EVENING WITH 
 KWAME ALEXNADER

First Book, along with our publishing partner National Geographic, is pleased to invite you to join us for a special exclusive evening with Newbery award-winning author and poet, Kwame Alexander.

Mr. Alexander will present his newest book, Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures, with photographs from Joel Sartore. He will lead a conversation about his book, poetry, and experiences in the classroom. 
 
RSVP here to attend the event!
 
 
This event is open to registered members of the First Book Network only. You must RSVP to attend the event.  Anyone serving children from low-income families is eligible to sign up for free. Seating is limited, so there will be a guest list for this event. Not yet a member? Register here with First Book and then RSVP before the guest list is finalized on April 1st.

First Book will distribute a signed copy of Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry to everyone who attends.

If you have any questions about signing up with First Book or the event, please contact First Book Members Services at help@firstbook.org or
866-READ-NOW.

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WTU members rally for 
new contract with fair raises

Members of the Washington Teachers' Union were vocal and visible when they gathered on March 3 at Freedom Plaza to rally for a new contract agreement with fair salary increases.
 
WTU President Elizabeth Davis opened the rally by laying out the union's arguments for giving DCPS's teachers and related-service providers their long-overdue salary increases. She was followed by Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO Executive Director Carlos Jimenez, who assured WTU members that the DC labor movement "is standing with you."
 
Rev. Graylan Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and director of Faith Strategies, said that "teachers deserve our respect and support. They are the people who nurture and teach our children."
 
Other speakers included Elizabeth Falcon, executive director of Jobs With Justice, parent Peter McPherson, and teachers Chris Bergfalk, Laura Fuchs, Jim Leonard and Terence Ngwa.
 
Following the remarks, the teachers marched across the street and rallied on the steps of the Wilson Building, which houses the offices of Mayor Bowser and the DC City Council.

Go HERE to see the Contract FAQ.

Go HERE to see more photos.
 

























PHOTOS BY EDWARD C. JONES
SAVE THE DATE!
Representative Assembly 
Membership Meeting 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
 
4:30 pm 
McKinley Tech HS

AGENDA

Contract Update

Latest on Contract Actions

Local School Budget Cuts

May 1 "National Day of Action"

 

ALL MEMBERS ARE INVITED! 

Shared Vision Conference features major speakers, insight into key education issues
Annual conference brings together teachers,
parents, elected leaders and community activists


With informative small group sessions and outstanding speakers, the WTU's Fourth Annual Shared Vision Conference provided participants with insight into some of the major issues impacting education and educators in the District of Columbia and across the nation. Entitled "Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education in the District of Columbia," the conference brought together teachers and other school staff, parents, elected leaders and community activists.
 
It was the first time mos t of those gathered had heard directly from new DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson, who was the conference's luncheon speaker. WTU President Elizabeth Davis, who introduced Wilson, said she and Wilson had connected as educators-and that the new chancellor agrees with many of the WTU's priorities.
 
The chancellor laid out three DCPS principles under his stewardship: equity, excellence and integrity. "I could not turn down" coming to DC, said Wilson. "We are collectively shaping things for the rest of the country."
 
The new chancellor made it clear that he believes in public education and educators. "This country is only going to succeed in the future by having a strong public education system," said Wilson, who added: "We don't win as a country by attacking teachers."  
 
He acknowledged that the conditions that students learn in are as important as what is taught.
 
The conference's opening session featured 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes. Hayes, who teaches high school in Waterbury, Conn., shared her personal experience being raised in a housing project by an "amazing grandmother who taught us to take care of each other and to take care of our community."
 
"I teach in the community I was raised in because I'm so invested," she said.
 
Teaching is about far more than standardized tests. "Our job isn't just to produce high performing students. We have a greater responsibility to cultivate consciousness and good people," Hayes said. "The purpose of education is two fold: to build knowledge and chara cter."
 
Hayes called education "an equalizer" and said that just as her teachers were there for her she makes a point of being there for her students. "We are a lot of the times the only constant in our students' lives."



Go HERE to download conference materials

Go HERE to see more photos.
 

 






 













 

PHOTOS BY EDWARD C. JONES
WTU urges OSSE to reconsider 
flawed ESSA accountability plan
Proposed plan relies too heavily on test scores, union says

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education's (OSSE) draft accountability plan for elementary and middle schools perpetuates No Child Left Behind's failed emphasis on testing and disregards the Every Student Succeeds Act's (ESSA) encouragement for states to broaden accountability to focus on improving school quality.

That was the essence of the message delivered by WTU President Elizabeth Davis to State Superintendent Hansuel Kang and members of the State Board of Education.

Davis recently sent letters to Kang and SBOE members asking that OSSE not submit ESSA regulations on an accountability plan by April 3, but to defer submission until the second federally permitted submission date, September 18.
 
"This unnecessarily rushed schedule would undermine the ability of education stakeholders to collaborate with OSSE on selecting robust school climate measures that would help schools improve and give parents needed information about each school's learning conditions to enable parents to make informed school choices about which school to select for their children," Davis wrote.
 
OSSE, she said, "should ask key DCPS and charter school stakeholder organizations to select representatives for a special, top priority OSSE stakeholder advisory task force on ESSA accountability."

OSSE's draft accountability plan for elementary and middle schools proposes to weight standardized test scores 80% of the school's overall rating, with the remaining 20% primarily on attendance and re-enrollment rates.

"ESSA states the opportunity to reduce the extreme weight on test scores for holding public schools accountable, which was the cornerstone of NCLB," Davis wrote. "Instead, ESSA requires states to expand the grounds for accountability to include at least one indicator of "school quality or student success."

"If states choose a robust survey of school climate as their "school quality" indicator, they can shift schools' attention from raising test scores per se to making changes that improve school climate, teaching and student learning."
Union joins in speaking out against  federal DC school voucher plan
Vouchers don't work and take valuable 
funding away from public schools

The WTU and its president Elizabeth Davis were among those urging DC City Council members to sign on to a letter asking members of Congress to reconsider their support for the reauthorization of the DC voucher program, Scholarships for Opportunities and Results (SOAR) Reauthorization Act.

The letter points out that the evidence shows that vouchers don't work and that they take funding away from public schools. "At a time when every dollar matters, public funds must go to public schools - which, unlike the private schools accepting vouchers, are open, nondiscriminatory and accept all students," the letter said.

"Private schools participating in the DC voucher program can pick and choose which students to accept and do not adhere to all federal civil rights laws and public accountability standards that public schools must meet."

The DC voucher program has also been plagued by a lack of oversight and repeated management and accountability failures, the letter goes on to say. "Federal funds would better serve our children if they were invested in making our public schools stronger."