A ‘Superman’ Review: Will Rhee & Fenty Be Able to Use This Movie to Steal an Election?

Here is my reaction to a review of the upcoming ‘Waiting for Superman’ movie. The Url is here: http://nymag.com/news/features/67966/

This sentence of the review is totally wrong:
“How did the D.C. teachers union react? As ‘Superman’ shows in devastating detail, it refused even to allow a vote on the plan.”

Not even close.
* First of all, had it come to a vote, the proposed Red-Green version of the contract AS OUTLINED IN PUBLIC BY RHEE AND PARKER (with almost all important details missing, because they hadn’t been agreed to) a couple of years ago, before I retired, would have been voted down overwhelmingly. A number of surveys of current DCPS teachers bore out my opinion.
* Secondly, for a contract to be voted on, all of the language of the contract (financial and technical) first has to be agreed upon and signed by both negotiating teams, and the Mayor, and the City Council. (I was on one such negotiating team one year.) That didn’t happen until this spring. Thus there was nothing for teachers to vote up or down.
So, the way I see it, Parker (alone) and Rhee (with her thralls) worked on the outlines of a new contract. Parker, being out of touch with teachers, suspected it just might be a hard sell to the rank and file. So they agreed to try to put forth the infamous Red and Green plan to teachers, to see if they could bribe them into assenting, without knowing anything else whatsoever might be in the proposed labor agreement. The response from teachers was overwhelmingly negative in general and on many details.
Then Rhee and Parker went back into their negotiating room, for nearly two years, and came up with a new contract that has, as far as I can tell, fairly few actual technical details in common with the Red/Green Plan.
So, that sentence about ‘the union never bringing it to a vote’ as if DC public school teachers were dying to jump onto
Rhee’s side is a bald-faced lie. But it gets repeated a lot.
I wonder how Canada and and Guggenheim will attempt to spin that lie. I suspect that they will have various Talking Heads repeat it.
Published in: on September 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I saw this movie in New York in the summer and it made my skin crawl. Jason Kamras was on a panel that discussed the film. He was so smug and so arrogant in his responses. Michelle Rhee’s quote about the teacher’s contract (that you analyze in your blog) was just one of many, many distortions. Please, please, please go see the movie as soon as it comes out and use your wonderful analytical gifts to report on the many distorted pieces of information. The producers of Waiting for Superman have hired people to organize post-film panels and discussions. We will need a careful analysis of the film in order to counteract people buying into this reform propaganda. This propoganda asserts that we finally have the answers to fixing public education. These answers seem to be hiring Michelle Rhee and opening more charter schools.


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