WTU Newsletter


Received an excess letter or just seeking a transfer ?

DCPS will host a hiring fair on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 from 5-7 pm at Hart Middle School located at 601 Mississippi Ave., SE for current WTU members only. This fair provides all current WTU members the opportunity to apply for available positions, before outside applicants. Don't miss this one! WTU staff will be available on site.



First Books DC More Books!
Friday, May 2, 2014
AFT Headquarters
555 New Jersey Avenue, NW
No registration. Just say WTU
"Why I Teach" Essay Contest
May 5- May 23
Details within newsletter

May 2, 2014 



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Message from President

Elizabeth Davis


Reclaiming The Promise of
Brown v. Board

This month the nation will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision which desegregated public schools. This landmark ruling redefined not just public schools but set the stage for the modern day civil rights movement.

 I had been teaching for five years at John Phillip Sousa Middle School in Ward Seven before discovering that the school played a role in desegregation history. The school was a part of a court case called Bolling v. Sharpe, which was one of the five corresponding cases that made up the Brown decision. The Bolling v. Sharpe decision led to the desegregation of DC public schools and it was hoped that the foundation was being laid to provide access to a quality education for all in our city.  However, sixty years after Brown v Board and Bolling v Sharpe, the public school system in DC is far from equal for all children.

Today, sixty years after American schools were desegregated, it seems that the money for education is still following the affluent.   Parents are forced to shuttle their children miles from home in order to assure them a decent education. Resources needed to support children in underserved communities are being siphoned off through charter school funding, budget cuts and apathy. We have constructed an education system in the Nation's Capital that leaves most of DC's children behind.

The architects of school integration could not have imagined that schools would begin the slow slide back to separate and very unequal. The legacy of Thurgood Marshall and thousands of unknown Americans is deeply rooted in this historic ruling. Shame on us for allowing that legacy to be tarnished by unfair and racially divisive standardized testing and a teacher evaluation process that demeans the men and women dedicated to the future of our children, and thus, our country.

On May 17 the WTU will commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board with a National Day of Action. We want to send a signal to DCPS and the community that a school system that does not educate our children equally is a disservice to previous generations that dedicated their lives to breaking down barriers. We cannot sit idly by and let those advances be eroded.

We are planning the details of the National Day of Action on Monday, May 5 at 5pm at the new offices of the WTU. Come join us.

In Unity,

Liz Davis




Also follow WTU on Twitter for more information at wtuteacher

WTU Calendar



Mon., May 5
National Day of Action Planning Meeting
5pm, WTU Offices
1239 Pa., SE


Mon., May 5
Teacher Appreciation Week
Launch of "Why I Teach" Essay contest
Details to the right


Thurs., May 8
Recruitment Fair
Want to become a PD instructor?
Details to the right


Tues., May 13
Rep. Assembly
Location: Luke C. Moore HS


Sat., May 17
National Day of Action


Mon., May 20
DCPS Hiring Event
Details in the headlines


Fri., May 23
Deadline for 250 word
Why I Teach Essay



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WTU Website

May is Membership Mobilization Month!!  Become a full member today!


The advantages of full membership are yours for only $5.41 more. 



Washington Teachers' Union Spring 2014 Membership Drive Campaign

The Washington Teachers' Union is preparing for its 2014 Spring Membership Drive with an ambitious and attainable goal of 90% to 100% overall WTU membership in every school. The WTU membership drive will begin on April 29, 2014.

Local school WTU chapters with full or nearly full membership exhibit a greater sense of pride, confidence, and empowerment. Unity is an effective antidote against fear.

Agency Fee ($30.67) vs. Membership ($36.08): The cost difference is miniscule compared to what full membership offers. A great majority of agency fee teachers do not belong to the Union simply because no one ever asked them to join. Your Union needs you to actively recruit agency fee teachers and President Davis needs strong support in order to address your concerns and speak boldly on your behalf. There really is strength in numbers.

Key Benefits for Full Membership

In order to assure continuation of the DCPS employer paid dental, vision and pre-paid legal services the Union must maintain a strong full dues paying membership base. What this means is that agency fee teachers who do not convert to membership could potentially cause all members to lose these valuable hard earned benefits.

Additionally, $2 Million Occupational Liability Insurance is provided by AFT to full dues paying members only. Agency fee teachers are NOT covered. No teacher (all WTU bargaining unit position titles) should be in a classroom or working with children without this protection, especially given the hyper litigious society we live in today. Also, considering the peace of mind $2 million liability protection allows, there really is no way you can escape the value of full membership.

Contract Negotiations: It's imperative that we present a strong united front going into contract negotiations. An impressive agency fee conversion to membership strengthens the negotiating team and sends a clear message to the administration that teachers are solidly behind the President and the team.

Lastly, everyone needs to join now for this school year regardless of intent to return next year. For those who profess the "I Won't Be Here Next Year Excuse", remind them of the true meaning of unionism. It's about the welfare of the whole; not individual parts. The actions that are taken today will continue to accrue benefits to colleagues who remain. And, who knows, those "I won't be here next year" teachers, may end up staying, which would be good. Or, they may return after a few years and the great benefits will still be there for them to take advantage.





From the Field Department

During the month of May, elections of Building Representatives, School Chapter Advisory Committees, and Personnel Committees shall be held according to our WTU Constitution and By-Laws. WTU is committed to having union committees in all of our schools for school year 2014-15. The Union committees established in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) give teachers a voice in our schools.

Schools that hold elections are able to participate in resolving local school issues and have input when critical decisions are made about their local school budget, and excessing and/or hiring teachers. The electronic version of the WTU election packet should arrive in your email boxes shortly.

If you need assistance with your local school elections, please contact your WTU Field Services Specialist at 202-293-8600.




First Book DC Victory

More books available on May 2
AFT Headquarters, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, 1:00pm-3:00pm


On Saturday, April 26, thousands of DC public school teachers joined community groups in line outside the AFL-CIO Headquarters to collect the 40,000 free books available through First Books DC. In partnership with the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) the mission of the book giveaway was to support teachers and community groups who serve students from low-income families.

"Since many of our students are parents, Ballou S.T.A.Y. is very involved in family engagement. My heart was overwhelmed with thanksgiving as I filled my duffel bag with books that would help extend reading into the homes of our students", says DCPS teacher Rosemary Fowler-Smith.

First Book DC acknowledges that in resource-strapped schools, many teachers and nonprofits supporting them struggle to provide an ongoing supply of high-quality books. First Book-DC works to meet this major book need in communities where books are scarce. The Pi Beta Phi Foundation donated the bulk of the funding for the books, along with First Book-DC. The WTU and AFT convened the distribution effort, along with the national and Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO.

"Children who have access to books and other print material express great enjoyment for reading and academics. The hundreds of dedicated teachers who came to collect books on behalf of those students understand this. So many classrooms and homes do not have enough books to ignite the joy of reading. We are filling that gap", says WTU President Elizabeth Davis.




Weigh in on the DCPS
School Boundaries Debate


DC Mayor Vincent Gray is attempting to redraw the school boundary lines and change the school feeder patterns for DCPS. To address this issue in a way that best reflects the views of our members, the WTU and its allies have crafted a short survey to get your thoughts and opinions.   Please click on the link below to answer a few multiple choice questions. When you complete the survey, hit 'Done'.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support in our quest to reclaim the promise of public education for all students in the District.





Are you interested in developing new courses for the Washington Teachers' Union?


Or do you want to become an AFT certified to teach the common- core aligned courses we currently offer?


Join WTU on Thursday, May 8 at 5pm. WTU is  committed to providing high quality professional development to our members, not only to support certification endeavors, but also to improve their craft. Research shows that teachers engaged in professional learning communities are among the most highly effective. Therefore, we are soliciting WTU members in all content areas to join our cadre of WTU instructors.


Our annual recruitment fair will take place at the new WTU headquarters located at 1239 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. At the recruitment fair, interested members will learn how to become AFT certified to teach Educational Research and Dissemination courses, as well as, the process for creating and implementing original WTU courses.


Interested members should RSVP to our communications specialist Joia Jefferson Nuri at jnuri@wtulocal6.net or (240) 603-7905 by May 5th.


Refreshments will be served.  We look forward to seeing you.

WHY I TEACH Essay Contest


Teaching is where the hope is. It's where dreams come true. This is made clear in Why I Teach, a book that is a poetic celebration of teachers and teaching. In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5 - 9, 2014, Washington Teachers Union President Elizabeth Davis is proud to announce the WTU's collaboration with Author and Teacher Trainer Caroline Brewer to bring Why I Teach to the WTU membership.


Every WTU member can now download a copy of Why I Teach at www.happyteachertraining.com, and when you do, consider submitting a 250-word essay about why you teach. Each essay will be judged by the DC Area Writing Project, which is sponsored by the Howard School of Education. All awardees will receive an autographed copy of the printed edition of Why I Teach and the top four awardees will receive dinner at a D.C. restaurant with President Davis on Thursday, June 12, at 6 p.m. The names of all awardees will be announced to the media and posted on the WTU website and referenced in our newsletter and other social media platforms.


Deadline for entries is Friday, May 23 at midnight. Email all entries to the WTU communications specialist Joia Jefferson Nuri at jnuri@wtulocal6.net.