Message from President
A Celebration of You and Reclaiming Brown v. Board
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to every WTU member and teachers everywhere!
There are not enough words of praise to bestow upon you for the gallant work you do in the classrooms and throughout our schools. Congress declared a National Teacher Day in 1980 and five years later the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) established National Teacher Week. This week the entire nation stands and salutes your contribution to America's next generation. In order to honor you and give you voice, WTU is hosting an essay contest to give you the opportunity to tell us why you teach. Within this newsletter are the details. There are prizes for the winners!
Also, in the month of May the nation will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court decision which desegregate public schools.
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.
Today, sixty years after American public 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. The architects of school integration could not have imagined that schools would begin the slow slide back to separate and very unequal.
On May 17th the WTU will commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board with a National Day of Action and inter-faith prayer breakfast. You are invited! 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 are planning the details of the National Day of Action every Monday leading up to the National Day of Action on May 17th. Join us on today, May 5th, 5pm at the new offices of the WTU, 1239 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Let your voice be heard.
Also follow WTU on Twitter for more information @wtuteacher
Mon., May 5
National Day of Action Planning Meeting
5pm, WTU Offices
1239 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Mon., May 5
Teacher Appreciation Week
Launch of "Why I Teach" Essay contest
Details to the right
Thurs., May 8
Want to become a PD instructor?
Details to the right
Tues., May 13
4:30pm, Luke C. Moore HS, 1001 Monroe St., NE.
Sat., May 17
National Day of Action & Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, John Phillip Sousa Middle School, 3650 Ely Place, SE.
Mon., May 20
DCPS Hiring Event, Hart Middle School, 601 Mississippi Ave., SE
Details in the headlines
Fri., May 23
Deadline for 250 word
Why I Teach Essay
Fri., May 30
Deadline for local school election results
May is Membership Mobalization Month!! Become a full dues members today. The advantages of a full membership are yours for only $5.41 more.
Candi Peterson, Gen. VP
Head of Field Services
Angie Skinner, Director
Amina Brown, Director
Joia Jefferson Nuri
Executive Assistant to
President Liz Davis
WTU Full Membership
has its privileges!
Washington Teachers' Union Spring 2014 Membership Drive Campaign
Beginning today, the Washington Teachers' Union launches its 2014 Spring Membership Drive with an ambitious and attainable goal of reaching 100% full dues paying WTU members in every school.
During the last Representative Assembly meeting, Delegates were informed that a technical error may have occurred during the previous WTU administration resulting in several hundred members losing their full dues membership status and reverting back to agency fee status.
Because of this, during the month of May until the end of this school year, the WTU Executive Board, Field Service Specialists, and volunteers from the WTU Retiree chapter will visit all schools to assist Building Representatives in reclaiming our members. Full WTU membership has its privileges. Here are the key benefits to becoming a full dues paying member today!
Key Benefits to Full Membership
Make your voice count during contract negotiations! It's imperative that we present a strong united front going into collective bargaining. An impressive agency fee conversion to membership strengthens the negotiating team and sends a clear message to DCPS that teachers are solidly behind the WTU President and the team. Only full dues paying members are eligible to vote on the contract. New teachers, probationary and permanent teachers can join the WTU and qualify to vote on the contract, as well. Sign up early and before this school year ends to become a full dues paying member and use your voting power and privilege to ratify the contract this fall.
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.
Insurance, Leave Banks & Legal Benefits
In order to ensure continuation of the employer paid dental/vision insurance coverage, sick/maternity leave award program and pre-paid legal services, the Union must maintain a strong full dues paying membership base. What this means is that agency fee members who do not convert to full membership could potentially cause all members to lose these valuable hard earned benefits.
$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.
Full Member "Perks"
Full WTU members receive priority consultation on DC certification and the Teaching and Learning Framework for IMPACT. Plus, as a full dues member, you receive a $50 discount on registration for all WTU courses. The WTU is also developing new organizational partnerships with businesses who support and love teachers. Beginning this summer, many of these partners such as AT&T and ZipCar will offer exclusive and special discounts just for full dues paying WTU members. Don't miss out. Become a member today to take advantage of these perks. A listing of business discounts just for full dues members will be available this summer. In the meantime, check out all the perks that are available to WTU full members today through our parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers. Click here to see the AFT benefits.
Everyone needs to join 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 news. Or, they may return after a few years and the great benefits will still be there for them to take advantage.
Local school WTU chapters with full membership exhibit a greater sense of pride, confidence, and empowerment. Unity is an effective antidote against fear. Together we are greater than one. See your Building Representative, a WTU Executive Board member, check our website at http://www.wtulocal6.org/usr/Full%20Membership%20Application%202013.pdfor or call the WTU office today to receive your membership application: 202-293-8600.
Applications must be returned to the WTU with original signatures. Give your application to the highest ranking union representative in your building or mail your application to:
WTU Director of Membership Services
Washington Teachers' Union
1239 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Last but not least, become a member during Teacher Appreciation Week to receive a special WTU gift. Plus, Building Representatives and schools with a 100% full dues membership by the last day of school will receive a nice treat for all members in their school! Delegates and members will learn of the many incentives we are offering at the next Representative Assembly, May 13, 4:30 pm at Luke C. Moore. All members are invited.
Welcome new WTU members!
TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK
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
http://www.happyteachertraining.com/why-i-teach/ 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, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Field Services Department
Complete Your 2014-2015 Local School Union Elections by May 30th
During the month of May, elections of Building Representatives, School Chapter Advisory Committees (SCAC), Personnel Committee and the Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) are required 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.
Coupled with reclaiming our members by increasing membership numbers, WTU also has a stoic resolve to build our union leadership capacity and presence in every school with attainment of 100% local school elections completed by May 30th. 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.
Membership has its privileges. In order to run for a union office, you must be a full dues member. If you're interested in running, see the highest ranking union representative in your building and/or the Building Representative for a membership application. Complete your application today to become instantly qualified to run for any local school union position! And even if holding an elected office is not your goal, you have to be a full member to vote. Let your voice be heard!!
The electronic version of the WTU elections packet will be available this week on the WTU website. Local school election results can be faxed to: Angie Skinner, Director of Membership Services, at: 202-293-8633 or scanned and emailed to: email@example.com.
Our Field Service Specialists are available to guide and administer your election process if support is needed. For assistance, please contact the WTU office at 202-293-8600.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (240) 603-7905 by Wednesday, May 7th.
Refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you.
DC Labor's First Book Event,
a Major Success!
On Saturday, April 26, hundreds 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.