D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, and Washington Teachers’ Union President George Parker just announced that a mediator will help settle differences over the shape of their contract.
Kurt Schmoke, Dean of Howard University School of Law and former Baltimore mayor, will work to resolve “outstanding issues” on the table, according to an AFT statement.
No word yet as to whether this means that that either the district or the AFT has declared a formal impasse—an event that triggers an arbitration process—or whether this is more of an informal conflict-resolution kind of thing.
UPDATE: AFT reports the contract is not at impasse.
Readers of this blog will know that part of the issue has been Ms. Rhee’s plans to create a two tiered pay proposal, which hinged on some teachers giving up tenure for a year for the chance to earn bonuses, and an evaluation based in part on test scores. The union’s counterproposal scrapped those features in favor of a peer-assistance-and review system, an expedient dismissal process for ineffective teachers (which the union never described in detail), a career ladder, and some kind of alternative-pay model.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.