The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Andrew Crook, 202/393-8637,

AFT's Weingarten on DC Public Schools' $5 Million Settlement with Teachers

Compensation is Partial Vindication for Unwarranted Layoffs during Michelle Rhee Reign


AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the Washington Teachers' Union reached a landmark settlement with District of Columbia Public Schools over teachers terminated by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee:

"This settlement doesn't take away the hurt and shame Michelle Rhee inflicted on so many great D.C. teachers--but after a long fight, it is a small step toward vindication for those who suffered from her top-down, test-and-punish policies that have failed both the arbitrator's test and the test of time.

"Instead of helping teachers get what students need, Rhee embarked on a blame-and-shame campaign that was as ineffective as it was indefensible. There is a straight line between the Rhee agenda--which tried to strip educators of any voice and dignity and reduced students to test scores and teachers to algorithms--to the current walkouts in which educators are fighting for an appropriate investment in public schools. Teachers fight for what students need. That is as true now as it was when Michelle Rhee denigrated their voice.

"What happened a decade ago still stings, but the teachers in Washington, D.C., who were wrongly fired will take some measure of comfort from this settlement; and their unions will continue to fight to make sure the wrong-headed mentality that pitted students against their teachers never arises again."


The Washington Teachers' Union, an AFT affiliate, has reached a settlement with District of Columbia Public Schools over the union's grievance involving teachers "excessed" in 2010. The overall value of the settlement agreement is more than $5 million.

Under the settlement agreement, each teacher who was terminated by DCPS as a result of this "excessing" will be entitled to monetary compensation.

The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do. The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.6 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.