Update: Although this e-mail is designed to look like it comes from the school district, SDP has clarified that they did not send the e-mail -- it is spam from the outside. How Free to Learn came into possession of employee e-mail addresses is unclear at this time.
Yesterday, school district employees received an e-mail titled "Wise words on teacher evaluations."
This message, sent from “Priya Abraham - Free To Teach,” looks like any other administrative announcement, and talked about DC Union Leader George Parker’s work with “reforms removing seniority.”
What’s the story behind George Parker? Here’s the info you need, courtesy of Ken Derstine and the Defend Public Education Blog:
On June 3, 2010, at their union leader’s urging, the Washington D.C. Teachers Union ratified a contract with the Washington D.C. School District, headed by Chancellor Michelle Rhee, which included performance pay linked to test score growth, and a weakening of seniority and tenure. Union President George Parker called the ratification of the contract “a great day for teachers and students.” On November 10, 2010, Parker was voted out of office by the union rank-and-file. On May 20, 2011, Michelle Rhee announced that Parker was joining her corporate reform organization StudentsFirst.
And what’s the story behind Free to Teach? It states right on their website that they’re a part of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative lobbying group that is actively pushing to destroy unions in Pennsylvania. In fact, they’re one of the groups supporting legislation that would ban public sector unions from collecting dues from member paychecks!
Let "Free to Teach" know that working educators object to both their actions and their viewpoint!
Respond to the sender - firstname.lastname@example.org - and send them a note of complaint. Educate them about how it is not appropriate to use their administrative channels for any kind of politicking. The SDP acceptable use policy describes spam as any email that is “annoying or unnecessary.” Those are two of many words we could use to describe this message!
Most importantly, forward this information to all of your colleagues so that they are aware of the true nature of this message! Knowledge is power. We need to keep ourselves educated if we are going to protect our union and our schools from being dismantled.