About 250 Teachers Are Given Pink Slips
Union Will Appeal Some of Rhee's Firings
[Editor’s Note: Table 4.1 shows that the average education major in the District of Columbia scored a mere 14.9 in ACT composite, 4 points lower than education majors in Rhode Island which itself has serious problems with educators, 4.6 points lower than California education majors,
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said in the fall that she would use the school system's "90-day plans" to fire more teachers. (By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)
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COMMENTS ARE CLOSED
By Bill Turque
Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 19, 2009
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, following through on promises to dismiss teachers deemed ineffective, has fired about 250 tenured and novice instructors this week for poor performance or failure to obtain a license, union officials said yesterday.
Teachers began receiving termination letters Tuesday, the day after the school year ended. George Parker, president of the Washington Teachers' Union, said figures provided to him by school system officials showed that about 60 of those terminated were first- or second-year teachers on probation. About 80, Parker said, were experienced teachers who had been placed by administrators on so-called "90-day plans" that gave them about six months (or 90 school days) to improve or face termination. The rest, he said, had failed to obtain proper licensing.
School system spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway declined to discuss the numbers but did not dispute Parker's account.
The dismissal of 80 tenured teachers is a landmark of sorts for the school system, which historically has fired only a handful of instructors each year for poor performance. The 90-day mechanism has been on the books for years but seldom used because it was considered cumbersome and time-consuming. Instructors can be placed on the plan if a principal's classroom observation finds them deficient in at least six of 17 categories, including content knowledge and classroom management. Teachers on the plan are supposed to be assigned a "helping teacher" for a program of improvement, which also requires a series of conferences and scheduled and unscheduled classroom visits by administrators.
Last fall, Rhee promised aggressive use of the plan after she was unable to secure concessions from the union in contract talks to give her wider latitude in reassigning or firing educators. Rhee told the D.C. Council late last year that 157 teachers were placed on the plan.
About 3,500 classroom teachers work in D.C. public schools. Rhee, who begins her third year as chancellor this month, initiated a similar turnover last year, firing 250 teachers and 500 teachers' aides who were unable to meet a deadline to obtain certification as required by federal law.
By comparison, Montgomery County officials report that 31 experienced teachers in their schools are resigning or being dismissed this year. All received poor evaluations during the 2007-08 school year and spent this year in a peer review program.
Parker said the union would appeal the firings in instances in which it believes teachers did not receive adequate support on the 90-day plan. The first step would be an appeal to D.C. school officials, followed by a session with an independent hearing officer. If neither results in a reversal, the cases could go to an arbitrator. The process can take four to 12 months. In the past, Parker said, the union has been able to secure reversals of about a third of the handful of dismissals.
Parker said the union disagrees with the school system about the status of probationary teachers. The union contends that if a teacher on probation receives a satisfactory evaluation, he or she should be hired permanently. Last year's firings of probationary teachers are the subject of a court fight, and Parker said he intends to pursue a similar remedy this year.
School officials say they can fire such instructors at will.
Staff writer Daniel de Vise contributed to this report.
wrote: eglobegus, once again I agree with your premise but your conservative
attacking of people who don't act like you (effeminate boys???) shows that
you're nothing. you are nothing. When people say "I am Somebody"
you have to keep silent because you aren't.
bbcrock, It appears that you are every where and no where simultaneously. If you are different be proud of your difference, however your posts reflect your ineffectiveness and condescending goobledegook of D.C.’s political ineptitude which diminishes professional opinion and lowers the ceiling of effective high performance learning when it is not necessary.
When you inconsistently write: Why should DCPS have to rate the teachers at all when they're unionized- that doesn't happen in other industries; I've spoken to Michelle Rhee once and her staff about a dozen times. How many times did you speak to Michelle Rhee? It's not like she doesn't take questions or wasn't available last year. This year she might be busy, but if you documented the lies then the principal should get ousted.
Then you fall to acrimonious placations, like; How many times do I speak to my councilmember about DCPS conditions- roughly once a month. How many times did you speak to YOUR councilmember about your experience as a teacher? Less than once a month? Is keeping quiet helping or hurting your school?
To bbrock: You have so much to say against any professional in the low performing areas but you do not know anything about what it takes in growth for learning. Professional veteran teachers all over this nation will not go to the low performing schools in a huge way because of peopld like you. You yell in your responses, blame the newly hired teachers for parents like yourself (loud, irresponsible, and unstable)
bbrock: ………. The administration will listen to and act on what the parent says and correct any issues that parent raises. They, alternatively, will victimize and villify the teacher.
There is more and larger difficulties in the Public Schools supporting uneducable children whom I do not believe are the overwhelming majority in any public school institution, yet parents like you should look in the mirror and think before you write.
My father taught at a large university (Temple U.), we always had great times. His acumen is a teaching, which incorporated much more than “talking” to life-time one party politicians and political public school appointees, we called a spade a spade. He was the Director of the Schools Education Department.
Bbrock, you can be somebody when you do not have to diminish yourself by making claims of “talking” to nobodies who only aid in the diminishment of civil society and Federal institutions created to improve a child’s education which does not ascribe gobbledygook - it performs a service and transforms a budding seed into a flowering beauty.
Respectfully, for all the “talk” you claim to the politico’s and Schools administrators, the inconsistencies of the D.C. Public Schools policies and programs do not improve without solid teachers and grounded instructors.
Parents are a key component in the growth of their children’s educability and in this, your opinions are ok, yet, your skirt is showing. Be proud of who you are, your brown nosing and writing so leaves an impression that nothing will change or improve by “talking” with the same politico’s and appointees that have not performed any service under D.C.’s failed political polices when continuously less than 50% of its high school students graduate.
Maybe you talk too much and create more of the problems than you correct.
Don’t take this wrong, different is different no one has to be the same. Good luck.
6/21/2009 8:50:39 PM
teachers because of performance is subjective at this point in American history
because we do not use a standard data base and uniform teaching standards
across the country. The firing of these 250 is still subjective. NO ONE KNOWS
how these results for negative performance is evaluated and all of this comes
out of the Queen Dictator's Head, Michelle Rhee. I wonder does Nosh1 know what
INTEGRITY in teaching means? INTEGRITY isn't available in teaching because each
district has its own definition. In my district it is important to have the
same opinions as the Superintendent. We have five assistant superintendents and
each superintendent makes 253,000 thousand a year, why???? All of the people
who administer to our district like how the superintendent thinks, but they are
not people who have taught school. Principals had to teach at one time before
taking the job. This is not true today. Teachers are teaching mills. At the
junior high level one teacher supports 180 kids a day. 180 and for the most
part, teachers who do this are doing this US country a great service, teachers
care about many. Furthermore, we do not have great presentation tools and for
the most part training is lousy. Kids come to school without paper and pencils
and the expectation that the teacher is supposed to fix all of these problems is
reality, but never mentioned. Without parental and societal help, the reality
is that individuals are on their own. Just like Abraham Lincoln. He educated
himself by fire light because he wanted to.
If Michelle Rhee wanted to help teachers reach the goals she sets, she would offer a training program and be fair. Being fair, offering unemployment insurance, deciding what standards are necessary in teaching, and promoting training from our universities to be uniform throughout the entire country is necessary before firing teachers at the whim of some administrator who doesn't know the reality of the job, is why this is happening around the country. Cold, heartless, and ignorant has been the norm of public opinion in my 20 year teaching career of middle school. Effectiveness, adoration, on going communication from my former students has been my calling card, but because I asked my principal to let me have access to the rest room on the weekends, the district wants to terminate me. I am harassed by administration daily, and now after 20 years, they are trying to dismiss me. How is that for a good reason to terminate a teacher? A fellow teacher lost his wife this year in terrible car accident and the district wanted to fire him, if he didn't come back in three days. I believe he was granted a leave, but he had to finish the last month of the year to keep his job. People like nosh1, never taught, and have no reality or respect for hard working teachers who have seen the pendulum of change every single minute of a clock face. There is no repetition in education, every lesson is different and so is everyday. The best people learn to inspire their students to behave and learn for themselves, so their students can help educate themselves and become successful on their own drive and determination. How do measure this as effective teaching? Get a reality check, teaching is hard, but the rewards are set in the faces and the reality of where my students wind up in life. I know of two lawyers, a pharmacist, and a nursing administrator who have thanked me for helping them believe they could become what they decided to be.
6/21/2009 1:59:29 AM
To bbrock: You have so much to say against any professional in the low performing areas but you do not know anything about what it takes in growth for learning. Professional veteran teachers all over this nation will not go to the low performing schools in a huge way because of peopld like you. You yell in your responses, blame the newly hired teachers for parents like yourself (loud, irresponsible, and unstable). You believe NCLB tests give the probabilities for learning outcome for students. You also believe that a poor environment means failure if the persons in the environment are almost entirely black(99%). You should go to a school for slow learners and take a class in reading. You can only read what is written with no understanding of the meaning.
6/20/2009 9:25:22 PM
One more thing. As a parent, your voice carries far more weight with the administration than that of a teacher. A teacher and a parent can approach this administration with the same concern about a student. The administration will listen to and act on what the parent says and correct any issues that parent raises. They, alternatively, will victimize and villify the teacher.
So when you speak as a parent, please realize that you are not walking in the shoes of a teacher when dealing with this administration. What might have been easy for you is a mighty difficult fight for a teacher -- one that would undoubtedly cost him or her their job.
6/20/2009 8:29:45 PM
to clarify, the certification requirement is a federal mandate required by the
No Child Left Behind Law. Teachers are given (I believe) two years to obtain
certification in the subject they are teaching. This is not Michelle's Rhee's
doing - and teachers have been fired for the past 3 years (even before Michelle
came) for not obtaining certification.
In a system where I used to teach (not DC) they took any warm body who agreed to step into a classroom - this was particularly true in rural areas of our country. I was uncertified and offered any number of teaching positions - teaching any subject I wanted.
Like all public policy, it's a good idea that can go wrong. It does not recognize other degrees (appropriate to a field). For instance and art teacher with an MFA or a librarian with an MLS, still must obtain a teaching certificate in their areas. This has indeed caused schools to lose good professionals in their fields.
Some teachers didn't feel the need to take this requirement seriously; some already had professional degrees in their fields and didn't see the need to take further coursework.
6/20/2009 8:26:30 PM
If you think that the Principal is the real problem, you don't get it. She is allowed to operate in an atmosphere of intimidation and hypocrisy created by the Rhee administration. Suffice it to say that central office knows enough about this particular Principal to make a decision about her future, one that would be in the best interest of the students in Ward 8.
Will Rhee make the right decision come July 1st? We shall see.
6/20/2009 8:15:11 PM
once again I agree with your premise but your conservative attacking of people
who don't act like you (effeminate boys???) shows that you're nothing.
you are nothing.
When people say "I am Somebody"
you have to keep silent because you aren't.
6/20/2009 5:58:14 PM
Washington Teacher blog, even Bill Turque is using this education blogger as a source.
This blog delves into the Columbia Heights Education Campus dismissal of 21 teachers by Principal Maria Tukeva. Most of these teachers were new probationary teachers. By firing this many teachers Takeva has wiped out her middle school. How did the school get high testing scores if the teachers are so bad ? Is Takeva cheating ? The real story will be told. Stay tuned....
6/20/2009 2:38:05 PM
my humble D.C. Public Schools experience as a parent, The entire administration
and staffs, including the Board of Education are no more than tricksters.
Don't take this wrong, the District of Columbia crony nepotism has destroyed the entire institution and structure of defeating any semblances of skilled or educated criterium.
All in all, it has become that the teachers are the first line representatives of the D.C. Public Schools, and, although there are (personal experience) a very few very diligent, there remain overwhelming majority of teachers that imbue the same non-D.C. government employee hatred for not only concerned parents but the bright children that are not girls nor effeminate boys. Please note that I am a African American father.
There is a lot more to the negatives for a parent like myself, that respectfully will never again hold any respect for the very hateful D.C. Public Schools leadership throughout.
Yes, although race, caste, nor class of any child or parent should not relevant, as a non white single parent father D.C. Public Schools has reflected to be a bastion public institution too centered upon a parents male/female gender, and for my personal experiences reject manhood and intelligent parentage, to create an atmosphere where my children were dummied-down for the benefit of many incompetent Principals, and yes, too many (young and old) unprepared and more often insulting low class instructors.
Having said the above is not to diminish any effective and sincere teaching instructor.
The D.C. Teachers Union is just as ineffective and class, gender, and a caste institution that does no benefit to the good and great teaching instructors that make up it's union members.
There has come to be only several over riding solutions to these dilemmas: one is to stop voting for anyone of the Democratic Party ticket, and two is to completely terminate the total D.C. Public Schools Chancellor, School Boards, and, all D.C. Public Schools affiliated appointees and start completely anew.
Therefore respectively, until these objectives are accomplished, the Committee of the District of Columbia must entertain all new and current Public Schools students enter the D.C. Public Charter Schools until every D.C. Public Schools Democratic incumbent associated Schools administrative personnel are purged and emerge anew free of all prior political appointees and D.C. Democratic Party affiliated electorates hirees.
This conversation is so much like te recent situation under Democratic Party Councilman Jim Graham's hiree is the shooter at the Metro station last week; a Fenty jobs program employee; a child of a fatherless home; a student of D.C. Public Schools.
These dilemmas will never end in the District of Columbia until the voters choose a different political party to represent the citizen's best interests.
Mark these words, by reelecting another lifetime Democrat of the District of Columbia - Will make your past your future.
Sorry for you good teaching instructors, suggestion: either take a stand and unite and make a change - or - sink in your concrete ship that was never constructed for seaworthy purposes. The D.C.P.S. under D.C. Democratic control is a house of wood and termites.
Three decades and it only gets worse.
May the good teaching instructors find a better union to champion your cause.
Reelecting another George Parker will ever fit the bill, and you must change something, like a completely new union organization or maybe none.
You must make the change or nothing will ever change, except another end note in the next WaPo reporting of the same D.C.P.S. problem it will just be on a different day.
6/20/2009 1:10:48 PM
- interesting --- Please consider including your DCTF status in future posts,
so readers will know that it's just not the "old, bad" teachers who
complain about the Rhee administration.
I'd really like to see a group of people like you speak out publicly. Unfortunately, in the poisonous anti-teacher atmosphere that Rhee has created, the public distrusts anything negative that veteran teachers say about her. You would have more credibility at this juncture. Also, veteran teachers really do have more to lose for speaking out – their pension and their reputation in their long-term chosen profession. You have something to gain – saving teachers, and most of all, students from this and future reigns of terror.
6/20/2009 10:55:50 AM
I know efavorite. I came into the DCPS system under the same program. She doesn't know what she's doing and somebody needs to realize that very soon.
6/20/2009 9:43:05 AM
- she's firing whom she can -- people without tenure, ergo without any rights.
Her hand-picked principals have fired some excellent teachers, one of which I
know was a DC Teaching fellow (DCTF) in the first year of a 2 year program to
This is one of those "elite" programs to get sharp recent college grads into teaching. Check out http://deedoesdc.blogspot.com/
6/20/2009 8:25:29 AM
She's found less than two percent of the staff to be ineffective and she hired
half of them so what does that say about her own policies. She's ineffective.
She's had people waiting around to see or hear about some type of reform that
would directly impact the children in a positive way. She's got nothing. I
suggest people really get off her inflated train and let's give her 90 days to
get out of town. What has she done other than attempt to capitalize on Janey's
efforts. She's actually horrible and ineffective herself and really should be
fired. Remember, she's at will. Michelle Obama has done more to reform
education in our city in the last six months than Rhee in the last two years.
Fenty is going to really put it all on her and lose. Well, they've both already lost. Pathetic -- they can't even prove that thy really do put children first. I'm sick of this self-promoting machine of RheeForm.
6/20/2009 4:30:50 AM
I'm going to ignore your incredibly condescending and insulting post.
I don't have a response that wouldn't be additionally insulting. Nothing I wrote was condescending though.
All I can say is that I, as a parent, have been in contact with every possible person from the Mayor's office down to the school principal to Marc Fisher and Jay Matthews to the WTU to the Metropolitan Police Department. I've written to every DC teaching blog and talked to 50 or so teachers themselves. When I saw the injustice perpetrated against the students I acted swiftly and with great resolve to see these creeps fired. At this point, I believe that everyone I had concerns with is now gone, an ex-DCPS employee.
Do not let that principal get away unscathed if what you say is true. Name names. It will hang on your conscience for the rest of your life if you don't.
If that's condescending then... I dunno, grow a thicker skin. Notice how the creeps dump on me here left and right.
6/19/2009 8:12:05 PM
has been talking about firing folks since she walked in the door. Rhee has
established a tone where the new and incumbent principals knew they had to
terminate some folks. it is higly likely they did it to take pressure off of
Many of you are not being honest when looking at this situation. Working in DC government is dangerous. People in city government are vindictive and petty. not that private sector isn't, but it is usually more transparent and related to performance. Favortism or being in the right click has value in DC. So, people kiss but and do what they have to to keep their jobs.
6/19/2009 5:58:59 PM
Bnew - don't forget the droves of highly qualified certified teachers who are moving to DC in droves to be part of the rhee miracle. haha
6/19/2009 4:57:13 PM
- So you're getting out! I don't blame you.
I would like you to contact the reporter Bill Turque directly, though, to tell your story so he could investigate and report it. Many current DCPS teachers are afraid for their jobs, but you don't have to be any more.
You could help a lot by speaking out.
PS - I know DC teachers who are being snapped up too. Maybe this is part of Rhee's plan to remove a "significant share of the teacher corps" -- drive out the ones who can easily get jobs elsewhere.
6/19/2009 4:48:47 PM
seeems to be a great deal of concern regarding uncertified teachers. Are you aware
that DCPS IS CURRENTLY HIRING NEW UNCERTIFIED TEACHERS TO REPLACE THE ONES THEY
These new teachers will be given special certifications that will allow them to teach your children for perhaps the NEXT TWO YEARS. This is great and they can look foward to be FIRED IN 2011.
6/19/2009 4:47:55 PM
I don't see Rhee going in that direction. Earlier her plan was to incorporate Special ed in the classes with "regular" kids. I don't know the word for the proposed plan but that does not make sense to me given all the other challenges teachers have.
All she has to do it put forward a program addressing remedial education. it seems logical that these schools not making AYP or with poor test scores should be mandated to go in this direction. Pay the teachers the difference for 8-hour days versus 6. it would be a 30% pay raise. Let ones that don't want the hours op out. Seems like this could be used to weed teachers out too. I really don't care what or how, just educate the dang kids.
6/19/2009 4:25:08 PM
I'm going to ignore your incredibly condescending and insulting post.
Know this--and, quite frankly, you are entitled to know little else--I do not have to answer to you or any other Rhee worshipper, about the extent of my contacts with this administration. Rest assured, however, that every last one of my comments in my previous post would survive the strictest of scrutiny.
6/19/2009 4:22:08 PM
Michelle Rhee, the reform-minded chancellor who took over the District of Columbia public schools three years ago, on Friday fired 241 teachers, or 5 percent of the district’s total. All but a few of those dismissed had received the lowest rating under a new evaluation system that for the first time held them accountable for their students’ standardized test scores.
“Every child in a District of Columbia public school has a right to a highly effective teacher — in every classroom, of every school, of every neighborhood, of every ward, in this city,” the chancellor said in a statement. “That is our commitment.”
All told, the district terminated 302 employees — 226 for poor performance, and 76 for other problems like not having the licensing required by the No Child Left Behind act. Besides the 241 teachers, those dismissed were librarians, counselors, custodians and other employees.
An additional 737 employees were put on notice that they had been rated “minimally effective,” the second-lowest category, and would have one year to improve their performance or be fired.
In the years before Ms. Rhee took over the district, almost all the teachers had high performance ratings and almost none were fired, but students, on average, had low achievement levels.
George Parker, the president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, said the union would challenge the firings. The union has taken issue with the evaluation system Ms. Rhee used, saying that it was designed more for punishing teachers than helping them improve.
“Evaluations should include a component of student learning, of course, but there also has to be teacher development and support,” Ms. Weingarten said. “It can’t just be a ‘gotcha’ system, like the one in D.C.”
As part of the Obama administration’s focus on teacher effectiveness, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has pushed states to develop evaluation and pay models that link teacher ratings to their students’ test scores. States that use such models get points that increase their chances of winning part of the department’s $3.4 billion Race to the Top grant pool.
Since becoming chancellor in June 2007, Ms. Rhee has been intent on controlling how teachers in the district — known for a long history of low-performing schools — are managed, paid and, if necessary, fired.
Friday’s dismissals were not the chancellor’s first. In the 2007-8 school year, a district spokesman said, 79 teachers were fired for poor performance, and in 2008-9, 96 were. Also, after hiring more than 500 new teachers in the spring and summer of 2009, Ms. Rhee laid off 266 educators in the fall, citing budget problems. The union has filed suit challenging those dismissals.
Last month, the teachers’ union and the District Council approved a contract that weakened teachers’ seniority protection, in return for 20 percent raises and bonuses of $20,000 to $30,000 for teachers who meet certain standards, including rising test scores.
Only 16 percent of the teachers evaluated were rated in the top category, “highly effective.”
A spokesman for the district said that starting the new school year with a full complement of teachers would not be a problem because a pool of several hundred applicants had already been screened.
Another controversy involving D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the firing of more than 200 teachers last October as part of a budget cutting move is brewing.
Inappropriate relations with students apparently were among the reasons some teachers were let go by D.C. Public Schools in the fall, according to Fast Company.
"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school," Rhee says. "Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"
Rhee: Some Fired D.C. Teachers "Had Sex" With Students
The official reason for the cuts was a budget deficit.
Washington Teachers Union president George Parker called Rhee's statements reckless and said the union received no information that any of the fired teachers was accused of sexual misconduct against children. He said one teacher faced action for administering corporal punishment.
D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray said any abuse should have been reported to police. He wants Rhee to explain her comments Monday.
Pearl Christian, a former DCPS teacher let go under Rhee's restructuring said the comments add insult to injury by hurting the former teachers' chances of landing teaching jobs in other school systems. She added that teachers get accused of such abuses frequently but rarely do the accusations hold up.
The Rhee disclosure came just days after it was disclosed this week that the private Sidwell Friends School in the District had fired a teacher who is now facing charges of sex with a minor away from the campus.
Police in Montgomery and Queen Anne's counties haved charged middle school teacher Robert "Pete" Peterson, who taught seventh and eighth grades. He allegedly had sexual contact with a male Sidwell student in the teacher's Silver Spring home.
Rhee's office has not responded to a News4 request for more information on how many teachers were fired for having sex with children and whether they were in classroom assignments at the time of any offenses.
In the February issue of the Fast Company business magazine that's just out, Rhee responds to criticism that she used a budget crunch as a pretext to firing teachers.
Fired DC Teachers meet with City Council today
· October 16th, 2009 10:18 am ET
Today, hundreds of fired DC Public School teachers, their supporters and students will speak at 10am to the DC City Council in hearings addressing the multitude of firings that abruptly laid-off hundreds of DCPS staff and caused a whirlwind in the media.
On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) filed a lawsuit in D.C.
Superior Court to enjoin Michelle Rhee and the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) from
terminating hundreds of WTU members, most of whom are classroom teachers. The union is asking
the court to reinstate the laid?off teachers until the terminations have been reviewed via the
parties’ dispute resolution process.
“The attempt by DCPS to disguise a mass discharge of teachers as a “RIF” [reduction in force caused
by a ‘budget shortfall’] is merely an effort to discharge teachers without review, without real
objectivity or transparency, and without the due process to which they are entitled under the WTU
collective bargaining agreement,” stated WTU President George Parker.
The WTU has asked DCPS to stay the discharges pending arbitration, but so far DCPS has refused. In
the interest of allowing the parties to fairly review what is happening to these teachers, the WTU’s
lawsuit seeks an injunction to maintain the status quo pending arbitration so that an arbitrator’s
review will not be futile.
On Oct. 2, DCPS announced the mass discharge of 266 WTU members, including 229 classroom
teachers, because of what DCPS has told the union is a “budget shortfall” for the 2009?10 school
year. This claim is highly suspicious and needs to be closely reviewed. DCPS cannot reconcile a
larger budget for a smaller student population with its reckless hiring of more than 900 new
classroom teachers over the summer. The school district’s hiring of 900 new teachers without the
resources to support all its teachers shows obvious mismanagement, and as a result, DCPS will lose
more than 200 classroom teachers, the majority of whom are certified, experienced teachers with
positive performance evaluations.
Rhee fires 241 teachers
Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has fired 241 teachers for poor classroom performance, officials said Friday. The dismissals are the first under a rigorous new evaluation system launched this year.
Stay tuned for more details.
Several years ago a speech therapist in New York reported her district to the federal government for submitting false claims for speech services. The therapist received $10 million dollars under the federal False Claims Act for reporting this fraud.
The reason I tell this story is because teachers aren't the only people in a district who get into trouble for poor performance. In my experience as a teacher I found that the most egregious transgressions were often committed by administration. Here are some crimes that teachers, parents and community members need to look for:
Manipulating test scores for the purpose of getting federal and/or state money;
Encouraging and enabling personnel to cheat on state tests;
Violation of labor laws;
Firing people to make room for relatives, friends or members of a favored organization;
Providing false information to the fire department and other agencies that protect life;
Providing false information to the federal government, especially in regard to special education, for the purpose of getting more money;
Withholding appropriate instruction from special ed students, as outlined in their IEPs;
Lying on a resume for the purpose of procuring a high-paying position;
Lying on an application for the purpose of getting federal and/or state funds;
Denying or hiding services from disabled children and their parents;
Pressuring teachers to refrain from filing legitimate reports to police and/or protective services (especially in regard to assaults on children by peers);
Having conflicts of interest in order to garner personal or financial gain from district job;
Creating a hostile environment for employees;
Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability, etc.
The federal government just passed a new financial reform law that will allow whistle-blowers to collect between 10% and 30% of what the government recoups in fines and settlements in financial fraud cases. So, teachers, keep a sharp eye out for any inproprieties at work. Make sure you report any findings to OUTSIDE agencies and NOT the district. Good luck!
So when is Rhee going to be fired for poor performance?
Last June Ms. Rhee fired approximately 250 teachers without the new evaluation method. This was before the firing of over two hundred teachers in October because of the her failure to manage the school budget.
Massive firings of police officers in poverty areas such as DC are not effective in reducing crime.
These massive firings have only convinced individual who have obtained an education in teaching that the Title 1 poverty public schools of DC should be avoided like the plague.
Given the current environment of Title 1 poverty public schools I seriously doubt that any new teacher just leaving College would seek a position in any Title 1 poverty public schools.
The national tests of DC of 2009 contrary to the bogus DC standardized tests of 2010 do not show any significant improvement in the Title 1 poverty public schools of DC.
The national tests of DC of 2009 showed the same gains that DC was making on national tests prior to the arrival of Ms. Rhee without massive firings.
It is bad news for the individuals who will have to scramble for new employment, but good news for a system that has for far too long made it next to impossible to remove poor teachers.
I have emailed Bill Turque a question of how the 2010 DC tests can be in conflict with the national tests of DC of 2009 which show proficiency rates of as low as 11 percent, while DC has claimed proficiency rates of 43 percent in the article of Bill Turque.
Bill Turque and the Washington Post should provide an explanation of this glaring problem.
Are the DC standards such that Basic, which is below Proficient on national tests, considered to be Proficient by DC?
Currently the national tests are the only recognized unbiased standardized tests in the nation.
I am from Honduras, a very poor underdeveloped country, and the public school teachers here have only taught their students to go out and protest for anything under the sun. This week, a student died while protesting for their student bonuses! Imagine, they want to get paid to attend school now!
If the Ministry of Education would implement a system such as this one, pay the teachers according to performance, or heck, just showing up to teach, this beautiful country would be so much better.
Therefore, I am in favor of paying people according to their performance, especially in a field so important as education. I am not aware of Ms. Rhee's background or whatever she may have done before, but I do agree with paying fair salaries to teachers who actually work.
I am from Honduras
I am not aware of Ms. Rhee's background or whatever she may have
Posted by: MarisaRB
Nice that those who write comments provide us with their knowledge in the area.
I had no idea that an article on firing someone could be seen as paying fair salaries to those who actually work.
Live and learn.
It is bad news for the individuals who will have to scramble for new employment, but good news for a system that has for far too long made it next to impossible to remove poor teachers.
Posted by: horacemann
How does this post explain that last June Ms. Rhee fired approximately 250 teachers without the new evaluation method?
We do not blame the lowest soldiers for losing the war and we do not blame the lowest level police officers for rising crime, but in Washington DC it is okay to blame the teachers for the Title 1 poverty public schools.
Do we really believe that the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools which have existed for over fifty years were the fault of teachers and that fifty years ago there should have been massive firings of teachers and there would be no problem today with the Title 1 poverty public schools?
Many in the public blamed the union auto workers for the government aid and assistance that GM needed while Ford with union auto workers did not require government aid or assistance.
Ms. Rhee can fire as many teachers as she wants and there will be no real improvement in the DC Title 1 poverty public schools.
The reality of education is that any school system is overwhelming more dependent upon teachers than they are on the head of the school system.
Any teacher in the DC system would be out in an instance if there was an opportunity to do so.
Any qualified teacher would not want to work in the Washington DC school system.
Shooting soldiers on the basis of blaming them for losing the war is not effective and blaming teachers for all of the problems of the DC Title 1 poverty public schools is not effective.
National tests have shown so far not any gains in DC than the gains that were being seen before Ms. Rhee.
Since the test scores in elementary schools DROPPED this year, how come Fenty isn't firing Rhee? What happened to "Whatever's good for the goose is good for the gander" basic philosophy?
The Chancellor can be as brutal as she wants to, she has been given the power to do so. I insist in this point, I am all for hiring new energetic teachers, even if they are Teach for America instructors. Unfortunately, many don't stay in the school system for more than three years. In my school not one has stayed more than what is required of them. This is a profession that takes time to develop. When I look back at my career it took at least three years for me to find an adequate rhythm and five to be considered by my standards as good. Unfortunately in those early years most teachers think they are doing phenomenal work and in hindsight they are not. Eventually, we realize that we get better every period, every day, every year. The school system has been inundated with a significant number of novice teachers I feel the balance is not right. In my estimation the tests scores at the elementary's declined due to the fact that many of its new teachers are newbies. Ever since Michelle Rhee took over most of the candidates that are sent to the schools are novice teachers with no experience. I know this would not fly in Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and west of the park. Parents in these jurisdictions are not going to allow political experiments on their children. Finally, add IMPACT to that mix, you take a first year teacher and you tell him or her, "your teaching career will be judged in 5 observations that are 20 minutes long". I seen some of these teachers cry and have nervous break downs over a bad evaluation. Michelle Rhee has created a school system that is based on threats of dismissal and an overall lack of trust in anything she says. I would admire her if she told us the truth and stopped the charade the hypocrisy and the cynicism. She will never convene the entire school system the way she did on her first year, she knows very well she won't be able to speak. These people who are running the school system better assume responsibility for their amateurish behavior, the test scores went down under their watch. It's a little bit like another Chancellor I know who was an amateur without credentials who blamed everyone else for loosing his war.
There you have it, a first on these comment boards. One "marylight" compared Rhee to the leader of the Third Reich. Well done; maybe you can get a gig on Faux News.
Her test score will keep going down, just watch next year. Axolotl
Newsweek supports the firing of the teachers:
Good riddance to these entitled under-performing whiners. You were horrible teachers that have no place in front of teachers.
Don't let the door hit your underperforming ass on the way out.
How do you know they were horrible teachers? What if some of them were good?
How do we know that you might be a horrible underperformer yourself? You know, the pot calling the kettle black.
What grade level?
I think that alot of the teachers that are being fired don't have a chance.
Teachers in those areas are fighting threats against themselves, fights in class, disreptive students, lack of good supplies, and yes BAD KIDS...mostly because of BAD PARENTS.
I get that if a teacher is uncertified or is just terrible....showing up late, no lesson plans, missing parent planning meetings, but if they are doing all they can and the students are still bad...then that falls on the parents and the student.
That's my opinion...
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