Nov 12, 2008

Taking It To Hart: A DC Teacher Speaks Out !

The discussion on the firing of the Hart principal, Ms. Webster has sparked a lively debate on blogs, amongst colleagues, parents, community members and on Wash. Post blogs. Surprisingly in the comments I read, many expressed outrage that termination is the only strategy that our DC chancellor uses to address the multiple problems that our urban school system faces. An anonymous poster on this blog wrote: "Rhee believes she is a weapons expert at DC police academy. "Fire, Fire, Fire". Donald Trump is starting to look a little soft."

Jerome Brocks, a DCPS special educator of 34 years speaks out about the situation at Hart middle school. Having worked at Hart during his career , Jerome contacted me and asked if I would post his comments on my blog. I titled this entry: Taking It To Hart. Here goes:

"Let the truth be told. No one seems to be willing to tell the truth about the problems at Hart Middle School. Not the president of the Washington Teachers' Union , who blames the problem on administrators, not Chancellor Rhee who does not have a clue about what is going on in the neighborhoods of DC which is evidenced by her decision to close down PR Harris and send students to Hart and subsequently fire the principal because she (Rhee) can't solve our schools multifaceted problems, and certainly not the Washington Post who fails to do a full investigation and print the truth.

Two years ago, I witnessed a mob of students from Hart Middle School entering PR Harris Educational Center looking for several students from PR Harris. Both schools have an ongoing rivalry. The Hart students went through the building looking for their victims until the police came and then they ran from the building. Everyone knew there was an ongoing battle between Hart and PR Harris students. Michelle Rhee decided to close down PR Harris and transfer many of these students to Hart MS making an already bad situation worse. This is what happens when a new person comes to our city and is not aware of important facts when making decisions to close schools and relocate students from one neighborhood to another.

Ms. Webster, principal of Hart was set up for failure. Adequate staffing and supervision was never received. Teachers were put in dangerous situations where their safety was at stake. This person that we call chancellor is responsible for all the problems that have been allowed to occur at Hart and she should be held accountable. Equally responsible is George Parker, so called president of the WTU who has been derelict in his duties as he has failed to take an active role in speaking out on what is in the best interests of DC students and teachers. Shame on all of them who have been directly and indirectly involved in sidestepping the multiple problems at schools like Hart middle school. They say children first -what hypocrites they are!!!! If anyone should be fired it should not be principals and not teachers but Rhee herself should be fired immediately ! Lastly, WTU President George Parker needs to resign at once !" (Posted by The Washington Teacher).

Jerome Brocks
DC Teacher ( 34 years)


Maria P. Jones said...

I totally agree with the teacher Jerome Brocks save for one aspect of your post, Chancellor Rhee knows what she is doing.. she has been advised by the think tanks that have studied the neighborhood, socialization patterns in Washington, DC. She is working for the interest of the corporate right who are in the midst of gentrifying Washington,DC. They clearly understand that bringing two warring neighborhoods together within one school will help to destroy the fabric and strength of that school. this is part of the plan to destroy public education and unfortunately it's working. There have been numerous studies done that indicate that socio-economics has a direct correlation to the stability of the school and the academic performance of students. Rhee, Fenty, the FCC and the Washington Post are busy trying to cover that fact with their destructive program of misinformation - that teachers and principals are completely responsible for student performance - that is a dangerous lie that they use to put unionized people out of work - it must be very similar to the kind of lies that Hitler manufactured about Jews in order to get Germans to believe that they needed to be systematically exterminated. This is a dangerous person that has been obviously well trained in the art of war. As parents, teachers and community we must wage a campaign of truth so that we can save our public schools and other public entities that our being privatized and destroyed by these Republican-acting democrats!!

The Washington Teacher said...

The blog administrator deleted the previous post because it violated my blogging rules - No name calling. I have edited the previous post and it appears next.

Anonymous said...

Revised (by Blog administrator)

So then what should we/Rhee do Mr. Brocks??? I don't always agree with Rhee, but you have no answers... these kids need answers!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was getting ready to say who's name did I call that wasn't already called out???

mommilan&jr said...

Let's talk answers... view my blog and please comment... thanks!

Lindsey said...

Anyone and everyone one with half a brain tried to warn Ms. Rhee that putting neighborhoods together without doing the ground work would lead to chaos.

I would not readily expect Ms. Rhee to know this, but those who do tried to warn her that neighborhood "beefs" and gangs are rampant and you must have soem sort of mediation with groups before expecting them to live together---even in schools.

Ms. Rhee is so hell-bent on not acknowledging the important role that community/family/environment plays in this educational paradigm that she was too hard-headed to heed the call of folks who know better.

Now, you get what you get!

Anonymous said...

Set up an alternative school in the system ! Is there one ? Doesn't sound like it.Strategic steering Rhee reform ? Know what you don't know ! See inner city reform positive results with alternative schools and instructional accountability.See power to lead with Susan Schaeffer and this reinforcement of NCLB and 10% Rhee ship is sinking.Revise and support !We don't have time for the paleolithic approach or radical reform not working under NCLB and 10 % !

Anonymous said...

Just another example of Rhee wasting our money on her big ideas that she cannot implement.

Yahoo said...

Broader Bolder Approach vs Education Equality ? Equalize fair balance of interests ! Klein on Rhee payroll from New York ? To many millions across this country want NCLB and the 10% ended.The theory of radical educational reform ? No ! Meet the needs,support and resources in all American Public School Buildings !To many millions, back up ! One fire truck and a marching band ! Cut the hounds loose and get in your two point position to take the jump !Not to left and not to right but a nice balance down the middle ! Put your boots on and heels down !. The principle budget and books expenditures.So now the kids can't take their books home from school to do their homework? Absurd ! Tax payers want to see data results and central office budget with expenditures on line.

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DC Teacher Chic said...

If you are a teacher at Hart and would like to be interviewed by a producer from The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, please email me at so I can put you in contact with the producer.