Jan 11, 2009

Rhee Plans Termination of Thousands Of DC Teachers

You do the math ! During this Saturday's executive board meeting, WTU President George Parker revealed that Chancellor Michelle Rhee vowed to abolish DC teacher positions in 33 schools facing restructuring under NCLB at the end of this school year, unlike last year. This move will leave many DC teachers in restructured schools without jobs. Rhee has also proposed in her 5 year action plan to buy out teachers in closing and restructured schools who have reached retirement age. Last year it was estimated by DCPS that 350 teachers took advantage of the Teacher Transition Award buy-outs. Add to this a projected number of 400 teachers who may be terminated under the 90 day plan as well as another 800 teachers who may face termination for not meeting NCLB's highly qualified status either because they are teaching outside of their certification area or have not fulfilled the required qualifications under NCLB. Similar to last school year, principals were encouraged to fire probationary teachers with provisional certification. Approximately 78 probationary teachers were fired last year and more of the same is promised this school year despite pending lawsuits against DCPS.

In the 5 year action-plan submitted by Rhee's office to the DC City Council this fall states: "... too many of our teachers are not up to the demanding job of educating our youth effectively. We therefore plan to identify and transition out a 'significant share' of the teaching corps in the next two years. Some teachers will be "bought out" of their contracts ... We will also aggressively exercise the option to not renew teachers who are provisional status...."(page 26 of 5 yr. action- plan). What's interesting to note is that Rhee's recruitment efforts plan to fill the unprecedented teacher vacancies that these terminations will create through the 'New Teacher Project' (Rhee's ole' stomping ground) and an ongoing partnership with 'Teach for America.' (pg. 27 of 5 yr. action plan) 5 year action plan courtesy of DCPS website www.k12.dc.us

How many of DC's teachers will be terminated this year ?

650 teachers terminated in 33 restructured schools
350 teachers offered buy-outs in 33 restructured schools
400 teachers terminated on 90-day plans
800 teachers terminated who are un-certified and/or teaching out of certification
78 teachers terminated on probationary status

2,178 - Total # of DC Teachers To Be Terminated and/ or Offered Buy Outs *These numbers are projections based on the 5 year-action plan, last years estimates and approximations, etc. (Posted by The Washington Teacher).

31 comments:

NYC Educator said...

I really have to wonder what the hell Ms. Rhee plans to do, having thus far failed to make any improvement whatsoever. I wonder whether MSM will ever do the math and figure out that simply getting rid of faculty does not remotely constitute improvement.

DC Teacher Chic said...

All due respect, but I think your numbers are a bit inflated. 400 teachers on a 90 day plan does not equal 400 teachers fired. And do we even have 400 teachers on the 90 day plan? I've heard that the union has been contacted by less than a quarter of that number to say they are on 90 day plans. Also, I don't think anything prohibits teachers in closing schools from applying to other schools over the summer.

The reality is that DCPS is losing enrollment and cannot maintain such a large teaching force. Rhee doesn't have much freedom around this point. Ditto with the fact that 20% of our teachers are not qualified to teach. To be in compliance with NCLB, Rhee can't keep these people around year after year.

So many teachers will need to leave the system, but probably not half the teaching force.

DCSands said...

I wonder when Rhee will realize that teachers are largely ineffective because they are overmatched by too-large classes and too much paperwork. She shouldn't be buying out teachers of retirement age or necessarily terminating contracts of teachers (though I'm sure some should go) or closing "underenrolled" schools. She should be making sure that class size is no more than 15, hiring more teachers, keeping more schools open, and instituting a strong professional development program, regardless of the cost.

Anonymous said...

A DC GOVT WORKER/RESIDENT SAID...
I think the number given is close to the number of teachers on the 90day plan because teachers fear of retaliation if they talk to the union.
The point is that, the anti-democratic and intimidating behavior in DC Govt. and DCPS is about Mr. Fenty and Ms. Rhee plan to redistribute wealth, exploit our children/city for self gain, deny the children of DC their rights to quality education and lack of respect for DC workers especially African-American work force in DC. Example, there is no way to say that a teacher with no knowledge of subject matter or certification to teach a subject will teach the subject better than a certified and experienced teacher. Ms. Rhee organizations-Teach for America and New School New Leaders are working together with their mentors and instructional superintendent to make sure no one from the organization is rated low or terminated. If it does happen they create another position in the school such as coordinator of programs to keep their person employed. What is happening in DC Govt/DCPS is a structured plan to redistribute wealth because we according to some bad elements, the African-Americans are not supposed/expected by some group(s) to have a decent education, job, and live a happy life of what we know as American dream(s).

lodesterre said...

I agree with the DCSands, instead of clearing out all the teachers perhaps giving them the help they need might be more fruitful. I'm not saying there aren't bad teachers out there because I have worked with some and still do. But I do not believe it is fair to blame what has happened to a lot of these schools only on the teachers. There will be many good people, people who know the neighborhood that these kids come from, people who can help the new teachers coming in, who will leave from this next plan of Rhee's.

As for DC Chic's comment (is this the new Chic or the one that quit, btw?) about applying during the summer, I don't know what she is thinking - TFA, DCTF and the New Teacher's Project will take every position vacated. That is obviously the plan and since DCTF is already recruiting for the current school year (for disclosure purposes I am a DC Teaching Fellow from a while ago)it seems obvious that these teachers will not get another job in DC.

Ms. Rhee may succeed in doing what she wants. She may end up with a success story within those schools - I do not consider that out of the realm of possibility. However, I have always thought that the training for DCTF and ATF and others is inadequate for what these teachers face - especially in their first year. If there are no veteran teachers in the schools to help them they will end up as DC Chic did - quitting in the middle of the week. Of the group I was in a good quarter of them quit or were fired by the end of their first year; over half finished out their two year stint and left teaching - in large part because they were overwhelmed and poorly supported by DCTF.

Once again I feel that Ms. Rhee's strategy is poorly thought out and poorly presented. The help we really need isn't offered until 2010, instead we get more of the stick.

Anonymous said...

What city allows an Asian chancellor who by her own account was an unsuccessful teacher fire half her workforce, mostly African Americans. This is completely Disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

What have the Union attorney's concluded per contractual agreement viewing this plan to be implemented ? What is the national Union's response and course of action ? The re-structure penalities of NCLB being reinforced on behalf of Rhee reform.What politically is being done about it? NCLB is in reauthorization until next year? Shocked this is being allowed and Public Education is not for sale to corporatism under Pl 107-110 of which is an underfunded law. This contract could effect teacher's across the county and is politically driven with corporate interests using the penalities of NCLB. What is Obama's stand ? He's funding crumbling Public School buildings and Rhee is allowed to use the sanctions and penalities of NCLB to push her agenda ? How and why legally ? Has it been heard in Superior Court ? Just shocked and this is uncalled for !

Anonymous said...

Is there a Constitutional attorney on this situation ? Teacher's across the country are not going to give up tenure provisions for corporate and political interests under Pl 107-110. Who's ready to lobby on Capital Hill ?

Toby said...

Lodesterre, your point is well taken about teachers from restructured schools being able to apply for vacancies during the summer, yet probably not getting picked up. When I first read Candi's post, I thought, yeah, those teachers aren't going to be fired, just not placed as they have always been when a school closes or is transformed. Rhee will abolish those positions and there will be no memo of understanding. Those teachers will not be assigned to another schools. This fall, my own school got at least 3 teachers from schools that had closed. And then I read Lodesterre's comment. You better believe principals will not be hiring those teachers from restructured, that is to say, failing schools, escpecially teachers who had been at those schools for a while. So the chances of them being without a job in DCPS seems much higher. This is all scary sh*t, folks. And chic, what was meant by 20% of our teachers are not qualified to teach? Provisional, lapsed certification, still haven't passed Praxis, teaching out of your area(s) of certification?

Anonymous said...

Candi ! Send it to CNN and explain the Public Education side and what's going on ! You're a beautiful writer and God blessed you for a reason. Go fight back and get on CNN ! You know exactly what's going on ! Don't be chicken and get in there and fight ! How well informed is the general public ? You're the writer Candi !Go for it !

Anonymous said...

The Praxis ? Oh please ! States are fighting to get rid of it there have been so many issues under NCLB ! Licensure and certification ? Go HOUSSE and NCLB tried to eliminate that but Conn.and other states went into fight it ! Where is the transparancy for testing corporations ? See Monty@ Fair Test with the research in from state to state.

Equalizers For Equality said...

A Reality Check !"The Majority Of Teacher's Are Not Ineffective Under NCLB !" See Outside The Box And Bubble It!

Mr. Potter said...

I'm consistently confused by the union's position on teacher quality. Many people out there seem to think that there aren't teachers in DC who deserve to be fired. There are loads of them. I can think of dozens that I've personally worked with -- teachers who fall asleep while teaching, who show movies three times a week, who curse at and use racial slurs against students, who refuse to use email because it's "too much." These people need to get out of the classroom, and I don't think anyone should be complaining about it. Rhee needs to work on respecting teachers, but - let's be honest - there are many teachers out there who don't deserve respect.

Anonymous said...

We had doctor's of education in our state trying to get rid of the Praxis and superintendents all over the state working on it.Some on the State Board level and they won in 05-06 to change licensure viewing Highly Qualified. Praxis spent millions to campaign and see Senators.Highly Qualified ? What a joke !See National report card and % of highly qualified under NCLB with a D.4.0 education majors taking the exam many times and each test is designed to a different degree and level of difficulty. There are professors at the Universities that have taken issue with the computorized exams and the testing corporations have very little over sight and transparancy.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again with Candi getting everyone in a up-roar! Those numbers are so inflated and WHY? WHY? WHY? would Rhee just up and fire all of those teachers??? How would that benefit her or our schools? Please, people... don't jump on this bloggers bus... it is not going in the right direction! I notice not one word has been mentioned on this blog about the contract! The latest newsletter said we should get word in January... of course, they didn't mention the year!! Relax people and wait for the facts!

Anonymous said...

Because Rhee is doing business with Teach For America and has funding behind her in business? She's using the penalities of NCLB to push her agenda. Close the school buildings and they're sold to subcontractors for profit.We'll call it re-structure under a law unfunded.

Anonymous said...

See the lawyer's for contractual updates and it's all on this blog.There is a number listed for factual reality ! Read it all and pass the smelling salts on Rhee reform under NCLB.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Potter! You fire them when we end the mandates on NCLB and 10%! Please research the data in from Phi Beta Kappa International viewing audits on evaluations across the country. Also, would have you reflect on resources and support! Most certainly an evaluation process that is not biased, pushing a political agenda!

We will not sell public education in America to corporatism or give up tenure for such political foolishness with a law that needs to end! We are not closing our public school buildings in America for sub-contracted for profit, under the penalties and sanctions to impose radical Rhee DC reform! Get your hands off our Constitution and Article 1, Section 6.

The Washington Teacher said...

In response to the question : Why would Rhee up and fire all those teachers ?

I welcome all to read Rhee's 5 year action-plan in its entirety all 80 pages. Rhee states that she plans to get rid of a 'significant share' of DC teachers over the next 2 years and launch an ambitious plan to foster professional growth for those who remain. Rhee also states she wants more teachers who share her belief about education reform.

This is outlined not only in Rhee's 5 year action plan which has been recently posted to the DCPS website for your review but also reflected in an article in the Wash. Post last week.

The Washington Teacher said...

Response to Mr. Potter: I am unclear what you mean when you state that you are confused about the union's position on teacher quality. The union is a diverse group of 4,000 teachers and related service provider members with varying opinions on this subject. To date, no official position has been offered on teacher quality by the WTU representative assembly to my knowledge.

What I have heard many argue is that teacher quality needs to be clearly defined in a standardized way because this term is used too loosely and means different things to many different people.

The examples that you cite about teachers sleeping on the job, showing movies, and cursing, using racial slurs, etc. are issues which you should pose to your administrator as the educational leader in the school. Certainly if this is happening it appears that perhaps the local school administrator(s) are asleep on the job. I have known of teachers with inappropriate behaviors to be reprimanded, sanctioned and fired. No one supports or condones such practices. However, these are issues which I have seen that have been allowed to exist because some leaders don't want to address these type of problems directly with their employees when they happen- they would rather talk about them in the lounge or at the water fountain. What most unions articulate is that all employees are entitled to be apprised about any complaints about them, receive appropriate supports, progressive discipline and due process as required by law.

I also take issue with your analysis that the teachers you cite in your example don't deserve respect. All of us deserve to be treated with respect. Remember we are supose to be modeling for our students the right way to be not the wrong way.

What issue doesn't deserve respect is always allowing administrators to get a pass for failing to address issues directly with their employees and acting fairly and following established procedures to address such work related concerns.

Hear From Me said...

Thank You Candi,
There is an concerted effort to fire African American educators whether comptent and certified or not certified. These numbers seem to be an estimate of teachers at risk. It could be difficult to fire 2100 teachers, but, within the next two years I'm sure Ms. Rhee will try. I agree with the earlier blogger that this is an opportunity to some to hire unqualified individuals to boslter their political plans. This is just racism and classism disguised as educational reform. Someone needs to contact Justice and Labor Dept. This is not change "we can believe in.".

Mr. Potter said...

Washington Teacher, your point about my use of the term "union" is well taken. I used the word in place of the phrase "teachers who tend to associate themselves strongly with the union," and I should not have done so. The union is a group of thousands, and I get that. My mistake.

I also appreciate your critique of my argument that there are several teachers who deserve to be fired. I maintain that there are numerous teachers who have done things that are so egregiously unprofessional that they should be removed from the classroom. I would also argue that Chancellor Rhee's efforts to identify those teachers are exactly what she should be doing. Rhee has asked her principals to identify teachers who are struggling (or, in many cases, willfully ignoring their duties). Of course principals will make a few mistakes, and I am glad we have a union to protect those teachers who might be inappropriately targeted. But I maintain that we should not be outraged my the Chancellor's assertion that many people need to be "transitioned out." Many people do.

Hear from me said...

Mr. Potter name a profession that that doesn't need people "transitioned out". What suggests by any stretch of imagination that Ms. Rhee knows a magic formula for teaching. Ms. Rhee is a publicity hound who fires people for numbers. She cares nothing for poor or minority children. She's Al Sharpton's second Twanna Brawley. Excuse me I didn't mean to insult Twanna.

Anonymous said...

Good. Drain the swamp. As a 4th grade teacher in DCPS, I can't possibly conveigh to you how many horrible colleagues I have to tolerate under the same roof. If you knew just how piss poor some of these people are who they've let into our schools, you'd pull your kids out of DCPS faster than the speed of sound. It really is worse than you think.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, January 11, 2009 11:37 PM, said, "She's using the penalities [sic] of NCLB to push her agenda."

The law came first, then the penalties, then Rhee and her agenda. DCPS was a sinking ship for *years* before she came on, and you make it sound like NCLB is just now being employed as her weapon. Who's responsible for DCPS getting to where it was *before* she arrived?

Anonymous said...

Lodesterre, you make some interesting comments about the lack of instructional support:

"...perhaps giving them the help they need might be more fruitful"

"If there are no veteran teachers in the schools to help them they will end up...quitting in the middle of the week"

"The help we really need isn't offered until 2010..."

Don't you have instructional coaches in your school, as most DC schools do?

lodesterre said...

My school does have instructional coaches, but then I work in a pretty good school. A lot of the schools do not. Go into the SE, SW, NE and parts of NW that don't look like Cleveland Park or Chevy Chase and you have a different world. With each step closer to Anacostia and beyond you will find yourself in an alternate reality. I used to work in one of those schools before being excessed - excessed by an administrator, I might add, who was a nightmare and used the procedure to rid herself of anyone who stuck up for the children (believe it or not). Look at where Chic was, Nalle. If you had ever been to that school, and I have numerous times, or knew someone who worked there, and I do, then you would know that the school does not have everything it needs.

Many of us were far from perfect as beginning teachers. We all needed help to survive our first couple of years and certainly could have used more. Imagine a teacher in a school where the coaches are pulled to do a thousand different things by the administrator. At my old school I had a reading specialist 8 days the entire year. I documented it. This was in a school where the reading scores were way below what they should have been. The RS was always running some errand for the principal. I made noise, complained through the proper channels and was excessed at the end of the year.

The schools that need changing most are beyond dysfunctional. They are in conditions that go beyond "bad" teaching. To focus on the teachers and believe that getting rid of all of them will change things is short sighted. I honestly believe that you first build the support structure you need to have in place before you start putting up and painting walls. I don't see Rhee's plan. I know she has it on the DCPS website but to me it is more of the same: get rid of the teachers, replace them with TFA and DCTF and NTP teachers and our world will be transformed. There is no coherent, substantial plan that she has had in place. Her PD and her family support plan have come as afterthoughts - thrown in after numerous complaints were made. Her one idea of change is to bulldoze and rebuild. This is a waste of talent and resource that, despite what you may think or say, does exist in these places.

There are fundamental issues which MS. Rhee has felt can be dealt with after replacing all the bad teachers. She has said that teachers are the heart of education. Well, a doctor doesn't replace the heart in a sick body. First the patient must be made strong, then you replace the heart.

The Washington Teacher said...

All schools do not have Literacy and/or Math professional developers previously known as Literacy and Math coaches. A case in point is Garfield Elementary School located in SE DC. Of course there are others. For those who didn't read Mary Levy's analysis of the DCPS budget submitted to the DC City Council- she made an excellent analysis that some of our less affluent schools were allotted lesser financial resources by DCPS than our more affluent schools. Ms. Levy could not make any rhyme or reason of Rhee's budget formula.

Certainly removing key positions such as school counselors in many elementary schools with less than 600 students was not a wise decision. Also many schools did not get the promised full time positions of school social workers, school psychologists as promised. In addition, many of our schools lost other key teaching positions as well.

The million dollar question to the City council as the oversight committee is why has this been allowed ? How does a school meet or exceed the standard given that everything is not equal in terms of support and financial resources allotted by the city ? Of course I don't expect anyone to answer these rhetorical questions.

The Washington Teacher said...

Lodesterre: I must say you make some very valuable points and are quite insightful about many of the problems we face as a public school system.

I loved your analogy about a replacing a heart in a sick body. Thanks for your comments.

DC Fellow said...

DC Fellow said:
I hope this is not the same Toby we know at Mckinley Tech because Toby you are prejudice and sneaky just like your comments. Your comment about teachers from closed schools being fired is the reason why teachers should not give up their tenure. If the system tenure/seniority is in place teachers do not have to reapply at another school.

Toby said...

I neither work at McKinley, am not prejudiced nor sneaky. But whether we give up our tenure or not, Rhee says that teaching positions will be abolished from schools that are to be restructured. And that those teachers will not be automatically placed in vacancies in other schools, as previously done. Those teachers would have to go out an interview for those positions with no guaratee of being hired. That was my point.