Jun 25, 2009

A DC Teacher Speaks Out From East Of The River ...

A DC teacher from Anacostia senior high school wrote me several e-mails about the inequities in excessing of DC teachers and school counselors at Anacostia senior high school which is located @ 1601 16th Street SE where Rodney McBride was the principal . This teacher's email parallels other emails that I have received about similar occurrences at reconstituted schools in DC schools. Here's a copy of the email:

Dear Candi:

"More than 50% of the staff were excessed at Anacostia SHS including all the school counselors. Initially it appears that the restructuring/reconstitution process consisted of weeding out the senior teachers. Interesting many of our colleagues who are Teaching fellows or Teach for America were selected to remain without all of the proper credentials. The grief in this crime is that our students and our schools are further being left behind. These issues are not just NCLB mandates, rather our students and teachers are being harmed. Where is the justice in this?

I'd like to suggest tracking the number of teachers being "EXCESSED' and terminated in our school system. The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) should be keeping the data on this. I believe that DC teachers that are being excessed are tentatively scheduled to be fired in the near future. Yesterday, I was jogging on a Montgomery Co. school track where I met a young man who was just hired to teach in DCPS from Chicago. What's the sense in this if this new teacher will be terminated next year ?

My recommendation is to gather front line teachers to get together to collaborate this summer in a round table work discussion with a facilitator that will allow us to collect the data to build a case. " Signed an Excessed Anacostia Teacher

What's happening in DC public schools poses some interesting "Questions About the Future of DCPS" as written by Roger Scott in his June 24, 2009 piece in 'themail' (1 word) , an online magazine publication by Gary Imhoff .

"In response to “Chancellor Michelle Rhee Is a Terminating Machine” by Candi Peterson [themail, June 21]. I have three questions for Ms. Peterson, other DCPS teachers, and those in the know on DC Watch.

1) With all these mass layoffs, terminations, and retirements, who is going to replace these teachers? Is Chancellor Rhee only pulling teachers from the teacher prep programs? No disrespect intended to any individuals who completed such programs, but I doubt that veteran teachers from the surrounding area would want to enter our system at this point.

2) Are there any other examples of this kind of “teacher crackdown” in the nation as a baseline for such a practice? This kind of thing seems unprecedented.

3) It feels that Chancellor Rhee is plowing ahead with her agenda full-stream, with no checks, stays, or reviews. Is there anything that can be done to validate that this “slash and burn” process is actually good for the future of DC youth and the school system? Logically, it does not seem to be an effective way to achieve the end result. That is, assuming the end result is to improve the quality of education and create better and stronger public schools."

Posted by The Washington Teacher


Anonymous said...

I was also excessed from Anacostia and I agree that Rhee has been intent on removing the staff (teachers) from this school. Friendship Academy will be managing Anacostia next year. At a meeting earlier this week, the founder of this academy made a public comment that the students of Anacostia could not learn because their mothers were “crack addicts.” This individual has NO RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE ANACOSTIA COMMUNITY. Earlier this year an employee of Friendship, Mr. Beck was following students around the building with a video camera (including female students entering the restroom). Is this what Rhee who claims to put children first want for the students of Wards 7 and 8? These injustices have been reported to Rhee, the mayor and members of the Council and the Board of Education. No real actions have been taken.

I feel that the teachers asked to leave Anacostia were removed to eliminate any chance that the role of Rhee and Friendship will be exposed at Anacostia. Who is putting the children first when teachers who have been committed to the students in this community are removed to further Friendships financial gains and Rhee’s reputation (which is sinking fast)? I encourage everyone to check out Friendships true record and their failure to meet AYP. By the standards of NCLB, THEY ARE NO BETTER THAN ANACOSTIA. Rhee and her allies play word games with the public and the public seems to be falling for her bull.

Many of the young white TFA teachers who remain are in the first year of the two year contract. They need to worry about next year. Some of the young TFA teachers who were remaining have decided to go to other charter schools. They may be the truly smart ones.

These are very sad times for DCPS.


As someone who lives, owns a company and works in the DC Public Schools mentoring students I find this whole situation deplorable.

Darrin Davis