Jul 19, 2009

Pushed Out: Rhee's Gentrification of DC Schools

Here's to you Dr. Elliott & Luke C. Moore students, parents and staff !

In the words of a fellow education blogger known as NYC Educator: "So.... if Ms. Rhee has no qualms about misleading the tax payers, what reason do we have to suppose she'd look after our children? Because make no mistake Ms. Rhee wants the right to fire working people with no due process whatsoever. Don't enough people get fired in this country? Shouldn't we be aiming for fewer, rather than more Americans losing jobs for no reason? And shouldn't our children have rights based on something more secure than the changing whims of Michelle Rhee?"

Another great principal has been fired in the Michelle ‘Terminator’ Rhee’s saga of slash and burn school reform. Chancellor Rhee decided not to renew the contract of Dr. Reginald B. Elliott, principal of Luke C. Moore Academy, which is an alternative high school and formally known as the DC Street Academy. Rhee’s decision was made subsequent to Dr. Elliott receiving the Middle States National Accreditation for Colleges and High Schools in May 2009. Dr. Elliott’s last day was June 30. Gone also is the school’s vice principal, Gloria Tisdale. Many argue that the elimination of Ms.Tisdale from her position was just another indiscriminate termination by Chancellor Rhee.

Saved for now is Luke C. Moore Academy which is a historic building. The school boasts a newly modernized and renovated addition and global classrooms on a desirable campus near the Brookland metro thanks to the personal fundraising efforts by Dr. Eliott of over half a million dollars. Moore Academy parents complain that Rhee has revealed that she has plans to make this alternative high school into a ‘model school.’ What worries most of them is that if Rhee has her way the school may give many of its current students the boot in exchange for a more affluent student body. Luke C. Moore Academy students for the most part have been kicked out of regular DC public high schools due to a host of reasons and prior to entering the school; many have been described as students on the fringe of society.

Parents, students, as well as community residents have demanded that Rhee explain why their highly regarded principal was fired, to no avail. Despite their well-intended writing campaigns, they have yet to be provided with an acceptable answer or face-to-face meeting with Chancellor Rhee. Efforts to lobby the DC City Council resulted in some discussion about placing the school under the administration of UDC where it once was in an effort to save Dr. Elliott’s position. Luke C. Moore students set up a special meeting with Chancellor Rhee and went to appeal to her face to face in order to save the job of Dr. Reginald Elliott. As sophomore, Timothy Hill said in a recent July gathering of concerned residents “I got the feeling that while we talked, she (Rhee) wasn’t even listening to us. ”

It is important to note that Dr. Reginald Elliott has worked tirelessly for 30 years in DC Schools. In 2001, the National Association of Secondary School Principals awarded Dr. Elliott, Principal of the year. The school is now named after the honorable late Judge Luke C. Moore. The school’s executive board includes superior court judges and local ministers. WUSA news anchor J.C. Hayward works closely with J.C.'s Friends at the school. Principal Elliott established a wealth of community partnerships with companies like Xerox Corporation, the U.S. Marshall's program and many others. He created paid internships for his students and sponsored trips to China, Egypt, and Costa Rica. This summer another sponsored trip is planned for students to visit Zambia.

When asked what the reasons were for his termination, Dr. Elliott explained that Rhee had compared Moore Academy to Banneker Senior High School. According to Elliott, Moores’ attendance rates did not measure up with Banneker, a premier DC school where students are selected to attend based on their GPA’s and other selective criteria. Dr. Elliott also revealed that Rhee stated that his school lacked academic rigor despite the schools’ recent national accreditation by the Middle States Association in 2009. Elliott indicated that the Rhee administration seemed unfamiliar with middle states accreditation and was not phased that Moore is one of four DC public high schools to receive this distinction. Further, a recent press release from the Ward 5 Council on Education confirms that Moores' students met or exceeded mandated academic targets for years 2001-2008 despite information listed on the OSSE - NCLB website.

I am sure a Rhee spokesperson will soon report that personnel laws prevent the city from discussing specifics in regards to Elliott’s recent dismissal, blah blah, blah. Certainly, Rhee’s actions are not in the best interest of Luke C. Moore academy students and their citywide parents. If you are interested in joining forces with parents, students and community residents who support quality education for all DC students send your name, email and contact telephone number c/o saveourcounselors@gmail.com

Posted by The Washington Teacher

18 comments:

Kings said...

Rhee seems to thrive on resisting community outrage over her actions.

Good luck to the residents of ward 5 who are fighting this. You are up against a pro. You need professional advice.

See if you can get the national media to cover this - fairly.

Parent from Luke C. Moore said...

You did a great job of putting into words the issues Luke C. Moore Academy parents are concerned about.

Thanks for your support!

Anonymous said...

If a principal with such personal and professional accomplishments can be terminated--without cause, apparently--what prospects do the rest of the rank and file have?

This woman has to be stopped. Where is the outrage? What's up with the city council? It's time for parents and the community to march on 825 and demand some answers from Rhee.

In one of her early interviews right after being hired in June 2007, she stated she was hesitant about accepting the position because she knew she would "make noise." Well, I say it's time for us to return the favor. Just let me know the date and time.

Anonymous said...

Rhee doesnt care what anybody thinks. She makes decisions based on data alone. I dont know if she realizes that sometimes data is incorrect and doesn't tell the whole story. There is no oversight of the school system. Rhee makes decisions that are unchecked and unchallenged by the Mayor or the Council, at least so far. Someone needs to step up and reel Rhee in.

jessica said...

Thanks for sharing information with us...

Nice blog..

Kings said...

Her decisions aren't even based on data - they don't have to be - she can fire certain people - administration and provisional teachers - at will.

As for the prospects of "rank and file" teachers - that's what union protection is all about. She's like to change that, too.

The council has challenged her numerous times, but they have no power over her -- only the mayor does.

Anonymous said...

Talk about the "Fox guarding the chicken coop"!

Heather said...

Candi, can you please clarify what this story has to do with gentrification?

Anonymous said...

The new great Shaw principal must be next on the chopping block, because his data shows all his scores went down in all categories under his first year of leadership. Quite the opposite of all the gloating and information presented to us about his great leadership by Ms. Rhee and the Post. Sousa middle school out scored the great new Shaw in all categories. Games people play. :(

Kings said...

Anon - where are you getting your info about the Shaw scores?

Anonymous said...

That's what I want to know, Kings. If that's true though, I find that hilarious! Shaw was the school all year long that was supposed to be a "model DC school" and an example of "how good a school can be when a principal gets to choose their staff". So that would be really funny if it's true. This needs to be officially confirmed though...

Linda said...

Pool your resources to purchase the best attorney available. People like Rhee understand such things as lawsuits and money.

Anonymous said...

The scores are up on the OSSE website now. Since I work in the system I was able to view scores early with a principal friend of mine. The data is true. If the Shaw scores went up ya'll know they would have held the press conference there.

Anonymous said...

I came back to give ya'll the overall numbers for Shaw and Sousa so you can see I am being truthful.
Shaw's reading scores for those who passed in 2008 was 38.52% this year those reading scores dropped to 29.65% The reading scores for Sousa in 2008 was 22.84% and in 2009 they went up to 39.42% The math scores for Shaw in 2008 was 33.33% in 2009 they went down to 29.46% The math scores for Sousa in 2008 was 16.75% and they went up in 2009 to 41.83%. Now none of these scores are worthy of bragging rights but this gives those on the outside of the system cold hard facts not propaganda. If you have any request for other schools let me know. The general public will be able to see these scores July 28th.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:31 -

I don't see the scores on the OSSE website - the most recent year in the drop down box is 2008. Can you point us to where the 2009 data is available?

Kings said...

Anon says "If the Shaw scores went up ya'll know they would have held the press conference there."

Good point, but until you can prove it, I won't be passing this on. At this point, it's just gossip and speculation.

Anonymous said...

Hey Candy,
Where did you get that lukemoore picture? It has to be 20 years old. That's Judge Luke Moore in the front. Then R David Hall, School Board President in the back.
When you enlarge the picture, you can see Council member Jerrrrry Moore, a dead give away in that toupe. That might even be John Wilson, front left.
YOu should identify your pictures.

The Washington Teacher said...

In response to a post that I received- the picture is from the ribbon cutting ceremony @ Luke C. Moore. The picture includes the new addition that was built in the background. Dr. Reginald Elliott is featured in the front in a dark suit.

Judge Luke C. Moore is not in this picture and was deceased at the time of the ribbon cutting ceremony as the school was re-named in his honor.