Nov 16, 2009

No Ruling For DC's RIF'd Teachers, Yet !

Many of DC's RIF'd teachers and counselors have been waiting with bated breath to hear the decision that was promised by Judge Judith Bartnoff. Last week a written decision was supposed to be rendered on the preliminary injunction hearing that was held to request a stay to hold off lay offs of hundreds of DC teachers pending arbitration. Unfortunately, for reasons unclear that ruling did not come as promised. This is unfortunate delay for those who were unfairly laid off on October 2.

Depending on whose version you believe, many laid off teachers who attended the November 5 hearing voiced their concerns that the hearing did not go well. There were reports that there were many objections to the Washington Teachers' Union's defense. In a WTU Building Representative November 10 meeting that I attend at McKinley last week , WTU Field Representative Anita Corley stated publicly that the WTU's legal arguments appeared weak because they did not want to alert DCPS lawyers to the strategy that the WTU would ultimately use in arbitration. When I heard this as a rationale, I actually couldn't believe what I was hearing. I couldn't help but thinking what it if the judge rules that the WTU cannot go to arbitration ? Then what ?

I have received numerous E-mails and telephone calls asking me if I have heard anything about the judge's decision. Many are still awaiting this decision so that they can decide how to proceed with their lives. It is my hope that a decision will be rendered early this week by Judge Bartnoff. Stay tuned for more.

Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence


A Laid Off Teacher said...

What is the Washington Teachers' Union lawyers doing? Have they followed up with Judge Bartnoff's law clerk to find out the status?

Sam said...

That was their legal strategy?? Come out looking like idiots so your competition underestimates you? Sounds like Judge Bartnoff was underimpressed instead.

I call it shooting yourself in the foot. If this is the quality of legal representation my dues pay for, it's embarrassing.

Kings said...

I don't know how these hearings work, but maybe the judge is trying to be fair, despite the unions' sorry presentation.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised. The chair has not done a damn thing as usuall. DC is a city that thrives off of bribes between DC officials up into the courts.

It has been clearly stated that blacks in DC are no longer wanted unless they are super wealthy.

It is odd that other states notice this, stated it in different news articles and even stated in mega churches on tv. One mega church on TBN stated that there is an attack on Black Women so that they can not bear children anymore through many different means.

Anonymous said...

Although the union lawyer appeared weak, but all the evidences are there that MR was wrong with her RIF notices on October 2, 2009. I am optimistic that teachers and other staff will win at the end.
Did anyone watched the discussion on Channel 4 with Mr. Al Sharpton, the secretary of Education and Newt Gingrish. It was terrible how Mr. Gingrish open his mouth to defend MR and what he knows nothing about.
1)He said teachers cannot teach-How can you conclude on any teacher that he/she cannot teach if the system do not provide materials and support. Folks, its not abot teachers cannot teach, its economic and its about changing the livelihood of the African-American in the city. 2)Gringrish appeared on the discussion to defend Rhee and company, he's not interested in DC Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

I've already moved on. I won't wait around for more disappointment. If we (the RIF'd teachers) are reinstated, where is the guarantee that administrators will evaluate us fairly with so much "bad blood" between us? We've already been publicly labeled as "ineffective", then let go. I'm not willing to stake my future career endeavors on returning to a poor evaluation process. My children will remain in DCPS but I can be more vocal from the parent side than I can from the teacher side. Another juridiction will be glad to have me.

Nathan A. Saunders said...

Many desire to know what DCPS teachers stand for and feel as we do. We want due process rights, fair wages for a fair days work, and no demonization of teachers. We are not interested in defending DCPS no more than any other urban school system.

In fact, we are good at defending children not government entities. Most of us work in an environment that is changing quickly and now view us as prey.

Change for change sake is not good value in and of itself. We are looking for progress without being the victims.

Nathan A. Saunders

The Wash. Teacher said...

Response to A Laid Off Teacher:

I don't know the answers to your questions which btw are all good. Our November 14 WTU Executive Board meeting was postponed by WTU President George Parker so I didn't get to ask any questions about Judge Bartnoff's written decision or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

To the first Anon... what do you mean there is an attack on black women so they cannot bear children by any means??? What the heck does that mean? I work in an all black neighborhood and believe me honey...those black women are reproducing by any and all means! I think this racial stuff is just down right STUPID! Get over it and move the h*ll on. This is not a black issue! This is a weak union and a powerful chancellor issue... that is it!

Glenn Watson said...

The Washington Redskins are not doing well this year. They have not done well for a long time. You might understand if the team owner decided to get rid of the entire roster and start over despite the fact that many of the players are trying really hard and the left tackle and the defensive end are pretty good players.

Sometimes you just have to clean house and start fresh.

Glenn Watson said...

One mega church on TBN stated that there is an attack on Black Women so that they can not bear children anymore through many different means.>>>

How many means are there for bearing children? I only know of the one.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of weak unions (although I agree that race has a big part to play in this), can someone explain to me why the union is having a vigil for public education? What is that suppose to do? Shouldn't time be spent on kicking George Parker out of office, electing a competent President and standing up for the rights of students and teachers. This is crazy!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but if this is the union's idea of an intelligent strategy to get the RIFed employees reinstated, then I wish there was a way to prevent them from automatically taking money from my paycheck every other week. I don't trust Rhee's judgement and after everything that has happened since the RIF, I definitely don't trust the union's "protection".

Kings said...

Right, Glenn, whatever was going on, it wasn't working. So we need to find out what the "whatever" is and not just assume it's teachers. No good education reform effort would involve "good teachers get[ting] the short end of the stick." That doesn't make sense. If teachers are so important, any reform effort should go all out to retain good teachers.

Would you like her (Rhee) to come to Alabama? I'd be willing to pay her one-way ticket.

We're in a worse mess now that Rhee is here - that's why we want to get her out as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

I was fired in June without even ever receiving an evaluation. However, after coming to the realization that the union was not going to do anything for me, I moved on with my life and now have a job outside of teaching. While I took a tiny pay cut, I am 100 times happier than I was when I was teaching in DC. No more stress, no more living in constant fear that I will be fired, I'm more physically and mentally healthy, etc. While I still feel my termination was unfair, I realize now that it was for the best. My advice to the RIF'd teachers: move on with your lives. While moving on may be a hard thing to do at first, once you are finally able to do it, you will feel like a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Even though what happened to you was unfair, you need to realize (like I did) that this is a situation you have no control over. What you can control, however, is how you live your life AFTER DCPS. You can sit at home miserable, dwelling on the situation, and waiting for a union that's never going to come through, or you can take charge of your life and move on. Except this for what it is: a blessing in disguise. No longer do you have to deal with the stress of working in a broken school system, and no longer do you have to go to a job where you leave every day feeling hopeless and frustrated. Sorry if I sound like I'm preaching, but since I have been through this situation also I thought I would put my two cents in.

Anonymous said...

Do you people not hear what I have been saying. Black people are not wanted in DC anymore. Other states are aware of this, how is it that you don't know.

What is wrong with you people. The council is stupid and does not have your best interest at heart. Me and my minor daughter even know this and we have been here for three years. It is a color issue.
Come on now people get the message.

Sharon B. said...

Mr. Watson; you have erased all doubt for me, by your rambling. I am now convinced that maybe the elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor. I don't know what's going on in Alabama, but I do know what is taking place in DC. So many things have taken place during the 2 1/2 years that MR has been here that have absolutey nothing to do with the education of children, plain and simple. You've vsited this blog enough times to understand all of the issues. Really. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT !!!! Let her come to Alabama and "clean house" then just maybe you'll have a different take on things.

classic said...

Glenn you lost me buddy, I have been a Redskins fan since I knew what a touchdown was and as much as it pains me to see what is happening I would not be happy if they just fired everyone and started over. They would loose me as a fan. A good coach, owner would assess his team see what he needs, replace the BAD players and GROOM the young ones. You will never have a winning team if you just fire the whole team and start over every time you have a problem. That is not good coaching.Once again Glenn you are missing the point, and I am starting to question of you are really a teacher. I agree with King let us send her to Alabama and after a year when you are umemployed lets have this conversation again.

Anonymous said...

What Rhee is doing to DCPS is nothing but race issue and union busting. Yes, it's about race and age descrimination when all the RIF'D teachers in some schools are all tenured African-American. I will help pay for her one way ticket to Alabama.

Glenn Watson said...

we need to find out what the "whatever" is and not just assume it's teachers. >>>

The problem with your solution is this;

DDPS has changed the superintendent many times with no improvement.
DC cannot change the students or the parents.
You cannot spend any more money. You spend a lot already.

The only thing left to change, that can be changed, is the teachers. This means some good teacher are going to be treated unfairly but good students have been treated unfairly for years.

Getting rid of Rhee means you will get a new superintendents whom you will, if history is any judge, crucify and fire in a matter of months.

What do you tell students when they complain you are being unfair? “Life’s not fair.”

By the way is anone else having trouble posting?

The Wash Teacher said...

The Wash. Teacher blog has a feature called comment moderation so please be advised that comments do not appear right away until they have been approved. Depending on when you post determines, when your comments are approved.

In very rare instances, comments are not approved when they are determined to be intentionally insulting or belittling to others or not in accord with the spirit and purpose of this blog.

As always thanks for the exchange of ideas.

Kings said...

Glenn - the problem with your solution is this: you've determined that the teachers must be the problem based on no logic at all - just that you can't seem to think of what else to do next.

If crime went up in a city, and you had fired a few police chiefs, would your next step be to hire rookie cops and fire most of the veteran cops, accepting that some really good cops would be fired too? Where is the logic or fairness in that. How does that help prevent crime? It seems more like desperation.

What if an epidemic were raging through the city. Would you fire all the doctors and nurses without checking first for a medical cause for the disease? what if the doctors and nurses told you they tried their best at the clinics, but when the people went home they lived in filthy conditions that cause disease? Would you even listen to them or would you assume they were just passing on blame to their patients?

Anonymous said...

There is a Judas amongst all of you. They appear that they are on the teachers side yet they are still employed by DCPS.

I know who it is. Do you?
Think very hard

Glenn Watson said...

It not the delay I am having trouble with its something else. I get this message when trying to log on: "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request. bX-ib6i50"

In any case I have not determined that teachers are the problem. All I said was that what you are doing is not working, or not working well enough. I have already said I blame the parents and students.

As for your police analogy, yes I might actually want to clean house and start fresh with a new department if nothing else has worked after decades of effort and change. I agree, it is not fair and it is desperate. I already said that, but when what you have been trying IS NOT WORKING. What is there left for Rhee to try that has not already been tried?

As for your medical analogy an epidemic is a one time thing. But if we saw epidemics in DC every year for 20 years yes I might fire all the doctors and I would not care how hard they worked. The docs are not getting the job done while doctors in similar cites around the country are.

It not a matter of blame its a matter of trying something that might have a chance of working.

I know you are trying. I doubt it your fault but why should the parent at DC care about fairness?

Serenity said...

In response to Glenn Watson's comment.

I agree the system is broken. However, do we throw the baby out with the bath water to solve the problem? If each teacher was replaced by a new teacher, the problems would still exist.

I agree that collectively, teachers are responsible for the "mess" that exists in the DCPS school system. If teachers would stand for their rights and what is best for students then Rhee would not be able to continue on her destructive path. I believe our voices would be heard. I believe teachers have the power to change and truly reform the school system. Too many teachers are complacent and continue to tolerate poor working conditions.

Rhee is trying? Trying to do what? It seems to me that there is no rhyme or reason(s) for her actions. Rhee has fired teachers and administrators that were successful. How do you justify that? Nonsense!

I believe that building bridges between parents, students, teachers, community and administrators will bring success. If Rhee/Fenty operated out of fairness and equity then I'd support their reform.


The Wash. Teacher said...

I don't know why you are getting that error message Glenn. It would have to be researched through blogger.

Having worked with many parents in grass roots organizations such as the Coalition to Save Our Neighborhood Schools, DC parents Task Force and Take Back DC, I know many DC Parents who care about fairness, equity and justice for all not just a select few. At an October city council hearing, many testified about the unfair, arbitrary and capricious manner in which DC teachers and school staff were laid off. Many parents gave Rhee a chance in the beginning but no longer do so.

Most people don't agree with your argument. Parents and city residents have been excluded as stakeholders in this city and have voiced concerns to this administration as well as the DC City Council and Senator Akaka who is the Chair over government management. Firing great teachers, firing many people from the central office, changing department heads on a whim, firing great principals and vice principals who have demonstrated success leaves parents fed up with Rhee's administration. Parents express that they realize that Rhee not only fires people but replaces people with incompetent people thereby creating a revolving door of workers. Parents in this city state that Rhee only knows how to tear down and does not know how to build back up.

What is frustrating to our parents is that they voice concerns that Rhee is only dismantling the schools in order to privatize and that our schools are always in a state of flux and everyone is always on pins and needles because they never know when the next tidal wave is coming. Just recently Hardy middle school in a more affluent part of town is being considered to have the principal removed possibly in December despite impressive successes and gains in student test scores/achievement amongst a host of other accomplishments. This is unsettling to many parents that I talk with. Our DCPS parent list serves are all abuzz about these and other types of inequities that wreck havoc on students.

Our parents don't support a chancellor who is above the law. They also have lost faith in the DC mayor who has demonstrated that he too is above the law as well and supports his cronies who are above the law. Their mantra is don't do as I do, do as I say do or I'll get the best of you.

This is why groups like Take Back DC and the DC parents task force have formed. In this city, the Mayor has dismantled not only public schools but has also dismantled mental health services and terminated the jobs of all mental health workers leaving the mentally ill falling in between the cracks, and he has also supported the firing of city lawyers due to age (fortunately they have been reinstated by a judge) and dismantled day care services and the mass firings of day care workers who provided needed services to our working poor and funeled millions of dollars in contracts to his friends and associates without the approval of the city government.

Living in a totalitarian government is not what the DC city residents inclusive of DC parents want. Perhaps that might be acceptable to parents in Alabama. Our parents don't want a totalitarian legacy for their children either and as an advocate for students, teachers and schools- I won't advocate for this kind of system. I support fairness, justice and equity for all not just a select few.

Kings said...

Brava Washington Teacher!

Glenn, if you don't understand by now, we may just have to agree to disagree - though I must acknowledge that I don't see it as just a difference of opinion, I see your position as somewhere between cavalier and desperate. If firing all the teachers, including some really good ones doesn't work, what next? Another sort of throwing mud at the wall and seeing if it sticks?

Thank you though, for responding to my analogies about cops and doctors - it gives me an idea of how you analyze problems. Frankly, I'm not impressed.

Glenn Watson said...

Thank you though, for responding to my analogies about cops and doctors - it gives me an idea of how you analyze problems. Frankly, I'm not impressed.>>>

I broke down your analogies and examined them piece by piece. You engage in ad hominem attacks. If I replied in kind would you then be impressed?

Anyway this is not about you and me. Can't you see how your reaction weakens your postion in the eyes of parents and the public.

Yes, we get it, You are not being treated fairly. Rhee is mean. No one understands the difficulties you face. Granted those thing are all true. Of course they are true.

But what else can Rhee do? What else could the other Ten superintendent over the last 20 years do. The only common element in DC education in the last ten years is the faculty. The students have changed, the superintendent and the major have changed but the teachers are still there doing the same things.

Sharon B. said...

I must say this for the record!!! This is for Glenn Watson. While no one else wants to say this, I will!!! I read this blog on a constant basis and of course I read what you have to say. This is one thing that I'm very, very, sure of; you are not a teacher ANYWHERE!!!! though you are presenting as one. You are probably a DIE HARD Rhee supporter who visits this blog for the sole purpose of reporting back, the names and statements that we make here. Why else do people continue to explain things to you and you act like you just don't get it? Oh, you get it. You would have to be retarded, oops, excuse me cognitively challenged in order not to, and then continue to give the same lame responses. A word to the wise. Stop answering this Watson. Completely ignore him, maybe then he'll get the message.

Sharon B. said...

This is an FYI for RIF'd Teachers. Let me state for the record that I believe it is promising that Judge Barnoff has yet to render a decision. She has to weigh everything that she has heard during testimony. Be encouraged!!!! I'm on your side all the way.
I read an article regarding cases related to age discrimination. The article stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to prevail when trying to prove age discrimination. Please refer to Gross v FBL Financial Services.

Kings said...

Sharon B - good points regarding Glen and about the Judge (hope you're right!).

I can't resist one last response: following your line of reasoning, if the teachers are the only thing that haven't changed, then teachers should get full credit for DC kids NAEP scores increasing steadily since 2000. Granted, they are still the lowest in the country, but none of the upsets caused by rotating superintendents have stopped their rise.

With "proof" like that it would be a travesty to fire the teachers who made it happen. Instead, we should be praising them and studying their methods and giving them merit pay. Also, it follows that we should fire the current chancellor, since regularly firing the head of the system seems to be a major factor in the steady rise in scores.

Kings said...

PS -in my last comment, my rationale for retaining teachers is directed to Glenn.

Lindsey said...

To Sharon at 12:06pm

Unfortunately, I don't believe the delay in Judge Bartnoff's decision has anything to do with the fact that she is still weigning all of the issues. I think she has decided and simply has not published the ruling to the attorneys. And, I believe she may rule against the Rif'd teachers because the WTU case simply was not proven in court.

Glenn Watson said...

This is one thing that I'm very, very, sure of; you are not a teacher ANYWHERE!!!! >>>>>

Google Huntsville city schools. Look up New Century Technology High School. Check the faculty page. You will see my smiling face. Here is the url

Below is my personal web page.

Glenn Watson said...

Granted, they are still the lowest in the country,>>>

I don't blame teachers for this. I blame the kids. But Rhee can't fire the students can she?

Kings said...

You can't blame the kids either. The kids are the customers and the customer is always right.

Glenn Watson said...

I'm not sure if you are joking but if you are serious I have to disagree. The growing idea that students are customers and I am some sort of servant to them is one of the major problems with education.

Students are not customers. Teachers are not clerks or salesmen.

Teacher are instructors, guides, sometimes partners in learning but never servants. Don't debase what we do.

As for the students, they have a responsibility to learn a responsibility that too many avoid or even actively resist. And too many parents enable their child's poor behavior.

My main problem with Rhee and superintendents like her is their refusal to put the onus of learning on the student where it belongs.