Jun 30, 2009

Is This Change We Can Believe In ?

Why In The World Did President Obama Dub Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee A Wonderful Superintendent ?
According to Time magazine article in which Michelle A. Rhee appeared on the cover with a broom, it states: “In the last presidential debate each candidate tried to claim her (Rhee) as their own with Barack Obama calling her (Rhee) a wonderful superintendent.” Who knows why Barack supported Michelle Rhee so effusively?

Whatever President Barack Obama’s reasoning for this national shout-out, the million dollar question is why would a president support a chancellor when Rhee only “offered pleasing but implausible claims, while saying next to nothing about educational policy.” (Daily Howler) Does Barack Obama still praise Rhee given that her 5 year education plan lacks any substantive educational reform other than to rid DC schools of a significant share of its educational work force through terminations and buy-outs thereby creating a revolving door at-will work force?

Many think Rhee’s incredulous claims of raising her former students scoring on the 13th percentile on standardized testing to the 90th percentile in her short lived teaching career were simply pleasing anecdotes that still cannot be substantiated. Rhee by her own admission suffered during her first year and so did her students. It has been reported that in Rhee’s second year she got better. Would Barack Obama have given Rhee an endorsement if he had known that she didn’t afford DC’s probationary teachers and teaching fellows the same opportunity she was given to improve as a teacher? Did the president know that Rhee fired approximately 70 probationary teachers arbitrarily last year without regard to their 'Meets and Exceeds Expectations" annual performance evaluations? Did Barack just turn a blind eye all in the name of politics ?

Would Barack Obama knowingly approve of a so called reformist like Rhee who failed to implement a city-wide mentor program for all new teachers as well as failed to offer regular and consistent assistance to struggling teachers like the peer assistance and review programs provided in the Washington-metro suburbs ?
Does the president actually think it is okay for DC's school chancellor Rhee to sign off on the terminations of 250 DC teachers

even though some teachers were not given annual performance evaluations,

even though some teachers were not rated according to the appropriate curriculum standards ,

even though some teachers were targeted for termination in order to meet a city-wide quota,

even though some teachers had not yet completed their 2 year fellows program

and just because some were probationary teachers ?

I thought that our president believed in the American way of justice and liberty for all. You mean Barack doesn’t support the right to due process and a right to an appeals process for public employees unjustly terminated ?

Some say that Barack was only straddling the fence between the Joel Klein/Michelle Rhee types and labor unions . I’m not so sure because our president’s actions speak louder than words. Is this change we can believe in? Coming Soon to a city near you !

Posted by The Washington Teacher. Quotes courtesy of The Daily Howler.

Jun 29, 2009

Be Careful What You Write on Twitter !

This article below was written by Nikita Stewart of The WaPo on June 25. Somehow I overlooked it. I think it is interesting particularly since it is about a Dept. of Employment Services (DOES) summer contractor who regularly made disparaging comments about Anacostia SHS ( his place of employment) and loafing, on his Twitter page. I find it curious that many people think they have the right to publicly make 'racially insensitive' comments about Ward 8 where Anacostia SHS is located. DOES contractor David Le's comments are akin to the alleged statement made by Donald L. Hense of Friendship-Edison when Hense explained that the reason Anacostia SHS students can't learn is because their mother's are on crack cocaine (see 6/28/09 entry on this blog). Had this same type of offensive comment been made in a more affluent part of the city like ward 3 where residents are more politically astute, I believe that it would not have been tolerated by DC schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and would have resulted in an immediate investigation by the Rhee administration .

All I know is be careful what you say publicly out of your mouth. People are watching. Here's the story:

D.C. Summer Jobs Contractor Fired for Posts on Twitter

"The D.C. Department of Employment Services fired a contractor who was working with youths in the city's summer jobs program after officials became aware of messages on his Twitter site that Anacostia is "ghetto" and that he was loafing at work.

David Le, who was working as a participant service specialist, was terminated yesterday, said Mafara Hobson, spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). "He no longer works for DOES," she said. "I can't talk about personnel issues."

The firing came a day after The Washington Post showed Hobson a month-long string of tweets from Le's page. "In america's ghetto anacostia... If I get scared i will just yell chinese carry out! They will not shoot me," a message read on June 22. On June 15, a message read, "thank goodness my boss is making things easy, he told me to pretend to do work so he can mark me down for hours."

Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), chairman of the committee that oversees DOES, called the messages "unprofessional, wrong and racist." "To do that, I don't think it represents the high standards of the Fenty administration," said Barry, who represents Anacostia. "You can excuse one [tweet], but he has a series of them. It's excessive."

Reached through Facebook, Le declined to comment. In a Twitter message, he said he is Asian. The profile photo shows him shirtless and in sunglasses. Hobson said he began working on June 10 and was paid $13 per hour to oversee participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program. His Twitter page was brought to the attention of the Post by David Hoffman, owner of an employment placement firm whose agreement to find jobs for 400 to 500 participants was terminated this week by the city. Officials said the firm improperly assigned some participants to go to development and construction companies to see if they were complying with a city law to employ District residents.

City officials said they knew nothing about the assignments. But Hoffman said the employment-services department endorsed the idea because the agency needed an activity that could employ large numbers of participants. When the city terminated Hoffman's agreement, Le was one of the employees who contacted participants to tell them they would be getting new work assignments.Hoffman said he found the tweets disturbing. "One of the schools I am in charge of is Anacostia [High School]. If you are from here, you know ANACOSTIA . . . about 100+ murders in one year," said a tweet from June 15."

Posted by The Washington Teacher. Story courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com

Jun 28, 2009

DC Parents Outraged Over Friendship Takeover of Anacostia High

A teacher known as 'Sad Anacostia Teacher' forwarded me a copy of an letter which an Anacostia senior high parent sent to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Anacostia Senior High is being reconstituted this year with the assistance of Friendship Edison charter schools. The high school is located at 1601 16th Street, SE. where Rodney McBride was the former principal. I featured concerns on my blog on June 25th from an Anacostia teacher which revealed that half of their teachers have been excessed. I have received other emails that allege that there have been discriminatory practices in excessing 50% of Anacostia's teachers. This outraged parent's e-mail to Chancellor Rhee suggests that like DC teachers, Anacostia parents feel disenfranchised by the Rhee administration, complain of the lack of transparency and have concerns about the way this school takeover is being conducted. Here's a copy of the letter as promised :

Dear Chancellor Rhee:

"Today is a sad day in the lives of students and parents of Anacostia High School, when you Mrs. Rhee want to turn over our school to people like Mr. Donald Hense of Friendship Edison. When the founder of Friendship Edison says that the reason the students of Anacostia can’t learn is because their mother’s are on crack cocaine this is a sad day. He made this statement at the Anacostia construction meeting. Again as a parent why would someone say this about our children’s parents this way? Is this the way you Mr. Lew, The Mayor, The Gates Foundation and members of your staff think about our students at Anacostia who belong to us ?

I attended a meeting today at Anacostia . I thought that we were going to talk about the construction of Anacostia, but it was not the case. For the first half or more it was about Friendship's programs and their history and not about Anacostia’s building. I talked to the staff of Mr. Lew’s shop before the meeting and Mr. Robinson told me they would have a few words in the beginning and that did not happen. Friendship took over the meeting. Again the lies that people tell us to get us in a room so that they can say they had a meeting with parents of Anacostia, so that they can get paid by The Gates Foundation. Friendship told the Gates Foundation that they had met their obligation as it relates to the DC Education Compact and the community, parents and students, when in fact they never met with the parent body and they gave out false information along with Mr. Justin Cohen a member of your staff . I have heard back from Andrea at the Gates Foundation and she has let me know that she has spoken both with Friendship Charter Schools folks and with Justin at DCPS regarding our concerns. At this point she feels that the project is on target as described in the plans as they have documented opportunities for parent and community engagement – among benchmarks they are responsible for. The parents of Anacostia did not know any of this and the cover up grows.

When people say things about our children I have problems with it, here is a statement made by a member of your staff:, Mr. Justin C. Cohen of the Office of Portfolio Management:

"The Chancellor asked me to respond to your last email. The DC Education Compact serves as the fiscal intermediary for grant funding to DCPS from the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation. Acting in this capacity sometimes requires them to disburse funding to organizations that support our work, and such is the case with the Friendship Schools. DCPS does not pay the DCEC any funds; rather they disperse grant funding on our behalf. To your other point, the No Child Left Behind act establishes targets for standardized test scores and attendance at individual schools. While it is one indicator of school performance, it is an imperfect and incomplete measure. Friendship's high school - the Collegiate Academy - has consistently outperformed every DCPS high school, except for our selective admission magnet schools. In addition, the Chancellor does not have control over the charter schools in DC, as those are overseen by the DC Public Charter School Board, a completely separate independent entity. We appreciate your concerns, and I encourage you to come to us with questions about these arrangements, as we want to make sure you have the appropriate facts. "

A member of Mr. Lew’s staff told us Mr. Lew did not care about this meeting, so writing him gets us nothing. He is not going to look at it any way. (He will just delete it). Mrs. Rhee the parents at Anacostia did not know about this meeting but the parent and staff of Friendship knew, and they came to a school that they do not teach at or their children did not go to. This tells me that this is about money not about making the city schools better. Mr. Cohen said it best in his e-mail that the test is an imperfect and incomplete measure, so why do we take the test and why did you change Anacostia school staff if it does not mean anything ? Our children are in trouble at Anacostia when Mr. Beck of Friendship follows the young ladies of Anacostia to the rest rooms with a video camera and films them going in and coming out. He told the young men of the building he was taking their pictures so when he took over he would put them out. What happened to the investigation on him because Mr. John Davis of your staff knew about it and did not turn it over to your security force unit? All these things have been going on since you made the move at Anacostia. It is time to remove Friendship Edison from Anacostia. If you don’t, you are looking at a war on your hands. I hope you can take care of this matter before it gets bad." - Signed an Anacostia SHS parent

visit: http://www.nclb.osse.dc.gov/aypreports.asp

*Anacostia SHS made Safe Harbor in reading in 2008 for Black/Non-Hispanic groupings. They went from 6.28% proficient in 2007 to 21.15% proficient in 2008. As a result of having 95% students tested and reducing those non-proficient students by 10% earned them safe harbor in this category.

Posted by The Washington Teacher

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

Jun 24, 2009

When Should DC Terminated Teachers File An EEOC Complaint ?

Many of DC's terminated teachers have asked whether they should file a complaint with EEOC. I think that if you are uncertain, you definitely should consult with an EEOC office near to you. Discrimination is defined broadly and also includes retaliation. If you believe that you have been the victim of retaliation , then certainly you should file with EEOC. Keep in mind that there are timelines that must be be followed. I have posted EEOC's guidelines for complaints as well as their toll free telephone number @ 1-800-669-4000.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Headquarters and Washington Field Office (WFO) moved in November 2008 to 131 M Street, NE., Fourth Floor, Suite 4NWO2F, Washington, DC 20507-0100

The Wash. Field Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination against private, state and local government employers in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia, and for administering hearings regarding complaints against federal government employers in these geographic areas. Additional information about the WFO, including contact info, hours of operation and directions, can be found at
http://www.eeoc.gov/washington/.

If you believe you have been discriminated against by an employer, labor union or employment agency when applying for a job or while on the job because of your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, or believe that you have been discriminated against because of opposing a prohibited practice or participating in an equal employment opportunity matter, you may file a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Charges may be filed in person, by mail or by telephone by contacting the nearest EEOC office. To avoid delay, call or write before hand if you need special assistance, such as an interpreter, to file a charge.

There are strict time frames in which charges of employment discrimination must be filed. To preserve the ability of EEOC to act on your behalf and to protect your right to file a private lawsuit, should you ultimately need to, adhere to the following guidelines when filing a charge.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) charges must be filed with EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. However, in states or localities where there is an anti=discrimination law and an agency authorized to grant or seek relief, a charge must be presented to that state or local agency. Furthermore, in such jurisdictions, you may file charges with EEOC within 300 days of the discriminatory act, or 30 days after receiving notice that the state or local agency has terminated its processing of the charge, whichever is earlier. It is best to contact EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected. When charges or complaints are filed beyond these time frames, you may not be able to obtain any remedy.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII charges. (within 180 days)


Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) - The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII and the ADA. (within 180 days)

Equal Pay Act (EPA) - Individuals are not required to file an EPA charge with EEOC before filing a private lawsuit. However, charges may be filed with EEOC and some cases of wage discrimination also may be violations of Title VII. If an EPA charge is filed with EEOC, the procedure for filing is the same as for charges brought under Title VII. However, the time limits for filing in court are different under the EPA, thus, it is advisable to file a charge as soon as you become aware the EPA may have been violated.

Posted by The Washington Teacher

Jun 23, 2009

L.A. Principal Withholds Diplomas over Student Protest

From Special Guest: James Ehrlich - Co-Founder of Cuts Hurt Kids

visit: http://twitter.com/cutshurtkids/

No Apology, No Diploma for some L.A. Students

The graduation ceremony Thursday, June 18 at Liechty Middle School in Los Angeles, CA featured as a speaker Monica Garcia, L.A. Unified board president.Dozens of students turned their backs in silent protest of Ms. Garcia who has supported laying off thousands of teachers district-wide as part of LA's United School District budget cutbacks. Liechty Middle School, near downtown L.A., was particularly hard hit with over 70% of teachers receiving pink slips. The school is new, having opened only 2 years ago.

Several teachers, including Julie Van Winkle, United Teachers L.A. rep. at Liechty have been involved in the Hungry For a Better Education campaign which included a 23 day water-only hunger-strike to protest budget cutbacks. (visit: http://www.lahungry4ed.com/ )

Parents outraged at this latest incident are demanding an apology and their childrens' diplomas. They have been refused meetings with Principal Jeanette Stevens, who insists on meeting individually . LA Opinion reports in yesterday's paper (June 23, p.3) that students are being forced to sign an apology letter in order to get their diplomas: http://i42.tinypic.com/2cnijbq.jpg

Posted by The Washington Teacher

Chancellor 'Terminator' Rhee Fires 8 DC Teachers At Sousa Middle School

I received this email from a DC Teacher who was terminated from Sousa middle school where Dwan Jordan is a new principal. Sousa is located at 3650 Ely Place, SE in Washington, DC. I have removed the names of teachers who write me in order to protect their right to confidentiality.

Given that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee signs off on all of these teacher terminations, it is concerning that there is no right of appeal. What if the principal was wrong in his/her assessment of the teacher and the teacher is not ineffective ? Who bears the responsibility for any errors that are being made ? What would you do if you were wrongly terminated ?

Here are some of the details regarding what happened to the teachers at Sousa. More details will be provided to you as they come in.

Hi Candi:


"I had been teaching at Sousa and never received a bad rating in all my ten years working in DC Public Schools. However, I was placed on the 90 day plan and have been terminated also. I was wondering if you could add this update of factual information to your blog.

The principal Dwan Jordon is a first-year principal, formerly an Assistant Principal from PG County, who placed 8 veteran teachers on the 90-day plan and terminated all of them. Interestingly enough, early reports are rumored that Sousa made some of the highest middle school gains with the DC-CAS, so how can all of our teachers be ineffective? Sousa has less than a total of 25 teachers so a third of them were terminated."


Posted by The Washington Teacher.

Jun 22, 2009

WTU Will Meet With DC's Terminated Teachers

Some DC teachers have reported that they did not receive their Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) robo call on June 21, 2009 or the follow up email. Here is a written copy of the message regarding the June 23rd meeting at the AFT headquarters.

TERMINATION LETTERS

The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) has scheduled a very important meeting with all teachers on the 90-Day plan and probationary teachers who received a letter of termination. The meeting will be held this Tuesday, June 23rd, at the AFT headquarters building located at 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, in the 4th Floor Conference Room.

The meeting with probationary teachers who received a letter of termination will begin promptly at 1:00 pm. The meeting with teachers on the 90-Day plan who received a letter of termination will begin promptly at 3:00 pm. WTU attorneys will also be on hand to answer legal questions. We strongly urge all probationary teachers and teachers on the 90-Day plan who received a letter of termination to attend these very important sessions. We will meet with all teachers terminated due to certification at a later date.


(Posted by The Washington Teacher).

Jun 21, 2009

This One's For You Dad ! Here's To Clif !


My Dad inspired in me an appreciation for higher education as well as an appreciation for the best life has to offer. He has always had a profound influence and impact on my life. My Dad named me Candi with an i. Thank God for him, otherwise you would be calling me Markie. What was my Mom thinking, love her anyway.

Dad is the coolest guy ever. He has emerald green eyes to die for. He is and has been one of my best teachers (second only to Mom). One of the greatest gifts he gave me were his words to live by: never let others define you. Because of his influence, I am living my life with a sense of purpose and committment to help others and making the most out of my life. This one's for Clif ! Believe that I love you Dad- Always

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the man and young man in my life- Keith and Blair. I love you too and Happy Father's day !

Candi

(AKA The Washington Teacher)

Jun 20, 2009

Rhee Fired DC Teachers Without Evaluations



Despite what Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's termination letters stated that DC teachers were evaluated by their local school principal, some DC teachers were fired without ever being evaluated as we heard on WJLA, channel 7 yesterday on the 5 p.m. news.

When Rhee signed off on the terminations of 21 teachers @ Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) given the standardized test scores as reported on The WaPo site- it leaves me wondering whether Principal Maria Tukeva ever cheated in some back room. How is it that the entire middle school teaching staff at CHEC were all ineffective ? Based on The Washington Post's 'Fixing DC Schools' report on line, there were only approximately 32 teachers in total at the middle school level.

How is that the entire special education department at Ludlow Taylor elementary school where Carolyn Cobbs is principal were terminated ? Was the whole department ineffective ? Stories like these and many others defy probability and reason and suggest to me that it's not about removing ineffective teachers.


Some of us are determined to ensure that due process of law occurs. A committee is being formed now to secure representation for many of our DC teachers who have been wronged. We are in search of of an experienced labor attorney willing to represent a class of DC teachers pro bono.

If you can help in any way, please contact: savedcteachers@gmail.com

(posted by The Washington Teacher)Video courtesy of wjla.com

Jun 19, 2009

Michelle A. Rhee Terminates Dee Does DC

Dee Does the District responds: "Thank you, but this issue is bigger than just me. There are six other teachers that were terminated from Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School by Carolyn Cobbs (Principal). These individuals range from probationary teachers to veterans in the District. One teacher in particular was told her job was safe, only to receive a certified letter stating her termination yesterday. I want others to know that they are not alone in this! We need to band together and fight for ourselves and fight for the current and future teachers of the District. What happened to us is not right and it is not fair and although this will be a long, arduous task, we will win this."

250 DC Teachers Terminated As Reported by The WaPo
No official confirmation from Chancellor Rhee's office

I decided to post the story of Dee's termination, a fellow education blogger right here in DC. Dee features the story of her own termination on her blog @ Dee Does The District

This one's for you Dee ! It ain't over till its over. The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) has pending litigation with respect to last year's probationary teachers who were terminated unfairly. One of the first cases involving a probationary teacher had over 30 contractual violations for starters. By the way, last years terminated probationary teachers had meets and exceeds expectations performance evaluations.

Here's what Union Prez Parker said in today's Post article by Bill Turque: "Parker said the union disagrees with the school system about the status of probationary teachers. The union contends that if a teacher on probation receives a satisfactory evaluation, he or she should be hired permanently. Last year's firings of probationary teachers are the subject of a court fight, and Parker said he intends to pursue a similar remedy this year. "

I Was Terminated by Dee Does The District

"I was terminated yesterday."

Just two quick thoughts before I go to bed for the evening:
1. Michelle Rhee has acknowledged how terrible she was as a first-year teacher; this is hardly different for the majority of of first- and second-year teachers (traditional or alt-cert) as we are all trying to navigate our classrooms and our schools. But according to her, she was able to come back for two more years and make significant gains -- why aren't all of the probationary teachers who were terminated allowed to make the same progress after a rough (or smooth...) first year in the classroom?


2. Rhee has also acknowledged that the PPEP form is a bad document that allows for administrators to arbitrarily put down negative scores based on whims, fancies, and personal vendettas. This acknowledgement has been translated into a new evaluation system for the upcoming school year that will bring in impartial, expert teachers to ensure fairness in the process -- we are in fact, dealing with people's careers and lives here. Alas, despite recognizing the inherent flaws in the process, a single administrator was still allowed to make the final ruling on a teacher's employment status. It seems that these two things are in direct conflict with one another.

No, I'm not mad or upset with Rhee -- I'm just disappointed that she failed to terminate the right person. " (Courtesy of Dee Does the District) quote courtesy of The Washington Post.

Jun 18, 2009

Chancellor Rhee is a Terminating Machine !

Quote from a CHEC teacher: " If so many probationary teachers are being terminated ... what does that say about those hiring them and the supposed amazing pool of people available for hire? So many questions, so little answers, but plenty of finger pointing towards the teachers... including unfortunately, many good ones."

These updates are being provided to you in real-time. Because so many teachers have been fired, I am having to stay near to my computer and phone as I report what's happening on our educational landscape. Stay tuned for updates ! As I receive additional updates, I will post information.

Columbia Heights Education Campus (updates)

21 DC Teachers Terminated
Principal Takeva gives the boot to her middle school teachers @ CHEC

I just received this update. There have been 21 DC teachers fired from the Columbia Heights Education Campus where Maria Tukeva is the principal. This has just been confirmed. Most of the terminated teachers are probationary teachers. As emails are coming in, I will continue to provide you updates .Terminations of this many teachers at one school are unprecedented.

Ludlow Taylor Elementary School

7 DC Teachers Terminated
Rhee fires 7 DC teachers at Ludlow Taylor elementary school @ 659 G St. NE where Carolyn Cobbs is the principal. Our own fellow education blogger Dee Does DC was terminated too. The special education department at Ludlow Taylor was wiped out by Principal Cobbs.


Garfield Elementary School

1 DC Teacher Terminated
Rhee fires 1 DC teacher at Garfield elementary school @ 2435 Alabama Ave SE where Tammy Thomas is the principal and one of the DC departing (resigning) principals.
( The Washington Teacher).

Jun 17, 2009

News Update About DC Teacher Terminations

15 DC Teacher Terminations @ CHEC Now Reported

Read it and weep. This just came in. There are now fifteen (15) confirmed DC teacher terminations at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) located on 16th Street in D.C. It is reported that 13 of these terminations were probationary teachers, 1 teacher was as a result of a 90-day plan termination, and 1 not yet known. (Posted by The Washington Teacher).


Jun 16, 2009

Rhee Delivers Mass Terminations of DC Teachers, Begins Today

Updated news @ 10 p.m. with post from a terminated teacher

Teacher Firings up to 12 at CHEC, Mostly Probationary Teachers

Did you know that some DC Teachers have started receiving notices of terminations today ? These notices have been sent out to some teachers via email. Some teachers were given a copy of their termination letter in hand mid-day signed personally by Michelle Rhee .

Here's what two DC teachers from Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) had to say about today's terminations:

"I am one of the probationary teachers who was terminated at CHEC today. My frustration at the situation does not, as many of you suggest, have to do with Michelle Rhee or her mission. Instead, my frustration is focused entirely on the administration at CHEC, for the way that they are handling the firing process, and for the amount of truly amazing professionals they are terminating. One of you suggested in an earlier post that the probationary teachers who are being fired at CHEC (both DCTF and otherwise) are under performers, but this is not the case. The amount of extra work required of teachers at CHEC is unbelievable, and all of the people that I know who have been fired embrace that extra work because it will ultimately benefits students. There have been several terminations that I know of where teachers were not even placed on any sort of improvement plan. (I was not on any sort of a plan...no 90-day, no anything...). I just find the entire situation sickening, because the people at CHEC work extremely hard and receive this sort of treatment. All throughout the year, I felt under appreciated, unsupported, and unfairly treated. This termination just comes as the final straw. I do not want any of you to get the idea that the teachers who are being terminated at CHEC somehow deserve what they are getting because I can assure you, they do not. The work environment at that school is poisonous, and this is just the latest thing. May this just be a lesson to everyone that as educators, we need to stick together, support each other, and remember that we are ultimately all here for the kids. They are what kept me going all year, and they will continue to keep me going in the future. " Signed Terminated Teacher

Second quote from a teacher who still remains at CHEC :"This year at CHEC, there was an obvious shift in the way the administration "graded" the PPEP rubric and evaluated teachers. Teachers who "exceeded expectations" in the past were given "meets expectations" or "needs improvement" and the overall morale in the school was gravely effected by this seemingly arbitrary and change in rating teachers. To me, this sounds like pressure coming from powers higher above? This shift definitely created an US vs. THEM mentality in the school and I can't see how that will diffuse much after the way things have been handled. Many of us don't feel like we are being treated as PROFESSIONALS and we have a very diverse, talented, and caring staff. We have made great strides in the quality of the education being implemented due to the hard work of the great teachers (past and present) that have developed curriculum and challenged our students.

That being said, many teachers have been harassed, disrespected, unsupported, and pushed away due to unprofessional pressures from some of the administration. I find it very disheartening to see SO many of my fellow talented and hard working teachers leave my school each year (voluntarily and involuntarily). I am also VERY frustrated that each year the dramatic turnover results in retraining and reinvesting in new staff which also GREATLY effects the school's potential to grow and improve. When and how are the administrators evaluated? Is teacher retention considered in the way a school and administration is evaluated? If so many probationary teachers are being terminated at my school... what does that say about those hiring them and the supposed amazing pool of people available for hire? So many questions, so little answers, but plenty of finger pointing towards the teachers... including unfortunately, many good ones." Signed DC CHEC teacher

Chancellor Rhee is following through on her promise to get rid of a significant share of her teacher workforce as outlined in her 5 year educational plan. Rhee also makes good on her threat (plan B) of firing teachers when she couldn't gain approval for our DC teacher contract. (known as the red and green tiers)

It seems like it's not only veteran teachers that Rhee is giving the axe to but also newly hired probationary teachers. Sound eerily familiar to what happened to DC's 78 probationary teachers who were fired last year without regard to their performance ? What perplexes me is that I thought that it was the 'newbie teachers' that Rhee was aggressively trying to recruit ? Hmmm-Some how no one is safe regardless of their job performance or years of experience. Would you agree ?

Keep your emails coming about terminations of DC teachers and principals c/o saveourcounselors@gmail.com

News Flash

12 DC Teachers fired @
Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC)
Also known as Lincoln MS and Bell Multi-Cultural HS
3101 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
Principal: Maria Tukeva

Of the 12 teachers to be fired, 10 are probationary teachers and 1 teacher was on a 90 day plan. It is suspected that there is a 2nd teacher on a 90 day plan but this must be confirmed.(Posted by The Washington Teacher).

Jun 3, 2009

The Washington Teacher Faces Reprisal From DC's Departing Principal & Instructional Superintendent

Being the author of The Washington Teacher blog has its advantages and disadvantages. For as many advantages as you can imagine, there are just as many disadvantages especially in the workplace. As I once testified before the DC City Council, DC Public Schools have historically been a punitive place in which to work. Even today, fear of retaliation is still rampant in our schools. Due to this it is understandable why many teachers and related school personnel often look the other way when illegal or inappropriate misconduct or ethical violations occur especially when it involves school administrators. Failure to adhere to this ‘honor amongst thieves mentality’, will likely leave you ostracized, intimidated, threatened, excessed, placed on a 90-day plan, and sometimes with the worst school assignment or even fired .

Blogging about DC’s departing principals landed me a special visit on Wednesday afternoon from DC’s Instructional superintendent- Barbara Adderley. A little after 3 p.m., an announcement was made on our school loud speaker that I should meet our departing principal at Garfield elementary school in her office. I quickly obliged this request to go to the principal’s second floor office to meet with her under what I thought was a work-related matter. To my surprise, there was a woman sitting in one of the chairs in the principal’s office who indicated in response to my inquiry that she did not know where the principal was. I thought to myself that it was odd that the principal had left this lady in her office unattended.

I followed up by going to the main level to locate the principal. When I did, I questioned if she wanted to meet with me and was told yes by her. She motioned me back to her office and promptly closed the door with the unknown woman still sitting in her office. I am clear this meeting was held due to my writing the "DC Principal Shuffle". Initially, the principal began what appeared to me to be a question and answer session about my blog. She queried whether my blog was somehow affiliated with The Washington Post and was unaware of the name of my blog. At one point, Adderley chimed in: Do you know who I am? I responded a resounding No because for me this was the first time meeting her this school year. Adderley took over the meeting seemingly with the non-verbal approval of the school administrator. Questions came in rapid succession from Dr. Adderley and she seemed particularly curious about how I had written a piece especially since as she stated I had not confirmed the accuracy of my story with either her or Garfield’s departing principal. When I would not name my sources for the story , Adderley suggested that the only other person who could have informed me was Chancellor Rhee. Rheely, I thought to myself, how interesting?

In my view, this meeting quickly deteriorated and seemed to be more of a
browbeating and intimidation session of which I was at first an unsuspecting participant. When I realized that I had become entangled in this kangaroo court somehow, I quickly announced to both administrators that I would not continue this discussion without a representative. After all I added that our principal had her own representative in Dr. Adderley. Adderley looked perplexed and made it clear that as the administrator she would have the final say whether the meeting ended or not. My response was emphatic that while I may not control whether the meeting ended, I would not be speaking any further on this issue and in essence- she would be talking to herself. Of course, she ended the meeting subsequent to this.

This meeting reminded me of a similar meeting called by Chancellor Rhee only last school year on March 6th in which I was summoned to the Chancellor’s office under what I was advised was a work related matter. Of course, I made the choice to take two representatives with me. I believe that this meeting was called due to my political activism, outspokenness in the media, participation at a city council hearing and at a rally to protest school closures. Later I captured this experience in an article titled: “ Political Activism Gets a Thumbs Down From Chancellor Rhee “ in the online publication of The Mail’s March 9, 2008 issue @ www.dcwatch.com

Both of these personal experiences within DC Schools got me to thinking that these acts by Adderley and Rhee constitute what is known as an abuse of power. As much as I hate to say it, this is the reality in our schools. This reality is the reason we have some employees who choose to please their bosses even at the expense of our students while others choose to do what is right at the risk of displeasure from their boss and the possibility of facing consequences and repercussions as a result. Someone like Adderley who makes the choice to abuse his or her power, makes me question, Is this the type of manager we want to lead us in this new era of reform? You tell me? (posted by The Washington Teacher).