Feb 28, 2010

Another DC Teacher Quits Voluntarily: Who's To Blame ?

A DCPS special education teacher at Maury Elementary School calls it quits. 
Lately, I have received a number of emails and text messages from teachers and colleagues about how many DC public schools teachers are voluntarily calling it quits. Teachers that I have spoken to admit that some of their reasons for leaving are due to the IMPACT evaluation which was rolled out this year without it first being piloted. Many complain of inadequate training which is provided 'on the job' while teachers must digest an instrument that is complex and misinterpreted by principals, instructional coaches, program managers and master educators (who often aren't so master). Power points to supplement IMPACT are still being developed as we speak to help further explain rubrics that are not so specific. Teachers and service providers are rated in areas in which there has been limited training. Not to mention, the fact that it will take a total of three years for teachers to be graded on all of three of the IMPACT components. Teachers are complaining in some schools that they have lost their planning periods to more grade level meetings, extra duty, more paperwork and many other demands which result in lost time to plan. As a result many of our teachers come to work as early as 6:30 or 7 a.m. and stay until 6 or 7 p.m. and continue to work into the night. Yet they are still demonized in the press by Rhee and company. Time for family, friends and social activities is virtually non-existent.
Many teachers and service providers are receiving poor performance ratings on IMPACT evaluations with scores averaging in the minimally effective and ineffective range. Even I received a low impact score of course being marked down in the attendance area due to allegedly being seen at a protest rally while I was on scheduled leave. Could it be that Rhee's plan is to rate teachers low so that she can force out a significant share of our teaching workforce through terminations, lay-offs, resignations and retirement as revealed in her five year educational plan? 
I received an email from a teacher asking me to post the resignation of yet another certified DCPS teacher. Her email states - Hello Candi, "A certified special education teacher with a masters degree resigns from Maury Elementary School due to belittling by Principal Carolyne Albert-Garvey. Maury is located at 1250 Constitution Avenue NE. 20002. The principal heavily imposed special education coordinator (SEC) duties which is a full time job by the way and gave an unjust Impact rating. SEC duties "IMPACTed" no pun intended on this special education teacher's planning and instructional time. This special education teacher had a case load of 12 special education students in testing grades 3, 4 and 5. Go Figure... Now the school is left with a brand new uncertified teacher. Thanks." Signed, anonymous teacher
                                                                                   Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence and whistleblower.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please see previous post and refer her to Bill Turque at Washington Post for upcoming article. He wants to talk to teacher who have quit.
What concerns me the most are the value added components, that we receive no information on nor on the data we are supposed to collect. Additionally, on top our regular job we are being rated on what extra we do for the school initiatives!!! Is this even legal?
[Washington Post: Education]
For a story on teacher attrition, I'd like to talk to educators who have voluntarily left DCPS within the last three or four years. I'm looking for both veterans and novices. If you're interested, please get in touch with me by phone 202-334-9294 or e-mail turqueb@washpost.com.

I_educ8 said...

This kind of action (i.e., voluntary resignation), is no doubt, part of rhee's plan. She wants as many educators to leave of their own accord so that when she manufactures a reason for the next RIF, there will be less work for her to do. Problem is, she's losing a lot of highly qualified individuals due to b.s., which is ultimately affecting the quality of education for D.C.'s school children.

Oh, I forgot, she REALLY does not care about these children. She only "talks" about making "decisions that are in the best interest of children" because it sounds good and keeps some naysayers at bay. Results show, however, that she's doing nothing more than endorsing a slogan. I hope DC residents and voters are paying close attention to the debacle that is michelle rhee.

Anonymous said...

If someone quits voluntarily, it's not a matter of blame - it's a decision. Obviously some teachers are deciding it's not worth it to stay in such dificult working conditions.

Perhaps Rhee wants to attract the kind of teacher who doesn't mind these conditions.

Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

What really bothers me, is that parents are not as outraged as the teachers are. If I had a child in DCPS, and I heard of what Michelle Rhee was doing, I would be trying to protect my child's teacher's job. I would gather other parents who are sober enough to understand that this so-called chancellor and mayor fenty, are destroying their child's future. I just find it sad when I don't hear enough complaints from parents about this school systems reform efforts. The harm that is being placed on the teachers are also placed on the very children that the teachers are charged with educating. The Fenty administration is so ill prepared to run the DCPS school system, that the Department of Education should be stepping in to protect our children from these two child-abusers.

Macy said...

Anonymous 11:20 am. In the Maury case, it was a matter of blame as the principal assigned the tecaher duties that she was not hired or certified to do. The teacher in question had an assignment of special education coordinator duties and she also had special education teacher duties.

Sounds like Anonymous didn't comprehend the email from the teacher that wrote to Candi or the cartoon that was used to depict what is happening in public education acorss America. No one has to tolerate belittling, out of area assignments, over ratio class sizes for special education students and abuse by a principal.

I am wondering what Mr Parker will do to address IMPACT. Not another word about that survey-blah, blah, blah. I already filled it out but don't expect it to result in anything.

anon 11:20 said...

Macy - I understand and agree with everything you say. My point is that the teacher (wisely) chose to leave on her own, so I think blame is not the best word to use in this case. This teacher was smart to get out in my opinion. I wish more teachers had the option, but realize that most don't. If all the teachers and other staff who wanted to leave because of the horrible, Rhee-impoosed conditions, actually DID leave, it would make a big statement that would be quite easy to understand.

A Veteran said...

I'd get out if I could. I have bills to pay and if I went to one of the counties, I'd take a cut in pay, not much, but too much to consider leaving DCPS. Montgomery won't give us all the years we have in DC and PG County is slashing jobs, see today's WaPo. I have kids in college, they'll soon be off my health care plan and I'll have to pay for their insurance out of pocket. I'm too close to retirement to throw it all away despite wishing almost every day I could leave. My IMPACT scores have been less than what I want but my average is still over 3. I'm so sick of higher order thinking skills when I have so many students who need to be taught simple lower order thinking. My principal, nice as can be, can't seem to keep order in the school. Wish Rhee would give an early out. If I'd qualify, I'd take it.

Classic said...

I can speak of my former school. I know that there are at least 4 teachers that are actively looking for jobs and when they find them they will be leaving no matter what part of the school year we are in.
I also know that we have had a lot of teachers that have retired in the last two years that weren't really ready to leave the classroom but were tired of working under the current conditions. I have given them the information to talk to Bill.

DC Parent said...

The attrition rate seems very high in DC schools. High turnover rates of staff are never good for students. I know that having substitutes teach students long term will have dire consequences. Too bad Ms. Rhee can't understand the IMPACT this will have on student achievement.

I m a DC resident and Fenty won't get my vote in the fall.

Anonymous said...

My school recently saw the mid-year resignation of a special subject teacher. He was great: he inspired kids to love his subject and be interested in it, though it was quite new for them. But he got no administration support and had to beg for materials he needed to do projects typical of his subject. The administration used his class as a planning period for the grade level teachers. Though they said they didn't, they never really bought into his subject though it had a lot of potential for the students. He was rather cerebral and gentle, had trouble with classroom control and got lousy IMPACT scores. He just quit and took a job in his field outside of the classroom. He couldn't take the lack of support and horrible discipline, which the administration made him believe was all his fault.

The Wash. Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 4:02

I would love to know the name of the school and the subject. I hope you can post here or write me privately c/o saveourcounselors@gmail.com
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Who is to blame?

That's easy- Rhee and company created this mess.
Hey, hey, ho, ho Rhee & Fenty gotta go!

Plain Scared said...

Thanks for posting this story. This gives the rest of us courage to come forward about the terrible things that are happening in our schools.

Anonymous said...

Let's stop and think here people. I highly doubt that a principal is going to belittle a teacher. That seems extremely unprofessional. What also seems extremely unprofessional is the fact that a special education teacher would leave her job and leave her students and her responsibilities. So what, she had to take on a few more responsibilities than she thought she would have to. Suck it up and do your job. I am so tired of all these teachers complaining. Let's try for one minute to not be selfish and think about the students. Isn't that why we all decided to be teachers in the first place? Or did you all just want the summers off?

hard working teacher said...

Candi, this article is on point. Double the work, double the stress, no retro and no contract. Teachers are fed up with DCPS and its tatics they are using. You really have to come in early and stay late to be on top of your game. It is set up in a way that whatever you do you will not get a 4.

Foul said...

Candi, Rhee is trying to influence the upcoming election by attacking and harassing veteran teachers, until they quit.

The Wash. Teacher said...

I acknowledge that I've withheld two posts, obviously from the same person this evening. I do not believe that the posts are from a teacher but think that they are written by someone from the administration whose sole purpose appears to incite others. The unpublished posts are divisive to teachers and I believe bring the WTU into what is not a discussion about WTU and does not involve people who are happy with the WTU.

As the blogger in residence, I retain the right not to publish certain comments. By the way this is not a a Washington Teachers' Union blog. Thanks for reading The Washington Teacher blog

Anonymous said...

What's interesting about Anonymous @ 7:02 comments is that there is no concern mentioned for the Maury students who will be taught by an uncertified teacher. While the author implies that he is a teacher, in the middle and end of the post he refers to teachers in the 3rd person and at the conclusion tries to make us think that he is a teacher when he states Lets try and think about our students.

While it may not be professional for a teacher to leave mid year, there are times when all of us have to decide what is best for us. Those of us who have never been selfish in their lives should throw the first stone. I am sure this teacher struggled with the decision to leave. Get a life anonymous and give real teachers a break.

Kings said...

Anon at 8:27 - I was having similar thoughts about anon 7:02.

Also, anyone who wants to hear how administrators belittle teachers should go to the "filthy teacher" blog. He was a very dedicated teacher who left at the end of last semester because of administrator harassment.

lodesterre said...

Anon 7:02 obviously has not worked in DCPS and more than likely is not a teacher at all. After all, this person brings out the old canard of "summers off". DCPS principals being unprofessional? Give me a break, the rarity I have found in my time in DC is when they are professional (there are some). How about the principals who tell four potential hires that all have the same job - except he doesn't realize that the 4 know each other and talk to each other? How about the "professional" principal who sets grade level teachers against each other by lying to them about the other? How about... well, all of us who actually have worked in DCPS have our stories, don't we? What this likely mole doesn't want to admit is that teachers are leaving mid-year more than has happened in the previous 6 years. Look at Columbia Heights where the Reflective Educator worked. That is just one school. I hope that some of these teachers show up at the council hearing on March 15th. Not that I think this council will do anything, but to have their voices heard and to counter the Rhee cheerleaders.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn Albert-Garvey has bounced around a few schools lately, and there were many parents and teachers in the Murch Elementary community who were very unhappy with her style of leadership.

Anonymous said...

I have a classroom with 36 students on list, most times 30 attend class, 12 are special education students and I only have 27 desks!!!
I do not need a "master teacher" to come and judge me based on a 30 minute visit, we need more teachers to help the kids.

Anonymous said...

IMPACT is a 4 million dollar package of BS! Only DUMMIES don't know this is another way to get rid of veteran and outspoken teachers!

Anonymous said...

I got a new teaching job and I will be out of DC soon; and many, many of my coleagues will follow.

Anonymous said...

Friendship, Chamberlain Year Chartered: 1997 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
202-547-5800
Web Site

Principal: Carolyne Albert-Garvey
FUNNY

Wyrm1 said...

I highly doubt that a principal is going to belittle a teacher. That seems extremely unprofessional.

Really? You obviously haven't been in a DCPS school. I watched a principal scream at a first year teacher because he happened to walk by and see that a kid had a cell phone out. No acknowledgement that she had written numerous referrals with no response on that student, or thought that it could be dealt with in private.

Your ignorance is astounding if you think it doesn't happen, at least on occasion.

Anonymous said...

I work at Maury, and I've debated about whether or not to post here, but here goes. When the teacher in question resigned, it was a surprise to me. I don't know what happened between her and the principal, and I don't know what the details of her IMPACT evaluation were. I can't speak to that.

I don't doubt that she was expected to take on the role of Special Ed Coordinator, and that wasn't fair. And it's absolutely true that Ms. Albert-Garvey has VERY high expectations, expectations that sometimes aren't realistic.

But I think there's an implication here that Maury is a toxic work environment, and I haven't felt that at all. Stressful, yes. Occasionally exhausting, yes. But I've *never* heard Ms. Albert-Garvey speak disrespectfully to a staff member. I've felt that my evaluations were fair. She's always been very supportive of me. Clearly my colleague had a different experience, but I wanted to make it clear that hers was not the universal experience at Maury.

Sharon B. said...

A Veteran @ 2:29 pm..... I understand your dilemma,however, there is always the chance that you could be terminated without just cause, because it has been done on more than one occassion. Therefore, what would be the smarter choice?
Anonymous @ 7:02pm..... Suck it up!!!, Do your job!!!!, stop complaining!!!! Are you kidding me? By the way, Who are you? You can't possibly be anyone who has a lick of sense. It's obvious that you have no idea what the job description of a SEC is, nor do you have a clue. PERIOD!!!

Anonymous said...

anon 8:52 - it's nice to know Maury is not a complete hellhole and that some teachers are being treated respectfully. I'm sure it helps your ability to teach, which in turn provides a good learning environment for the children in your classes.

I hope the day comes when principals know enough to treat all teachers respectfully. It seems like management 101 stuff.

Anonymous said...

WOW, for you to think that principal's don't belittle teachers or act unprofessional you are truly living in la la land.
At my school last week (IN SW) the principal went on a rant in the faculty meeting about how she is sick and tired of teachers and parents calling down 825 (former headquaters) about her. She went on to tell the staff that she didn't need us and she is not concerned about people calling the chancellor on her. She told us that either we were on her team or not and if we weren't then we could just go.This went on for about 15 minutes. Then she said lets take a 3 minute break at the end if you are not back then I will know you are not on my team and will have not further reason to speak to you.

I don't know what set her off but I do know that she is upset because teachers will not assist her in breaking legal laws and contract laws. She is using IMPACT as punishment for anyone that she can't get to do her bidding. She has changed the schedule at leat 4 times since the RIF because she has not been able to make it work with the teachers that she didn't RIF. Just one last note this principal RIF'd more people than any other middle school in the city..hmmmm she made her bed now she has to lay in it.

Wyrm1 said...

Just to clarify, I am not accusing Ms. Albert-Garvey of being abusive or anything of the sort. I don't know her nor have I ever been in her school.

I'm merely stating that there ARE abusive principals in DCPS and that the belief that principals in DCPS don't ever behave unprofessionally is laughable

Old School DCPS said...

Candi, I couldn't believe the piece this weekend by Jay Matthews in the Post about IMPACT, how some teachers like it. Who was he talking to? No one I know, that's for sure. And probably very few of the teachers answering the WTU survey on it.
Despite the fact that most of my friends and colleagues have been scoring acceptibly on IMPACT, they sure haven't had great conversations with their MEs that have improved their teaching or are impressed with this new system at all with IMPACT.
I also heard from an ME that the average scores on IMPACT throughout DCPS are quite low. Any comments? Though I got above a 3.0, I hate the @#$%& thing.

Young but not stupid said...

I am a new teacher in DCPS and I do not agree with what Jay Mathews wrote. Most teachers that I know do not view IMPACT the way the article portrays.Too bad it wasn't balanced with views on both sides. Seems like Mathews has missed the boat.

Anonymous said...

Teacher at YEA quit also..

Anonymous said...

This comment is for the person who wants the teachers to do tasks that they aren't certified to do and or aren't required to do. Special education is in a mess and that teacher doesn't want her name attached to that mess. She has sense because she doesn't want to go to jail! This commenter must be a Rhee supporter! So, go play in traffic during rush hour! Ha! Ha! LOL!

Maury said...

Principal Carolyne Albert-Garvey at Maury ES is a deceitful witch. I agree with the teacher who left. She got a raw deal. Well lets see who our principal will target next.

The Wash. Teacher moderates said...

Moderated comment:

Certainly if any special education teacher has 30 students than this is a disservice to the students and violates classroom ratio's for special education. It also demonstrates why DCPS has many lawsuits and has been under a Consent Degree for years. This is totally unacceptable and needs to be reported to federal court monitors overseeing Blackman Jones.

No teacher should be required to teach and take on a SEC job which is a full time administrative position. It wasn't that this teacher was lazy- she had ethics. If you don't stand for anything you will fall for anything. Here's to her for standing up, after all she was hired to teach. If the Principal wants an SEC then she needs to hire one. I guess now she will have no choice.
__________________________________
Anonymous writes:
A caseload of 12 students? The SpEd teachers at my school have 30 kids each. This teacher was in Disney World and didn't know how good she had it. She sounds lazy.

Anonymous said...

Carolyne E. Albert-Garvey will serve as Principal of Murch ES. Albert-Garvey was a Resident Principal at Nalle ES, and has been a French Immersion teacher in the Fairfax County Public Schools, the Prince George’s County Public Schools and in Canada. She has a bachelor’s degree from the L’Universite de Moncton, NB, Canada, a master’s degree from George Washington University and a master’s degree from Trinity College.
AUGUST 2005

Anonymous said...

Candi...most of the teachers that I have talked to that like IMPACT are from the upper northwest schools. They are all getting very high marks and just LOVE the IMPACT evaluation system. Believe me... I know that in upper northwest, it is easy to score high. Once you teach in other schools in the city where your kids don't come to school reading on a 5th grade level in 1st grade... the IMPACT system is not so good! IMPACT is not realistic. I work in a school where every kid came to me at least 2 years below level and all of them have huge behavior problems. I believe that the ME's should really take the school into consideration and how hard the teachers work just to get the kids to sit and listen. In my school, we are starting at a disadvantage. I don't like it for just that reason. It is not a fair evaluation of teachers and how they can really teach. I am a teacher not a magician! I work hard every day and the kids in my class have made huge strides this year so far... but my scores, even though they are over 3... are still not as high as my upper NW friends! It is a bit hard to swallow!

Anonymous said...

Anon. at 7:46: buck it up, woman. You want a pass because of where your school is? My goodness! We need to stop making excuses for everything, including the scores received. This is just the kind of talk that peeves MR and parents, and rightfully so. Get back in the game.

Anonymous said...

Please don't generalize about upper NW. I know teachers there beloved by students and parents who have gotten abysmal IMPACT scores and everyone is up in arms because they know they are good teachers.

One of the many negative effects of IMPACT is that it divides teachers, with everyone thinking everyone else is getting a better deal.

Typical of a Rhee initiative!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46
Be careful making such all-encompassing statements as you are making about the upper NW. It isn't true that almost all the teachers in these schools are getting the highest marks on impact and those that do receive the highest marks are loving impact. I know plenty who have received low scores - 1.9, 2.8 etc. and plenty who received considerably higher marks and still think that IMPACT is arbitrary and partly ridiculous. The only teachers I hear loving it are the Rhee cheerleaders, who want to see nothing wrong in connection with their favorite personality.

Anonymous said...

Anon...12:25... how do you know I am a woman? And believe it or not, I thought the same way you do until I started teaching at a school that is being restructured! (BTW... I taught in an upper northwest school for many years!) It is absolutely true about IMPACT and the scores in upper northwest! The majority of scores are HIGHER! The ME that I talked to told me that Rhee and her team were really concerned about how high the ME's were scoring those schools! So BUCK UP nothing sister! I don't care what the parents are saying and who is up in arms. It is an unfair system... and that is that! Oh...and I am not a woman!

Anonymous said...

I hope Barry tells all the dirt on the rest of those dumb puppets, I would!!!!

Anonymous said...

See how dumb the council is!!!

Council members accuse Rhee of breaking law in teacher showdown ...Oct 30, 2009 ... DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray accused Schools Chancellor Michelle ... Council members accuse Rhee of breaking law in teacher showdown ...
www.washingtonexaminer.com/.../Council-members-accuse-Rhee-of-breaking-law-in-teacher-showdown-8458568-67380292.html - Cached -

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Council-members-accuse-Rhee-of-breaking-law-in-teacher-showdown-8458568-67380292.html

Anonymous said...

I do not know the details of the IMPACT, etc., but I do know that this teacher was indeed being expected to act as the Special Ed Coordinator of Maury (a position she had held previously, but left because she wanted to dedicate her time to the classroom) in addition to acting as a Sped Teacher. The other Sped Teacher is wonderful, but young and I am sure that the veteran teacher was acting as a, perhaps unofficial, mentor to her as well. The teacher who left was dedicated and wonderful, working many many long hours. She never complained, but I am sure it was incredibly stressful doing more than 1 FT job. I have heard that her case load was not that of a full-time Sped Teacher, but she was still required to divide her time between those kids and administrative duties. I also know that she was working in the summers because I saw her do it. She was by know means whatsoever lazy or incompetent and it is a horrible shame that she felt the need to leave her job. I have no idea what her interactions were with the Principal who has always struck me as being very helpful, supportive, and professional. I do know, however, that the teacher who left was an asset to Maury, a mother, a graduate student, and a person who obviously had to make a very tough decision.