Jan 30, 2010

Updated: DCPS Principal Reyes Gets Replaced At Spingarn Senior High

UPDATED: Wash. Post writer Bill Turque Confirms The Wash. Teacher's blog story: (click on link) "DCPS has confirmed Candi Peterson's weekend report in The Washington Teacher that Spingarn High School principal Blanca Reyes was replaced on Friday. No word yet on who will replace Washington. Lloyd Bryant will be the new assistant principal."


Gary Washington- Principal replacement at Spingarn Senior High School
So it seems that there is another new principal at Spingarn Senior High school which is located at 2500 Benning Road NE, Washington, DC 20001. All I know is that according to informants Spingarn's principal and assistant principal were terminated by Rhee and company this week. The administrative assistant, Ms. Gaither is now missing in action from the school. Inside sources are unclear if Ms. Gaither (pictured right) was fired or reassigned to the DCPS central office.
Insiders report that under the helm of new leader Principal Reyes the school was chaotic and she (Reyes) was frequently out of sight and in her office. Reyes is alleged to have had great difficulty in managing the school as well as had problems relating to the Spingarn staff and student body. Some report that Reyes' thick accent often made it difficult for students and staff to understand what she was saying.
It is reported that Gary Washington, formerly the principal of Choice Academy located at 1401 Brentwood Parkway, NE (202-673-8123) has been reassigned to take over Spingarn SHS. Blanca Reyes (pictured left) was the principal of Spingarn SHS. Morrall Thompson (pictured center) was the Assistant Principal and was reported to have been let go.
Confused yet by this game of musical chairs when it comes to replacing DCPS administrators. Well that's to be expected especially given that Rhee changes DC principals quite frequently.
Here's what folks are saying:
" Yes, Gary Washington will be the new principal at Spingarn High School. He didn't have any choice. Gary must take control and proceed on Monday with the staff, students and parents to gain order. Unfortunately, I didn't see any information about the ex-principal of Spingarn in the Washington Post. Rhee's new leader, Blanca Reyes from Spingarn High School was forced to leave Friday afternoon. Most likely former Principal Reyes will pop up somewhere else in DCPS like Noah Wepman, former CFO who is still working for DCPS on the ninth floor. These folks really don't get fired, they are hidden and protected. Rhee has failed again with another 'New Leader' who is clueless on how to manage an urban high school."
Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson - blogger in residence

Jan 29, 2010

No WTU Executive Board Meeting For You !

No WTU Representative Assembly Meeting For You !
On Tuesday, January 26- Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) Building Representatives went to a WTU representative assembly meeting only to find that our union meeting had been cancelled on several hours notice by WTU President George Parker. With gas at almost $3.00 per gallon- McKinley Senior High School is a long way to commute only to find out that a meeting has been cancelled. Fran Robertson, WTU Building Representative for Leckie Elementary school said "I made the long hike to McKinley only to find no one there." Here's why the union meeting was cancelled:
Dear Members,
"The Representative Assembly Meeting will be postponed today due to unforeseen circumstances.We do apologize for this abrupt notice, and will keep you informed for the next meeting."
In addition, Thursday's (January 28) WTU Executive Board meeting has been cancelled again by WTU President George Parker during these critical times. I shudder to think who is conducting the business of our union. Certainly it is not the WTU representative assembly members nor is it our WTU Executive Board. Unfortunately, while DC's teachers are dealing with unfair IMPACT evaluations, defamation of character and slanderous comments by Chancellor Rhee- our union president is asleep at the wheel. Well here's the reasons why our union meetings have been cancelled by WTU Prez ' Parker again this month:
"We regret to inform you that due to President Parker’s out of town travel commitment, the WTU Executive Board meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, January 28, 2010, has been postponed. The board meeting will be rescheduled and you will be promptly notified about the new meeting date. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may present. Thank you."
Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence.

Jan 28, 2010

More, Slander, Lies And Spin From Michelle Rhee

As told by Guy Brandenburg, retired DCPS teacher. I couldn't have said it any better. Check out Guy's blog when you get a chance @ http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/

More slander, lies, and spin from Michelle Rhee

by Guy Brandenburg

"After strongly implying that the reason that she fired 266 teachers was that they were sexual perverts, sadists towards children, and never came to work, Rhee has once again put a “spin” on her comments. As you have probably read elsewhere, Rhee told a “Fast Company” reporter, “I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn’t we take those things into consideration?”

In a letter to the City Council Rhee has backtracked somewhat, saying that there was exactly ONE teacher out of the 266 who had been charged with sexual misconduct; but that teacher’s case has not been brought to a conclusion one way or the other. She also said that there were a total of SIX teachers who had at one time or another served suspensions for corporal punishment. Out of two hundred and sixty-six. And TWO who were accused of having had absences without leave. Let’s see: 1 + 6 + 2 = 9, I think. (Did I get that right?) And 9 out of 266 is a little more than 3 percent.

(Keep in mind that teachers can be, and often ARE, accused of corporal punishment or sexual misconduct without any basis in fact. I have seen it happen at my school. Also keep in mind that apparently neither the sexual misconduct case, nor the abuse of leave cases, had been brought to a conclusion. I don’t know any of the facts in any of the cases, and I don’t presume anything, one way or another.)

It is really shameful of Rhee to tar all of the staff that she illegitimately fired with such a nasty brush. But it’s so typical of her; like Ronald Reagan, she is utterly convinced of the rightfulness of her cause, and she seldom lets facts get in the way of her just-so stories.

By one account, in the same letter, Rhee apparently peddled the big lie that she can never fire anybody for misconduct like the cases she alleges, because of the big bad old union contract. That is a flat-out lie. What having the union does is much like the promise behind the Bill of Rights and the theory behind American jurisprudence: accusations need to be substantiated, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and anybody charged needs to be accorded due process in one way or another. Can a teacher or other school staff member get fired for actual, proven sexual misconduct with a student, or for a gross instance of proven corporal punishment? Absolutely! In fact, I can’t think of an easier way for a teacher to lose his/her job.

What Rhee is really complaining about is that she doesn’t think that teachers or other school staff know anything, are pretty much all evil malingerers, and don’t deserve any rights whatsoever. Unless they have clearly hitched their wagon to hers. (I bet you get the allusion!)

There used to be a word for people who believe that workers inherently have no rights to collective bargaining, nor to due process when accused of anything. This sort of person also believes that the true Leaders are better than anybody else, and deserve to be followed no matter what. Their present-day counterparts pull out all the stops to stop any attempt at union organizing in any US factory; believe that anybody accused of ‘terrorism’ should be tortured and held indefinitely without any charges, a trial, or the right to confront their accusers. Their educational counterparts – in my opinion – would like to boil down the educational process to little more than getting a certain number of answers right on multiple-choice tests in only two subjects, and believe that teachers are not to be trusted to come up with interesting or inspiring lesson plans.

Back in the 20th century, such people were quite proud to call themselves Fascists. Although they label themselves differently today, I don’t see a whole lot of difference. And I don’t think we need to stand for it."

Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring GF Bradenburg

Jan 27, 2010

Rhee's Slanderous Statements Of Teachers Leads DC Council To Seek Hearings

On January 27, 2010 DC Council member Marion Barry and other council members held a press conference at 2:30 p.m. to call upon Chairman Gray to conduct a hearing immediately into Chancellor Rhee’s claims against fired DCPS teachers, to express outrage over Chancellor Rhee’s recent comments e.g. “had sex with children” hit them or had unapproved excessive absences and to demand that Chancellor Rhee comes forth with names and actions taken against alleged abusers. Stay tuned as this story continues to unfold.

Jan 25, 2010

Chasing Down Chancellor Michelle Rhee Tonight on Channel 4 News

This just in. NBC Channel 4 is hunting down Chancellor Michelle Rhee to get her statement about the remarks that she made about DC teachers molesting students, abusing students and abusing their leave. Please check them out tonight on channel 4 @ 5 and 6 pm.
DC Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee still hasn't explained her comments to a magazine that some of the teachers fired last October sexually abused students. The teachers union wants to know more about this ... and lots of parents do, too. We're chasing this story down tonight on News 4 at 5 and 6.
Channel 7 will also air another broadcast featuring Sam Ford @ 5 pm.

Jan 24, 2010

Does Michelle Rhee Deserve To Be Named Person Of The Year ?

You Gotta Be Kidding Me
I received this email alert today which is worth reading and was also posted on The WaPo online site by Efavorite. (click on Efavorite to see the comment). The suggestion that Chancellor Michelle Rhee should even be considered for Person of the year is unbelievable in light of her recent statements to Fast Company magazine in which she stated that she fired DC's laid off teachers because they had sex with students, abused students as well as their leave. Check out this video which appeared on channel 5 news on Friday at 6 pm and 10 pm about Rhee's comments.
This email alert reads:
ALERT: "In today’s print edition of the Post on page B2 (Outlook) there is a big paid advertisement from the Federal City Council that starts out saying, "Michelle Rhee deserves to be named DC Person of the Year.” It goes on to list all the usual lies (Baltimore miracle, DCs academic achievement attributed to her, etc.). It’s signed by Frank Keating, President of the organization and former Republican governor of Oklahoma. The piece doesn’t come up on the Post website, I suppose because it is an advertisement and not an article. I also couldn’t find the ad poking around a bit on the Federal City Council website, but perhaps others here could take a stab at it @ http://www.federalcitycouncil.org/
Also, check out the “contact us” link for emails of people to write to in protest of the ad. I’d say this ad is total damage control in preparation for the next big FACTUAL article on the latest mess Rhee has made. It looks like a Post editorial, but isn’t, really, so it appears that even the ed board is laying low on this one for now, using a paid ad to stand in for its usual fawning defense of Rhee. The ad is also misleading in that it suggests Rhee is being nominated for an honor, when it’s actually just a paid ad trying to embed that idea in readers’ minds." Signed --- Efavorite
I know the thought of this makes me sick to my stomach. Excuse me while I regurgitate. You tell me in your own words does Chancellor Michelle Rhee deserve to be named Person of the year ? Should we take actions to protest this action ?

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

Jan 23, 2010

Is Chancellor Michelle Rhee Fit For Duty ?

As many of you may not know Mike Debonis, writer for the Washington City Paper tipped us off in his Thursday 'Loose Lips' column about Chancellor Michelle Rhee's quote on RIF'ed teachers which appeared in Fast Company magazine. I read Loose Lips weekly because Mike is a good source for local news here in Washington, DC. He often quotes The Washington Teacher education blog and gives updates on the happenings in education rhee-form. Thanks to Mike's heads-up- this story about the ongoing disrespect of DC teachers is making its rounds on nationwide blogs, channel 4 news, Fox 5 news (on Friday and Saturday), channel 7 and channel 9 news, and The Washington Post. This story aired again tonight at 6 pm and at 10 pm on channel 5 news.
The piece below is courtesy of The Frustrated Teacher an education blogger from California. This was posted yesterday with a recent update which includes my quote in today's Washington Post. If you haven't already, check out Bill Turque's Wash. Post article below which appeared in the metro section B1. I have to give a shout out for The Frustrated Teacher's coverage of our story and highly recommend you to check out this education blogger from California. We are now bi-coastal. Also, here's the link to the frustrated teacher blogger: http://www.thefrustratedteacher.com/ for your reading pleasure. Finally, here's to Bill Turque for covering this story and to Mike Debonis for linking Rhee's comments in his weekly column. We need more reporters like both of them.

JANUARY 22, 2010

Michelle Rhee: "[They] Hit Children...Had Sex With Children..." Updated

She looks mean
The Washington Teacher, who you should bookmark, is worried Michelle Rhee might be insane. She points us to Jeff Chu at Fast Company as evidence:
Eighteen months after we profiled Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee ("The Iron Chancellor," September 2008), she still hasn't won union approval of a new contract. After the October layoffs of 266 teachers and staff, the union claimed Rhee used a budget crunch as a pretext for dismissing veteran teachers, since seniority rules don't cover cuts for fiscal reasons. "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school," Rhee says. "Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" The release of 2009 test scores was good news for Rhee: Only D.C. and four states showed gains in math for fourth and eighth graders. "We're not good yet," she says, "but I'm seeing the quality of instruction improving."
So, that's Rhee's claim. Hard to believe.

If you go to the article link you can read some comments. One, by someone who claims to be a psychologist, is very worried about Ms. Rhee's mental state. I think there are a few of us who are worried!

Update: Turque's Washington Post article

Rhee says laid-off teachers in D.C. abused kids
By Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 23, 2010

Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee told a national business magazine that some of the 266 teachers laid off in October's budget reductions had sex with children or had hit them, a claim immediately and angrily challenged Friday by leaders of the Washington Teachers Union.

Rhee's comments appear in the February issue of Fast Company, a magazine aimed at young entrepreneurs and change-minded corporate executives. In a brief item, Rhee addressed the union allegation that she contrived the budget crunch to circumvent seniority rules and rid the system of older teachers.

"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" she said.

Rhee declined to provide specific numbers Friday or details to substantiate her remarks about sexual misconduct and teachers striking students. Neither did she respond when asked by e-mail why such teachers were allowed to remain in the school system before the Oct. 2 job cuts. D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said late Friday that she was researching the matter.

"I cannot comment at this time," she said.

George Parker, president of the teachers union, called Rhee's statements "reckless" and without basis in fact. The union usually receives notice from the District when a teacher faces disciplinary action, Parker said, and he has received no information that any of the 266 had been under investigation for sexual offenses against children. One of the 266 faced action for administering corporal punishment, he said.

"This paints all teachers as being a group of child molesters who assault children and don't come to work," Parker said. "It damages the reputation of a lot of innocent, hardworking, dedicated teachers."

Rhee said she had made similar statements in other venues, including her October 29 appearance before the D.C. Council. Rhee's sworn testimony then did not mention teachers having sex with students. When council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) asked whether she would fight any attempt to reinstate the 266 teachers, Rhee said she would.

"There were some promising or effective people who were [laid off], but there were also some people who, quite frankly, if you saw what was in their file and what their situations have been in this city, you would be shocked," Rhee said. "Just to give a little sampling of this, six of the [laid off] employees had served suspensions for corporal punishment. One was suspended four times, three times for being AWOL."

As Brown attempted to cut her off, she added: "For you to say, 'Would I fight all 266 people coming back into the system,' I would, because a number of these people are not people that you or I would want to put in their classroom."
Word of Rhee's comments to Fast Company rippled through the teaching ranks, with some expressing outrage.

The union's general vice president, Nathan Saunders, said Rhee owes the city's teacher corps an apology. "The statements are not only an affront to every single teacher that was [laid off] but every single teacher currently employed in D.C. public schools," Saunders said. "It's irresponsible, and she needs to be taken to task for it."

Other union activists said they were especially offended by Rhee's remarks, in light of the recent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by her fiancé, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Before Johnson's 2008 election, the inspector general for the federal Corporation for National and Community Service filed a criminal referral with the U.S. attorney in Sacramento about Johnson. It included allegations that Johnson had inappropriately touched a minor girl and climbed into bed with a teenager who worked for the charter school he founded. The school received funding from Americorps, which is part of the community service corporation.
Johnson was not charged.

"I'm ready to recommend that Chancellor Rhee submit for a fitness for duty examination because these are the rants of either a mad or very confused woman," Candi Peterson, a teacher and member of the union's board of trustees, said on the Washington Teacher blog.
"This seems to me to be among the most egregious abuses of power I have ever seen. Michelle Rhee is claiming, with NO support/proof that she fired teachers not for the reasons given at the time, but because, now, with no substantiation, she has decided to say that these teachers did horrible things to kids--with no proof (well, there is the one case of corporal punishment, but to paint the entire group with this broad brush is wrong, and maybe criminal)! And if it turns out there is proof of abuse of students by teachers, why were they not fired for it, or at minimum placed on paid administrative leave while it was investigated? Who has the responsibility to see that every student has a safe learning environment? Guess who...The Chancellor (they really need to change that to Superintendent)!

The little people, like you and me, need to speak up and expose these abuses by the powerful. We need to do it more, and with real, paper/envelope letters. Blogs are great (especially Candi's and this one) but we can't really do anything except preach to the choir. I am in California but what happens in DC is illustrative of what is happening nation wide."
Posted by The Washington Teacher blog, Candi Peterson - blogger in residence, story courtesy of The Frustrated Teacher and the Washington Post.

Jan 21, 2010

Rhee Says RIF'ed Teachers Abused And Molested Students

Rhee-Gate..... the plot thickens
In Fast Company's February magazine issue, Chancellor Rhee is quoted as saying that DC teachers were laid off because they hit children, had sex with children and missed 78 days of work. I am starting to get a 'brain cramp' from all of Rhee's variations of the truth about the real reason why DC teachers were laid off on November 2, 2009.
Hmmmm it looks like to me that Rhee is having one too many bi-polar moments and seems unable to keep up with what she previously reported on TV news stations, in print media as well as before the DC City Council under oath. If we are to believe the latest on what Rhee reports in Fast Company's February issue, then we have to ask ourselves is Rhee suggesting that 266 teachers are guilty of deviant acts such as child abuse , child molestation (like Kevin Johnson was alleged at St. Hope) and employees who abuse their sick leave ? Don't you find it a bit odd that we are just hearing about this, three months after teacher layoffs in November 2009. I don't know about you but I'm ready to recommend that Chancellor Rhee submit for a fitness for duty examination because these are the rants of either a 'mad or very confused woman.' I'd love to hear your thoughts on the latest Rhee-Gate episode of DC teacher bashing
Mon Feb 1, 2010
"Eighteen months after we profiled Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee ("The Iron Chancellor," September 2008), she still hasn't won union approval of a new contract. After the October layoffs of 266 teachers and staff, the union claimed Rhee used a budget crunch as a pretext for dismissing veteran teachers, since seniority rules don't cover cuts for fiscal reasons. "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school," Rhee says. "Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" The release of 2009 test scores was good news for Rhee: Only D.C. and four states showed gains in math for fourth and eighth graders. "We're not good yet," she says, "but I'm seeing the quality of instruction improving."
Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence, update courtesy of Fast Company magazine, picture courtesy of Ed Notes on line education blog.

Jan 16, 2010

The Washington Teachers' Union Can Do Better ! Nathan Saunders Runs For WTU President 2010

Last Saturday, 120 people gathered together at the invitation of Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) General Vice President Nathan A. Saunders to celebrate his graduation from the National Labor College in Baltimore, Maryland. What was significant about this event was that Nathan announced that he would run for the WTU President seat when elections are held in May 2010. With a campaign slogan of "We Can Do Better," Nathan shared his vision of building an organizing union that is proactive and embraces members ideas, encourages the participation of teachers, parents and community working collectively to improve teaching and learning conditions.
The gathering included not only community members, parents, and teachers/school personnel many of whom remarked throughout the night that there were excited and interested in working collaboratively to fight for meaningful education reform that doesn't exclude critical stakeholders. Nathan's speech focused on the obvious that teachers have not had a contract for three years and many of our members have lost their jobs in part due to our union's being reactive to Chancellor Rhee's education plan which seeks to terminate a significant share of the teaching force. In a recent press release, Nathan A. Saunders stated "Teachers are more besieged today than ever," The collective bargaining agreement is expired by three years, working conditions have deteriorated, and teachers are working harder for less money under greater pressure."
Nathan's announcement for WTU President 2010 was covered by Washington Post writer Bill Turque on the DC Wire blog in which he wrote "Saunders' candidacy raises at least the possibility that if Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee fails to secure a new contract with the WTU before spring, she could be dealing with a union president who qualifies as her worst nightmare. " After all many remarked at the recent campaign gathering that we are at war in this city as teachers and other city workers are in a fight to save their jobs. Turque's quote got me to thinking that teachers are desperately in need of a union president who will stand up to Rhee and be willing to fight.
On this blog I often read your comments about how you are sick and tired of our teachers' union current state of apathy and unwillingness to lead us in the fight of our lives. As we sit and watch as DC teachers and school personnel continue to be unjustly terminated and laid-off, imagine a future with even more terminations with an IMPACT evaluation that is unfair- I know We Can Do Better. As Nathan's campaign website states We Must Do Better ! As I often state for everything there is a season. It is the season for all of us to gather stones because it is time to fight. I strongly encourage all who read The Washington Teacher blog to check out Nathan Saunders' campaign website for WTU President 2010 and read about his platform.
Visit: http://www.votesaunders2010.com/ to get more information about Nathan's campaign. If you may be interested in working on his campaign for WTU President 2010, please feel free to sign up via his website or by email c/o votesaunders2010@ gmail.com

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

Jan 10, 2010

No Quorum For You WTU, Again !

Not surprisingly, that a quorum COULD NOT BE established again at Saturday's WTU Executive Board meeting on January 9, 2010.

Here's the names of WTU Executive Board members MIA (missing in action ) :

Joyce Armoo, Secretary
Deborah Hines
Jackie Hines (Board of Trustees)
Andre' Taylor
Lorraine Smith
Rashida Young

Given that the Washington Teachers' Union parliamentarian, Mr. John Tatum has now rendered an opinion that laid off WTU Executive Board members (Agnes Dyson, Willie Brewer, Sheila Gill, Robert Willis) cannot finish out their respective terms to June 2010 despite no written language in our union constitution which speaks to laid off teacher board members .... looks like Chancellor Rhee's layoffs have effective immediately incapacitated our union of course with the help of WTU prez' George Parker.
Despite not being able to conduct official business of the WTU, I would like to give a shout out to all RIF'ed teachers who came out to our WTU Executive Board meeting to get answers from our union attorney Lee Jackson who presented on WTU legal matters.

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

Jan 8, 2010

Rhee On Her Soap-Box Again, Shame On Anderson Cooper !

Much to my own discomfort, I forced myself to watch a clip of Anderson Cooper 360. Gag me with a spoon. Here's the video clip link. Just more of the same of Rhee on her soap box with unedited teacher bashing . Many who watched Michelle Rhee on Cooper's Thursday evening show were infuriated about the production of 'What's Next -Education ?' If you were watching, the answer to that question is more of the same. Stay tuned for more firings, more firings and more firings by Chancellor Michelle Rhee . It brings to mind Bill Turque's recent article in which he reported that Rhee vowed not to make teacher cuts despite a budget deficit that extends into 20011. Seems as though the WaPo had to offer a retraction to this mis- characterization as this isn't exactly what Rhee meant. The word 'vow' afterall just isn't in Rhee's vocabulary and gives us a hint of what's up ahead. So don't be surprised if DC teachers are amongst the group to get the axe along with security and central office staff in the upcoming RIF's.
The perpetual theme of Rhee's argument on and off the show seems to continue to be that ineffective teachers are to blame for all that's wrong in urban education. Of course the show infers that ineffective teachers are typically older teachers who stay beyond their time. Even the first snap shop is an adolescent student complaining about older teachers with connections. Bah humbug ! Most students I know consider all of their teachers old even when their teachers are only 26. Seems like this snapshot was intentionally staged by Cooper's producers unfortunately.
What ate at me most is this reference to teachers as 'human capital' as though teachers are something to be disposed of. Rhee's remarks lacked substance and had she been required to be a part of an educational panel, she would have been kicked to the curb quickly by anyone with a miniscule of knowledge about public education. Even a young student featured in a clip recognized the importance of having technology to enhance learning. Rhee quickly dismissed this yet when asked by Cooper what 3 things she neeed most, she commented among them, her email and prized laptop.
Of course the show's producers allowed Rhee time to give a shout out to her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty and put in a good word especially given that this is an election year. What was noticeably absent was any questioning about accountability for Rhee and her management team. It left me wondering where's the accountability for this 6 figure salaried crew or are teachers the only ones responsible for the state of public education ?
Far be it from me to be the only one to criticize this mediocre 2 year teacher by her own admission known as Michelle Rhee. Here's what others are stating about Rhee's appearance on Cooper 360 as recently featured on Council member Kwame Brown's blog :

  1. DC parent & resident says:

    This is another example of Michelle Rhee bashing DC teachers all across the country rather than taking responsibility for the fact that she is an inept manager and only made student achievement in DC public school worse in her tenure. (Check out NAEP scores for DC black students and how the achievement gap is worse than when she came). Rhee has to go around on the talk circuit and convince others because no one in the DC area is listening anymore to her rhetoric. Rhee like the mayor only have one weapon which is to fire thousands of DC employees. Their goal is to destroy all unions in this city and privatize city government.

    The DC city council has promised long ago an independent evaluation of our public schools as well as an internal audit. To date we are still awaiting this to happen. Many of us believe that the results will demonstrate Rhee’s exaggerated claims of student achievement and fiscal MISMANaGEMENT.

    My question is what is taking so long City Council member Brown.

    Signed, sick and tired of being sick and tired of Rhee and Fenty

  2. Chancellor Michelle Rhee spoke about everyone being accountable but herself. I think her

    performance is more important than anyone she spoke of during the interview with Mr. Cooper.

  3. efavorite says:

    What I noticed was that Rhee’s answer to practically every question was “Human Capital” (I think that’s Rhee’s management-speak for “teachers.”)

    Cooper asks what’s next in education? And Rhee answers, “I think one of the things were going to see over the next few years is a real focus on teacher quality and human capital in schools.”

    Cooper asks about changes in education and Rhee answers, “I actually don’t think it’s going to be something in the realm of computers or smart boards…. I think the real innovation is going to happen around accountability for the adults in the system…with the focus on human capital…. How we change the ways teachers are thought about in society, how they’re compensated; how they’re evaluated…. That’s what’s really going to drive the innovation going forward.”

    Cooper asks about creative solutions to education and Rhee answers, “It’s absolutely the human capital. It’s the quality of educators in the classroom and leading our schools…. “

    Why even go to do the trouble of bringing in students to comment, when they were just used as shills for Rhee to put down teachers. When the first student commented on older teachers who “have connections,” Rhee saw an opening to blast unions: “It’s a significant problem that in this country right now we have a dynamic where you can be incredibly ineffective. You can, you know, actually take kids backwards in terms of their academic achievement, every year, year in and year out and still have a job.” [I think she should be required to present the data that proves she has kept teachers on the payroll who have taken kids backwards over a period of years, and then explain why she didn’t put those teachers on the 90 day plan and have them fired.]

    When the second student suggested more technology for the future, Rhee disagreed, suggesting more focus on human capital, of course.

    This interview was a farce. Anderson Cooper simply provided a forum for Rhee to publicize her only plan for reforming DC schools — firing teachers.

  4. When Chancellor Rhee arrived in town she did not create an education plan. After much criticism, she created an educational plan 18 months into her term. Her educational plan included a plan to get rid of a significant share of her teaching workforce through buyouts, layoffs, terminations, etc.

    Chancellor Rhee has since fired a significant share of teachers, administrators and school staff without due process and without regard to their performance ratings. Rhee believes in firing probationary teachers without regard to performance, seasoned administrators with schools that have made documented gains and the list is endless. Rhee recently terminated 388 teachers and school staff via a reduction in force in November ‘09 after school started which has created over sized classes & teachers teaching outside of their certification. Rhee hired over 900 teachers this year then argued that she had a budget deficit which caused her to terminate 266 teachers and over 100 school system employees, many of whom were highly qualified and certified. No credible school system in America terminates highly qualified and certified teachers & staff while continuing to hire mainly new teachers who lack experience and are at not highly qualified. This ensures that mostly students of color are more likely to be taught by an inexperienced and un-certified teacher thereby contributing to the increasing disparity in the achievement gap between black and white students. This is also a violation of NCLB. Students of color are more likely to be taught by a teacher who is provisionally certified, inexperienced and lacking in HQ credentials.

    Certainly the piece by Anderson Cooper was a farce. I agree with e-favorite that Rhee was simply given a platform to spew her lies and continue to bash public school teachers on CNN as well as give a plug to Mayor Fenty for his next election bid. This is about capitalism and privatization of public education through hefty million dollar contracts to groups like TFA and the New Teacher Project. This creates a revolving door workforce of inexperienced teachers who stay an average of 3 years and leave before gaining the experience, professional development, mentoring, coursework and professional certification to become better teachers.

    I do hope that the DC CIty Council in their oversight role of public education will take a stand and continue to investigate instances of fraud within DC public schools. Rhee is still hiring teachers despite the fact that she claims that there is a budget deficit and one that is continuing to grow under her leadership and will require more layoffs in 2010-2011. Rhee more than likely will fire more teachers within this next year.

    I support an immediate forensic audit by the DC City Council, like the one conducted in the Barbara Bullock union scandal. I also support getting on with the independent evaluation so that the results can be provided to the public before Mayor Fenty’s next election. What can you do to help facilitate this Mr. Brown and how can we be of help to support your efforts ? It is finally time for some real accountability of Michelle Rhee.

  5. Ronnie says:

    While there is some political hay to be made trashing the chancellor (especially by those who do not support the mayor), the vast majority of residents understand and respect that she came into a system that had been wrecked by adults for political gain. We know that WTU is part of the problem. Unions can be part of the solution and are a great resource for the country, but this union needs to dismantle and a new union formed with legit leadership.

  6. efavorite says:

    Sorry, Ronnie, I do not “understand and respect that [Rhee] came into a system that had been wrecked by adults for political gain.”

    I was very excited when she first came in, because I hoped she’d improve the school system. I could not longer support her when it became obvious that her goal was simply to bust the union for the political gain of adults and didn’t care at all about effects on kids (or she couldn’t have RIFd teachers mid-year, upsetting students learning environment)

  7. Jane Doe says:

    I believe the Michelle Rhee feature on Anderson Cooper 360 was both appalling, inaccurate, biased and an example of why I will NEVER support anything Anderson Cooper speaks on, produces, writes, edits, tweets, googles or affirms in any way. It is bad enough that the City Council has allowed her to manufacture RIFs, conduct massive layoffs and to badmouth the citizens and children of the District as well as its workforce. However, when a person like Anderson Cooper gives an educational dilletante so much exposure and allows a platform for her to lie about data with no one to represent the opposite side of the argument, something is very wrong. The only scores that have improved are white students’ scores and that translates to a problem for everyone because all children must succeed!!

    Councilman Brown, you were merely ‘present’ the day Peter Nickles became the Attorney General of our nation’s capital. We need you to be present and ACTIVE to rid the city of leaders who operate in the reptilian manner Rhee espouses. Ronnie above posts that the current union needs to be dismantled and reformed into a different organization. While I agree that all organizations have their problems, it is a serious issue that Rhee is unable to respect or follow ANY RULES of any organization and that she is allowed by the supreme legislative body to operate with impunity while breaking the Anti-Deficiency Law and other similar laws.

    Rhee cannot be trusted to be responsible for anyone’s children with the destructive decisions she has made while responsible for students in Sacramento. Ms. Rhee was made aware of sexual allegations against her fiance when she was in the position of being a mandatory reporter in Sacramento. She did not. There is no statute of limitations with respect to her failure to act appropriately within the confines of the law. Rhee also interfered in a federal investigation by contacting former Inspector General Gerald Walpin, the man whom President Obama chose to fire or have fired when allegations about her fiance came out. How is this at all acceptable?

    People say this has nothing to do with her current position. What a naive perception. It has everything to do with her current position. A woman who is amoral enough to protect a man who prefers little girls to women his own age is now engaged to a woman with a child’s body. If she can interfere with a federal investigation without reproach, what wouldn’t she do? It is clear she has no respect for the City Council or even for the President of the United States if she dares to interfere with an Inspector General. After all, the President did sponsor legislation to protect Inspectors General.

    Well, he is another of Rhee’s victims. Is she more powerful than the President? Her level of power reminds me of a poignant scene of the motion picture Malcolm X where a police officer commented “That’s too much power for one man to have.” Rhee is clearly more powerful than the mayor and we all know exactly what he thinks of the City Council, of which he was once a part.

    The proper way to effect change is to follow the rules in place while making changes to the process by which things are done. It is no better for a broken system to be replaced by a tyrant, his out-of-control undereducated and underexperienced chancellor and his police chief who allegedly bends the law for the privileged.

Crystal Proctor says:

Up until today I had been a fan of Anderson Cooper but now I must add him to the list of people that don’t really care about education and our kids, these people only care about allowing Michelle Rhee to push her agenda. This is the agenda that efavorite and The Washington Teacher touched on.

I am so tired of watching Michelle Rhee bash teachers. I must agree with efavorite, her whole interview was to talk about teachers and how bad they are and how unions will make the world crumble. I am a teacher that Michelle Rhee wrongfully terminated in October and I am tired. I am tired of defendeing myself in the Post, on blogs, and on the street. It continues to shock me how people believe her lies. Despite being told that I was being fired because of a budget shortfall she continues to hire. Despite her admiting under oath, in front of the City Council, that she found out about the budget in July and stoped hiring shortly thereafter, there is proof on the DC Government website that proves otherwise. I am really tired of people of power looking the other way. She is winning her war against teachers and the students are loosing. Mr. Brown what will you do!!!

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

Jan 6, 2010

What Has The WTU Done For RIF'ed Teachers Lately ?

I have received emails and calls, too numerous to mention about a recent WTU mailing citing all that the Washington Teachers' union under the helm of George Parker has done for teachers lately. Do tell. While I have not personally received this mailing as I guess my name may have been dropped from the WTU mailing list again, it troubles me to hear that our union members who are in need of support the most..... somehow always get left hanging. Recently I heard from several laid off colleagues who have said in so many words....they are up to here with Parker's public relations campaign of lies, distortions and half-truths. Today Crystal Proctor, laid off DC social studies teacher reported that she initiated an email to Mr. Parker, about her concerns about the WTU's false claims of support to DC's RIF'ed teachers. Sheila Gill, WTU Executive Board member and laid off school counselor is in support of Proctor's email and has written an email to advise other laid off teacher colleagues to write President Parker challenging his false claims of support. Willie Brewer, WTU Executive Board member and now RIF'ed teacher has signed on to Proctor's email as well. After all they say they are disgusted and enough is enough. Here's why this fighting trio for RIF'ed teachers and school staff are demanding answers from the Wash. Teachers' Union. My only hope is that they can get finally get an answer from our union prez' to their legitimate concerns. Here's their email:

January 6, 2010
Dear George,
There was a recent mailing sent out to teacher union members that outlined all that you have done for wrongfully terminated teachers. In this mailing you give an inaccurate impression that you are helping teachers who have been unfairly laid off in November 2009. We are troubled that we have not received a phone call or any correspondence from the Washington Teachers' Union in weeks. In your recent mailing, you indicate that there is a full time WTU staff person assigned to assist laid-off teachers. We would like to be made aware of who the WTU staff person assigned to laid off teachers because we have not been provided this information, to date. Additionally, what will the assigned staff person's responsibilities include?
Secondly, we would like to be apprised of what type of legal assistance will be provided to laid off teachers with their Office of Employee Appeals hearings? At our last meeting with RIFe'd teachers you indicated that the union did not have the money to provide legal assistance. While we know that Johnnie Landon gave legal advice to laid off teachers, it was concerning that he admitted that he is not a member of the DC bar. We can only hope that this meeting with him would not substitute for legal advice. If there are types of legal assistance that the Washington Teachers' Union is willing to provide, then please provide that information to us in a timely manner. To date, a number of teachers who have been laid off have received their responses from DCPS regarding their Office of Employee Appeals and are in the process of preparing for their hearings. We desperately are in need of financial assistance to pay for legal services to handle our Office of Employee Appeals hearings.

Crystal Proctor
Sheila Gill
Willie Brewer

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