Mar 16, 2011

WTU Membership Meeting - March 17, 2011

WTU will host a membership meeting on Thursday, March 17, 2011 from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. at McKinley Senior High School. All WTU members are encouraged to attend.

Mar 11, 2011

Improperly Fired DCPS Teachers Speak Out!

By Candi Peterson

In 2008, approximately 75 probationary teachers were fired at the direction of then Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson. In 2008, Henderson sent an email to DC Public Schools principals indicating that if they wanted to get rid of probationary teachers they could simply click on a link listing the names of teachers from their schools. On March 10, 2011 - some of these wrongfully terminated teachers spoke out at the Washington Teachers' Union office about their stellar accomplishments and their horror at receiving letters in the mail during July and August 2008 indicating they were terminated without explanation. These teachers talked about only learning of the reasons for their terminations several weeks ago after an arbitrator's decision ordered them reinstated with back pay to DCPS. Their firing had nothing to do with their performance as teachers. Here is what they said:

"I always received positive evaluations, never been written up on warning," said Kadesha Bonds, who was a second-year teacher. (Kadesha Bonds pictured at top left with award)

"I was never written up. I never received bad evaluations. It was always about what I was wearing or my personal life," said Bianca Clemons, who was also in her second year.

"When I left in June of 2008, my report said I was fine. On July 17th, I got the same letter saying you’re had been fired. I said, ‘What?’" said photography teacher Leigh Mosley.

Kadesha Bonds, a former "2006 New Teacher of the Year" stated that she had a conversation with Vincent Gray when he was Council Chair and he agreed at that time that an injustice had been done to this group of wrongfully terminated teachers. Having been in office as DC's mayor for approximately 60 days- it saddens many of us that Mayor Gray has already forgotten the commitments he made to right the injustices of the Rhee and Henderson administration. Despite Mayor Gray's earlier statements which suggested that he would follow the arbitrator's ruling in this case, this group of wrongfully terminated teachers are still playing the waiting game to return to their first love- the joy of teaching in our schools while DCPS appeals this ruling. Listen as these teachers speak out and tell their side of the story on Fox 5 news and WJLA.

Mar 2, 2011

Veteran Teachers Need Not Apply: Henderson Recruits TFA Alums Despite Budget Deficit

By Candi Peterson

Kaya Henderson, Interim Chancellor of DC Public Schools recently delivered remarks at the Teach for America (TFA) 20th Anniversary Summit. Hosted by Teach for America founder and CEO, the event drew what was referred to as an "all-star lineup of education, government, and social justice leaders," including TFA alum, Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of DC Public Schools.

During the event, Interim Chancellor Henderson spoke about the true power of the TFA movement, the rise to high level administrative positions by many TFA'ers and forecast that maybe one day a TFA'er would land in the White House. Henderson encouraged TFA'ers to dust off their resumes if they want a chance to make history by coming to work for DC Public Schools.
It is interesting to note, that despite a lingering recession, budget crises and widespread teacher hiring slowdown, TFA teachers are being hired at a steady pace. The growth is often times coming at the expense of veteran teachers who are losing their jobs- in some cases to make room for TFA teachers who typically are hired at much lower salary levels. Remember the 266 mostly veteran teachers who were laid off in 2009 subsequent to the hiring of hundreds of TFA'ers? A recent study from the Education and the Public Interest Center report titled: "Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence" found that the learning curve and turnover rate of TFA teachers does harm to vulnerable students who are in need of highly trained and highly skilled teachers.
A You Tube video of Kaya Henderson speaking during TFA's 20th Anniversary Celebration has been widely circulated on the Internet and is posted below. I don't know about you, but it appears to me as though Henderson is still carrying Rhee's 'Teach for America' torch and is completely oblivious to the budget crises that we are facing in the District of Columbia. Please watch the video and let us know what you think about Henderson's remarks.We're listening.

© Candi Peterson 2013