Jun 16, 2013

Why are DCPS & WTU President Saunders Downplaying the Excessing of 500-600 Teachers?

DCPS Excess Teachers & Staff Graveyard
By Candi Peterson

Vote Davis Slate for WTU
 Liz Davis /Candi Peterson
WTU Can Be Better!

In the years under the Michelle Rhee and
Kaya Henderson regime, we have seen hundreds of teachers regularly excessed at the end of each school year. With the advent of 23 school closings in 2008 and now 15 school closings in 2013, more teachers and school staff have faced excessing under this administration. Henderson like her predecessor Rhee has downplayed the actual numbers of teachers receiving excess notices.

By definition, an "excess is an elimination of a teacher’s position at a particular school due to a decline in student enrollment, a reduction in the local school budget, a closing or consolidation, a restructuring or a change in the local school program when such an elimination is not a reduction in force (RIF) or abolishment.”  Under the current Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) Collective Bargaining Agreement, there is a great likelihood that excessing eventually leads to one's termination as there is no longer a requirement for teachers to be placed by DCPS. With fewer positions available due to school closings, it is reasonable to conclude more teachers will be forced out. What the general pubic doesn't understand is that Highly Effective and Effective teachers are among the pool of excessed candidates. Add to this list the number of reconstituted schools (Cardozo High School and Patterson Elementary School) and the number of yearly excessed teachers increases.

We are led to believe by WTU's President Saunders that the majority of teachers will get re-hired without any evidence to support these claims. Erich Martel, a retired DC Public Schools high school teacher ponders- "Why Chancellor Henderson and WTU President Saunders are downplaying the number of teachers getting excess notices this year?"  

© Candi Peterson 2013

"Why are DCPS Chancellor Henderson and WTU President Saunders Downplaying the number of teachers that received excess notices?"
       by Erich Martel, Retired DCPS high school teacher  ehmartel@starpower.net

"Five to six hundred” teachers will be excessed - Jason Kamras, DCPS Chief of Human Capital

On April 26, 2013, the DC Council Committee of the Whole held a hearing on the Teachers Retirement Act Amendment of 2013.  Chairman Mendelson questioned DCPS Chief of Human Capital Jason Kamras.

Mendelson:  “Roughly how many teachers do you think will be excessed?  Roughly.”
Kamras: With the consolidations this year, in the order of five to six hundred.”
Mendelson: “Will it be unreasonable to suggest that maybe a hundred will not find a placement in 60 days and will be affected?”
Kamras:  “I think that’s reasonable.  I don’t have the historical data.”
(Unofficial Transcript, DC Council Committee of the Whole Hearing on the Teacher Retirement Amendment Act of 2013; April 26, 2013; 12:30 PM  (Hr 1; Minute 47 into the hearing)

The most recent list of DCPS staff (2/18/2013) gives the number of teachers (as well as support staff) in each DCPS school.  The number of excessed teachers falls into three categories (see attachment for breakdown): 
1)  273 teachers in the 14 schools that are being “consolidated,” merged or transferred to a charter;
2)  200 to 300 teachers in approx 100 schools; what Kamras calls “our normal [annual] excessing process”; and
3)  The 74 teachers at Cardozo HS and Patterson ES, who had to reapply for their jobs, i.e. all are potentially excessed.  The total number of excessed positions has not been reported.
Thus, 500 to 600 excessed teachers appears to be accurate. 

Spinning the Numbers
After the final list of schools to be closed, merged or transferred to a charter operator was announced in January, some teachers submitted applications to retire or resign.  Others, hoping for another DCPS teaching position were allowed to interview for vacancies that were announced prior to April 1st and those who found a position before a certain date (perhaps before “our normal [annual] excessing process in the remaining 100 schools) will not be counted as excessed.

How many teachers were rehired at Patterson and Cardozo?  Will they be excluded from the count?
What about their colleagues who found a position at another DCPS school?  That was just 16 schools.  There are still 200 to 300 excessed teachers in the other 100 or so schools in Mr. Kamras' “normal excessing process. Will the public get an accurate count or will they be parsed and deconstructed into oblivion?   

The chancellor’s goal of dismantling DCPS is more difficult, if the public sees its full impact. When a union president helps management spin numbers to diffuse their impact, both teachers and parents should be on the alert for serious bad weather.   


Anonymous said...

There are so few people speaking the truth about the crisis in DCPS.

Thank you, Ms. Peterson!

Corcoran Teacher of the Year, 2010-11
Excessed from DCPS in 2012

Anonymous said...

WTU President Nathan Saunders had the *NERVE* to GLOAT about saving *ONE* teacher from each school:. Saunders didn't down play the # of excessed teachers he LIED.