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).


Anonymous said...

This certainly presents a rhetorical dilemma for the anti-Rhee crowd:

"She's firing veterans!"
"No, she's firing rookies!"
"Wait...I know...she's firing everybody! It's just the latest in her nefarious plot to replace the DCPS teaching corps with her Korean aunts! Next step: world domination!"

Get real...

Dee Does DC said...

This makes me SICK.

Dee Does DC said...

Do we know if the probationary teachers were affiliated with any of the alternative-certification programs, and if so, which one(s)

The Washington Teacher said...

Don't get mad at me when posting your comments. I didn't write this script, Rhee did. This is not about being anti-Rhee.

But I must say that Rhee's conflicting rhetoric is not in keeping with the management decisions she makes.

I imagine that this does present a rhetorical dilemna and is a hard pill to swallow for her dwindling fan club.

The Washington Teacher said...

Dee: I don't know the answer to your questions. This is just in and hot off the press.

Once A Fan said...

I knew a probationary teacher who was fired last year, by my principal. This individual was not fully certified and in an alternative certification program (she was a career changer with an impressive resumé). She didn't see eye to eye with my principal plus had a corporal punishment allegation against her where she allegedly grabbed a child. By the time June came around, there were just too many issues, explained the principal. Plus, probationary teachers have little protection. Yes, the fan club is definitely losing members this week.

Mr. Potter said...

I can't speak for the teachers at CHEC (as it's not my school) but I can tell you that a DCTC was fired at my school. So there's apparently no loyalty to the group she started. Which, by the way, is a good thing.

I don't think that anyone who likes Rhee likes her because she is a fan of TFA and DCTF. They like her because of the reforms she's outlined and the zeal with which she's implemented them.

I do think anon has a point: for months we've been hearing that Rhee is the boogeyman out to get veterans. If it turns out she's firing under-performing rookies as well, doesn't that challenge those assumptions?

My feeling is this: if the people that are being fired were really not up to snuff (and I don't presume to know that they all are), then Rhee is doing her job.

The Washington Teacher said...

Numbers could be as high as 12 teachers terminated at CHEC but this is unconfirmed to date. I do have confirmation of the 6 terminated teachers @ CHEC.

Other numbers are coming in as well. Keep those emails coming.

Some of the terminated teachers got good evaluations. This is the irony. Last year there were teachers with Exceeds Expectations who were terminated. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I know of a probationary teacher who was fired last year from McKinley High School. She was rated as an exceeds expectations and the principal fired her via email. She was an excellent teacher and was a transplant from another state.

I think teachers like this one will win in court when their class action law suit goes to trial.

Old School DCPS said...

Principals have been under the gun all school year, beginning in August, to do the documentation and observations necessary to get teachers deemed ineffective out. I feel as if my principal was pressured to make sure she didn't drop the ball and get a handful of teachers removed. Maybe this is doing a principal's job. Maybe this is what's meant by being an instructional leader. At least one of the teachers on the 90 day in my school had problems under several principals, not just this one this year. No one was targetting her, and this year was not her first time on the plan. But she was very hard-headed and refused to change. So it happened.

Anonymous said...

You guys are not seeing the big picture. It is obvious that Rhee's goal is primarily to still get rid of older teachers. However, if her mass terminations consisted ONLY of the veteran teachers who were placed on 90 day plans, then they could easily cry discrimination. By throwing probationary teachers into the mix, she beats a discrimination lawsuit. Plus, young teachers are a dime a dozen these days with all the recent college grads who applied for TFA. She can easily go into the pool and grab some more to replace the ones who got fired.

The Washington Teacher said...

One of the DC teachers from the Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) posts was just added to the front page of my blog as a real time update.

Check it out !

usereason said...

"She can easily go into the pool and grab some more to replace the ones who got fired."

A lot of applicants talk to current and former TFA and DCTF before joining the program. If they found out that they could easily be fired from the program because new teachers can be hired "a dime a dozen," then that would hurt the TFA and DCTF programs. People would refuse to join.

usereason said...

What do the termination letters say? Do they list any reasons for termination?

This may sound like a dumb question, but when teachers are fired, can they reapply to work for the district and try life at a different school? Did these teachers have NO IDEA that maybe the prinicipal was looking at them unfavorably and that maybe they should consider switching schools?

Just wondering, not blaming, cause someday it could be me in this situation...

Anonymous said...

"A lot of applicants talk to current and former TFA and DCTF before joining the program. If they found out that they could easily be fired from the program because new teachers can be hired "a dime a dozen," then that would hurt the TFA and DCTF programs. People would refuse to join."

People will ALWAYS join programs like TFA and DCTF because they need a job right out of college and because it's quick and easy. Many of them don't plan on teaching for a career and only teach for a maximum of two years. They pay no mind to things such as job security and work conditions because, at the time they join, they just need a job and work experience and TFA provides that for them. The 40,000 TFA applicants this year prove that programs like TFA will always exist no matter how awful and hard people like Rhee make the program for them.

Kings said...

Hary Potter, you say, "I can tell you that a DCTC was fired at my school."

Did the DCTF deserve to be fired, in your opinion?

Also, "So there's apparently no loyalty to the group she started. Which, by the way, is a good thing."

Really? It could just be a signal that nobody's safe - you never know who's next -- which is not a good thing.

ELL Teacher said...

Since I'm both an ELL teacher and a fluent Spanish speaker, Bell, now merged with Lincoln in the beautiful new Columbia Heights campus, seemed like a school I should work in. The principal, who I've met, appears dedicated to lifting up the heavily Hispanic and immigrant student population of what's now called CHEC. It grew out of a program she founded in the 80s that was on a ground floor wing of the old Lincoln JHS. Then her program grew and relocated across the street to the old Bell building, with no gym nor cafeteria. But for years I heard that she was a tyrant, hard to work for. With a revolving door staff. And a strong preference for recent college grads, TFA types she'd work hard for two years if they lasted under her and go get some more. This looks like exactly what happened. And it's not the way to run a school.

RedeemedSpirit said...

Obviously Queen "B" Rhee doesn't know what the heck she is doing! Last year she was aggressively looking for "fresh, young, new talent" to replace veteran teachers in our schools. Now fickle Miss Rhee wants to get rid of her new teachers. Is this the decision making process of an effective leader? Who will be left when Miss Rhee is finished with her firing spree? When will Miss Rhee be evaluated for her performance?

Kings said...

Rhee obviously has a thirst for firing people - possibly the main thing she likes about her job.

Now, stymied as she is from firing people protected by the union contract, she's firing whomever she can.

Just a theory.

Anonymous said...

Rhee's only course of action is to fire people because she has no clear plan of her own. It's sad, rheely, that she can't even follow the Janey plan without failing. The "anti-Rhee crowd," which increases exponentially each day, doesn't have a rhetorical dilemma. Rather, the Rhee camp has one because she has targeted veterans, rookies, those who serve at the discretion, assistants, the Central Office, etc. She has some 'splaining' to do when all of the lawsuits against her nefarious, discriminatory practices come to light. Everyone knows her catch phrase "You're not the right fit for X School," etc. What does that mean? She's not the right fit in terms of credentials, experience or anything else based on data, yet she continues to wreak havoc on everyone around her. What would be HILARIOUS is for Bill Turque or Bill Meyers to do a story on how many TFA/NTNP teachers she's terminated that she actually placed in their positions. Maybe she learned something when she was over in PG County consulting with John Deasy to help him recreate the HR Department over there at the very beginning when she joined DCPS -- right after the midnight hour. He's gone. One can only hope Rhee is soon to follow. Unfortunately, her inexperience and arrogance leaves a horrific wake of wreckage behind. Go figure. And, just as an aside, maybe she can take the so-called mayor with her.

Anonymous said...


I like the direction your blog has taken in the past few columns. Instead of being used to echo stories that the Washington Post has already covered, your blog is now starting to become a place where teachers from across the city can come together to communicate issues going on in their respective schools. It is the kind of unity the teachers need and it is the kind of unity Michelle Rhee hates. She wants the schools to be disconnected because, when no communication is going on, things are quiet and secrets stay hidden. This kind of communication on this blog is stronger than the Washington Teacher's Union, and it's the kind of unity we need to fight the heartless corporate machine that 825 has become under the current leadership.

Anonymous said...

Just sayin'...

That McKinley teacher shot herself in the foot (e.g. playing the race card). Being an "excellent teacher" only protects you so much, and it certainly can't protect you from your own mouth.

Anonymous said...

I wish Rhee's administration would really start serving the children and stop spending so much time on these blogs. It's so obvious when you're blogging because you don't know *** about what your blogging and your just I love Rhee, I love Rhee.

No, it's not a rhetorical dilemma. Maria Tukeva, the principal at CHEC campus, has always fired 10-20 teachers each and every school year. She's notorious for that. I work there and for years we've had 20-25 new teachers. Now, does Rhee likes this yes, does Rhee support this evidentally.

The teachers are asked to go way above and way beyond the call of duty. It's not even about dedication. It's more about Tukeva dominating. You know what i forgot that Tukeva and Rhee are tennis partners. They are cut from the same cloth.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Rhee is off the hook. However, she has many administrators willing to carry her water. Case in point, at Anacostia the administrators (principal fired after one year)were more than willing to go after teachers. Two APs were selected to stay and one in particular is ruthless. This is probably because after being demoted from an elementary school principal, this person has a definite hatred for teachers and particularly young ones.

Anonymous said...

Last post on this thread:

Obviously Queen "B" Rhee doesn't know what the heck she is doing! Last year she was aggressively looking for "fresh, young, new talent" to replace veteran teachers in our schools. Now fickle Miss Rhee wants to get rid of her new teachers. Is this the decision making process of an effective leader? Who will be left when Miss Rhee is finished with her firing spree?

Pretty hilarious...

The New Teacher on the Block said...

I'm wondering if principals were under pressure (economic or performance) coming from the district to fire people as they were earlier this year with the 90 day plans. Our principal reported to us earlier that she was asked to place 3 teachers on 90 day plans (no one specific, they just decided 3 was a good number for her to go on)...she did not end up doing it, but I'm curious as to whether they were told to fire teachers and went after the probationary because it was easier than firing vet teachers who have tenure. Just an idea...
I also know an excellent first-year who was fired today by a crazy principal with a personal vendetta against said teacher. I can't even begin to share the crazy stuff that happened at that school, but suffice to say more than half the staff is leaving, and were planning to voluntarily. This stuff is getting crazy and I think its going to come back and bite someone in the butt.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse this intrusion on your blog. One of my son's teachers told me to visit this site to learn more about the CHEC principal. After reviewing some of the comments, I thought it would be appropriate to give my two cents as an actual consumer of the CHEC brand.

As a CHEC parent I am most impressed with the leadership and vision of Principal Maria Tukeva. My last child is now an 11th grader and I couldn't be happier about his academic performance and the duty of care exhibited daily by administrators and the teachers.

My child attends a school that is rigorous, safe and very well kept, inspirational and full of engaging instructional programs and activities every single day. A college going culture permeates the beautiful new campus with students doing research on laptops in the hallway during lunch.

It is clear to see that the leadership runs a tight ship and that many teachers share a common vision that every student will be college ready by the time of their graduation. They even have an early college program that provides dual enrollment opportunities through partnerships with Northern Virginia Community College and UDC.

In my many interactions with teachers at CHEC over the past two year I have seen variations in the quality and spirit of its teachers. Many seem to love working at CHEC and care enough about my child's well being to go out of their way to provide me with regular updates. On occasion they also tell me about school successes such as Bell being named one of the top 100 public schools in the US. Another parent recently told me that Bell just received a Quality Schools Initiative award by a very well respected nonprofit called Fight for Children Foundation.

I have also had a few teachers speak disparagingly about the leadership in ways that implied that they had unrealistic expectations on student achievement and unfair demands on teachers' time.

No parent should ever have to hear a disgruntled teacher supported by tax payer money freely tell another parent that "some of these students will never amount to much, given their circumstances."
I came away from this particular interaction sensing that this teacher didn't share in the culture of CHEC that every student can learn. It was obviously a bad fit for the teacher and the administration.

I find it hard to believe that a school as driven to succeed as CHEC would arbitrarily fire good teachers for the sport of it all. Principal Tukeva is a pragmatic visionary who needs all the help she can get. I have yet to see a more devoted instructional leader. She practically works seven days a week and can be seen as early as 7:30am to as late as 8:00pm working away for the benefit of students like my Daniel. The woman even raises private funds to send students to college every year and has been doing this for over twenty years! I don’t know another school in DCPS that takes on college affordability in quite this manner.

There will always be differing expectations and perceptions between leadership and rank and file employees. But ones differing opinions should not have to come at the expense of a distinguished public servant’s record. Nowhere on this blog do I read that Ms. Tukeva is incompetent, corrupt or wasteful. The sentiments being expressed here seem to either be from those who were found to be wanting or from their sympathetic colleagues.

As a consumer of the CHEC brand, I do feel for teachers that didn’t make it this year, but hope that better teachers are brought on to help my son and his fellow students prepare for the next chapter of their lives.

Anonymous said...

Usereason, I agree with you. Firing a young teacher here, at this time, all but insures that any other teaching job they get will be at a place that has the same lack of respect for teachers and treats them like machine parts.

If you're going to fire a teacher, make it clear why. And if it has nothing to do with job performance, do it so that teacher has enough time to either find another job!

A school is not a business, while there are business-like aspects to it. Our products, the students, are also our clients. And I think they're getting forgotten about in this situation. If the bad teacher is kept - the student loses out. The good teacher goes - the student loses out. Another shakeup and unfamiliar faces at school - the student loses out. Another year of rebuilding relationships and trust, which is what a lot of learning in urban education is based on - the student falls further behind.

CHEC DCPS teacher said...

While I hear what the CHEC parent is saying about our school, I have to disagree with the way the terminations were handled. It's one thing to fire someone who is proven to be incompetent after being told over and over and offered support, it's another thing to just fire someone without giving them a chance to resign, try to improve, a reason for their termination, or give them a chance (especially new teachers).

Most often... new (and probationary) teachers are given the hardest assignments, multiple preps, large groups of students, don't have a room of their own (have to float), and are not given the appropriate amount of support and praise to know they are doing a good job when things should be positive. It's one thing to offer support and help to someone struggling, it's another thing to bully and harass them into feeling like they are incompetent and not worthy... which not only effects morale and confidence, but their overall job satisfaction and can lead to being disgruntled. There are TOO MANY at CHEC who feel this way... and not just "new" teachers.

The vision and mission at CHEC is great. It's wonderful to see how far our students have come over the years. However, it's sad to see many good people pushed out or driven to leave. There definitely have been teachers who didn't "fit the mold", couldn't adapt to the expectations, and/or just didn't do a good job. However, CHEC is the one hiring these people in the first place and if 20+ people are fired or leave each year in a supposed top 100 school (which by the way, look into the way schools are rated), there has to be something fundamentally wrong going on... and I don't want to hear "well, they just couldn't handle the pressure or were just not good enough". We have lost MANY really GOOD teachers recently and this year is certainly going to have a HUGE impact with the numbers and quality of the ones who have resigned.

Back to the terminated teachers... some of these (in my opinion deserving to be) teachers need a second chance. They weren't given a fair one at our school. They also can't be rehired within DCPS. I believe that some of the teachers would do better in a different environment and/or under different circumstances. Again, why not give some of them the choice to resign and transfer to another school. I know some people aren't just cut out to be teachers, but they have to be given a fair chance in fair circumstances.

post to be continued... (sorry, too long)

CHEC DCPS teacher said...

This year, we are also losing a great veteran teacher at our school who butted heads with the way the administration has been handling the evaluations this year and will be a HUGE loss to our school. The programs he brought to our school, the dedication and service, and commitment he brought to the school has been legendary. He quit after being fed up with the way the staff has been treated (the way the firings were handled was the last straw) and is going to be moving on to another school where I'm sure he will bring big, positive changes to. And to those naysayers, he is not one of "those veteran teachers" that had to go. He brought engineering courses into our school, an after school mentoring program with engineers and internships opportunities, and was an excellent math teacher who just so happened to have gotten his worst evaluation in 10 years. Hmmmm? A similar story for a lot of us this year...

We still have a long way to go regarding student achievement and success at CHEC, it's time to quit focusing on the "dog and pony show" that showcases how great we are as a school, what great programs and grants we have, and start to focus on how to improve and support ALL our wonderful students and staff and I think it has start with a change in the way the administrators are treating it's teachers and supporting them with realistic, measurable, and focused work. We need to be more honest with ourselves about the reality of what has and continues to go on within our school. Most teachers are collegial and congenial amongst themselves... I can't say the same feelings exist between teachers and administrators. I wonder how that happened and what is causing that?

I hope we can start to take a step in the right direction, otherwise I feel like things are going to change for the worse at CHEC.

Kings said...

To Anonymous Chec Parent -- are you also an educator yourself? You use jargon that is not often heard among parents.

You also comment on those who were let go as being " found wanting."

If you have specific information about the reasons some people were fired, it would be great if you could share it here.


Anonymous said...

In response to King...

I am not quite sure what to make of your question to me. Should I be insulted that I am being accused of writing in "jargon" not considered parent like by a DCPS teacher? Or should I be flattered that I don't meet your stereotype of the half-baked and barely literate parent?

Either way, I am not amused.

I am not an educator, though I admire people in the profession.

My comment about teachers being "found wanting" is an obvious observation pointing to a performance reason the dismissals. Any reasonable parent would arrive at such a conclusion because any other reason would be detrimental to the entire school community.

I should also state that I am just a parent and am not at all familiar with any of the dismissals. The point I was trying to make was that no self-respecting leader targets for dismissal people that are good at their jobs or have strong potential to be effective. I find it somewhat self-serving that no blogger on this site has yet to admit to the possibility that bad teachers exist.

I understand the need for more support for struggling teachers, but why should my child have to be educated by a bad teacher?

Anonymous said...

The more I read CHEC parent, the phonier it sounds

Anonymous said...

Dear CHEC parent

Are you a relative of Rhee or a distant cousin to Ms. T?

Most of your comments are offensive to teachers, young and old.

Do you have information that support your statements?

The Washington Teacher said...

Unfortunately Anonymous we have had DC teachers targeted NOT because they were ineffective but for personal reasons, or because they spoke out. This current regime, Chancellor Rhee has in her 5 year educational plan that she will get rid of a significant share of her workforce through terminations and buy outs.

As a Building Rep, I have seen it first hand and have represented and consulted with teachers who have been targeted. I may not have been fired but on my blog I wrote a piece about a director who decided to give me 0 points just because I had fought to get approval for my permanent status after meeting all of the guidelines. As a result of this I was RIF'd (reduction in force) only because the director lied on me.

While this may not be logical to you, I encourage you to read some of the older stories on my blog which tell the other side of the story.

Take the time to come to some community meetings and hear what is happening to DC workers in different agencies under Mayor Fenty and talk to teachers citywide about Rhee. Having 21 teachers terminated at the middle school level at CHEC is one such example of the abuse of power that regularly goes on in our school system and goes unchecked. I have worked city-wide in different schools and I know of what I speak. Surely all these middle school teachers at CHEC are not ineffective nor incompetent. The principal at CHEC has a history of questionable practices and the opening of Pandora's box may lead to an investigation by the Inspector General and others.

Last year we had 78 teachers who were probationary that were terminated with meets and exceeds expectation ratings who were dismissed. We have a law suit pending. These teachers were only terminated in mass because they were probationary and without regard to their performance. We will see Rhee & co. in court. This year we believe 100 probationary teachers have been terminated. If you continue to read my blog you will be educated. If not you will remain in the dark.

CHEC DCPS teacher said...

CHEC parent, you are right. There are bad teachers. There are always bad seeds in any work place, businesses, hospitals, law firms, etc... It's a reality. At CHEC, I believe that our numbers of "bad" teachers are very low (and I speak for the high school side only, not the middle school side). Again, who's the one hiring all these terminated "bad" teachers anyways... maybe they need to be terminated for so many bad hirings?

I'm saddened that a few of the terminated teachers were new teachers that were not given a fair chance and that our union rep was terminated in a seemingly vindictive move.

This isn't just about the teachers who were terminated, but the ones who are leaving voluntarily... We have lost 20+ teachers each year in the last couple of years and a majority of them quit and were not terminated like the numbers this year. So there is an unrepresented bunch among the 21 terminated teachers... the good teachers that are fed up and leaving and have been leaving each year in droves.

I'm saddened at our great losses this year, those that are resigning to move to other schools or positions, just to describe a few:

- a Harvard grad english teacher who has been written up in the WaPo several times

- a Stanford grad math department chair

- a nationally board certified english/ell teacher who is also a department chair

- a nationally board certified english teacher who also received a first year teacher of the year award (amongst many others)

- a veteran math teacher who as previously mentioned brought engineering to CHEC and after school mentoring

These are only a few examples of the quality and quantity of GOOD teachers that have left in recent years and I'm sure there will be more to come if things don't change.

An ESL Teacher said...

I should write this post as a prayer. Something like, Thank you God, that when I was offered a job at Bell a few years ago, I declined it. I already had accepted a position at another school, but Bell had been my first choice. Good thing I didn't go there, because all I hear is low morale, gang activity, pregnant girls and now this. What is with that principal that she runs teachers out by termination, harrassment, hoards quitting at the end of each school year?

Metro Rider said...

CHEC DCPS teacher,

Are you sure about the qualification of the teachers fired? I'm particularly doubtful that two of those fired were National Board Certified. Just to apply for National Board Certification, you have to have three years of teaching experience as a standard/professional licensed teacher. I think there are about 20 such teachers in all of DCPS, and by definition, none of them could be probationary. It's probably unlikely, also, that DCPS would fire 10% of its National Board Certified population. If it IS true, then contact Bill Turque at WaPo immediately. NBC teachers being fired by DCPS would be huge news.

Anonymous said...

I taught there one summer for summer school. There was a student from another class who kept hanging around my room, trying to talk to one of my girls. I sent him away and asked him to stop bothering my class, as we were working. I thought nothing more of it. A few weeks later, I read about a stabbing in the area. This kid who had been at my door was the assailant. At the time, I thought the school discipline bad. There was a prevailing tolerance of gang-like behaviors and too many girls getting pregnant. No one in charge was putting their foot down and being the adult. I was glad when summer school was over and could leave that school. And when I would read how good a school Bell, now merged with Lincoln and called CHEC is, I figured the principal had a staff of PR people working for her. Also, none of the teachers I knew from there are still working at CHEC.

Kings said...

Heather - please note that the NBC teachers were mentioned in a group of teachers "RESIGNING to move to other schools or positions" --

They weren't fired - they chose to leave.

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

It is very, very important for DC teachers to fight these dismissals in an aggressive, clever way. This is not the time for "pro bono" lawyers (unless they are very experienced and successful) because the very best attorneys need to be sought out and hired. Hopefully the national teachers unions will help with the huge expense that lies ahead.

There are several things that the teachers can do in the meantime:

Get voters on your side and continue to place pressure on city council members and the mayor;

Every teacher who is assaulted by a child or parent should file a police report and a lawsuit;

Teachers should take meticulous notes on administrative mistakes regarding special education and report them to federal authorities. Do the same with other administrative problems (water fountains not working?);

File a complaint with every dismissal. Pay special attention to federally protected categories (race, gender, disabilities etc.);

Discourage new teachers from applying to DC;

Demand that authorities look into the test results in schools where the principal kept the test booklets in his room for a week or more. If possible ask that children be retested under strict conditions;

Unite to improve the education of DC children with the ideas of teachers. Teachers can decide what is best and then agree to go along with these plans.

Good luck! The nation is watching.

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

What are the requirements for starting charter schools in DC? Perhaps the union could help DC teachers organize and open their own schools. They could elect their own head teacher and make decisions about curriculum and instruction in conjunction with parents. It's time for teachers to take control of their own profession.