Jun 20, 2009

Rhee Fired DC Teachers Without Evaluations

Despite what Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's termination letters stated that DC teachers were evaluated by their local school principal, some DC teachers were fired without ever being evaluated as we heard on WJLA, channel 7 yesterday on the 5 p.m. news.

When Rhee signed off on the terminations of 21 teachers @ Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC) given the standardized test scores as reported on The WaPo site- it leaves me wondering whether Principal Maria Tukeva ever cheated in some back room. How is it that the entire middle school teaching staff at CHEC were all ineffective ? Based on The Washington Post's 'Fixing DC Schools' report on line, there were only approximately 32 teachers in total at the middle school level.

How is that the entire special education department at Ludlow Taylor elementary school where Carolyn Cobbs is principal were terminated ? Was the whole department ineffective ? Stories like these and many others defy probability and reason and suggest to me that it's not about removing ineffective teachers.

Some of us are determined to ensure that due process of law occurs. A committee is being formed now to secure representation for many of our DC teachers who have been wronged. We are in search of of an experienced labor attorney willing to represent a class of DC teachers pro bono.

If you can help in any way, please contact: savedcteachers@gmail.com

(posted by The Washington Teacher)Video courtesy of wjla.com


Anonymous said...

Excellent job, Candi. Where are the test scores on WaPo? I always go on the k12.dc.us website. About fishy test scores, I have never thought teachers were behind anything. With the degree of monitoring now, the amount of proctors and aides in the classroom during testing times, teachers are never alone with tests long enough to even thoroughly look at students' answers, let alone do something unethical. As soon as kids are finished, we're to rush downstairs and turn the test booklets in. But they sit in the main office, often in a locked room, to which no one has the key except the custodian and principal.

The Washington Teacher said...

Check out The washington post site @ www.washingtonpost.com The section is DC Schools Investigative Report. Do a search and you will find it. It involved an investigative series on Fixing DC Schools which lists all public schools and has a breakdown of teaching staff, test scores violations, etc.

Keep in mind that CHEC has a greater proportion of students with LEP (limited english proficiency). I think it is significant that their numbers listed under Lincoln and Bell separately on this site are as high or higher than schools without students with English as a second language. Many have questioned Takeva's scores.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I use that site all the time though the data is from 2007. I use it for names of teachers at particular schools, though I repeat it's dated and not useful for current info. Plus the salaries listed for teachers on the highest end of the salary scale is wrong. I will not go into here how pissed off many teachers were that our salary, though public record, was posted.
OSSE and www.k12.dc.us have more up to date school by school test scores.
And I read about Bell's test scores previously and seriously doubted it.

Matthew Brown said...

Aside from those teachers terminated under the 90 day plans, are there more details behind the claim that others were dismissed for failure to obtain proper licenses? WAPO makes it sound as if only a minority of those dismissed were under probationary plans - what about the rest?

The Washington Teacher said...

Hi Matthew:

The details are still coming in. It seems more of DC's terminated teachers were probationary as well as teachers placed on 90 day plans.

Old School DCPS said...

From Turque's original post on WaPo's DC Wire blog, I got the following breakdowns for teacher terminations. Of the 250 teachers given pink slips, 60 were probationary, 80 were on the 90 day plan and 110 weren't certified. It was reported that 157teachers were on the 90 day plan. The remaining 77 from the plan who weren't terminated must have made sufficient improvement to get off it.

Anonymous said...

Old School,

Don't trust those numbers. Many people think that it was more than 250 that were terminated. George Parker is the only one who has given the number of 250. Rhee's office won't confirm it and nobody else in the union will confirm it.

Matthew Brown said...

Thanks for the updated numbers. For the 110 (so we're told) with certification issues, does anyone know how they were selected? Were these the only 110 with such issues? If not, were they singled out by their principals? Any information would be much appreciated - I'm trying to get some accurate stuff up on my site.


The Washington Teacher said...

Yes Matthew many people were targeted. It is very complicated and there is a long history dating back to making workers at will. DC Chancellor Rhee threatened to go to plan B (90 day plan) as another way of firing DC teachers when she could not get the teacher contract she wanted last year . Rhee and the Washington Teachers' Union President Parkers proposed teacher contract would have had us giving up our tenure and seniority which some of us challenged. Refer to some older posts on this blog.

Old School DCPS said...

In Turque's piece on the DC Wire, it states that Rhee testified to the City Council that 157 teachers were on the 90 day plan. One would expect that she was under oath when she testified.
A man in my school was excessed last June because he hadn't passed the Praxis math part in time. Our principal got that rescinded and the teacher had another year to take and pass Praxis by June of this year. It didn't happen and he received a letter terminating him. The principal said she could do nothing this time. This teacher was terminated because he was not certified, and a passing Praxis score was all he needed. It's such a shame, as he was a career changer with a great rapport with the kids, and had a year to review and study for the Praxis.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone fill me in on what the WTU call was about last night? I missed the call and was wondering what it was about...

The New Teacher on the Block said...

Old School,
Honestly, I find it very disconcerting if a teacher cannot pass the Praxis after being given a year plus to do so. DCPS has the lowest standards in the nation for passing and the Praxis covers only up to about 7th grade standards (as I understand it).
I have heard of instances of teachers failing this test 12-13 times and still being permitted to teach. However, if one cannot prove proficiency up to a 7th grade level (when they have at least a bachelors degree and after multiple attempts, no less) I am not sure they should be teaching either...

Old School DCPS said...

From what I remember from the WTU robo call, and as it didn't apply, I didn't pay strict attention, it dealt with probationary & 90 day plan teachers who were terminated this past week. The union will be meeting with them. If this applies to you, call the WTU.

Anonymous said...

Go to the EEOC Washington Field Office. DO NOT start with an attorney because most people are connected. There are already hundreds of lawsuits against DCPS and Rhee, so go federal from the start. There is a complaint form and you do an interview, then they investigage DC by asking for evaluations, etc.

Metro Rider said...

Can someone explain why the EEOC should be involved? We already know those fired are both young and old, both black and white. Where is the discrimination?

The Washington Teacher said...

I don't think anyone can answer that Heather without the full details. This would have to be determined on a case by case basis. It's no way we could know each person's individual situation. However, I do think it is an avenue each teacher should explore to rule this out as a possibility. Information is power.

Anonymous said...


There are other kinds of discriminations besides just age and race discrimination. If you were in your classroom teaching all year, all your evaluations were favorable, etc. but you got terminated anyway because the principal had a personal vendetta against you (as was the case with many teachers) then that is also a form of discrimination.

Anonymous said...

What is the time line for grieving procedure errors,irregularities and mistakes on the PPEP Final Evaluation. That is, what if the principal did not evaluate according to the PPEP doc and other agreements but instead came up with his own list of materials, criteria and documentation to prove that you did what you were supposed to do?

If the deadline has expired, can this years errors be used to combat problems next year?

Please advise. This may impact a few teachers at my school who were terminated this year and a few may/will be targets next year who may face the same outcome in June 2010.

R Teacher

The Washington Teacher said...

You can grieve procedural violations of the PPEP. I would strongly suggest that you consult your WTU Field Rep. @ 202-293-8600 as soon as possible to discuss.

I am copying the WTU grievance procedures as listed in the WTU contract, pgs. 19-20. You can find the WTU contract in its entirety @ www.wtulocal6.org Please note the timelines for grievances.

An employee who wishes to raise a grievance shall do so within ten (10) school days after the event giving rise to the grievance. Within five (5) school days after receipt thereof, the supervisor and the employee shall meet to resolve the dispute informally and expeditiously. At the employee’s option there may be present at such discussion a representative of the Union or any other school employee, or outside representative selected by the aggrieved employee who is not an officer, agent, or representative of another teacher organization.

At the immediate supervisor’s option, there may be present at such discussion additional employees of the school system selected by the immediate supervisor. Prior to the discussion, employees shall identify the discussion as Step 1 of this grievance procedure. If the matter in dispute is not settled, immediately prior to the termination of the Step 1 discussion, the employee shall execute a duplicate form provided by the Union showing the date, time, place, persons involved in the discussion, a written statement of the grievance discussed, and the relief requested. The form shall be signed by the employee and the immediate supervisor.

STEP 2 - Mediation:
If the grievance is not settled at Step 1 within two school days following the Step 1mmeeting, within five school days thereafter, the parties shall submit in writing a request for
mediation to the mediation panel with a copy to the Office of the Superintendent. The request for mediation shall include all documentation from Step 1. The mediation panel shall assign a
mediator who will schedule and meet with the parties within five (5) school days after receipt of
the complaint. This timeline may be extended by mutual agreement of the parties. The mediator shall prepare a written statement summarizing the agreement between the parties or indicating that the parties failed to agree. This summary shall be prepared and circulated to the parties, the
Office of the Superintendent and the WTU within three (3) work days following the mediation

For step 3 and step 4, go to www.wtulocal6.org, page 20.

Student of dcps 2012 said...

Its not fair that the teachers were fired. All they are trying to do is help us students better ourselves for the future. If the teachers are fired who his going to teach me and my friends the essentials of life. The parking enforcers should be fired first.