Michelle Rhee, the reform-minded chancellor who took over the District of Columbia public schools three years ago, on Friday fired 241 teachers, or 5 percent of the district’s total. All but a few of those dismissed had received the lowest rating under a new evaluation system that for the first time held them accountable for their students’ standardized test scores.
“Every child in a District of Columbia public school has a right to a highly effective teacher — in every classroom, of every school, of every neighborhood, of every ward, in this city,” the chancellor said in a statement. “That is our commitment.”
All told, the district terminated 302 employees — 226 for poor performance, and 76 for other problems like not having the licensing required by the No Child Left Behind act. Besides the 241 teachers, those dismissed were librarians, counselors, custodians and other employees.
An additional 737 employees were put on notice that they had been rated “minimally effective,” the second-lowest category, and would have one year to improve their performance or be fired.
In the years before Ms. Rhee took over the district, almost all the teachers had high performance ratings and almost none were fired, but students, on average, had low achievement levels.
George Parker, the president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, said the union would challenge the firings. The union has taken issue with the evaluation system Ms. Rhee used, saying that it was designed more for punishing teachers than helping them improve.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, also criticized the evaluation system and what she called the chancellor’s “destructive cycle of hire, fire, repeat.”
“Evaluations should include a component of student learning, of course, but there also has to be teacher development and support,” Ms. Weingarten said. “It can’t just be a ‘gotcha’ system, like the one in D.C.”
Maybe if Randi spent more time with real working teachers and less time with Bill Gates, she would have realized that allowing test scores to be part of ANY of the evaluation gives the people running schools systems the incentive and ability to do mass firings like this.
You can be sure next year Rhee will fire the 737 teachers rated "minimally effective" this year and rate another 750 minimally effective, setting them up to be fired the year after.
If she's still around in five years (and god knows, I hope she's not), she'll have an entire new teaching corps in D.C.
EVERY teacher will get rated "ineffective" and fired.
And this will be done in state after state thanks to an anti-teacher Democratic administration pushing these kinds of policies and a union like the AFT and union leaders like Randi Weingarten NOT fighting them in the first place.
The next place this is going to happen is New York State.
With the Regents set to make tests "harder" and have thousands more students fail next spring, you can bet Klein and Bloomberg will be firing thousands of teachers here in NYC with Obama's blessing.
Unless the unions overturn test scores tied to evaluations, school systems are going to fire hundreds or thousands of teachers every year.
And you can bet most of them will be making top salary and be veterans.
It's a win-win for Rhee, Klein, Obama and company - turn over the teaching corps every five years so that you never have anybody making more than Step #5 on the salary chart.
And since it takes ten years to get vested for a pension, you'll never have anybody taking home a pension either.
It's genius and why Weingarten and Company didn't see this coming with the changes to school financing, the changes to teacher evals, and the preponderance of tying tests to every goddamned thing in school is beyond me.
My friend NYC Educator would say they did see it but just didn't give a shit so long as they get to go on convention trips and collect two pensions.
And I think he's right.
Back to Rhee, here's hoping that corrupt bagman Adrian Fenty goes down to defeat in the November election and Rhee has to go work out in California with her degenerate rapist fiance Kevin Johnson at Johnson's charter school.
That won't solve all the problems in D.C., of course, and Rhee, spawn of Satan that she is, will still be doing evil the world over.
But at least she'll won't be doing it on the public dime.
Let Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Mayor Moneybags or some other robber baron pay her for it instead.