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School Officials Deny Targeting Older Teachers

DC school officials flatly deny targeting teachers over 40 for placement in the so-called 90 day plan that puts instructors on notice to improve or face dismissal. In a statement issued after press time Thursday evening Dena Iverson, spokeswoman for Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, said the average age of teachers placed on 90 day status is "comparable" to the average age of the total teacher corps. Iverson did not specify that age, but it is believed to be in the mid-forties. Iverson also rejected assertions by the Washington Teachers Union that the District was obligated to supply the names of teacher placed on notice. "That information is highly personal and sensitive and we don't have the consent of the teachers to disclose their names to the union. She said if the teachers in question authorized DCPS to name them, then it would.
--Bill Turque

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  January 16, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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Comments

For 50 years DCPS "targeted" the students and nobody did anything about it. Go Michelle! Target whoever deserves it.

Posted by: jy151310 | January 16, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is a hero. It's about time someone placed education first. Mayor Fenty is also a hero.

Posted by: swordboat | January 17, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I do not teach in the district, but I do know there are two sides to every story, and older teachers often are not given credit for the ability to learn new ways of teaching, or otherwise are unfairly targeted.

Unions also may be viewed unfairly, for that matter. Teachers' unions have been vilified as bastions of defense for ineffective teaching, and sometimes they are. However, they also often are a teacher's only line of defense against unfair judgments that can follow one for the rest of his/her career and effectively wipe out years of earlier, positive evaluations.

It certainly is true that urban students of today require teachers who clearly understand the best ways to help them relate to subject matter they may otherwise see as irrelevant to their lives. The "old ways" often do NOT work well (in many cases, they never did!), and should be abandoned for techniques that research shows work better.

I can only hope that the evaluations are managed in an unbiased manner, and that even the older teachers are given a fair chance to learn and adapt, if their techniques have indeed failed to change with the times.

Posted by: skiffymom | January 18, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I think the City Council has the right and the obligation to ask to see the paper work, call teachers in and talk to them. Remember: it is being said that principals are being forced to place a quota of teachers on improvement plans at each school across the city. It is true what skiffymom has said: there is more than one side to a story. It's time to stop taking Rhee and her crew at their word. Ask for the same data they pretend to consult. Data, unlike people, doesn't lie.

Posted by: southyrndiva | January 20, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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