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What D.C. Teachers Don't Want to Hear

Here is the script D.C. school principals are supposed to use in laying off teachers Friday...

"I regret to inform you that your employment with the District of Columbia Public Schools is being terminated effective November 2, 2009.

I am going to share more details with you now, but all of this information is included in the packet you have received with this letter.

Effective immediately, you are placed on administrative leave for a period of 30 days. During this period, you will continue to receive your full pay and benefits; however, you should no longer report to work.

I need to ask you to return all DCPS property that has been issued to you. This includes your grade book, keys, laptop computer (if applicable) and any other DCPS-issued items.

Before you leave today, you'll need to gather all of your personal belongings. If you are unable to, or choose not to take these with you today, the school will be open on Saturday, October 3, 2009 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for you to gather these.

If you have questions that are not answered in the documents I have given you today, the Office of Human Resources will be available to answer your questions."

If an employee asks how they were chosen for this reduction, you should respond with:

"We implemented this Reduction in Force utilizing the CLDF (Competitive Level Documentation Form) process as stated in the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

If they ask any other questions, you should refer them to the letter and the information contained within. There is also an HR number that they can call. You should reference that as well.

By Washington Post editors  |  October 2, 2009; 3:36 PM ET
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this is pretty cold-blooded... no longer is there any doubt in my mind that Fenty/Rhee don't have the communities best interest in mind.

I mean what are these folks supposed to do in this crappy economy?

if I were them I'd fight them tooth and nail, I'd come out to support these teachers, its jacked up....

Posted by: carlosinhp | October 2, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So we're supposed to give poor performing teachers jobs because we feel sorry for them? That's a great idea...because the kids' education isn't all that important anyway.

Posted by: cbr1 | October 2, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

to crb1 - you are drinking Fenty's and Rhee's Kool-Aid. Poor performing teachers are not the only ones terminated today.

The poor performing mayor and chancellor still have a jobs (their record is available for those who can read). Many poor performing principals and other administrators are still employed because they are willing to participate in this unjust firing of teachers.

What do you know about the performance of these teachers. How well do you think teachers will be performing next week when they receive NEW CLASSES AND NEW STUDENTS SIX WEEKS INTO THE FIRST ADVISORY?

Many good teachers are doomed to fail because of this disruption and confusion RESULING FROM THE ACTIONS of the mayor and his chancellor.


Posted by: dccounselor72 | October 2, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

This is cold and heartless and I would have expected nothing less from Michelle Rhee. What goes around comes around and when it happens to her I'll be watching and laughing and helping her pack her personal belongings!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | October 2, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. More 'bold political moves' from Chancellor Rhee that will have all sorts of unintended consequences/ramifications. Ugh.

Posted by: 4learning | October 2, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Does ayone know how soon before the Chancellor receivess her letter? This nastiness cannot go on much longer before someone loses it.

"Turn in your grade book". #&^itch, those books are gifts - given by the administration or the personal belongings of the teachers - paid for by the teachers. The grades given by the teacher belong to the teacher. And, if the teacher is so bad, why would anyone what that teacher's grades - remember, they are terrible teachers.

cbr1: keep drinking that Fenty/Rhee Kool-Aid, remember what happened to the Jim Jones followers.

Posted by: shank2sb | October 2, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I am the husband of a talented and passionate young teaching fellow who was riffed today after more than two years of dedicated service to her students.

Her urgent dedication to helping raise the achievement of high need and disadvantaged students has been a theme of her career. In rural Nepal, aged just 18, she creatively led a class of primary students through an uninspiring national curriculum (often protecting them from the headmaster's cane). In east London, she worked patiently to improve the employment prospects and English language skills of impoverished Bangladeshi immigrants. In Sudan, she developed a practical curriculum to improve the spoken language skills and cultural awareness of thousands of primary school children and hundreds of university students. On arriving in the district, she worked to train teachers for placements overseas before being accepted into the DC Fellows program, where, for the last couple of years she has worked tirelessly to raise the achievement levels of DC's young men and women.

I am so angry about the turn of events that led to her dismissal and so totally exhausted by the lack of support and appreciation by the successive administrations of her school that my faith in the DC school system and its leadership is all but gone. I question both the competence and strategy of its leadership at both a district and school level, but most of all I cannot understand the turn of events that led to her being evaluated as teacher that should be dismissed under any circumstances.

I am in the fortunate position to have witnessed her inspirational teaching and her tireless dedication to her students. I include myself amongst the many teachers she has trained, and was impressed and inspired when I taught alongside her in Sudan. She was observed for no more the five minutes by her current administration.

The DC public school system is truly in a sorry, sorry state. Today, in my humble opinion, DC students lost one of their most caring and committed advocates. They cannot afford to loose many more.

Posted by: damccarey | October 3, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

There is absolutely no logical reason for Mayor Fenty or Ms Rhee to have taken this action. Surely they knew long before now there was a so called budget shortfall. Ms Rhee claims the City Council took money from the DCPS budget during the summer. I recall seeing and reading messages that indicated the City Council put more than 20 million dollars back in the DCPS budget before the end of the 08-09 school year. I have absolutely no faith in what Ms Rhee says. She appears to be on a path to bust the union and have her own way. Where is the Teachers advocate? And when will some adult step forward to take charge and resolve this mess? Three years is certainly a long enough time frame to have solved this issue.

Posted by: Rhojon56 | October 3, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday many talented, highly dedicated and competent teachers were let go. They were not dismissed because of incompetence, but because of an agenda that was put in place the moment Ms. Rhee took over and was intensified when the teachers union refused her offer. Her agenda has been cloaked in the guise of school and teacher reform, yet no genuine efforts have been made in supporting teacher effectiveness and the teaching and learning process. Consultants were hired last year to develop a plan for the district that will be enforced this year. The plan is not unlike many before it, just different names for the same practices. But it does have a twist, a systematic plan for the elimination of teachers and the teachers union. Sadly, what happened yesterday happened before and will happen again and there is nothing anyone can do about it, and Ms. Rhee and Mr. Fenty are well aware of this fact. The center of democracy in the modern world has endorsed a true autocracy. It will not change until the legislation changes and a new Mayor is in place. And Mr. Fenty knows that is highly unlikely. There are many reasons for school failure. Children don’t want to fail, and most teachers who choose the profession do so to help children succeed. The children and teachers have been let down by a system that has been broken for many years in the DC Public School System. It is hard to succeed in a system that is in continuous chaos. Many teachers have worked hard to maintain some semblance of order, safety, routine and learning within the walls of their classroom, not just to educate the children in their care, but to shelter and protect them from the dysfunction of the system. Tragically, it is the children who have lost the most in this most recent drama. The disrespect for students was also demonstrated yesterday at McKinley High School. While ripped from their students and their life’s work, good teachers will find teaching jobs, hopefully in districts that respect and support their efforts. But the children have no where to go. Like many autocracies children are the innocent victims of an unjust system, and have been for such a long time here in DC. As dedicated teachers are replaced by temporary transition teachers soon the children will have no one who believes in their potential and is committed for the long hall to doing what it takes to help them succeed. Our nation’s capitol is modeling how poverty and injustice can thrive.

Posted by: highquality4kids | October 3, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Who said that they are under performing teachers? Last year Rhee practically fired any teacher who was on a 90 day plan. Many of them were on 90 day plans for all the wrong reasons. Punitive measures!

Now we have a new bunch of principals hired this year. How in September could they have known who the ineffective teachers are? They don't know their staffs well enough to make such an assertion.

Posted by: candycane1 | October 3, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know two things: (1) Did the malicious overhiring of 900 teachers that has now resulted in hundreds losing their jobs and valuable programs and course selections no longer available to students violate the ANTI-DEFICIENCY ACT, which is punishable by dismissal and/or prosecution?

(2) Did Lafayette lose any teachers where the mayor sends his children? Did Oyster lose any teachers where Rhee and Reinoso send their children?

Posted by: candycane1 | October 4, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

An older teacher at Lafayette with a long history of outstanding evaluations was dismissed on Friday.

Posted by: highquality4kids | October 4, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Monday morning at 8:45 a.m, students at McKinley are gathering across the street from the school to protest unfair layoffs. Parents, teachers and other citizens are invited and are asked to WEAR BLACK.

For additional info, see:

Posted by: efavorite | October 4, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

they laid off 16 staff (8 teachers, 8 support) at cardozo senior high school. The majority of teachers let go were special education. This is because the District is pushing for full-inclusion, meaning students with learning disabilities are placed in the general education curriculum. My problem is, how can you expect a child to succeed in 10th grade English when their reading level is several grades below 10th? That is what many of these students' disabilities are based on: their low ability in reading and math. I have come to the conclusion that the school are more concerned about appearing as if they are meeting AYP rather than truly educating students. They shuffle students around with no regard to its impact on their learning. How can you give a child a class and instruction for 6 weeks and then tell them there is no grade for the class? So many things that are wrong with the DC public schools system, it's a travesty and injustice to the youth.

Posted by: brwnsknlady77 | October 4, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

All teachers and interested staff at ALL schools are asked to wear all black on Monday October 5 to support our colleagues who were unfairly dismissed on Friday.

Posted by: schooletal | October 4, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Please encourage everyone to attend the rally on the 8th. Personally, I disagree with the theme of rally for respsect. The theme should be Rhee must go. She caused the RIF

Posted by: candycane1 | October 5, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

I went to a couple of events around this issue and cut together this little video.

I think there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. Anyone who cares about DC's kids should go to the rally at Freedom Plaza and find out what's really up.

Posted by: lianekay | October 5, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I hope they sue! A lot of this sounds illegal.

Posted by: 411Tibby | October 5, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

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