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Fight to keep D.C. schools open fails

The last flickers of public school resistance against the weather in the Washington region faded at 4:32 Wednesday afternoon, when DCPS announced it was calling off Thursday classes.

So ends a snowbound four-day saga that began with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee planning to open up on a two-hour delay on Monday but ended with closures that have lasted all week. (Read my previous posts on this drama here, here and here.)

But for Rhee, the surrender is not quite unconditional. She says she still hasn't decided about Friday's scheduled day of professional development for teachers. Stay tuned.

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By Washington Post editors  |  February 10, 2010; 5:04 PM ET
 
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Next: Rhee: PD is on for Friday

Comments

PGCPS has canceled the teacher professional development day for Friday.
IS there no one at DCPS or DC Gov who can remember 1996, when schools were closed for a week.
Or do they think they walk on (frozen) water.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 10, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Of course she has already decided. That's the reason for the played out day by day drama. She will have PD on Friday.

It will go on if only one employee or no can get there. Her principals will find a way to punish anyone who fails to show up using IMPACT.

She will not miss an opportunity to stick it to the teachers.

This is a sorry way to run a school system.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 10, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

This is really exhausting. The constant "tit for tat" between the Chancellor, Mayor, WTU and Teachers. Cancel the Professional Development Day on Friday and be done with it! Its a Blizzard, many teachers unfortunately do not live in the District so commute is hazardous. Why do through all the unnecessary drama?! Cancel.

Posted by: nicstew | February 10, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

This broad is crazy. What will having teachers and other staff members do to the moral of a group of teachers who are already beat down. My understanding is the teachers will get training on teach 5. They could email the teachers the powerpoint which will be used in the training, if that is not an option, they could use the 30 minutes collaborative in the morning to do the training also. It might take all week, but at lease this will give the city the chance to make sure the city street are clear and safe for all of the employees who provide services to the citizens in the city. I wish she just leave and allow someone who truly have the best interest of the citizens of this city at heart to take over the job. It is just wishful thinking.

Posted by: mike99541 | February 10, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

How much sense would that make to fire up the heat and lights for one day before a 3 day weekend? How is that being responsible? That's a waste of taxpayer money by spending all that money on the utilities . . . and for "professional development?" Those PD days would be great if that's what they actually are but these days they are more like a forum for principals to spew vitriolic rants against teachers.

If Rhee opens on Friday for PD, she's just living up to the completely inept and out-of-touch leader that she is.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 10, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

As I look out of my front door, right around the corner from the mayor's residence; I see snowdrifts and a street that hasn't seen a plow since this whole thing started. My car is completely buried, and any furrows in the street made by the one or two larger personal vehicles that have come through, would cause my car to get stuck. I can't get off of my street. Missing one day of PD isn't going to turn me into more of the super teacher (National Board Certified, Highly Qualified) that I already am. PD can wait. I hope Mr. Turque follows up on what Ms. Rhee decided to clam up about.

Posted by: ajchilds20011 | February 10, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Cosign, nicstew. Many D.C. streets still have not been plowed either, hence the mayor's request for National Guard help. People are suffering from the fatigue of snow removal, power outages, and body aches. Metro is not even running fully.

Face it, folks. This storm has been an anomalous event. Today's blizzard snowfall even broke a record today. DC hasn't used snow days in over 4 years!!

They can have PD if they want, but it is doubtful that many will show up. Then what? Programs with presenters for a very small audience. What a wasted effort!

Posted by: schooletal | February 10, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I also guarantee that if she opens, barely any teachers will show up. This teacher definitely won't. I live on the Hill and there's no way they will have plowed us out by Friday morning.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 10, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

correction: DCPS has not used snow days in over 4 years.

Posted by: schooletal | February 10, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I live less than ten minutes from my school. My car, like everyone else's is buried under a mountain of snow. Who knows if we'll have tomorrow to even dig out. I hear the wind blowing now on my unplowed street. Rhee's got to give it up about opening for PD on Friday. I'm even scared thinking about driving to my school, though at least children wouldn't be forced to go until the roads and sidewalks are clear, possibly Tuesday.

Posted by: chelita | February 10, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Inside the mind of Michelle Rhee:

“If I hold the Professional Development day and no one comes I will trumpet it across the country, nay, the world, and everyone will see how truly lazy the DCPS teacher corps is! The entire galaxy will cheer me on as I ruthlessly weed out the worthless, unionized teachers who did not risk life and limb to learn how to be a more effective educator in the wake of the worst blizzard in recorded history. I will make a dramatic statement that will resonate throughout the universe:
‘As a teacher in this system, you have to be willing to take personal responsibility for ensuring that you get to professional development day despite obstacles…You can’t say, ‘My car’s buried under a snowdrift,’ or ‘My street hasn’t been plowed,’ or ‘My power’s been out for days, so I had no idea that professional development day was still on.’” *

* derived from this real quote from Michelle Rhee:
“As a teacher in this system, you have to be willing to take personal responsibility for ensuring your children are successful despite obstacles…You can’t say, ‘My students didn’t get any breakfast today,’ or ‘No one put them to bed last night,’ or ‘Their electricity got cut off in the house, so they couldn’t do their homework.”
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200811/michelle-rhee

Posted by: efavorite | February 10, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Teachers:

Here's a great idea:

If you are expected to show up for Professional Development Day, wait until you reach district property and then fall on the ice. Then you can stay home for the rest of the year with "back problems."

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | February 10, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Bil Turque, if you are writing "drama" in your Washington Post articles then you have failed as a journalist. Your professors would be ashamed to read this.

Thankfully I no longer pay for the Post. This piece and your professed self-importance in it is mind-boggling. It's nothing but an attempt to get comments from the usual crew and smacks of a needy, immature personality given a soapbox.

This column is evidence of a career on the decline. Print it out, edit it with a red pen, paste it to your mirror and read it every morning to remind yourself how low you fell while school was out of session.

Hack writing? Try Junior High Newspaper hack writing.

Posted by: bbcrock | February 10, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

bbcrock is certainly one strange fish.
I think we are seeing projection here.
He tells us he no longer pays for the Post, but feels the need to read, critise, and comment on Mr. Turque.
A maschoist, perhaps?
But, what else is to be gotten from an EDUCATED man who calls a direct quote "wildly misrepresenting" Miss Rhee's words.
BB, spare us, go spend more time at your kids school and with them.
I'm sure you can never give them too much attention.

Though, considering your tone here, maybe it's better that you abuse us.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 10, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Please forgive me, I misspelled masochist.
A different computer that doesn't spell check for me.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 10, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

b_a_Crock_of_sh


Old Crock


Can we vote on which is more appropriate for the edugimacated old crock?

Posted by: mamoore1 | February 11, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Miss Rhee is at it again.
Playing with stats and facts to make herself look good.
"Isn’t it great to have a superintendent who denigrates DC public schools every chance she gets? Here is an example that she just published:

“….under a new principal at one school, student reading proficiency went from 24 percent to 85 percent in just four years, and from 10 percent to 64 percent in math. In another, only 9 percent of the students were on grade level, when just down the street in a successful charter school, over 90 percent of students were. Same kids, same neighborhoods and exposure to violence, same poverty, hunger, and parent education levels. At the successful schools, the primary difference was the team of adults who decided it was possible for lives and outcomes to move in other directions.”

As usual, Rhee operates on innuendo, never actually giving facts that people can check easily."

http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/with-a-chancellor-like-this-dcps-doesnt-need-enemies/

http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fspotlightonpoverty.org%2FExclusiveCommentary.aspx%3Fid%3Df6886a5e-628e-411d-89a8-c8f9f0a73f4f

Posted by: edlharris | February 11, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm not going to bash the Chancellor, here, because I, thankfully, don't work for her (thank God for charter schools). Rather than putting up with all of this crap, I'm wondering why more teachers don't leave DCPS? Here's an all-important fact: you don't have to put up with the Chancellor and ALL kids need help. The DC Public Charter School system is almost as large as DCPS. Get out while you can, or cross your fingers and hope that Fenty doesn't get “Rhee-elected.”

Nonetheless, if she chooses to hold professional development tomorrow, that would not be deemed a prudent decision, and the turnout will give her all the data she needs.

Posted by: rasheeedj | February 11, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Linda/RetiredTeacher wrote:

Teachers:

Here's a great idea:
If you are expected to show up for Professional Development Day, wait until you reach district property and then fall on the ice. Then you can stay home for the rest of the year with "back problems."

Unbelievable.

Posted by: trace1 | February 11, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Unbelievable indeed - it was obviously a joke - just like when mamoore1 commented in Turque’s Insurrection” post that Rhee finally decided to close the schools after having lunch with God.

Posted by: efavorite | February 11, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

A joke? Not a funny one. And very revealing of a certain mindset.

Posted by: trace1 | February 11, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I'd say it's more likely that your response is revealing of a certain mindset.

Posted by: efavorite | February 11, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The Federal Government closed. That means that even the animals in the zoo have the day off due to weather. J
However, the children, teachers and principals must be put on display to make a political point and to feed the sick egos of the mayor and the chancellor. You don't need to go as far as compassion. Common sense is all that's required here.

Posted by: candycane1 | February 11, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I went out to my car this morning and I slipped.
Fortunately, I did not injure myself.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

As the DC "Insider" it would have been productive for Turque to post this link to the DCPS website, which includes grade level skills packets for kids to work on at home:

http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Parents+and+Community/Help+Your+Child+Succeed/Learning+Activities+for+Snowed+In+Families

Michael Birnbaum (always intelligent and worth reading) included the link in his article today. For Turque, if it's not controversial, personality-driven, and geared towards racking up comments, it doesn't seem to make the printed page.

Posted by: Oneder | February 11, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else agree with Oneder that Bill Turque is not "always intelligent and worth reading?

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | February 11, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

At least Bill Turque does not have his tongue totally up Rhee's derriere. I give him kudos for somewhat balanced reporting on education in DC - especailly since the newspaper he works for is a part of the Rhee PR machine.

DO teachers actually have to risk their lives for a professional development day? If they die trying to get to school, Rhee will probably blame it on their incompetence and the union. And if they don't go, she will call them lazy. Talk about a no-win situation.

Posted by: sfteacher | February 11, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Teachers that can make it should go. I'll bet the teachers even get paid for not working, all week, unlike me. Taking a quick break here and seeing people not at work whine about snow is so funny.

That said, it is a traffic nightmare with the missing lanes. That is going to be with us for weeks. Should we just give up?

At the very least, all of the local school systems should be canceling the President's Day holiday, and perhaps instituting Saturday classes to make up for lost time.

Posted by: staticvars | February 11, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

to staticvars: As a DCPS teacher, I can tell you that "yes" we are getting paid this week while not working. However, don't forget that we work under a contract and must work a specified number of days. The days will have to be made up so we're not collecting money for not working.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 11, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I got a four on the teach five components. DO we really need to waste taxpayer dollars on this? THe PD on IMPACT always ends up just being a finger wagging session anyway. I am tired of PD at DCPS: one rant after another. Interspered with public praise of a select few by name so as to make the rest of us feel even worse. Do I really want to brave the roads for that?

I haven't learned one single new thing in PD this year that will actually help me in the classroom to actually improve learning for kids. Not one thing that has inspired my teaching. Not one. But I have learned how worthless I am. I don't need brave the roads to feel worthless and demonized; DCPS and the WaPo have already accomplished that.

Save the money, DCPS. And use the saved money for the development of some real professional development.

Posted by: wizzard2 | February 11, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

ANd she always has to make everything suspenseful: Every other school made the decision by Monday that they'd be closed for the rest of the week. Not Rhee: we have to be kept on our toes til six pm day by day wondering if we have to risk life and limb to go to work the following day.

Posted by: wizzard2 | February 11, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, looking at it objectively, making these relatively small decisions suspenseful distractions certainly takes the public eye off more important stuff, doesn't it?

Posted by: justthefacts13 | February 11, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

And it makes adults uncomfortable, something she loves to do -- only in the best interests of children, of course.

Posted by: efavorite | February 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Hello all

Just came back in from trying to dig my car out. As I take two Aleve and crawl into my bed, I would like to say that DCPS will see me on Tuesday.

The drama is over for me.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 11, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Hello all

Just came back in from trying to dig my car out. As I take two Aleve and crawl into my bed, I would like to say that DCPS will see me on Tuesday.

The drama is over for me.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 11, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

DCPS website confirms that DCPS will be open and on time for teachers tomorrow (Friday) for the professional development day. How stupid!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 11, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the Chancellor may not even be in town, why have someone else send this for her?

"Dear DCPS Teachers:

Attached and below is a note to you from Chancellor Rhee.

I hope you are all safe and warm and dry.

Thanks very much,

Peggy O'B

Peggy O'Brien, Ph.D.
Chief, Office of Family and Public Engagement

Office of the Chancellor
District of Columbia Public Schools

Dear DCPS Teachers,

We have decided to proceed with Friday’s professional development day as planned. One of the key messages I hear from teachers at the Listening Sessions at schools across the city is that we need to do more to support you in our work. The district-wide professional development days are a key opportunity to do exactly that. Because we have such a limited number of these days, and because the worst of the weather has passed, I have decided to move forward with the scheduled activities tomorrow.

Though the roads may be challenging tomorrow morning, we have been advised that Metro will be fully operational. If you simply cannot make the trip in, please inform your principal right away.

Thank you so much for your dedication.

Sincerely,

Michelle Rhee"

Posted by: Peppered | February 11, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

FOr the record, good work Bill!!! The roads are still iced, Michelle Rheee!!!!!!

Posted by: abc1236 | February 11, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

What a joke- we are calling it "professional development" for a cadre of lazy, unprofessional idiots complaining about having to go to work and getting paid with my tax dollars to do their job. This is yet another pathetic example of why DC parents are pulling their kids out of these schools. As long as these employees continue to feel entitled to their day jobs, children will suffer and DCPS will continue to crumble.

Posted by: franciscomillet | February 12, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

This is yet another pathetic example of why DC parents are pulling their kids out of these schools. As long as these employees continue to feel entitled to their day jobs, children will suffer and DCPS will continue to crumble.

Posted by: franciscomille
***************
According to DCPS, Jo-Ann Armao, And Fred Hiatt things are getting better since Miss Rhee came and enrollment went UP this year.

Posted by: edlharris | February 12, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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