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Rhee fires 241 teachers

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has fired 241 teachers for poor classroom performance, officials said Friday. The dismissals are the first under a rigorous new evaluation system launched this year.

As D.C. Schools Insider reported Thursday, the fired teachers received sub-par appraisals under the new IMPACT evaluation system.

Stay tuned for more details.

By Bill Turque  |  July 23, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
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Next: IMPACT'S impact: 'Fear and rejection'


Several years ago a speech therapist in New York reported her district to the federal government for submitting false claims for speech services. The therapist received $10 million dollars under the federal False Claims Act for reporting this fraud.

The reason I tell this story is because teachers aren't the only people in a district who get into trouble for poor performance. In my experience as a teacher I found that the most egregious transgressions were often committed by administration. Here are some crimes that teachers, parents and community members need to look for:

Manipulating test scores for the purpose of getting federal and/or state money;

Encouraging and enabling personnel to cheat on state tests;

Threatening employees;

Violation of labor laws;

Firing people to make room for relatives, friends or members of a favored organization;

Providing false information to the fire department and other agencies that protect life;

Providing false information to the federal government, especially in regard to special education, for the purpose of getting more money;

Withholding appropriate instruction from special ed students, as outlined in their IEPs;

Lying on a resume for the purpose of procuring a high-paying position;

Lying on an application for the purpose of getting federal and/or state funds;

Denying or hiding services from disabled children and their parents;

Pressuring teachers to refrain from filing legitimate reports to police and/or protective services (especially in regard to assaults on children by peers);


Having conflicts of interest in order to garner personal or financial gain from district job;


Creating a hostile environment for employees;

Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability, etc.

Etc., etc.

The federal government just passed a new financial reform law that will allow whistle-blowers to collect between 10% and 30% of what the government recoups in fines and settlements in financial fraud cases. So, teachers, keep a sharp eye out for any inproprieties at work. Make sure you report any findings to OUTSIDE agencies and NOT the district. Good luck!

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | July 23, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

So when is Rhee going to be fired for poor performance?

Posted by: jlp19 | July 23, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Last June Ms. Rhee fired approximately 250 teachers without the new evaluation method. This was before the firing of over two hundred teachers in October because of the her failure to manage the school budget.

Massive firings of police officers in poverty areas such as DC are not effective in reducing crime.

These massive firings have only convinced individual who have obtained an education in teaching that the Title 1 poverty public schools of DC should be avoided like the plague.

Given the current environment of Title 1 poverty public schools I seriously doubt that any new teacher just leaving College would seek a position in any Title 1 poverty public schools.

The national tests of DC of 2009 contrary to the bogus DC standardized tests of 2010 do not show any significant improvement in the Title 1 poverty public schools of DC.

The national tests of DC of 2009 showed the same gains that DC was making on national tests prior to the arrival of Ms. Rhee without massive firings.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It is bad news for the individuals who will have to scramble for new employment, but good news for a system that has for far too long made it next to impossible to remove poor teachers.

Posted by: horacemann | July 23, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I have emailed Bill Turque a question of how the 2010 DC tests can be in conflict with the national tests of DC of 2009 which show proficiency rates of as low as 11 percent, while DC has claimed proficiency rates of 43 percent in the article of Bill Turque.

Bill Turque and the Washington Post should provide an explanation of this glaring problem.

Are the DC standards such that Basic, which is below Proficient on national tests, considered to be Proficient by DC?

Currently the national tests are the only recognized unbiased standardized tests in the nation.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I am from Honduras, a very poor underdeveloped country, and the public school teachers here have only taught their students to go out and protest for anything under the sun. This week, a student died while protesting for their student bonuses! Imagine, they want to get paid to attend school now!

If the Ministry of Education would implement a system such as this one, pay the teachers according to performance, or heck, just showing up to teach, this beautiful country would be so much better.

Therefore, I am in favor of paying people according to their performance, especially in a field so important as education. I am not aware of Ms. Rhee's background or whatever she may have done before, but I do agree with paying fair salaries to teachers who actually work.

Posted by: MarisaRB | July 23, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I am from Honduras

I am not aware of Ms. Rhee's background or whatever she may have done before,...
Posted by: MarisaRB
Nice that those who write comments provide us with their knowledge in the area.

I had no idea that an article on firing someone could be seen as paying fair salaries to those who actually work.

Live and learn.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

It is bad news for the individuals who will have to scramble for new employment, but good news for a system that has for far too long made it next to impossible to remove poor teachers.

Posted by: horacemann
How does this post explain that last June Ms. Rhee fired approximately 250 teachers without the new evaluation method?

We do not blame the lowest soldiers for losing the war and we do not blame the lowest level police officers for rising crime, but in Washington DC it is okay to blame the teachers for the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Do we really believe that the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools which have existed for over fifty years were the fault of teachers and that fifty years ago there should have been massive firings of teachers and there would be no problem today with the Title 1 poverty public schools?

Many in the public blamed the union auto workers for the government aid and assistance that GM needed while Ford with union auto workers did not require government aid or assistance.

Ms. Rhee can fire as many teachers as she wants and there will be no real improvement in the DC Title 1 poverty public schools.

The reality of education is that any school system is overwhelming more dependent upon teachers than they are on the head of the school system.

Any teacher in the DC system would be out in an instance if there was an opportunity to do so.

Any qualified teacher would not want to work in the Washington DC school system.

Shooting soldiers on the basis of blaming them for losing the war is not effective and blaming teachers for all of the problems of the DC Title 1 poverty public schools is not effective.

National tests have shown so far not any gains in DC than the gains that were being seen before Ms. Rhee.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Since the test scores in elementary schools DROPPED this year, how come Fenty isn't firing Rhee? What happened to "Whatever's good for the goose is good for the gander" basic philosophy?

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 23, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The Chancellor can be as brutal as she wants to, she has been given the power to do so. I insist in this point, I am all for hiring new energetic teachers, even if they are Teach for America instructors. Unfortunately, many don't stay in the school system for more than three years. In my school not one has stayed more than what is required of them. This is a profession that takes time to develop. When I look back at my career it took at least three years for me to find an adequate rhythm and five to be considered by my standards as good. Unfortunately in those early years most teachers think they are doing phenomenal work and in hindsight they are not. Eventually, we realize that we get better every period, every day, every year. The school system has been inundated with a significant number of novice teachers I feel the balance is not right. In my estimation the tests scores at the elementary's declined due to the fact that many of its new teachers are newbies. Ever since Michelle Rhee took over most of the candidates that are sent to the schools are novice teachers with no experience. I know this would not fly in Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and west of the park. Parents in these jurisdictions are not going to allow political experiments on their children. Finally, add IMPACT to that mix, you take a first year teacher and you tell him or her, "your teaching career will be judged in 5 observations that are 20 minutes long". I seen some of these teachers cry and have nervous break downs over a bad evaluation. Michelle Rhee has created a school system that is based on threats of dismissal and an overall lack of trust in anything she says. I would admire her if she told us the truth and stopped the charade the hypocrisy and the cynicism. She will never convene the entire school system the way she did on her first year, she knows very well she won't be able to speak. These people who are running the school system better assume responsibility for their amateurish behavior, the test scores went down under their watch. It's a little bit like another Chancellor I know who was an amateur without credentials who blamed everyone else for loosing his war.

Posted by: marylight | July 23, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

There you have it, a first on these comment boards. One "marylight" compared Rhee to the leader of the Third Reich. Well done; maybe you can get a gig on Faux News.

Posted by: axolotl | July 23, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Her test score will keep going down, just watch next year. Axolotl

Posted by: marylight | July 23, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Newsweek supports the firing of the teachers:

Posted by: aby1 | July 23, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to these entitled under-performing whiners. You were horrible teachers that have no place in front of teachers.

Don't let the door hit your underperforming ass on the way out.

Posted by: jameskim99 | July 24, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

jameskim99 ,

How do you know they were horrible teachers? What if some of them were good?

How do we know that you might be a horrible underperformer yourself? You know, the pot calling the kettle black.

Posted by: aby1 | July 24, 2010 5:27 AM | Report abuse

What grade level?

I think that alot of the teachers that are being fired don't have a chance.

Teachers in those areas are fighting threats against themselves, fights in class, disreptive students, lack of good supplies, and yes BAD KIDS...mostly because of BAD PARENTS.

I get that if a teacher is uncertified or is just terrible....showing up late, no lesson plans, missing parent planning meetings, but if they are doing all they can and the students are still bad...then that falls on the parents and the student.

That's my opinion...

Posted by: impervious99 | July 26, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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