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'Sizable' number of teachers face IMPACT ax

DCPS is preparing to dismiss a "sizable" number of teachers and other school staff who received sub-par appraisals under the new IMPACT evaluation system. That was the takeaway from a briefing for journalists Thursday morning at DCPS headquarters, where deputy chancellor Kaya Henderson and "director of teacher human capital strategy" Jason Kamras offered a tutorial on the program, which was launched this past school year.

The briefing was billed as "background," meaning that the information could be used but not directly attributed. That's one of the reasons I took a pass on attending. Somehow, the session migrated onto the record, because reporters from The Examiner and WAMU filed pieces Thursday morning attributing comments to Henderson, including the word "sizable" as a characterization of the number of prospective firings.

Even though Henderson did not elaborate, DCPS decided that it had said too much. It reasserted later that the session was on background, although both reporters who attended said there was no question that the session was on the record.

In an early afternoon e-mail, spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway said:

"DCPS is committed to having a highly effective teacher in every classroom. IMPACT, an educator assessment system, was developed to help DCPS ensure that all school-based staff are effective in their service to our students.

DCPS is currently in the process of compiling and preparing the final results from the first full year of IMPACT results. As of today, no final numbers are available for release, nor is DCPS prepared to make any specific or general statements about the results of the evaluations. A briefing was held this morning for the media for background purposes only, so that the press can be prepared with all context when the final numbers are released."

IMPACT is a signature initiative of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, part of her effort to move emphasize performance and accountability over seniority in the city's teacher corps. It is also controversial because about 20 percent of the District's 3,800 classroom teachers will have half of their evaluation based on improvement in standardized test scores.

Most of the other half of the assessment -- and the bulk of the evaluations for teachers in non-testing grades -- will be based on the elaborate new "teaching and learning framework" introduced at the beginning of the school year. Over the course of five classroom observations, teachers were scored in 22 separate areas across nine categories.

After an initial observation last fall all teachers were supposed to receive a "growth plan" outlining strengths and weaknesses and plans for assistance, if needed. Rhee said the District is committed to "targeted professional development" to help struggling teachers improve. Teacher performance will be converted to a 100-to-400 point scale. Those falling below 175 will be subject to dismissal.

You can see an example of the final evaluation form teachers will receive here.

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By Bill Turque  |  July 22, 2010; 2:09 PM ET
 
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Next: Rhee fires 241 teachers

Comments

Here are the links to the articles mentioned:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/blogs/capital-land/more-firings-loom-for-dcps-99030904.html

http://wamu.org/news/10/07/22.php#36081

Posted by: efavorite | July 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Conceiving of the RIF in October and here it is 9 months later and we have a bouncing baby named Impact. All of this before the wedding...how loaded is the subliminal shotgun? What is this Kaya and Jason are the new dynamic duo of DCPS?

Posted by: PowerandPride | July 22, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I notice that they showed the IMPACT report of a successful Group 2 teacher. They didn't show the Group 1 teachers who have 50% of their evaluation based on a test of 25 or so students.

Once again, Ms. Rhee claims that we should look at the past 3 years of success, not just this last one, which wasn't so good. Unfortunately, teachers are not so fortunate, one bad year (or rough class, or whatever) and you are gone.

On another note, you are going to find a hard time finding anyone willing to work for DCPS if they are liable to be fired in late July, after almost all school districts have finished their hiring for the year.

Basically, it will be almost impossible for some of these teachers to find full time teaching jobs for the fall, and most smart teachers will not put themselves in a situation where they could face a full year of unemployment in their chosen profession.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | July 22, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is very quick to fire teachers. I wish she'd be as quick at cutting those retro checks promised to us in the new contract. And for those of us who were rated "highly effective" under IMPACT, how 'bout cutting those bonus checks pronto?

Rhee: Put the money where your mouth is or keep it shut!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 22, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

So many unanswered questions.
Why has the IMPACT been heavily revamped for this fall and should teachers be let go if the instrument was flawed?
What ever happened to the erasure investigation and did scores drop because there were no erasures this year?
Doesn't the group 1 teacher IMPACT instrument actually weigh the DC CAS at 50% (IVA) + 5% (SVA) or 55% of the total teacher's rating?
Isn't the fact that the last contract saw almost 500 teachers dismissed with it's passage an indication that we will see something similar this time regardless of the reported reason for dismisal?
If Fenty is re-elected will he honor the raises in the contract?

Posted by: jedxn1 | July 22, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The irony about IMPACT is that its "father" Jason Kamras would have been fired under its standards as his students showed negative growth when he taught math at Sousa Middle School 5 years ago.
See Mr. Kamras's work here:
http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/what-is-the-value-of-having-a-superstar-teacher/

"In both reading and math, the scores at Sousa were mostly going down during his tenure. And the school definitely did NOT make AYP, despite what his bio says. In fact, only about 14% of the 143 students at Sousa scored Proficient or Advanced in math that year; that’s about 20 students. Were they all Kamras’ students? ... If he had 4 or 5 classes of 20 to 25 students each, which is a normal teaching load, then he had from 80 to 125 students. Even if all of the ones who scored Proficient or Advanced were in Kamras’ classes, then 20 out of 80 is only 25% and 20 out of 125 is only 16%. Neither percentage would meet AYP in 2005. So, .... the claims being made about Kamras’ student’s AYP scores don’t measure up.

A couple of years after losing Mr. Kamras, the school finally rebounded, and now the percentage of students at Sousa scoring proficient appears to be … higher than ever."

Posted by: edlharris | July 22, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Will a list of educators receiving bonuses be released??

Posted by: edlharris | July 22, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

It's time to tell young people not to go into teaching. There are too many people like Michelle Rhee who uses her power like an ax to kill people's careers.

Posted by: jlp19 | July 22, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Rhee should be fired, but her moneyed friends will prevent that from happening.

Posted by: aby1 | July 22, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of rigorous, peer reviewed evaluations of teachers. But to dismiss a "sizable number of teachers" through an experimental evaluation system that has only been in place one year, is insane. They haven't begun to work out the kinks in this system and they're going to fire a lot of teachers? This is more Rhee insanity...Oh and by the way, I wonder how her performance would fare under this evaluation system? Is her performance subject to an experimental evaluation?

Posted by: TripLBee | July 23, 2010 5:26 AM | Report abuse

Why is is that some teachers think that they shouldn't be held accountable to meet performance standards on the job - just as the rest of us are held accountable in the business world?

If teachers are fired based on students not learning...that's their own fault. A teacher that allows kids to fail and continue to be passed through the public school system - while a teacher is permitted to collect a paycheck is unacceptable.

The unions fight to protect a teacher who has paid their dues...even when a teachers students are failing? Get Real People...I applaud Ms. M. Rhee for her hard knocks/tough love fix as she gets rid of the dead wood and brings in some new fresh blood. Everyone in life should be held accountable to performance standards on the job - no matter what that job may be - Life is competitive. If you can't take the heat - then get out of the kitchen. We moved to Wash, DC 13 yrs. ago from San Diego, CA...The Wash, DC Public Schools are a disgrace and thanks to Ms. Rhee...something is finally, at long last, being done to fix them...all for the good of the students who attend. What's not to like in that story? If you are good at what you do re your teaching profession...you have no worries. If you are under-performing re your kids scores are not good...maybe you need to think about getting into a new profession. It is just that simple. Teaching is about educating our youth...not YOU.

Posted by: wendy12345 | July 23, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

She fired a significant number of the central office staff. In my school we have had two principals fired under her leadership. Consider that she has also fired a great number of principals add to that number the 90 day plan teachers and the 200 plus teachers Riffed. Now you can add to that total teachers who are "IMPACTED OUT". I guesstimate over a thousand employees. I am also adding to that total the higher ups such as Noah Wepman, although I have heard a rumor that he is still working for DCPS. In any case why fire Wepman he only made a 21 million dollar accounting mistake. This is a scheme to fire as many DCPS employees as possible under the name of reform.

Posted by: marylight | July 23, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

For many decades under Walter Washington, Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Kelly, etc hired just about anyone as a teacher and we're now paying the price with incompetent, unqualified lifers that ruin our school system.

Why do you think so many young families move to Bethesda from Ward 3 when their children reach school age?

DC can eventually fix the physical plant issues but until they get rid of as many of the worst of the lifers, it will never improve.

Posted by: nativedc | July 23, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully this is not surprising anyone...Rhee and Co are following fairly typical corporate hiring and firing practices that have been deducible from their first day. Churn 5-10% at the bottom to keep the others on their toes and to clear deadwood. Jack Welsh made a name for himself doing it at GE.

After years of patronage hiring, teacher union protection, etc., people in the classroom (including myself) have to put up growth numbers or get out. I, and most teachers, are really motivated to put up growth numbers. Sure, its a flawed system, but a dramatic improvement over its predecessor. And, we being human, we need a bit of a threat to keep us from going stale.

I don't like many things about the way Rhee and Co operate, but one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle is now in place. Now, lets get to work and make an impact (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | July 23, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Who will be left to get the raise? Based on this agenda, the highest paid teachers in the country will only be on paper. If such progress is being made according to Rhee, why is there still a need to fire teachers instead of building on the growth? This is the same as St. Hopes. The constant turnover forced parents to act on their feet and the enrollment dropped drastically. This is what she knows. This is her idea of reform.

Posted by: candycane1 | July 23, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"The briefing was billed as "background," meaning that the information could be used but not directly attributed. That's one of the reasons I took a pass on attending."

It would be nice if the Post had a reporter who actually attended media events for items of intense local interest, like the schools.

Posted by: rosepetals64 | July 23, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Wendy12345 – on the surface, an accountability system for any employee is a good idea, but I like to think if you were more knowledgeable about the IMPACT system, you’d be more skeptical about this one. It’s not a simple matter of “teachers fired based on students not learning” but of a whole system over which teachers have little control, but are given all the responsibility and all the blame. Teachers can’t control student attendance, parental involvement (e.g., reading to their kids, getting them to bed at a decent hour, helping with their homework, fixing them decent meals) or preparedness from the previous grade – where, for instance the earlier teacher may have recommended keeping the child back a year, but the administration enforced social promotion.

Many teachers in the DCPS system don’t know at the beginning of the year that they will have adequate supplies for their classes or whether they will have a couple of kids who are so disruptive that they interfere with the concentration of all the others.

As for the replacements of these fired teachers, did you know that many of them have no experience at all? Therefore no past evaluations? They are kids right out of college who do a quicky training session in the summer. Granted, they made good grades at good schools, but that’s it. They are expected to stay in teaching for two years, paying off their student loans, and getting a reduced-cost master’s degree before going on to other things. Nonetheless, they are treated as if they are inherently superior to the fired teachers. Many teachers like this were hired last summer and this is the first year that scores when down in the elementary grades since Rhee arrived three years ago. There’s no proof yet that they were the cause of it, (the data exists, but Rhee hasn’t shared it) but you can bet that if scores had gone up, Rhee would be crediting her new hires with the success.

Posted by: efavorite | July 23, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Thetensionmakesitwork - You sure don’t sound like a teacher, talking about your students in terms of as “putting up growth numbers” and talking about teachers in terms of needing “a bit of a threat to keep us from going stale.”

I don’t think most parents would be impressed with this kind of teacher motivation which seems very self-centered, but would prefer teachers who think in terms of understanding and helping their students while imparting knowledge to them.

You do sound exactly like the type of teacher who would thrive under Rhee, though -- driven by data and threats.

Posted by: efavorite | July 23, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Efavorite, fair point, but its not the only way I think about the profession and my role...my comments are a reaction to the facts on the ground in the school I work at, and if I'm not willing to meet Rhee and Co halfway at least, then I can either stay in the school and be miserable, or leave. I've struggled with this reform, and at times have been frustrated. Meeting it at least halfway is where I am at now.

Most parents I have worked with understand that the tests are not the only measure of their child's growth, but nonetheless are hoping their child shows growth. Its a reasonable position. I feel the same way, and go out of my way to balance my and my student's focus on the test with experiental and other types learning.

You very well likely are a much better teacher and person than I am. Yes, I do have a self-interest and I am fairly motivated to make sure they do well on tests, for their sake and my own. However, I make no apologies for doing so.

I would apologize if testing was my only focus, however, and/or that I didn't put myself out all the time while working in this field. This is a field that demands sacrifice and self-denial constantly.

So, off your pedestal!

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | July 23, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

According to my preliminary scores, I fall anywhere between minimally effective to highly effective, pending test scores.I have been a DCPS educator for 13 years, and although I believe that IMPACT is a better system than PPEP, I have to question how my effectiveness can be so heavily weighted by test scores.

Posted by: dcpsteacher1 | July 23, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

This is why I will never work as a teacher for DCPS. These teachers work under stress and at the end of the day very few appriciate what they do. Then to have to wait to hear if you have a job come next school term is too much. Be blessed teachers I wish you the best.

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | July 23, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

dcpsteacher1, I am in the same boat, as probably 95% of us are...50% may bit a bit high.....30% would reflect the amount of time I devote to it.

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | July 23, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Looks as if it's like any other performance evaluation given by your employer. Why are DCPS teachers so offended by IMPACT. Do your best, for those who don't, u know the rest. It's very simply.

Posted by: masefa2005 | July 23, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

What is the biggest challenge for teachers to educate students? How can/do teachers impact a person's learning when that person does not want to or appreciate/ respect the learning process?

My wife is a teacher, we have friends that teach including people with experience in primary school districts in the DC area, as well some college professors. I think I get an honest answer from them, but I'm curious as to the opinion of others. I know the Rhee approach claims none of that matters under the guise that all kids can learn. However,I remember my own educational experience, and I saw the impacts in my kid's classrooms.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 23, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

As a public high school teacher in the metro-Denver area, and one who has taught in several disparate districts, my experience and education, like many teachers, gives me insight into the reality of standardized testing.
1. There will ALWAYS be a bell-curve.
2. Average and high achieving students will typically learn IF the bottom third of students are no longer present (since they slow the entire class down due to ineptitude, laziness, unwillingness to work, disruptive behavior, etc.)
3. NCLB mainstreamed students into classrooms who shouldn't be there; we forfeit the advancement of the middle and high students because we slow the class down for the bottom third.
4. Race to the Top is not going to make any huge gains because the local committee meetings were a total sham.
5. Getting rid of tenure is the death of keeping your best and brightest teachers; why go into education with beginning low pay with the illusion of staying in for the long haul will eventually pay off? It won't because the district will be just like corporations--get rid of older, more experienced teachers towards the end of their careers so you don't have to pay them full pension benefits, even though they slaved away for peanuts their first ten years.
6. If you keep the current structure of schools, nothing will change. Requiring ALL students to follow the SAME course of education and expecting the SAME results from all of them is utter madness. Not all students are capable or want to study.
7. We CHEAT the US out of the best and brightest students because out of the 'special needs' funds, we spend 98% on students with learning disabilities who will NEVER gain IQ points or be able to comprehend history or French, while we spend a mere 2% of that budget on the Gifted and Talented programs. Unbelievable!
8. We do not require that those going into education administration first worked as teachers for at least TEN years, so they actually fathom what classroom teaching is like; additionally, we do not pay the good administrators enough based upon the hours they work and amount of responsibility they carry. Simultaneously, we do not get rid of inept administrators quickly enough.
9. If you don't have an adequate rate of salary, you do not attract the best and brightest to the profession; or you lose the good ones within the first ten years.
10. Districts do not maintain healthy buildings--most schools are using 'recycled' ventilation systems, and thus we have far too many teachers who get ill and stay ill.
11. Teachers with more than two preps should get paid more;
the salary structure is wrong. A teacher in a niche area with 3, 4, or 5 preps needs to get paid more than the teacher with only two preps in a mainstream area like sports or history.
12. As soon as we STOP spending academic dollars on athletics, we shall magically see some change because monies can be properly allocated towards academic endeavors.
14. Lack of vocation programs is a huge mistake.

Posted by: ceejinator | July 23, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'd also like to add, that I believe approximately 25% of teachers are inept or lazy. There are also a large chunk of teachers who aren't very good teachers but are hired simply because the school needed a girl's basketball coach or because of nepotism.

People ALWAYS make comments about 'teachers need to be held accountable just like those of us in the real world'...REALLY? Gee, thanks for the reality check. Teaching is a lot different than other jobs. Like I mentioned in my previous post, there is always going to be a bell curve--always.

So for districts to expect that scores will always go up and that all children are equal (they are not), is ludicrous at best. Just look at the stock market--artificially inflated based upon greed and a public that invested based upon a bunch of avaricious brokers' spiels...but who is really to blame? Isn't it the responsibility of all parties involved? Of course it is.

The first responsibility is that of the PARENTS. Unfortunately, most parents are busy working for their 1980's salaries' worth in 2010, which doesn't allow them to spend adequate time with their children; and most people live beyond their means and/or fail to do a very good job at family planning (the least educated typically have the most children and at younger ages.)

The second factor is the IQ score, the interest in the subject area, and the level of work ethic of the STUDENT.

The third factor is the TEACHER with his or her ability to do the job correctly (and give a hoot about the students!), knowledge of the subject area, and proper compensation and support by admin in order to the job properly.

So perhaps the public needs a reality check--there are three factors, the family situation and parental involvement, the student and his/her ability and work ethic, and the teacher and his/her ability, knowledge, and work ethic. It is unrealistic to expect that all students can attain the same level of achievement because they cannot. The US can provide the opportunity, but all three involved parties must equally be up to the task at hand; unfortunately 'equal' is not the case. No one wants to admit it, but there will ALWAYS be a bell curve, period.

Posted by: ceejinator | July 23, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Since the DC school system produces pupils who test consistently below every state in the US - I cannot find fault with Rhee firing incompetent teachers. Welcome to the world of private industry. If you don't like it, why don't you change careers.

Posted by: steven7753 | July 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

To Thetensionmakesitwork -- All teachers have a self interest, as well as an interest in their students. After all, teaching is a job one does for money, not just love. But until now, I’ve never heard teachers talk about their jobs in terms of putting up growth numbers and needing a bit of a threat to perform well. I hope this isn’t a trend.

As for “This is a field that demands sacrifice and self-denial constantly.” Why must this be so? Sacrifice, low pay, self-denial, showing growth numbers, threat of being fired at a time of year when it’s hard to find another job, --- Why must teachers face all this and who would want to go into teaching knowing this is what’s expected?

Posted by: efavorite | July 23, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

steven7753

"Since the DC school system produces pupils who test consistently below every state in the US - I cannot find fault with Rhee firing incompetent teachers. Welcome to the world of private industry. If you don't like it, why don't you change careers."

Wow. Did you even read the other posters' comments comments before hitting the submit button? In the world of private industry you get to control factors that teachers have no control over. I could go on-and-on, but it's already been said in the previous comments. The polarization is blinding.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 23, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting to find out where the teachers who were fired were on the pay scale.

Were IMPACTED teachers in general more experienced (thus more expensive) or newer teachers?

Posted by: celestun100 | July 23, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

efavorite -- are DC teachers still in the "low pay" category you mention? And re the risk of getting fired at a particular time of year as a concern to you, please recognize that most US workers could be fired any day of the year. 93 percent have no union protection like DC teachers. Things are just that way in our economy, but most government employees never have to worry about that.

Posted by: axolotl | July 23, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree that there are 3 pieces to the education puzzle, but I think that really every kid can learn with a good teacher and a good, supportive school administrator.

What I have found to be true is that it is extremely difficult to teach if there is a negative environment within the school.

Teachers have to be really positive, the goal is basically to get kids who don't know they can learn, or don't want to, to learn.

The leader sets the tone. If everyone is under negative pressure it trickles down to the students.

Posted by: celestun100 | July 23, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

axotl
I sometimes feel you won't be happy until all the teachers in DCPS will be fired.

Posted by: celestun100 | July 23, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to me, my frame of reference has always been the private sector and as such, I don't understand what all the complaining is about. The expectations have been defined and explained, if you don't meet them, you're out. I'm certain each of these people that are being RIF'd were aware of this possibility and should have taken measures to save their job. By definition,they've fired themselves by not meeting standards.

Posted by: WhitneyDavid | July 23, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

eFavorite...I'm with you on that...but as a number of posters have said, its a reality for most people in the US today. Employees are not treated well in many companies and organizations. I knew this coming into the profession and accept it.

Let me elaborate on the threat comment...maybe its not the best word to convey the idea. Even though I am a self-starter and my internal motivation dwarfs what Rhee and Co can do, I would say that the TLF obvservations keep me on my toes a bit and the test scores definitely provide me an extra dose of accountability. Do I like? No, I usually am in a resentful mode about it...but I'm trying to turn "lemons into lemonade" and I'm guessing that you haven't taken that step. Its a public institution, and you can't go in expecting to dictate terms.

Now, my real beef with this rollout of IMPACT is that it is likely that the 16% receiving bonuses will likely consist of teachers that were not under the testing scrutiny that I am. If my TLF evals were 80% like them, then I would receive the bonus as they average 3.87. But the testing component, weighted at 50% is going to drag down most teacher's overall scores to under the 350 points needed for the bonus because 70-80% will fall in the mean. Not fair at all, and I'm shocked that it would be rolled out in such a way.

Mr. Turque, do you have any information on that? Can you dig into it as its a major equity issue? What percent of teachers receiving the bonus are from the testing grades (3-8, 10)? If its substantially lower than 16%, then there is a major flaw.

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | July 23, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

WhitneyDavid

In the private sector, if your evaluation depended upon the performance of your subordinates, and some of those subordinates came to work late and didn't complete their tasks, you would fire them. Teachers don't have that luxury. Try teaching a student who comes to school sporadically, doesn't bring her required materials and rarely completes assigned tasks. Teachers don't get to choose who they teach. Of course not all students fit this characterization, but it does exemplify some of the inputs that teachers have no control over. Then you are going to tell teachers that their evaluations will be based on test scores from tests that students aren't themselves accountable for. That's simply absurd.

All of you business model advocates need to wake up and look at reality. The business model has ruined this country. Well maybe not for the elites, but for common Americans. The business model is a zero-sum game while education is supposed to lift all boats. Don't you see the inconsistency in trying to apply the business model to education? Apparently not.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 23, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Americans are stupid. Americans in this day and age still fail to recognize or question those with agendas that will spew lies and partial truths for their benefit. This recent issue with the lady from Agriculture and the slander by Bret Barber and Fox news is a perfect example. The majority of us have a mindset that if it comes from a voice or position recognized as official, smart, convinced or otherwise, thus it is true. And we accept it time and time again.

I saw a documentary recently which was actually on the US garment industry, but it related to so many issues in American society today. It touched on the shrinking US middle class, exporting US jobs, and the like. It touched on the "me first" Reagan era and the corporatization of the American business. It also spoke to attacks and the demonization of labor and unions. the net result jobs were lost to cheaper sources. The same thing is being done in public education today. The failed corporate mentality is taking hold. We are so ingrained with greed and profit, we fail to see the fleecing before us.

In this scenario, the stock price is test scores. Never mind how we’ve learned stock prices are not a good barometer of corporate performance or how stocks prices have little to no relation of the quality of the product. Most importantly,don't forget how stock price can be easily manipulated via bogus or miss leading reports and the media plays an important part. We only find the real standing of the firm has been a lie when the bubble burst.

In DCPS’s case, the usual suspects tell us celebrate great improvements when the results are in 40-percentile. Then each state will administers it's own test. Oh, we are going to be swindled left and right. but as a nation we say NO regulation i.e. no standardization.

So how do companies keep the corporate cats happy when growth is minimal. The corporate approach says CUT COSTS! for the same production/test score, you can always produce it cheaper. That's right the failed General Motors approach to education. Same production/test score but at a cheaper costs. We'll have the same shtty product - test results in the 40-percentile, but the corporate approach we'll be happy because it's cheaper!

What's taking place in DC and across America is the same as outsourcing labor to foreign countries. Importing teachers from the Philippines is no different from the wide eye TFA from small town Iowa or Pennsylvania that had no intention to teach but is awfully happy to have ANY job. After $1Ks of debt for the undergrad degree, $35K is a god send versus $8/hr in a mall job. Then they can go get more debt to get a master’s degree in a few years. Does anyone else see the cycle? They are fit to be pawns. Having lived and seen several former industrial towns in the US, we aren’t that far off from being a workforce full of unskilled cheap disposable labor willing to work for a pittance. We'll be China, India and Singapore soon enough.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 23, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

This Chancellor sounds like a combination of the Wicked Witch of the East and Adolph Hitler! Her measurements for teacher success are outrageous--one year at a school where parents discipline their children and expect improvement and surely you will have good test results! (Testing should NOT be any part of student success measurement; In SF,CA you have 10 language backgrounds or more in an average class, you may have a class of actual and would be gang bangers, as I had, and you thus have students who turn in their bubble sheets within ten minutes of a two hour testing period. Many of the students just sit there, and stare, because the cannot READ English! Others want to be pimping or on a street corner, or heading a gang (as did one of my former SFUSD students--now in San Quentin for murder) so this new Hitler's school test scores actually mean NOTHING! It is a travesty that "W" pushed for this testing when he himself would have difficulty with hours of bubbling in sheets! What a joke! Valuable time for the known measures and instruction of teaching reading are wasted. In California, you have to take CLAD or B-CLAD classes for the teaching of reading. In addition I took a one week summer class, all day long classes, to "re-teach" where students had failed in learning to read strategies. One of my former black students was furious with me that a word coul have both a t or d sound depending on the word's usage. Phonemic awareness and phonics and a word rich environment blus a respect (books at home) for education at home make all the difference. In San Francisco, if you teach at the more affluent schools and the one side of town, you adjust your teaching pedagogy because the students are opposite of the students you would face on the less affluent and black and hispanic part of town. I am so grateful I have retired before I could fall as prey under this evil Wicked Witch of the East! I best she woudn't know how many sounds there are in the English language; what a schwa is; what letter "clumping" means and why it is significant; what prediction has to do with reading; and above all reading for comprehension. PUT this dictator in a room where one gang throws chairs macross the room at an opposing gang and watch her testing scores skyrocket! Sure, manipulate the tested population and results can vary--kick out some of the absolute BEST teachers while retaining some of the WORST! And if I read or hear the word "innovate" one more time I'll scream! Administrators who CAN'T teach and administrate because they don't want to teach evaluate teachers who are put into classrooms with students of various levels of difficulties. Give so and so this (configured) class because I can't stand her, see if we can get rid of her! And we wonder why unions are important! Thank God I NEVER had to work under this DICTATOR!

Posted by: philoshilden | July 23, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Since the DC school system produces pupils who test consistently below every state in the US - I cannot find fault with Rhee firing incompetent teachers. Welcome to the world of private industry. If you don't like it, why don't you change careers.

Posted by: steven7753
...............................
The 2009 national test for DC have shown no large improvement under Ms. Rhee. The gain in national test has been the same as that made by the previous head of the school system.

Ms. Rhee has not brought any new ideas of how to deal with the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools.

Yes if you had a middle class or affluent public school system showing results similar to the national test of DC you would be justified in firing the head of the schools and every principal and then start on perhaps firing teachers because the school system had not performed to the norm of middle class or affluent public school systems.

But the reality is that DC has actually been performing for sometime to the norm of Title 1 poverty public schools.

Ms. Rhee was a non starter from day one since she did not have one new idea or plan to deal with the the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools.

Oh and by the way steven7753 public education is not the world of of private industry.

And steven7753 very few use the word "industry" now. Remember we are a service economy and no longer an industrial economy.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Why is is that some teachers think that they shouldn't be held accountable to meet performance standards on the job - just as the rest of us are held accountable in the business world?

Posted by: wendy12345
.....................
Because teachers go into teaching to teach.

Tell everyone in the teaching schools that as teachers they will be accountable for every child learning and they will not be foolish enough to spend their money on a career in teaching.

Imagine telling every car sales person that they are responsible for selling a car to everyone that walks into a show room and that they will be fired if they do not do this.

Tell every sales person in a company that they will be fired if they do not make a sale to every prospect and you will not have anyone in sales except the ones that can not find another job elsewhere.

This is the only reason there are still teachers in Washington DC. If they could find a job someplace else Ms. Rhee would find herself hiring people off the street as teachers.

Unfortunately they can not pick up and leave so easily as those in businesses who can easily move to another company when management is firing people left and right. In public education there is only one system in DC.

Public education is not like private businesses where if the manager in a law firm is unreasonable you can simply get a job in another law firm.

If you want to change from one public school system you have to move to a different location. You can not simply move to another business in the same area.

And I ensure you wendy12345 I could easily create unrealistic performance measurements for any business that you are in that would allow me to fire you.

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

For many decades under Walter Washington, Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Kelly, etc hired just about anyone as a teacher and we're now paying the price with incompetent, unqualified lifers that ruin our school system.
Posted by: nativedc
................................
Ms. Rhea has fired many teachers but according to the national tests of 2009 her results are no better than the results of the previous head of the school systems.

When you come in as head of a private business business you do not fire workers even when you have inefficient workers.

It is easy to fire someone that is inefficient but once you have done this you may not find someone who will do better than the person you fired.

There are already cases of replacement teachers being fired in DC.

Now take the case of DC with only Title 1 poverty public schools. Even before Ms. Rhee it was probably difficult to find qualified and motivated teachers to work in the DC school system.

Now it is probably impossible find any qualified and motivated teachers that would work in DC given the perform or die environment.

Ms. Rhee now can only depend on Teach For America which is simply college graduates that have not taken the college qualification for teaching.

Any middle class or affluent public schools would not consider Teach For America for teaching position in their public schools.

Ms. Rhee has only made matters worse in DC.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully this is not surprising anyone...Rhee and Co are following fairly typical corporate hiring and firing practices that have been deducible from their first day. Churn 5-10% at the bottom to keep the others on their toes and to clear deadwood. Jack Welsh made a name for himself doing it at GE.
Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork
.........................................
You really do not know how business works in a large corporation.

In large corporation you fire the managers. It is the job of managers to effectively use the resources of the workers. The 5-10percent that you churn are management.

At the worker level you use layoffs. You do not tell workers at the lowest end that they are being fired because of inefficiency since it was the task of management to make sure they were not inefficient.

In a public school setting this would be equivalent to firing school administration managers and principals.

Firing 5-10% at the bottom of GE would have created chaos since workers would have seen others let go for no cause. No one is productive in an environment when workers are let go with no cause and if you are non union you quickly find yourself with a union.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Lesson for all those in business that make comments about Title 1 poverty public schools.

Imagine a large private company that does test prep for SAT deciding to advertise that they will reimburse all fees if there is not a a gain of x points on the SAT. The x points was obtained from the previous results of the gains made by the majority of middle class and affluent class students that have been their customers. The prep company believes it will gain a large majority of the market with this guarantee.

Large numbers of students from Title 1 poverty public schools become customers of the company. The company suffers a serious loss from being forced to reimbursing the costs to these students while still having pay for the expenses incurred by these new customers.

I would suggest that those who make "business comments" obtain more information on business and/or Title 1 poverty public schools before they make comments.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack, it was a loose comparison and yes, I knew it was the managers that get churned.

Are you saying teachers are the bottom...if so, you are truly mistaken.

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | July 23, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack, it was a loose comparison and yes, I knew it was the managers that get churned.

Are you saying teachers are the bottom...if so, you are truly mistaken.

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork
................................
Teachers are at the bottom. They have to obey principals and follow the guidelines of school systems.

If you missed my lesson plan for those with the comments of business here is Lesson 2.

Which private businesses would be willing, to take over a Title 1 poverty public schools system under a fixed priced contract with large cash penalties and cash bonuses based upon valid tests to measure yearly improvements in learning by real tests such as the national tests?

Remember all those public charter schools have the ability to send back the problems to the public schools while a private companies assuming the contract would not be allowed to do this under the contract.

Time to recognize that business comments have little to do with the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 23, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is a product of the Broad Superintendents Academy. To understand Michelle Rhee, you need to understand Eli Broad. I suggest that readers of this blog learn about him. He gave an interview in the Bloomberg News Letter which is particularly informative. It can be accessed on the web.
Eli Broad, who started his career as an account, is an advocate of the free market. After all, it made him a billionaire. He wants to turn public education into a free market enterprise. Broad believes that a top-down business strategy is the way to do it. The purpose of the Broad Superintendents Academy is to create top-down managers like Michelle Rhee, Debra Gist, and Robert Bobb.
Eli Broad is attempting to dismantle public education. I’m a bean counter just like Eli Broad. I assure you that a public school system which offers teachers $20K to $30K bonuses on top of a 21% salary increase is not sustainable. Such pay-outs will not generate the revenue necessary to continue future salary and bonuses. Schools are not Fortune 500 corporations.
Furthermore, mass firings based on an unproven evaluation tool such as IMPACT seriously threatens to deplete the district work force, as well as draw attention away from factors, other than teacher performance, that are causing students to fail.
Michelle Rhee fired 241 teachers this year and gave 737 teachers notice that they will be fired next year if they don’t improve. The D.C. District teacher work force is only 3,800 teachers. It will not survive such a continuous turnover of personnel.
Parents, your kids are in jeopardy. Wise up before it is too late!

Posted by: PhilLombardo | July 25, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is a product of the Broad Superintendents Academy. To understand Michelle Rhee, you need to understand Eli Broad. I suggest that readers of this blog learn about him. He gave an interview in the Bloomberg News Letter which is particularly informative. It can be accessed on the web.
Eli Broad, who started his career as an account, is an advocate of the free market. After all, it made him a billionaire. He wants to turn public education into a free market enterprise. Broad believes that a top-down business strategy is the way to do it. The purpose of the Broad Superintendents Academy is to create top-down managers like Michelle Rhee, Debra Gist, and Robert Bobb.
Eli Broad is attempting to dismantle public education. I’m a bean counter just like Eli Broad. I assure you that a public school system which offers teachers $20K to $30K bonuses on top of a 21% salary increase is not sustainable. Such pay-outs will not generate the revenue necessary to continue future salary and bonuses. Schools are not Fortune 500 corporations.
Furthermore, mass firings based on an unproven evaluation tool such as IMPACT seriously threatens to deplete the district work force, as well as draw attention away from factors, other than teacher performance, that are causing students to fail.
Michelle Rhee fired 241 teachers this year and gave 737 teachers notice that they will be fired next year if they don’t improve. The D.C. District teacher work force is only 3,800 teachers. It will not survive such a continuous turnover of personnel.
Parents, your kids are in jeopardy. Wise up before it is too late!

Posted by: PhilLombardo | July 25, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

PhilLombardo,

Thanks. I am going to look into Broad.
Quick question, since you're already so knowledgeable about him and the Broad Superintendents Academy. What is Broad and co.'s faith in their strategies predicated on? I know that money and intelligence doesn't always equate with success or being right, but you would think that this dismantling of public education would be based on some solid projections of some sort to justify their faith.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 25, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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