Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

E-mail Bill | RSS Feed | In-depth coverage: Education Page | Follow The Post's education coverage: Twitter | Facebook

Posted at 6:55 PM ET, 02/14/2011

Principals briefed on how to 'excess' teachers

By Bill Turque

DCPS continues to wrestle with its fiscal 2012 budget. It is now almost a month late in telling individual schools what their allocations will be for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, heightening expectations that the financial hit will be considerable.

Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson denied speculation Monday that the District can't afford the increased teacher salaries provided for in the 2010 collective bargaining agreement. Sources have identified the loss of millions in one-time 2010 "Edujob" funds from the Obama administration, along with reductions in certain special education monies, as part of the hole school officials are trying to fill. But Henderson didn't have much to say about either.

"We are taking into account changes in federal revenues as we finalize school budget allocations," she said.

One sign of the difficult days ahead was the refresher course that school principals took via conference call last week on how to eliminate teacher jobs as they assemble their 2012 spending plans. "Excessing" can occur when there's been a decline in enrollment, a cut in local school budgets, closings, changes in programs or restructuring under No Child Left Behind.

Until last year, excessing was done almost exclusively by seniority. But the new labor contract now requires the use of a "performance-based" formula in which last year's IMPACT scores count for 50 percent. This raises a potentially sensitive issue since Mayor Vincent C. Gray is on record as saying he has concerns about IMPACT's fairness as it is currently constituted. "Unique skills" and "contribution to the local educational program" comprise another 40 percent of the formula. Seniority counts for 10 percent. Principals are required by contract to consult with staff and parent leaders, but retain the right to make the final decision. Teachers who are let go at the end of the school year have 60 days to find another job in the system or they are terminated.

Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at washingtonpost.com/dc- schools. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed. Bookmark it!

By Bill Turque  | February 14, 2011; 6:55 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: In DCPS, labor- management not so collaborative
Next: Gray: Kaya Henderson wants the chancellor job

Comments

And many wonder why so many teachers turned down their "bonus" pay. Hope those who took it--with strings attached--socked a good deal away.

Posted by: schooletal | February 14, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

here we go again. Let's cut teachers and hire more layers of instructional superintendents and master educators.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 14, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Teacher's salaries went up about 21% through FY2012. Budgeting for ET-15's (teachers) has gone up to $92,000 from $86,000 for FY2012 budgets. That's only 7%. So, do we now have more cheaper teachers than before? Or fewer teachers? (Remember that Ms. Henderson has hired close to 2,000 teachers since 2007.)

Some say the DCPS budget gap for FY2012 is around $90 million. (That's about 10% if the $570 million in local funds plus about $30 million in other "overages" such as SpEd, et.) 10% is around what Mr. Gray has been telling the agencies to cut for FY2012 (or so the media has reported). Will DCPS get special dispensation?

How many teachers at $92K will it take to close a $90 million gap?

Closing schools saves on average about $6 million per school. How many schools will have to be consolidated to close a $90 million gap? Remember that it takes between 300 and 350 enrollment to fiscally support a school with all the recommended programs and staffing Below that and the bigger schools subsidize the low enrollment schools and everyone suffers.

For more details than Mr. Turque was able to uncover, see this story:
http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2010/11/jonetta-rose-barras-dcs-calculator-miscalculates

Ms. Henderson has so far only suggested classrooms of 40 students to address the budget gap. That implies a lot of teacher excessing. Of course she was just talking "off the cuff", but no one has seen a more detailed plan of action from her or her office so far.

Mr. Gray has called for One City and a collaborative process in addressing city problems including how we go about closing both the DC and the DCPS budget gaps. However, by not releasing any information, the process cannot start and given the short timeframe to generate budgets, there won't be much if any discussion much less collaboration.

Where's the Facts?

Posted by: Wheres_The_Facts_2 | February 14, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I have been predicting all along that the money for these miraculous teacher raises would disappear not long after the ink dried on the contract. I am glad so many of the teachers had the guts to turn down these phony bonuses.

Unlike opportunists and hucksters like Rhee, most teachers don't go into the profession to make scads of money. Sure, we would like to be able to pay our rent or mortgage, eat real food, own a car, and occasionally take vacations, but getting rich isn't what turns us on.

Despite all of Michelle Rhee's vitriolic rhetorical attacks on professional teachers, we do it year after year after year because we are sincerely interested in helping children.

The last thing DCPS needs is yet another personnel upheaval, where every single teacher goes on the chopping block - or not - based on various whims of administrators. And students don't need to have all of their classes re-arranged yet again because of the massive overspending caused by Rhee and Fenty (and continued under Henderson).

Unfortunately, that upheaval appears to be precisely what the students and families and staff of DCPS are about to get.

Posted by: TexasIke59 | February 14, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

GOD himself couldn't fix the problems of this district...has there ever been a better argument for privatization of schools?

This place is full of incompetence...

Posted by: teacher6402 | February 14, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"This place is full of incompetence..."

You are talking about the administration this time, right?

Posted by: efavorite | February 14, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

TexasIke59 said:

"... we do it year after year after year because we are sincerely interested in helping children. "

I believe the majority of teachers join this noble profession to help children.

The question is: Is that enough?

I, for one, have wanted to help surgically remove cancer tumors from patients. But somehow the society keeps saying I should not do it.

My comparison of teachers to surgeons is not a careless one, because I believe teachers are just as important as surgeons. Which is why I don't understand why good teachers don't come out louly saying that incompetent teachers need to go. Surgeons certainly do that.

The best way for Teacher Unions to be take seriously is to actively remove incompetent teachers from classrooms.

Posted by: AJJJ | February 15, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Turque- you write as if seniority alone is better than any measure of teacher effectiveness- or even the actual educational speciality needs of the school. Please correct your blog post, unless you are merely lying to make thing look more controversial.

It's terrible how much brittleness in the system is created by tenure. Of course, the solution is to not hire teachers, since you won't be able to get rid of them when demand shifts. Arrangements like the union contract still tie the hands of the administration. What fools they were to cave in and sign the contract.

Posted by: staticvars | February 15, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

AJJJJ--dream on. Local Six will never actively help the removal of incompetents, or any of the several other kinds of ineffective teachers. It is a staunch believer that, just like the evals said before Rhree, that virtually all teachers were very good or excellent.

Please give a rest to the self-serving analogy of teachers to surgeons. Give me a break. Surgeons' success is easily judged and is not controversial. Teachers' evals have a great deal of judgment and too many believe evals of any type are below them, yet they refuse to take responsibility for their results. Surgeons can hardly escape that.

Surgeons are much better educated and far more regulated, without the protection of a union. Surgeons don't lust for tenure.

No, claiming to be like surgeons won't increase respect for teachers. Better performance, taking responsibility instead of ducking it, and being accountable are the minimum conditions to give teachers the respect they think they deserve. Their jobs (the position) are terribly important in our community. Too bad that so many incumbent teachers in these parts don't respect the community--the parents, the children--by delivering their best and being accountable.

Posted by: axolotl | February 15, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

A efavorite: Yes, this time I was talking about the administration...lol!

Posted by: teacher6402 | February 15, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"But the new labor contract now requires the use of a "performance-based" formula in which last year's IMPACT scores count for 50 percent.... "Unique skills" and "contribution to the local educational program" comprise another 40 percent of the formula. Seniority counts for 10 percent. "

Is IMPACT just test scores?
I don't think so.
I believe it includes "unique skills" and "contributions..."
So" Unique skills" and "contributions..." are being counted twice?

Posted by: edlharris | February 15, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

If DCPS principals are being briefed on how to handle excess teachers. Then who is briefing DCPS Central Office on how to handle the unnecessary inventory of principals. Such as having an incoming principal on payroll for about half-of-year before assuming responsibility. Then DCPS is still floating Pope around as the poster-child for "we will find you a job" syndrome. Too disrupt Deal Junior High by moving a assistant principal to run Hardy does not add-up.

If one can keep this denial and briefing gimmick as a planned distraction until June 30, then it will be the new Superintendent's responsibility. Which will mean, we will have another school year of having to deal with the former DCPS leader mess.

Let the Alice in Wonderland saga continue, with the recent ruling of 75 teachers able to return. Then you have about 200 more DCPS personnel on deck for the same purpose, don't forget the fired principals under Rhee who have a lawsuit. If they all prevail in victories, one can only imagine what school year 2011 and beyond will eventually look like.

Something that is painfully obvious with DCPS, that a noticeable percetage has shown that DCPS will either fire or move female principals from their schools to only replace them with males. With one case being vice-a-versa and that just reflects that pending move of replacing a male principal with a female principal but the male is over 40 and the female is under 40; which gives the impression of age-discrimination.

Yeah, DCPS keep the briefing aspect up and running. You're doing such a bang-up job in your briefing capabilities.

In the Mardi Gras spirit "Who-Dat briefing us from DCPS."

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 15, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Teachers do want incompetent teachers out of the classroom.

They want school administrators to stop hiring them and to do a better job at firing them.

Remember, unions neither hire nor fire employees. The union's job is to provide due process protections for its members.

Hiring and firing is the province of principals and other school administrators.

teacher 6402 - I thought so - thanks for the clarification

Posted by: efavorite | February 15, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

AJJJ and axolotl -
It isn't the teachers' job - union or no union -- to remove incompetent teachers. That job lies with management, and for decades they have refused to do it. At my son's elementary school, there were very good dedicated teachers and a few who weren't very good or dedicated...but it took a driven principal who knew how to document issues and who had the guts to write negative evaluations to get rid of the bad teachers. Stop blaming the unions in particular and teachers in general and begin to realize that no union will actually protect incompetence if the manager does the work properly.

Posted by: cuffdc1 | February 15, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If DCPS principals are being briefed on how to handle excess teachers. Then who is briefing DCPS Central Office on how to handle the unnecessary inventory of principals. Such as having an incoming principal on payroll for about half-of-year before assuming responsibility. Then DCPS is still floating Pope around as the poster-child for "we will find you a job" syndrome. Too disrupt Deal Junior High by moving a assistant principal to run Hardy does not add-up.

If one can keep this denial and briefing gimmick as a planned distraction until June 30, then it will be the new Superintendent's responsibility. Which will mean, we will have another school year of having to deal with the former DCPS leader mess.

Let the Alice in Wonderland saga continue, with the recent ruling of 75 teachers able to return. Then you have about 200 more DCPS personnel on deck for the same purpose, don't forget the fired principals under Rhee who have a lawsuit. If they all prevail in victories, one can only imagine what school year 2011 and beyond will eventually look like.

Something that is painfully obvious with DCPS, that a noticeable percetage has shown that DCPS will either fire or move female principals from their schools to only replace them with males. With one case being vice-a-versa and that just reflects that pending move of replacing a male principal with a female principal but the male is over 40 and the female is under 40; which gives the impression of age-discrimination.

Yeah, DCPS keep the briefing aspect up and running. You're doing such a bang-up job in your briefing capabilities.

In the Mardi Gras spirit "Who-Dat briefing us from DCPS?"

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 15, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

cuffdc1:

If you think firing a teacher was so easy before Rhee took over, check out this flow chart: "How to Fire a DCPS teacher" in the Washington City Paper (you can find it on the internet). It explains why the PPEP process was not effective and therefore not used by principals. I have no comment on the current system (IMPACT)and it may be flawed in the other direction, but I can tell you as a long time DCPS parent, that the "system" previously in place was designed to thwart terminations of ineffective teachers.

Posted by: trace1 | February 15, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I am pro teacher but frankly they voted for that stupid contract so let them btch, moan and whine to themselves.

This is laughable for both the union and central adminstration. it seems every raise the teachers have received in the past 10 years results in layoffs.

I am pro-union, but the WTU is the most foolish group I have ever seen. they are not about protecting teachers or properly representing teachers, they are about enriching the union coffers. this was a legitimate ground to be oppose the raise as porposed by Rhee. Everything within the proposal basically said lose job security.

Central admin proves time and time again that this is not about kids. the entire process of the negotiations is forward thinking of its impact to the school system, government and hopefully the kids. They have to look at the impact of the proposed pay raise within the current budget and project the amount of growth needed to support the budget with other planned changes and program implementations. The Union needs to look at those scenarios too versus just sitting back and thinking about "getting paid". DCPS never acts logically. they operate with the mindset we will deal with the future later. My goodness when will people notice this and get fed up!!!

Posted by: simplewords999 | February 15, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Principals did not use PPEP because for the most part they did not how to use it properly. They too tried to use illegal actions and bad teachers were not fired. IMPACT has been used illegally just as PPEP by sorry administrators.

Until you have evaluated by these instruments your comments can only be based on hearsay. If you have had first-hand experience than and only than should you comment on teachers' evaluation.

It is easy to shout about keeping ineffective teachers when you have no first hand knowledge.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 15, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

cuffdc1 says:

"It isn't the teachers' job - union or no union -- to remove incompetent teachers. "

I disagree strongly to the above statement.

I think teachers are EXACTLY the right people to remove incompetent teachers. The best way for teachers not to be "wrongly" judged by rincipals/ managers/ administators is for them to do it themselves. They should have the moral courage to do so, for the sake of the children. It is part of the pride in the profession.

Posted by: AJJJ | February 15, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

correction "Until you have been"

Too all the loud mouths talking about PPEP and IMPACT and firing bad teachers,you have choices, use them.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 15, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

AJJJ - you may disagree strongly, but that does not change the fact that teachers have NO AUTHORITY to fire other teachers.

Posted by: efavorite | February 15, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

efav.: Of course: no one believes unions do hiring or firing. (I love your clever earlier comment that implies DCPS hires incompetents, and if so, I know the ones you mean--although tracking by grad school of ed. seems to be verboten.)

But the union sure does rush to the aid of teachers disciplined or fired with any scent of incompetence or ineffectiveness, short of outright criminality. That's what a union does, to the last man or woman. Even during the years when the union was headed by now-convicted felons, it defended every last teacher under a cloud, and hardly any were terminated. (Non-termination of weak teachers does, by the way, correlate with the decline in test scores. Just sayin'.)

And by wanting to scrap Impact, and then taking many years to replace it, the union will remove an excellent tool that, as you have always claimed, enabled firing. Everyone, except many teachers, it seems, hungers for evaluation data. But unionistas want to make the performance evidence disappear.

And the union wants to let CBA rules over-ride the at-will employment law in the District. You may agree that teachers are the most protected class of employees we probably have in Washington, D.C. We'll see where the arbitration appeal matter ends up. But did you take a look at the published notes of principals on the performance of the 75?

Posted by: axolotl | February 15, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

efavorite, it is true teachers have no authority to fire other teachers, but they have the moral authority to stand up and say they believe in high standards for the profession, and in enforcing them. I do not hear that from the teachers' union.

In every other profession it is admitted that some people are better at their jobs than others, and that some people - for whatever reason - are not able to do the job well.

The union seems to want us to believe that teaching is the one, magical exception to this universal law, that every single teacher in the District is capable and motivated.

I for one do believe that MOST teachers are capable and motivated. But claiming that 95% of teachers are "very good or excellent" in a failing system like DC's is so absurd that it undermines any legitimate criticism of the new measurement process.

Posted by: wrybread | February 15, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The public now demands a guild sensibility that the WTU seems unwilling to embrace. Surgeons and nurses who see poor practice in operating theaters have or have not figured out how to protect patients before further malpractice occurs. The WTU seems unwilling to participate with management in this.

These comments don't reflect the further poisoning of the well accomplished by release to the Examiner of details of 10% -- yes, just allegations -- of those who must be offered jobs. Some of them seemed about to quit or retire, but were fired first.

Again: Other professions have taken up the ethical challenge of easing the unfit and damaged out. If the WTU does not, further disclosures of poster-children for neglect of students will further destroy credibility.

Posted by: incredulous | February 15, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

what we are seeing now is what has been going on behind the scenes for decades. No one has been able to make a decision, stick with it and make adjustments as necessary. There are so many gray areas within the DCPS system.......that is where most of these teachers and administrators have lived for years.

listen to the slang used on DC streets; then listen to the parents speak at the grocery store. who do you think has been teaching these kids....the same individuals from the community.

people in DC are so poor and add to that that Rhee and Fenty were firing COMMINITY MEMBERS (teachers, central office, closed schools) who needed that money and depended on that tenure. but there was no accountability across the board......a bunch of inner city folk gaming the system; and then they are lead by the educated union heads who circumnavigate the rules in order to benefit the members; NOT THE CHILDREN.

For those of you who work in the city, when is the last time you worked with someone from DC who was articulate, educated and tactful????? You can't fake class.

Most people are not accountable unless you clearly define their roles and responsibilities. The problem with that in DCPS......TO MANY GRAY AREAS! There is no perfect way to evaluate people....you can only use the results. Givin varying circumstances, you can make an arguement 100 different ways but that does not change that particular result (gray areas). These people don't want clearly defined roles.

Give it 10 years and the yuppies who are moving to the city will start having kids. Do you think for one second that inarticulate DC lazy tongue slang will still exist in schools? Doubt it.

Of course it won't be the teachers faults....you are from the community...look around...you don't care really.....?

THE CHILDREN NEED A UNION!!!!!!!

Posted by: Wes134 | February 15, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

wrybread -- If you haven't been hearing from teachers or from teachers' unions that they believe in having and enforcing high standards for teachers, then you haven't been listening. I don't know what else to say.

Teachers are not different from other professions in this way. Generally, people don't want incompetents in their midst.

Posted by: efavorite | February 15, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Excess is not a verb.

These people are educating our children???

Posted by: fmjk | February 15, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Many of the Rhee supporters calling for firing ineffective teachers are the ones who often blog about the great Rhee.

Rhee is a fraud but you were willing to trust your children to her. Firing teachers seem to be your only goal. I wonder if the magnificant Rhee the "bee eater"was in front of your children, would you sought to have her fired.

There is a like of union/teachers bashing but many of you have zero common sense.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 15, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Teachers want the inept among them to get the axe, too. However, I have to wonder just how many people demanding that good teachers take action to get bad ones canned have actually pulled the plug on their own associates.

Most teachers--good and bad--are already working overtime just to keep up with their own caseloads, and now they're expected to police their associates, too? Most of us have neither the time nor the authority.

Posted by: EdgewoodVA | February 15, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah collective bargaining, the bane of every city, state and school budget.
Until that goes, the system and financials will not be on track.

Posted by: SamRon1 | February 15, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Vincent C. Gray is on record as saying he has concerns about IMPACT's fairness as it is currently constituted as he was instructed by the Teacher's Union to say.
Education works in DC

Posted by: PaulLeddy | February 15, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

PaulLeddy is simply making things up. He has no idea who, if anyone is "instructing" the Mayor on what to say.

Posted by: efavorite | February 16, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

EdgewoodVA wrote:

"Most teachers--good and bad--are already working overtime just to keep up with their own caseloads, and now they're expected to police their associates, too? Most of us have neither the time nor the authority."

Doctors do it. Nurses do it. Lawyers do it. Engineers do it. The names and ways they do it differ, but foundamental is the same: The best way for a profession to show the high regard of itself is to POLICE its own members.

And I am really said to hear cuffdc1's comment about "Firing a Teacher".
To me, the point is not about "Firing". Firing is a "job" thing. The point is about "teaching". People who cannot should not be teaching our kids. Making this a "job" thing turns our schools from an education institution to a social agency. Get incompetent teachers out of classrooms. If that means moving them to other non-education "jobs", fine. They just shouldn't be "TEACHING".

And making sure all kids get competent TEACHING should be the number one thing for ALL teachers.

Posted by: AJJJ | February 16, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"And making sure all kids get competent TEACHING should be the number one thing for ALL teachers."

Really - would the same thing go for doctors, nurses, engineers, journalists, etc -- that the number one thing for ALL of them is to make sure that their colleagues are competent?

If that is the case, then for teachers, where does teaching their own students rank? Number 2?


Posted by: efavorite | February 16, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Terminate Kaya Henderson.

Posted by: educationlover54 | February 17, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"With one case being vice-a-versa and that just reflects that pending move of replacing a male principal with a female principal but the male is over 40 and the female is under 40; which gives the impression of age-discrimination."

Could it be, that that particular over 40 male principal was/is lacking in the area of being a leader and steals DCPS/DC Gov property?? In this case, a large shed....and was given a 3-day suspension over it??

Dat you Mr Chis....I mean uhhh.......

Posted by: DC_Original | February 18, 2011 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company