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Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 02/10/2011

D.C. still mum on appealing reversal of firings

By Bill Turque

Updated 11:55 a.m.

DCPS said Thursday morning it was still considering whether to appeal an arbitrator's ruling requiring that the school system reinstate 75 probationary teachers fired by former chancellor Michelle A.Rhee in 2008.

That is at odds with Rhee's comments Wednesday in Florida, where she said that the school district "is going to appeal the decision."

"They're very, very confident in their legal standing and are confident that it will be overturned," she said.

But DCPS spokeswoman Safiya Simmons said Thursday morning after speaking with Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson that no such decision had been made.

"We're still figuring it out," Simmons said.

Arbitator Charles Feigenbaum ruled Monday that the 75 teachers, still serving their two-year probationary periods, could be fired but only if given reasons. While principals supplied negative assessments of the teachers, the instructors received no "substantive rationale" for their terminations. He said the omission rendered the firings "arbitrary and capricious."

Rhee said the substance of the arbitrator's decision showed that the teachers deserved dismissal. "The arbitrator, if you look at the ruling yesterday, said a lot of these teachers were ineffective and should have been fired," said Rhee, who was in Florida to appear before a state senate education committee to discuss education policy.

An appeal would go not to the courts but the District's Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). If PERB upheld the award, DCPS could then take the case to Superior Court and then the D.C. Court of Appeals. In general, labor lawyers say, the standard for overturning an arbitrator's award is extremely difficult to meet. If DCPS does appeal, it may be because delay is the real strategy.

Said one labor attorney not involved in the case: "The award isn't implemented until the appeal is exhausted. That type of administrative/judicial delay buys time until all the employees are lost and gone and no one remembers that there was an issue."

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By Bill Turque  | February 10, 2011; 11:12 AM ET
 
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Comments

Bill, am I missing something here? How does Rhee have any say over whether or not the arbitrator's decision is appealed? She isn't even a part of DCPS anymore! The bottom line is that there was an evaluation process that needed to be followed in order to terminate ANY teacher (probationary or otherwise) and Rhee didn't follow it. Perhaps Rhee made these statements because she is running scared. She sees both her "reforms" and credibility beginning to unravel: first her Guy Brandenberg uncovers the truth about her "Baltimore Miracle", and now her unjust terminations are beginning to be overturned. She is finally being exposed for the fraud she is, and she's on the defensive.

Posted by: thebandit | February 10, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

And BTW.... from the article I read, it sounded like Rhee based her termination of the 75 probationary teachers on informal documentation that the principal produced without those teachers' knowledge. Why wasn't a formal evaluation done where the teacher had a chance to read the principal's feedback and respond to it to tell their side of the story? A principal can write whatever they want about a teacher and put it in their file, but that doesn't mean what's written is necessarily true. Does Rhee not understand that we live in a country where employees have RIGHTS???

Posted by: thebandit | February 10, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The poor fool doesn't even know when to remain silent.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | February 10, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

thebandit--actually, the majority of new employees anywhere are not protected by what the DCPS teachers claims. Most workers of any kind in this country work in states, including DC, where employment is "at will." New employees can be fired at any time with no explanation. And it happens to a lot of them.
However, employers cannot be found to have "wrongfully" terminated people, for example, because of age or gender discrimination or some other pattern of bias or some types of retaliation that the law protects us all from. But they can be fired because they are not needed, without any reason given. However, in this case, it appears that the collective bargaining agreement afforded some extraordinary protection to teachers that, again, most of us do not have. My guess is this is going to court, and we'll see if the arbitrator's opinion is upheld.

Posted by: axolotl | February 10, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Here she goes again! Question: How many bees would it take to stuff in Rhee's "bee eater" big mouth to make her shut the he// up? Perhaps she's speaking because the image she tried to create for herself is now truly revealing what most have always known, that she was not the person for the job and that she and Fenty will cost the taxpayers for years.

Posted by: candycane1 | February 10, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

she said that the school district "is going to appeal the decision."

"They're very, very confident in their legal standing and are confident that it will be overturned," she said.

-----------------


There is a big difference between telling a lie and saying something wrong. If you say words that you think are right, but are not, that is not a lie. Lying means knowingly embracing a falsehood.

Posted by: achachi | February 10, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

axolotl,

Actually, your comments only apply to jobs that don't have unions. Jobs that have unions make an effort to protect employees from unfair and arbitrary termination. And before you go on a tirade about how unions are terrible, let me just say that unions were put in place for a reason. Before unions, there was no such thing as MATERNITY LEAVE, and things like sexual harassment and verbal abuse were common amongst employers. Your comments seem to suggest that, just because SOME employers have at-will policies and are allowed to abuse their power through conduct such as "arbitrary terminations", then teachers should be subjected to these kinds of abuses, too. Sorry, buddy, just because some employers are permitted to be abusive doesn't mean it's fair or right or that one size shoe should fit all.

Posted by: thebandit | February 10, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Axlootl
Hi Hater you sound just like Rhee a Dumb Azz come non fool READ it's in black and white She wrote her own law and The lilttle Gini Fenety allowed it but ha she was Allowed to because they didn't recognize that she was a FRUD hope she has room for Pinder/John Davis/ and last but not least Kaya

Posted by: Darksecrettt | February 10, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

If Rhee doesn't know when to be quiet, does the reporter know when to fact check assertions of fact? I read most of the arbitrators decision. I don't recall that "[t]he arbitrator, if you look at the ruling yesterday, said a lot of these teachers were ineffective and should have been fired"
Shouldn't the reporter have pointed to the text Rhee is referring to, or if there is no such text in the arbitrator's ruling, tell the reader?

Posted by: incredulous | February 10, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"does the reporter know when to fact check assertions of fact?"

Lots of reporters seem to have forgotten this basic skill - especially when it comes to Michelle Rhee.

Posted by: efavorite | February 10, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

efavorite wrote: "Lots of reporters seem to have forgotten this basic skill - especially when it comes to Michelle Rhee."

efavorite, you're absolutely right. We went for 3.5 years believing that Michelle Rhee brought her kids up to the 90 percentile when she taught in Baltimore simply because she said so. Reporters went ahead believing in this "Baltimore Miracle" without any data to back it up. It wasn't until recently when Guy Brandenberg and Ed Harris (two people who, might I add, AREN'T EVEN REPORTERS) unearthed the data that we finally received confirmation that the "Baltimore Miracle" wasn't real.

Posted by: thebandit | February 10, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Don't believe anything that liar(Rhee) says! Didn't Rhee tell everyone she was an ineffective teacher in Baltimore? She needs some help! Tell Rhee to eat some more bees!

Posted by: dcrez1 | February 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

efavorite wrote: "Lots of reporters seem to have forgotten this basic skill - especially when it comes to Michelle Rhee."

If the Post had demostrated this level of reporting skill the 1970's Nixon would be on Mt. Rushmore by now.

Posted by: mcstowy | February 10, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

bandit - Brandenburg found out yesterday that he'd been scooped by blogger Jeff Steele over 3 years ago

http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/i-got-scooped-by-more-than-three-years/

Unfortunately, not too many people were paying attention then.

Also, most people don't expect a Schools chancellor to lie through her teeth. Most successful people can't get by doing that. You've got to be a real pro.

Posted by: efavorite | February 10, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

axolotl writes,
"actually, the majority of new employees anywhere are not protected by what the DCPS teachers claims. Most workers of any kind in this country work in states, including DC, where employment is "at will." New employees can be fired at any time with no explanation. And it happens to a lot of them."

Um, incorrect. They are called LABOR LAWS and they include laws against arbitrary firings without due process/cause, against discrimination in firing and hiring, etc. People do get fired all the time and some may be fired without due process/for capricious purposes, and when these people sue, they now, in the 21st century, have a pretty good chance at winning if they were indeed terminated improperly.

Yes, Unions have made a lot of progress since the 19th century. We have them to thank for most labor laws, which in the US are relatively humane, in comparison to other places (though not perfect as can be seen through issues such as active human trafficking and prostitution rings in the US).

Posted by: adcpsteacher | February 10, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I love it when Rhee blurts out stupid things.

Posted by: educationlover54 | February 10, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Poor, poor Shelly :( What's good for the goose is good for the gander. She spent years in DC destroying and bashing teachers, principals, and the people of DC, just to further her own jaded agenda. If you really possess the courage of your conviction in Shelly, just take one step into a DC Public School. I guarantee you would change your tune after a single day. All of you tedious Rhee sycophants need to firmly pull your heads from your collective rectum and wake up to the reality of the decline of the American public education process."

I am hoping Michelle Rhee didn't really say that.

http://www.studentsfirst.org/blog/entry/a-response-to-the-unfounded-attacks-on-michelle-rhee/#

Posted by: educationlover54 | February 10, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't think Rhee will admit to her egregious ways. Remember she said before that she doesn't regret anything she did in her life. That is a true sign of an effective leader.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | February 10, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is getting a lot of press in Florida and the reviews are not so great.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 10, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

dccounselor,


Do you have any links to the bad reviews? If so, please post!

Posted by: thebandit | February 11, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

she need to realize that she got slap in the face by the teachers union,who havent quit on our kids,like she did.thats her porfolio on quitting before her term or contract expire.loooooserrrr.even in Florida she still a looosseeerrr.Power to the Teacher Union in D.C.

Posted by: cayeycatering | February 11, 2011 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if the terms of Rhee's severance say anything about her talking publicly about DCPS business?

Sure wish the terms of initial hire included a gag order . . .

Posted by: dcparent | February 11, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

adcpsteacher -- u may need some legal input to understand what is going on, as you don't seem to right now. Read the now-published performance eval notes written by the principals who chose the 75 who were terminated. Ask yourself if you want them teaching your own kids. We trust the District will appeal and that the city's kids and taxpayers will not continue to suffer in this matter. If the city does not get a favorable opinion, it will drive out more of our good teachers, more of our students, while draining the DCPS budget further. None of that is good.

Posted by: axolotl | February 12, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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