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WTU says DCPS fired far fewer teachers than it announced


Last week, D.C. Public Schools announced it was firing 241 teachers -- 165 of them for poor performance, the rest for certification and other problems. Now the Washington Teachers' Union is claiming that the number of teachers fired by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is "significantly less."

Only 76 teachers, the union claims, were fired for poor performance, with another 41 for certification issues.

So what gives? WTU President George Parker, in a statement, deemed the high numbers a "publicity stunt" meant to "to improve her national image, by allowing the reputation of DC's educators to suffer."

During the past week, the image of DC teachers has been battered nationwide, based on inaccurate information provided by DCPS. All the while, DCPS has had ample time to correct their arbitrary number and failed to do so as various communications went out to teachers, parents, student, DCPS community and the media. By allowing the media to continue to report inaccurate numbers, DCPS has once again done a huge disservice to all DC teachers. This intentional manipulation of the facts is another publicity stunt and example of the lack of transparency by the Chancellor and also an example of media sensationalism whereby people blindly accept information from the school system and the Chancellor without first seeing supporting data and examining the actual facts. It seems Ms. Rhee is using her position and authority as a vehicle to improve her national image, by allowing the reputation of DC's educators to suffer.

There was no immediate response to e-mail requests for comment from Rhee or DCPS officials.

Parker says that regardless of how many teacher that were fired, he opposes the IMPACT evaluation system. "We agree that every single child should have a highly effective teacher and that teachers should be held accountable; however, we also believe that every single teacher is entitled to be evaluated fairly with a fair instrument that is unbiased and educationally sound," he said in the statement.

UPDATE, 5:50 P.M.: Rhee says in an interview that the WTU and Parker don't have their facts straight.

The 241-teacher figure announced last Friday represented the total number of teachers eligible for termination due to IMPACT and certification concerns. But DCPS, Rhee says, made it clear that actual termination letters, for "various reasons," would not go out all at one time. And the figures provided to DCPS yesterday, she says, represented only the letters actually sent. "We think it's kind of rude to tell someone else first that you've been fired," Rhee said.

Notices will continue to go out through Aug. 13.

By Mike DeBonis  |  July 29, 2010; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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What--misinformation from Rhee. LOL

Remember--teachers who hit students and have sex with children.


Posted by: dccounselor72 | July 29, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"We think it's kind of rude to tell someone else first that you've been fired," Rhee said.

She has got to be kidding.

One more reason to vote for Gray.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | July 29, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

There are no reasons to vote for Gray

Posted by: nmoses | July 29, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I believe this was an effort by Rhee to position herself in the national spotlight again. It is amazing how the media across this country believes everything that comes from her, without her providing evidence of her claims. I remember her and Fenty walking through a warehouse where texts books that the system no longer used were housed along with broken computers was made to look like there was a problem. She also did the same thing when she stated how teachers hit and had sex with students which turn out not to be the number she claimed. Now she claimed that a large number of teachers will be terminated due to their score on the impact, but they provide the union with a list of teachers who will be affected is much smaller than the number she stated. Instead of providing the media the evidence to support her claim, she saids the union does not have their facts straight. I suggest she provide the tax paying public with evidence of her claim. I don't know who to believe, DCPS or the Union.

Posted by: mike99541 | July 29, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

So which is it? Remember this is the same woman who laid off teachers only to find the money was actually there?

Posted by: notindc1 | July 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

whats done in the dark will come to the light

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | July 30, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Rhee has power but she doesn't know how to use it. Why does she repreatedly run to the media with all sorts of stuff and then have to back track several times before its clear, well sort of, what she means?
Good grief! And she wants to talk to about rudeness?! She cannot communicate clearly, let alone politely.

Posted by: 1citizen | July 30, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

If we look closely at the date for the final notices (Aug 13th), we'd discover that that's just 3 days b/f teachers are scheduled to return to schools and 10 days b/f students return. ABSURD!

Posted by: wordwise1 | July 30, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I think it is beyond obvious that Vincent Gray's agenda is to save teacher's jobs as his first priority.

This is business as usual for the DC public school system where until Rhee arrived the educational bureaucracy and the teachers union were not held accountable for running one of the worst school systems in the country.

Gray must assume that if this approach worked for decades, it can work again. And voters are falling for it.

It is good though that the local press at least isn't closing a blind eye to this retrograde trend and Mr. Gray's cynical campaign strategy.

Posted by: millerroberta | July 30, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

What is the truth, 241 or 117? I tend to believe that the latter is the truth because it follows the Rhee pattern. Hundreds were fired in the fall, although clearly when the mayor signed the budget, the money was there. According to Rhee, she fired teachers who were hitting and having sex with children, when actually there was one case of suspected abuse and now she has turned to the media to proclaim she has fired over 200 and there seems to be evidence that her numbers are false.

When I hear Rhee state that other details of the contract are still pending and need to be worked out, my question is what in the world did they ratify? There shouldn't be unkowns at this point. (Channel 8)BTW: I have never heard of a labor contract that is good for children. Teachers are good for children and labor contracts should be fair and good for teachers. When do we stop listening to the foolishness?



Posted by: candycane1 | July 30, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse're going to have a bunch of teachers getting ready for the next school year, only to find out at the last minute that they've been fired? That's not rude? It's already too late for these folks to look for other teaching jobs. You're just jerking them around now.

Posted by: akchild | July 30, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Those who think Rhee is a heartless tyrant for the way she is treating the teachers union and poor performing teachers have an advocate in Vincent Gray.

Don't worry, if elected he will save them. He will rehire all the teachers and principals that Rhee fired and they will never have to be afraid of losing their jobs as long as he is Mayor.

Posted by: millerroberta | July 30, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

If you support children's education, vote Fenty. If you support the teacher's union, vote Gray.

Posted by: psuvo | July 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Roberta...okay, Say the newly elected Mayor does rehire all that were fired. Would you not believe that action would creat unnecessary chaos? Would those who would be willing to give back their severance pay? Those who would get their jobs back...are they willing to drop their law-suits or forget about the retainer fees that have already been supplied to money-hungry lawyers?

Also, if the newly-elected Mayor is going to be that "erase-worthy" Mayor then why do we need a future Superintendent? Again, who is willing to right the wrongs of educational-reform in a situation where a need to fill the void is perpetual?

Clearly, those who have lost their jobs were part of a process that has been validated and supported by union and management. Regardless, if the RIF was not financially generated, the UNION sanctioned the RIF. They did not even raise a stink in the allotted time given to them to do so. The evaluation and therefore removal results were sanctioned by the union. Here they are saying that the Chancellor is grandstanding...really the union wants to quibble over numbers. Did they not pass the negotiated agreement with mere numbers that were extremely low? Let's do the math 400 members out of 6,600 possible voted "affirmative" and 76 out 241 were fired for poor evaluations.

Please tell me...that the "76" were the lazy ones who didn't vote for the that would be poetic justice.

If there are voters...who think that the upcoming scenario will involve the Mayor-elect to say to the supposedly new Superintendent "you can't do that" because it is gonna cost me my street-cred amongst the hand-dancing gang, then I am said to say that you're suffering from delayed a heat-stroke.

Posted by: PowerandPride | July 30, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Considering EVERY single allegation the WTU has brought against Rhee since she has been in office was either outright fradulant or "dismissed", I am not sure why anyone ever listens to them.

Seriously, I am trying and I can't think of a more useless and pointless organization as the WTU. The past 3 decades have clearly shown they don't care at all for the kids in the DCPS system, and the past ~3 years have shown they can't do anything for the teachers, so whats their point?

Posted by: Nosh1 | July 30, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Vince Gray believes: Leave No Teacher Behind.

He seems content to have subpar teachers in the classroom. He likes those unionista votes, eh?

Posted by: axolotl | July 30, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Considering EVERY single allegation the WTU has brought against Rhee since she has been in office was either outright fradulant or "dismissed". Where do you get your information? Dismissed by folks like you and others in the media but not by all.

and Roberta

Your opinion is just plain silly. You have know idea of what Gray will do but you do know what Rhee/Fenty will do. That is continue to lie to the citizens of DC, continue to fire/hire and continue to sucker folks like you.

You two are completely blind when it comes to Rhee. You do not care about the kids of DC but you do care about the destruction of DCPS.

Rhee is a fraud and Fenty is a fool. Please cast your vote for these two less than outstanding individuals.

Posted by: guylady20102 | July 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

One more reason to vote for Fenty - Gray is a tool of the teacher's union.

Posted by: fredcorgi1 | July 30, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Rhee/Fenty and WTU president George Parker are all frauds. George Parker signed the deal with the devils, and he said he alone had the authority to sign the teacher's contract. The union members votes really do not count. Therefore, stop trying to blame teachers for America's social problems, that teachers can not fix. Teachers do the jobs that the school systems tell them to do. So if you do not like what you see in public schools, then protest to the school boards of your state, stop dumping on teachers.

Posted by: fivetogo | July 30, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Nosh1 wrote: Roberta, Your opinion is just plain silly. You have know idea of what Gray will do...

I think Vincent Gray has been pretty predictable so far concerning his views on Rhee and teacher firings. He has never seen a teacher firing that he didn't express regret over. He has consistently looked for opportunities to find fault with Rhee and her approach to reform and pretty clearly said "he" would do things differently. It would be all about "inclusion" and getting every side of the story and above all being "nice."

With that track record, I don't think it is wildly speculative to suggest that everyone who Rhee fired would be welcomed back with open arms. That would be the "nice" thing to do, wouldn't it?

Posted by: millerroberta | July 30, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Nosh1 - I actually agree with you in part. This is yet another exercise in which the WTU will be made to look foolish yet again in any effort to challenge Rhee. This issue is simple and in the end she will still appear to run circles around them.

What was the WTU trying to do, save face? Did they think they saved 70 jobs. Parker has sold his union out to almost criminal proportions. it is safe to say Rhee and Parker are in two separate leagues. The teachers of DCPS need much better than what Parker is giving. The AFT needs to send some full-time professional help to WTU-DCPS with the policy savvy to challenge and handle Rhee.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 30, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Fenty/Rhee/Nickles are all a joke! I can't wait until Sept. 14th. They need to remember they work for the citizens of Washington, DC., not for themselves. And stop using the test scores, they were increasing since Anthony Williams was mayor, Fenty is just riding the coat tail.

Posted by: lrich14501 | July 30, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Axotl & Others,

You are trying to portray Mr. Gray as someone who favors teachers over students, and that's not true. I'm sure he, first & foremost, wants what's in the best interests of students. His message is let's stop degrading, disrespecting, and lying on teachers in this school system. No offense to first year inexperienced teachers, but really, let's be honest. It's not the veteran teachers who are being cursed out, screamed at, and disrespected by students every day. First-year teachers are not teaching much because they have little to no classroom management, and the inexperienced administrators are not helping them b/c they DO NOT know how, nor do they really care. It is not the Union or teachers creating the deficiences in our schools; it is the group of ill-prepared, irrational, dishonest, and disrespectful administrators recently hired who are. They do not get our students, parents, or communities, and they are not being successful like the Post would want people to believe. We are operating in schools that are factory experiments, and the students are suffering, not because the teachers are lazy and ineffective. That is an utter lie. DCPS teachers are highly effective and dedicated and successful on a daily basis. Those of you who believe otherwise are not in the schools and buy whatever crap is thrown at you by a biased paper like the Post. Every article about Fenty, schools, and etc should be labeled "opinion" b/c that's what the Post is now publishing, not fact-based, objective pieces that highlight the excellence found int he classrooms of experienced teachers, just opinionated pieces that diminish our characters, productive careers, and admirable dedication and effectiveness. As a veteran teacher, I am quite offended.

Posted by: wordwise1 | July 31, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

As a parent, I don't want my child in a class taught by an inexperienced teacher. I don't care what school they graduated from or how smart they are. I don't want a teacher who is watching the calendar to make sure they get out of the classroom as soon as their 3-year commitment is up. I don't want a teacher who can't manage a classroom or who doesn't have the experience to teach to different ability levels or learning styles. I don't want a teacher who can only teach to the test. An inexperienced teacher can dramatically affect a child's academic progress. What if a child has inexperienced teachers two or three years in a row? Research has shown that the most successful students are those taught by highly experienced teachers. Those countries with the highest student achievement believe in using only highly experienced teachers. Why are we firing experienced teachers and replacing them with kids out of college who have never taught before and have no desire to stay in the profession? It's just a guess, but I would bet that those in favor of the firings have access to schools with experienced teachers.

Posted by: Uptowner | August 2, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

@Uptowner, I agree with you!

Posted by: fivetogo | August 2, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

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