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Posted at 7:06 PM ET, 08/ 9/2010

Where's the full disclosure on the D.C. teacher firings?

By editors

By Randi Weingarten,
The writer is president of the American Federation of Teachers.

In her Aug. 6 letter “How many teachers is D.C. firing?” D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee couldn’t have been less transparent. She didn’t come forward with relevant details about why each of the 241 teachers was fired last month or information regarding their evaluation ratings. It shouldn’t take a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain this information, which the Washington Teachers’ Union was compelled to file after being stonewalled, even though the information is required under the new contract.

Ms. Rhee has received a lot of publicity for claiming she had the guts to fire teachers en masse. By not spelling out who got fired for what reason, she has damaged the reputations and livelihoods of all 241. She has done this before. When she fired 266 teachers in the fall of 2009, she initially claimed the action was for budgetary reasons, then told Fast Company magazine that some of the teachers had sex with children or hit them. The comments, which she had to retract, smeared all of the terminated teachers and showed callous disrespect.

If, as Ms. Rhee said in the letter, she is willing to stand by her decision to fire teachers, she should also be willing, in the interest of full disclosure and transparency, to reveal all the information on which the firings were based.

By editors  | August 9, 2010; 7:06 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, education, schools  
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And if she had published the nitty gritty details, the union would have screamed bloody murder for violating their privacy!

Go Rhee!!

Posted by: CREEBOLD | August 9, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure that Weingarten is the person to be asking this question. The parents and taxpayers that pay the chancellor too much money should be asking that question. When the new contract was decribed as "good for children and fair to teachers", they should have smelled a rat. "Teachers are good for children." Contracts do not involve children. Contracts are either good or bad for teachers. It's supposed to be a labor contract. This contract is bogus. Since ratification, we have heard that teachers will get their back pay but teachers who retired and were working in the negotiating years were left out. However, if a teacher was RIF'd/fired in October they will receive funds. The excessed teachers cannot get the raise and the teachers who have been warned that they are going to be fired cannot get the raise. The raises are on paper but it will be interesting to see who receives them.

Merit pay is out. Based on the latest report(not the Post), scores have plunged. This is the third year and the number of schools that have not made AYP has increased each year since Rhee arrived. School by school scores will illustrate just how far schools have plunged. What happens to that foundation money if it is not used?

Rhee stated last week on channel 8 that other details of the contract have yet to be worked out and full agreement is not necessary. What did the contract have, invisible ink? What did the teachers sign? How much more do teachers not know? So far what is known is all the ways a teacher will not receive a raise. On Friday, August 13th another round of teachers will be fired. Last week, directors and other central staff were let go under another Reduction in Force and some were just terminations. The teacher's handbook should be entitled, "50 ways to lose your job" and the student handbooks need a chapter explaining to children that their teachers may be subjected to termination so don't get used to, or expect a structured learning environment.

This contract fair to teachers? If you say so and that's about it. Good for children? Don't even try it! DCPS is a complete mess and with the revolving door of hiring and firing, there is nothing but total chaos and instability. The test scores prove it and you only needed common sense to predict that student achievement data(test scores) would yield negative results.

The education mayor has failed and the unqualified chancellor has demonstrated how ineffective her leadership has been since day one! So why ask the question now after the fact? Apparently Rhee does not have to answer. That's unfair to teachers and definitly bad for children.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 9, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's best that Rhee say nothing. Whenever she speaks, she lies.

Posted by: mcstowy | August 10, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Let's the breakdown for fired teachers:

1) ethnicity
2) race
3) age
4) gender
5) teacher effectiveness indices
6) number of years before retirmenet
7) all of the above about teacher evaluators

With this information, we may have a better picture of what is really going on.

Posted by: joesmithdefend | August 10, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

candycane: Isn't it interesting that we were told our new raise will be reflected on our September 10th check but our retro checks will not come until September 24--which is AFTER the primary election. I predict that if Gray wins that day, Rhee will immediately announce she's leaving and the foundation money funding those retro checks will dry up. I guarantee that we will NEVER see the 3 years back pay that this contract "promises."

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 10, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Remember whose darling Michelle Rhee: Bill Gates.

He wants the same unfair, erratic hiring and firing practices that go on in business.

It's funny, he sold a buggy operating system to the world that basically held progress in the computer field up. But the media tells us how wonderful he is.

Posted by: educationlover54 | August 10, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Urban dweller, I hope you are wrong about that. The city signed off on it and that makes it legally binding in my opinion. Actually it is not uncommon for the retro checks to come after the raise checks. This is the first time that I have ever seen teachers who are working denied the contractual raise. There is probably a lot that HR has to do to get the correct information to the retirement board.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse


The union didn't ask for the information regarding the teacher firings to be published. They asked for it to be disclosed as part of due process.

Posted by: PhilLombardo | August 11, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse


The union didn't ask for the information regarding the teacher firings to be published. They asked for it to be disclosed as part of due process.

Posted by: PhilLombardo | August 11, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

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