There must be a Scrooge working for D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. Why else would the announcement of a plan to layoff more than 300 D.C. school teachers come before the end of the school year and during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7 – 11? We agree with Washington Teachers Union President Tony Saunders who said, "We're all interested in having high quality teachers in our classrooms, but to have hundreds of people exit at the end of the school year is really a shock therapy to the public schools system. The [layoffs] create a tremendous amount of anxiety and a perception that this is not a stable workforce to become part of or to be retained within."
Teacher Appreciation Week allows the public the opportunity to praise teachers who made their classroom experience an exceptional one. It also offers another perspective on what makes a great teacher and what defines a quality education.
We know that every teacher won't pass the muster and the school system has determined how to weed those teachers out, but timing is everything. If this is about the students, than why create a situation that school officials admit is "unsettling for teachers" that still have a duty to teach until the school year ends on June 14. And, are parents and students given an opportunity to officially weigh-in on their teacher's performance like they are asked to do for Teacher Appreciation Week?
This process of excessing teachers happens every year. More thought should go into planning the best time to announce the teacher layoffs next year.