More D.C. Teachers Lose Their Jobs

WI Web Staff Report | 7/16/2011, 9:15 p.m.

Poor performance ratings have been attributed to the loss of employment for 206 District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) teachers; and more than 500 others have been put on notice for pink slips.

The July 15 terminations, which constitute a 5 percent reduction among the city's 4,100-teacher workforce, appears to be an extension of the controversial reformation efforts set in motion during former chancellor Michelle Rhee's three-year reign over the troubled DCPS system. In accordance with Rhee's hard-nosed overhaul, hundreds of teachers were given the boot. l

"Under any good human-capital system there are going to be people who don't meet our standards, and our children deserve that we operate with a sense of urgency in moving them out," Rhee's successor, Kaya Henderson, was quoted as saying in an interview.

Henderson, who emphasized that the terminations were not about firing teachers, noted that 663 teachers who had above standard ratings under the two-year-old IMPACT evaluation system, are eligible to receive bonuses that range from $3,000 to $25,000.

Overall, 65 teachers were deemed ineffective and 141 were rated minimally effective for the second straight year.

Washington Teachers Union President Nathan Sanders has continued to criticize the new evaluation system that Henderson helped create while serving as Rhee's deputy chancellor. The system reportedly evaluates teachers five times a year during 30-minute classroom observations and on their compliance with nine broad standards.

Saunders has said the system is flawed because it was never tested before being implemented as a guide for weeding out ineffective instructors.

But according to Henderson, the system was implemented "evenly and objectively."