Slash and Burn
“Every child in a District of Columbia public school has a right to a highly effective teacher — in every classroom, of every school, of every neighborhood, of every ward, in this city,” the chancellor said in a statement. “That is our commitment.”
In addition there were other employees from librarians to counselors to custodians who were dismissed. What is interesting is that there seems to be no administrators on that list. Every single principal in D.C. is doing a great job and the teachers are the problem? Hmmm. And, 737 employees were put on notice that they were in the second tier from the bottom so shape up or ship out. Only 16% were rated highly effective.
Naturally, the Washington Teachers Union, is going to challenge the firings.
A "value-added" component was used on these evaluations but, according to the article, it used to be used for diagnostics rather than making personnel decisions. Value-added was 50% of the evaluation. The teachers let go taught in 4-8 and that's because those are the grades that have annual testing data. The teachers were to receive 5 30- minute classroom observations during the school year ( 3 by the principal and 2 by a "master educator" not from the school). They were scored in 22 measures in 9 categories including:
"... classroom presence, time management, clarity in presenting the objectives of a lesson and ensuring that students across all levels of learning ability understand the material."
Also from the article:
Last month, the teachers' union and the District Council approved a contract that weakened teachers' seniority protection, in return for 20 percent raises and bonuses of $20,000 to $30,000 for teachers who meet certain standards, including rising test scores.The main comments from the Seattle Times website seem to be "get rid of bad teachers and support good ones", "it's the union's fault" and "why aren't parents held responsible?".
I think everyone would agree that bad teachers have to be exited but if the next lower tier of 737 teachers were let go, what would happen in D.C.? Could a district find that many "highly qualified" teachers to replace them? What is left out, as AFT President Randi Weingarten says, are supports for teachers and professional development.
This is a highly public experiment that I'm sure has the attention of the Obama administration. All seems quiet on the negotiation front here in Seattle which is actually good news (as it means negotiations are probably going forward rather than stalling out).