First, Some Good News

A little of Michelle Rhee's firebreathing style got quenched yesterday when an arbitrator ruled that the first 75 teachers she fired must be hired back and given about $7.5M in back wages. Here's the story from The Washington Examiner. You'll note some familiar sounding language:

"The [termination] process used in this case was so devoid of due process as to be arbitrary and capricious," arbitrator Charles Feigenbaum said in his verdict favoring the Washington Teachers' Union, which has been fighting D.C. Public Schools officials over the July 2008 dismissals for more than two years.

Rhee had gotten rid of mostly first and second-year teachers. They had been told they couldn't appeal because they didn't have tenure but were given no reason for their dismissal.

The arbitrator, picked jointed by the union and the district, ordered the district to try to find the teachers, offer their jobs back and make up two years of back pay.

Mindy Holmes, a lawyer for the union, said the decision was binding and could be overturned only if "extreme bias" was found in Feigenbaum's decision.

"We want stability in this system; we don't want that kind of turnover that can come just because somebody doesn't like you," Holmes said.

D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman Safiya Simmons said the schools had not decided whether to fight the ruling. "The arbitrator's opinion did not call into question the reasons why the teachers were separated, only the process," Simmons said. "During their probationary period, the separated teachers did not exhibit the ability to be successful teachers at DCPS."

That spin! I'm getting dizzy. Did she really say "separated teachers"?

Naturally this doesn't bode well for the teachers hired to replace the fired teachers. Sigh.

We have tenure for teachers so that they can be protected from firing for a reason not related to their ability to teach.


Kathy said…
We're in fiscally difficult times.

I'm afraid Senate Bill 5399 will increase costs related to litigation.

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