City Desk

Some Good Teachers Can’t Even Keep Their Jobs In DCPS

Well, there goes the idea that good educators have kept their jobs in D.C. Public Schools:

Headlines about D.C. school reform efforts have often involved the firing of teachers who scored poorly on the IMPACT evaluation system adopted in 2009 — about 300 in the past two years. But the District has also shed 145 teachers, including counselors, deemed effective or even highly effective. These employees lost their jobs through a process known as “excessing.”

Reasons for excessing vary from school to school, with principals making the final call. They include budget cuts, rising teacher salaries, enrollment declines, changes in academic programs and staff overhauls mandated under federal law.

About 70 percent of the 522 teachers excessed since 2010 found other jobs in the system, school officials report. Washington Teachers’ Union President Nathan Saunders said schools can ill afford to lose any effective educators. He contends that a push for younger, lower-cost hires — some recruited from programs such as Teach for America and D.C. Teaching Fellows — has wrongfully forced out seasoned practitioners.

Though Chancellor of Schools Kaya Henderson says most of the teachers let go are in "specialized" fields where there isn't great demand, records suggest that DCPS actually is just hiring inexperienced, cheaper teachers to replace the older ones pulling down higher pay.

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  • walter washington

    "...records suggest that DCPS actually is just hiring inexperienced, cheaper teachers to replace the older ones pulling down higher pay."

    What records?

  • Shani Hilton

    @walter washington: from the story I linked to:

    "Payroll records show that the city generally hires 300 to 400 teachers a year, many of them younger and less-costly than the veterans let go.

    A recent independent study showed that the proportion of first- and second-year teachers has grown sharply in five years, especially in high-poverty communities east of the Anacostia River."

  • walter washington

    Your wording makes for a more dramatic conclusion than WaPo's.

    You're saying that the school system intentionally creates budget cuts, rising teacher salaries, enrollment declines, changes in academic programs and/or staff overhauls mandated under federal law, in order to excess higher-cost teachers?

    For a school system that everyone agrees is low performing, their conspiratorial skills are apparently proficient.

  • Shani Hilton

    You're saying that the school system intentionally creates budget cuts, rising teacher salaries, enrollment declines, changes in academic programs and/or staff overhauls mandated under federal law, in order to excess higher-cost teachers?

    Nope, I didn't say any of those things. It's conventional wisdom that seasoned, effective teachers lead to better outcomes for students, so taking note that those teachers are being excessed is important. I could have been clearer and pointed out that budget cuts are obviously part of the impetus---but we all live in this city and understand that hard choices are being forced by belt-tightening. Sorry my word choice led to a "more dramatic conclusion" but that wasn't the intent.

  • American Rogue

    Box-head" Rhee pimped the school system. She brought in a gang of high paid people who literally had to ask their staffs how to perform their jobs. When she was installed as chancellor, she stated various actions she wanted to make. At no time did she indicate what studies she had previously performed to determine what the school system’s strengths and weaknesses were and why her proposed changes would address those deficiencies. All she did was make broad sweeping statements, raked in outrageous salaries for herself and her appointees, and ruin careers of the existing DCPS employees!
    If she is such a education visionary with valid ideas, why is it no other school system has engaged her to lead their system? Is it possible that no else (capable of placing her in a school system leadership role) recognizes her qualities? Perhaps it is the case she has been exposed for the Bullshit artist that she really is?

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