School & District Management

D.C. Schools Chancellor Wins Power to Fire Central-Office Workers

By Lesli A. Maxwell — December 18, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Michelle A. Rhee, the chancellor of the troubled public school system in the nation’s capital, soon will have the authority to fire hundreds of workers in the central office after the District of Columbia Council approved a measure today to grant her that power.

In a 10-3 vote, the council agreed to reclassify nearly 500 central-office workers whom Ms. Rhee will have the authority to fire without cause. Employees who are covered by collective bargaining contracts and who were hired to work in the public school system before 1980 will not be affected by the measure.

The council rejected an alternative measure—proposed by city labor leaders, including the Washington Teachers Union—that would have limited central-office firings only to those employees who are managers and would have allowed for those workers to be trained for other jobs in the school system.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, who voted for granting Ms. Rhee firing authority, offered minor amendments to help address concerns that central-office employees were being unfairly singled out. He told fellow council members that he would require regular oversight hearings to ensure that Ms. Rhee and her leadership team use their new authority fairly.

“Our zeal for excellence should not lead to the conclusion that everyone is incompetent just because they work in the central office,” he said.

Council member Marion Barry, a former mayor of the city, voted against the measure, saying that it puts employees’ due-process rights “in a trash can.”

Ms. Rhee, an inner-city school teacher for three years and a founder of the New Teacher Project, has said repeatedly that getting rid of ineffective and incompetent employees in the 49,000-student district is critical to her strategy for overhauling the school system and raising student achievement.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty tapped Ms. Rhee, who has no previous experience as a school administrator, to be the city’s schools chief in June, the same day that he officially took control over the system. Mr. Fenty has made education reform the centerpiece of his mayoralty.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Schools Are Desperate for Substitutes and Getting Creative
Now in the substitute-teacher pool: parents, college students, and the National Guard.
10 min read
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. Many schools have vacant teaching and/or support staff jobs and no available substitutes to cover day-to-day absences.
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School in Las Vegas, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on a Friday in December 2021.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
School & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent
New federal research indicates the harm from fires and storms to school facilities, learning, and mental health is disproportionate.
4 min read
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP
School & District Management Opinion What It Takes for Universities to Conduct Useful Education Research
Many institutions lack the resources to make research-school partnerships successful, warns Thomas S. Dee.
Thomas S. Dee
3 min read
Illustration of coworkers collaborating.
iStock/Getty