Teaching Profession News in Brief

New D.C. Evaluation Process Targets Hundreds for Firing

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 10, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The District of Columbia teachers’ union plans to challenge schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee’s move to fire 302 educators this summer, including 241 teachers, most of whom she says are being dismissed for failing to meet performance standards.

Of the teachers, 165 earned low scores on the school district’s teacher-evaluation system, IMPACT, which debuted last year. Some were fired on July 30 because they had earned an “ineffective” rating. Others were removed from their buildings because of program closures and will be dismissed by the end of this week if they can’t find a principal willing to hire them. Seventy-six others were let go because of license problems.

The school district has about 4,000 teachers.

Although many states and districts are now overhauling their teacher-evaluations systems, IMPACT is among the first in operation to take student achievement into account. Under the system, teachers are observed five times over the course of the year by administrators or “master educators” and rated on a complex set of measures.

In addition, 5 percent of each teacher’s rating is derived from the school’s overall academic progress. Growth in student scores makes up half the evaluation for teachers of subjects covered by standardized assessments, some 15 percent of the teacher force. Only 26 of the dismissed teachers fell into that category.

The local teachers’ union has criticized IMPACT for its complexity, its use of student scores for judging teachers, and its implementation without a pilot program. But Ms. Rhee defended the system as a more accurate measure of teacher performance.

“It’s so much more objective than what we had before, where it was one person’s opinion [of the teacher], which is totally subjective,” she said. “This system is much more rigorous.”

Under the terms of the district’s recently ratified teacher contract, teachers can “grieve,” or formally protest, procedural aspects of their evaluations, but not their scores.

The system also identified 737 educators as “minimally” effective. They must raise their performance during the upcoming school year or risk dismissal.

George Parker, the president of the Washington Teachers Union, said he would contest the firings.

A version of this article appeared in the August 11, 2010 edition of Education Week as New D.C. Evaluation Process Targets Hundreds for Firing

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

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

Teaching Profession Teachers Who Refuse to Comply With Vaccine Mandates Won't Face Consequences in Many Places
Some districts and states aren't even keeping track of how many teachers are vaccinated.
8 min read
Teachers protest against COVID-19 vaccination mandates in New York on Aug. 25, 2021. On Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied an emergency appeal from a group of teachers to block New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school teachers and other staff from going into effect.
Teachers protest against COVID-19 vaccination mandates in New York on Aug. 25.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Teaching Profession What New Teachers Need
Ideas from the real world on making teachers' first years less overwhelming and more fulfilling.
5 min read
Illustration of a classroom diorama sitting on a student desk.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty)
Teaching Profession Opinion This Year Almost Drove Me Out of Teaching. The Right Leader Made Me Stay
After seven years teaching and one class away from becoming an education specialist, I have seen the highs and lows of education leadership.
Samantha Richardson
4 min read
Illustration of woman sitting on a mountain top looking into the distant landscape.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Maryland Teacher Wins $1 Million Global Prize
Keishia Thorpe received the prize for her work teaching immigrant and refugee students and helping them attend college.
2 min read
This photo provided by the Varkey Foundation shows Keishia Thorpe. The Maryland high school English teacher, who has worked to open up college education for her students, has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize. The Varkey Foundation announced Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, that Thorpe, who teaches at International High School at Langley Park in Prince George’s County in Maryland, was selected from more than 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world.
Keishia Thorpe, who has worked to open up college education for her students, has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.
Varkey Foundation via AP