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

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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Transform Teaching and Learning with AI
Increase productivity and support innovative teaching with AI in the classroom.
Content provided by Promethean
Curriculum Webinar Computer Science Education Movement Gathers Momentum. How Should Schools React?
Discover how schools can expand opportunities for students to study computer science education.
School & District Management Webinar Fostering Student Well-Being with Programs That Work
Protecting student well-being has never been more important. Join this webinar to learn how to ensure your programs yield the best outcomes.

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 With New Grants, Teachers' Union Doubles Down on Partnerships With Parents
The American Federation of Teachers will invest $1.5 million in parent outreach—a counterweight to conservatives' parents'-rights narrative.
4 min read
Illustration of airplanes dropping money
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Teaching Profession Opinion 25 Reasons to Get Excited About Teaching
Let’s focus on the opportunities that teaching brings every single day to the classroom.
Louie F. Rodriguez
3 min read
illustration of a teacher watering a plant that is growing with students on it.
Nataliia Nesterenko/iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession What the Research Says The Big Connection Between Teachers' Burnout and Their Principals
Less-demanding principals make for less-stressed teachers, a new study suggests.
3 min read
Image of two adults planning in a school classroom.
E+
Teaching Profession What Teachers of Color Say Will Actually Work to Diversify the Profession
In a new survey, teachers of color pick the most effective recruitment and retention strategies.
6 min read
Image of a teacher in front of a high school classroom.
Drazen Zigic/iStock/Getty