One hundred sixty five under-performing teachers are being removed in Washington DC as the nation’s capital implements its new teacher corps improvement program, called IMPACT.
IMPACT replaces a former, awkward and time-consuming process for removing poor teachers, a largely dysfunctional process similar to those typically found in virtually every school system in the country.
The Washington Post announced today that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is firing those 165 teachers using the new appraisal and accountability system developed by Mathematica Policy Research.
The Post says:
“Last month, union members and the D.C. Council approved a contract that raises educators’ salaries by 21.6 percent but diminishes traditional seniority protections in favor of personnel decisions based on results in the classroom. The accord also provides for a “performance pay” system with bonuses of $20,000 to $30,000 annually for teachers who meet certain benchmarks, including growth in test scores.”
Thus, DC teachers accepted a significant pay increase in exchange for being willing to allow the worst performers to be removed from classrooms. But, contract or not, the union really didn’t mean it. Now, the union tells the Post it intends to fight the dismissals. Apparently, union leaders thought they could take the extra money without honoring the new responsibilities that came with it.
Rhee is not without her critics in DC, and the school situation there is apparently part of the political fight to see who will be the next mayor in the nation’s capital. Thus, the jury is still out on whether or not the IMPACT process will stick. But, it is clear that many more are growing frustrated with an educational system that continues to cover up mediocre teachers while the education of children suffers. At least in DC, they are trying to do something about it.
Meanwhile, the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board tells me here in The Bluegrass State we don’t even have a policy, awkward and time-consuming or not, on how a school administrator can go about removing an under-performing teacher. The board says they are unaware of any teacher in the state who ever lost credentials because of inability or unwillingness to teach at an acceptable level of performance.