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Amid Teacher Layoffs, D.C. Assesses Hundreds More Out the Door

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pinkslipThe assessment tool is called IMPACT and, with it, 302 school employees (241 teachers among them) have found themselves escorted to the door after beingĀ  “judged on five classroom observation visits by principals and outside education experts. The system also rates teachers based on their students’ achievement,” according to a July 23, 2010, CNN report by Sally Holland.

The Washington Teachers Union wasted no time in responding.

In response to the firings, the Washington Teachers Union released the results of a membership study showing that “a large majority of teachers believe that IMPACT is not a fair evaluation system.”

Washington Teachers Union President George Parker said, “It is evident from this survey that our members agree that IMPACT is a flawed instrument with many loopholes.”

The union claims that teachers under the IMPACT system need clearer communication on expectations, among other things.

The teachers union has no say in which evaluation system that the D.C. public school system chooses to use, and by contract, teachers can be let go for low evaluations.

Parker added that the union plans to challenge the firings of about 81 of the teachers.

(Where has the teachers union been in response to the “flawed instruments” used to assess children? But I digress…)

The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, also got into the mix.

…the IMPACT system needed more evaluation itself..

“Everyone who teaches gets better with time and gets better with experience, just like ballplayers and others,” she said.

” … All we’re saying is that if an evaluation system is thorough, competent, comprehensive, measures how we’re doing as teachers and how students are learning, then it’s fine,” she said. “But the thing is, in the whole year, we have raised, and the teachers have raised, lots and lots of different issues about the evaluation system…”

D. C. school Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who utilized the evaluations, got the last word.

“But the question that I ask to them is ‘Whose children are we going to put in the classroom of ineffective teachers next year?’ My two kids go to DCPS. I’m not willing to put my kids in those classrooms, and I don’t think any parents anywhere in this city should be forced to make that decision,” Rhee said.

And just to keep things really interesting, the story isn’t over yet. A whopping 737 MORE employees have a year to get their act together, or they, too, will be gone next year.

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