Monthly Archives: September 2008

D.C. Parents Concerned About Alleged Teacher Shortage

ABC News writes:

After millions of dollars in renovations, some parents claim McKinley Tech High School still suffers a critical shortage of teachers.

“We asked what’s going on, why there’s no teachers,” said Monica Lowe. “They made false promises.”

Her son is a junior at McKinley. After weeks of school, his Algebra II/Trigonometry class is on its second substitute teacher, she says.

“Parent-teacher conference is next Friday, October the third, Mr. Ford, and we have yet to receive a teacher,” Lowe told ABC 7/NewsChannel 8 reporter Sam Ford Friday.

McKinley’s not alone. ABC 7/NewsChannel 8 visited Thurgood Marshall Elementary School last week and found classes with only substitute teachers. One classroom with a permanent teacher had 46 students.

The teachers’ union blames schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

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D.C. List Shows 90 Teacher Vacancies

 Bill Turque, Washington Post Staff Writer reports:

A list generated by the system’s human resources department Thursday shows 26 unfilled spots for special education instructors in addition to vacancies for math, English, science, foreign language and elementary school teachers. Teachers say it has created hardships in some schools, swelling class sizes and forcing regular instructors and substitutes to teach outside their areas of expertise.

Despite Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee’s promise that every school would have a music and art teacher, the list shows several openings in those areas as well. Dena Iverson, Rhee’s spokeswoman, said that the document is outdated and that the chancellor’s office is aware of only 42 openings.

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Michelle Rhee’s leadership called into question by federal investigation

DC Blogger writes:

Michelle Rhee will give a talk to the National Press Club tomorrow and take questions. Someone in that audience needs to ask her about the investigation of St. Hope. They also need to ask her about the consent decree here in DC concerning the education of special needs children. They need to ask her why using substitute teachers is better than using full time, experienced teachers. They need to stop acting like her PR flack and start asking some questions.

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Earth to Dan, your educrush’s non-profit is involved in a federal probe

A blogger at Ms. Mercer writes:

One commenter, Lori Jablonski, also shared why Rhee herself was suspect because of her associations with a local Sacramento charter operator, St. HOPE Academy. She headed up the high school, and when she was appointed to the Chancellorship, was on the Board of Directors (look how proud they are of her!). Ms. Rhee is not the only former St. HOPE leader looking to move up. Her boss, and the founder of St. HOPE, former NBA star Kevin Johnson (a local boy made good), is currently running for Mayor of my fair city.

Lori discussed one incident from when Rhee and Johnson were at Sacramento High,

After a Sacramento High School teacher’s report last year that a 17-year-old student told him she was inappropriately touched by Kevin Johnson, Johnson’s personal attorney and business partner investigated the complaint for the campus. State law requires that authorities be notified immediately when school officials learn of such an allegation. But – before police were called in by the teacher – Johnson’s attorney, Kevin Hiestand, questioned the girl during an internal investigation, according to interviews and e-mails obtained by The Bee.

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Michelle Rhee’s Pal In More Trouble

DC City Desk writes:

Sacramento Bee – The federal government released findings of its investigation into management of the nonprofit St. HOPE volunteer program founded by Sacramento mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson, citing violations that include having youthful participants run personal errands and wash his car.

The findings from the federal probe followed by a day the government’s announcement it was barring Johnson, St. HOPE Academy and a former official from access to federal grants and contracts for up to a year.

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So Soon Surrender: Rhee and Co. Use Paycheck to Write Off Students

Raw Fisher writes on The Washington Post:

School renovations aren’t going so well, teachers are resisting Chancellor Michelle Rhee‘s ambitious plan to undo decades-old seniority rules, and student performance remains persistently miserable.

Despite her stunning ability to push dramatic change through a historically resistant political structure, the District’s schools chancellor is getting a little bit desperate. The evidence: Last week’s announcement of a deeply cynical effort to pay D.C. middle-schoolers to attend school, behave decently and perform in the classroom.

Yes, pay them, as in cash money. Rhee, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Harvard University economist Roland Fryer, a 30-year-old wunderkind who has taken on some highly controversial topics in novel and fascinating ways, are teaming up on a pilot project to be rolled out in October in 14 District middle schools. Kids who show up, follow the rules and meet academic goals will collect points that could earn them paychecks of as much as $100 every two weeks — per kid. The money — the city expects to spend $2.7 million the first year — will be deposited in bank accounts in each student’s name.

No reasonable person expected Rhee to produce better test scores in such a short time. So why would she and Fenty embrace an unproven and depressingly classist, bordering on racially condescending, tactic like “Capital Gains,” the city’s name for a program it first introduced as — egad! — “School Is Money.”

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Poor Rheesoning on paying pupils

Liam Julian DC Examiner Columnist writes:

Your child will not eat his broccoli. He ignores your entreaties, scoffs at your demands. And so, rather than discipline the scamp, you decide to pay him $100 for every month that he chokes down the vegetable. Plainly put: You bribe him.

Such a parenting strategy is likely to produce a hellion, of course—a juvenile who will learn nothing important and enduring about nutrition, behavior, obedience, personal responsibility, or authority.

And yet, this is exactly the type of misguided educating strategy that Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is poised to enact in the capital city’s classrooms.

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