With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fallout from Rhee's bogus contract with the union

Hundreds more D.C. teachers could be "excessed"

Broom Lady Michelle Rhee is gone from D.C. but the school district and its teachers are now left to face the fallout from her destructive policies. It appears that Rhee pal, Arne Duncan has pulled the plug on federal funding, punishing this predominantly African-American district for giving her the boot.

Now, DCPS faces the loss of EduJobs funds from the Obama administration, along with reductions in other federal monies. It also faces other pending massive general cuts in the 2012 education budget, as well as  a pull-back of millions of dollars in foundation money that was promised on the condition that Rhee remain as chancellor.

Then there's that contract Rhee pushed on the teachers union; the one that the corporate school reformers were raving about; the one that gave Rhee and her successor a free hand in firing hundreds of teachers in exchange for supposed "merit pay" raises. But those pay increases were dependent on the good will of the Gates and Broad foundations and on Rhee's willingness to make massive cuts in other badly needed district programs.

The union leadership should have never signed on to the raise-for-tenure deal, as many of us warned back in 2009.  Now the district, teetering once again on the verge of bankruptcy, is prepping principals on another planned mass teacher tiring, why crying poor about the pay raises.

Writes WaPo's Bill Turque:
Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson denied speculation Monday that the District can't afford the increased teacher salaries provided for in the 2010 collective bargaining agreement. Sources have identified the loss of millions in one-time 2010 "Edujob" funds from the Obama administration, along with reductions in certain special education monies, as part of the hole school officials are trying to fill. But Henderson didn't have much to say about either.
According to Turque, the district is giving school principals a "refresher course" on how to eliminate teacher jobs as they assemble their 2012 spending plans. "Excessing" can occur when there's been a decline in enrollment, a cut in local school budgets, closings, changes in programs or restructuring under No Child Left Behind. Until last year, excessing was done almost exclusively by seniority. But Rhee's contract now requires the use of a "performance-based" formula in which last year's IMPACT scores count for 50 percent.

Yes, Rhee is gone. But she's left DCPS as a basket case and the district's teachers, parents and students will have to bear the costs--a lesson to Sacramento and Florida districts where Rhee has landed.

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