Tagged with DCPS

DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO REPLACE 18 PRINCIPALS

There are a number of principals leaving DCPS, as the District is replacing 18 of its public school principals, most of whom were hired by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee. DC Public Schools spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz declined to say how many of the 18 principals were retiring, resigning or being fired. The Washington Examiner reported the number of principals turning over in the school system.

  • 2008, 43 principals
  • 2009, 26 principals
  • 2010, 20 principals
  • 2011, 24 principals

A number of the schools facing new principals had their 2011 standardized tests lower compared with the previous year. Full Washington Examiner article here.

*If you are a DCPS teacher, please be sure to complete our principal evaluation form. All ID numbers will remain confidential and entries anonymous.*

Where principals are being replaced next school year
Aiton Elementary School
Ballou STAY High School
Brookland Education Campus at Bunker Hill*
Browne Education Campus*
Cardozo Senior High School
Alice Deal Middle School**
Garfield Elementary School
Garrison Elementary School
Langdon Education Campus*
Moten Elementary School
Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School
Prospect Learning Center
Seaton Elementary School
Shaw Middle School
Walker-Jones Education Campus
Washington Metropolitan High School
Winston Education Campus
H.D. Woodson Senior High School
Note: Current as of 6/5/12
*Ward 5 middle schools are being restructured, but changes are not expected until the 2013-2014 school year. It’s not clear if principal turnover at these schools is related to the new plan.
**Deal’s principal resigned midyear. It is possible the interim principal will continue into next year, so Deal could be removed from the turnover list.

Read more current education news in our Short Reads.

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D.C. CITY COUNCIL APPROVES $22 MILLION FURLOUGH REPAYMENT FOR D.C. TEACHERS AND CITY WORKERS

By Emmelie De La Cruz

After months of negotiations, Tuesday, June 5, 2012 marked another victory for labor unions, as the D.C. City Council members approved an amendment offered by Chairman Kwame Brown and At-large Councilmember Michael A. Brown, to repay D.C. teachers and other city workers for the four public holidays they were furloughed last year.  The council voted 12-1 to support the spending of $22 million to compensate city workers and Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to sign it into law. The furlough repayment is expected to be disbursed prior to the start of the new school year in a one-time lump sum equivalent to the employee’s loss of salary for the furloughed days.

As stated in the Washington Examiner, “At-large Councilman David Catania, who voted against the furlough payments, tried to divert the money to job training programs for long-term welfare recipients. The council easily defeated Catania’s amendment.”

“It is only right that we restore these funds and repay our hardworking civil servants for the work they do on behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia,” said Councilmember Brown.

WTU will provide more information as it becomes available. Continue to visit The Teachers’ Lounge, as we continue to update you on furlough repayment and other happenings from City Council.

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WTU President Nathan A. Saunders Speaks Out On The FY 2013 Public Education Budget

There are concerns about the D.C. Public Schools FY 2013 School Budget that will reduce special education services, increase class sizes and seriously undermine the academic achievements of D.C. public school students.

Listen to Washington Teachers’ Union President Nathan A. Saunders discuss changes to special education in D.C. Public Schools on The Mary & Melissa Talk Show.

What can you do to make a difference? Take action for special education and write your local legislators—using both your home and school zip code—to urge legislators to revisit these critical issues and exercise their authority to challenge decreases in services for special education students in D.C. Public Schools.

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Still no Answers in D.C. CAS Testing Probe


By Marcus Coates

Spring is in the air and the end of another school year is just around the corner, yet sadly, there is still no resolution in the unusually high wrong to right erasures on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) tests.

Last week, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced DCPS will participate in an OSSE-led independent investigation into 2011 DC CAS results that will be conducted by Alvarez and Marsal Public Sector Services, LLC (A&M).

According to DCPS, in addition to welcoming the investigation, A&M will also investigate of an additional set of classrooms that were “flagged for further review had high wrong-to-right erasure rates and statistically aberrant student gains from 2010-2011.”

While the selection of a vendor to investigate testing results is definitely a step in the right direction, the glacial pace of the response to the allegations is a major concern for parents, teachers, and the community.

Testing impropriety is a very serious matter and threatens the integrity of the teaching profession. However, one must consider that such action is a direct by-product and an unfortunate reality of so called data-driven education reform.  With similar incidents in Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, sadly, this activity will continue to plague school districts throughout the country as this testing-obsessed culture spreads.

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Guest Commentary: Value-Added Has No Value

By: Steven J. Klees
Harold R.W. Benjamin Professor of International and Comparative Education
University of Maryland, College Park

The story of fifth-grade teacher Sarah Wysocki (March 7) is tragic and, unfortunately, this is a tragedy being repeated across the country.  By all reports and evaluations, but one, Wysocki was an excellent teacher.  The one was a piece of statistical legerdemain that has been sweeping the country called “value-added,”  fed, in part, by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program which mandates it.  Value-added is a statistical set of procedures that purports to measure scientifically what has become theholy grail of education — the impact of a teacher on student test scores.  And these statistics said that Wysocki didn’t do enough to improve test scores so she was fired.

Unfortunately, measuring value-added in practice is simply impossible, illogical, and unscientific, and you don’t have to be a statistician to understand why.  Value-added statistical models are supposed to separate the impact of one factor — the teacher — from the literally dozens of other factors that contribute to a student’s performance on a test.

For example: access to a home computer, other resources in the home, technology access in the schools, effort at homework, parents’ education, parent’s support, influence of previous teachers, peer effects, school climate, aspirations, access to health care, better diet, a good night’s sleep, and many, many others.  Even if you had information on all these factors, believing some statistical model could sort out the relative influence of each is wishful thinking.  Moreover, value-added models only have data on very few factors — usually special education status, English proficiency, attendance, and eligibility for reduced price lunch.  Controlling for these and attributing the rest to the teacher makes no sense.  The effect attributed to the teacher is always incorrect since omitted factors could change the teacher impact measure in either direction.  Statisticians who attempt to control for a few of these factors can do so, and the analysis will always identify so-called meritorious teachers.  But the results are completely illegitimate.  Controlling for different factors will lead to different teachers selected as meritorious, and there is no basis for deciding which factors to control.

Florida tried a value-added approach to merit pay for schools in the 1980s.  This suffers the same problems as a value-added merit pay for teachers’ scheme.  In Florida, school district statisticians found their value-added models identified different schools as meritorious, depending on which factors they controlled for and they realized there was no right way to decide what to control for.  These statisticians were embarrassed when it came time to awarding money to meritorious schools since there was no stable way to estimate which schools were meritorious, and there was no rational basis for explaining to schools why they won or lost.

That is the situation we are now in.  Teachers in the District, who generally know who the good teachers are, said they were “stunned” and “bewildered” by the firings.  The decision to fire Ms. Wysocki would never have been made if statisticians were to provide alternative estimates of teacher impact based on using different value-added models.  But they do not.  Why?  Partly, statisticians become fascinated with their models and want to believe in them.  But partly, this is now a big business and you don’t get paid if you offer equivocal answers.  Unfortunately, while value-added approaches are very complex, they are simply not science.

I am not saying test scores are irrelevant to teacher assessment.  Simple measures of a classroom’s gain in test scores, as one piece of information among many about a teacher’s performance, can be interpreted with knowledge of the local context as part of a professional peer evaluation system.  But we can no more scientifically determine teachers’ effects on test scores than we can legislators’ impact on economic growth or poverty reduction.  Sure, both have an impact, but the processes are too complicated for simplistic solutions.

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