The RIFs came down Friday as 229 teachers and others totaling 388 school employees got pink slips. They will be put on paid leave until November 2, when they will no longer have jobs. The Washington POST dutifully wrote an editorial Saturday applauding the RIFs. Incredibly, the POST reasoned that since there are some bad teachers in DCPS, therefore any firing of teachers must be justified, no matter whether those bad teachers were the ones fired or not. Meanwhile, City Council Chairman Vincent Gray questioned why any cuts were needed given that DCPS has more money in the current budget than they did the year before. Independent budget analysist Mary Levy fired off a quick analysis that documents why the cuts were not needed at all. Meanwhile, no evaluation of teachers was used to identify who should be cut. Principals had been instructed how many teachers to eliminate and came up with lists. Broad criteria provided by Rhee instructed principals to rank their teachers using "needs of the school" for 75% of the determination, the lowest ranking teachers to be cut. So this highly disruptive action, one month into the school year, was based on a process no one trusts based on a budget cut that has not been justified. Even those who want attention to the quality of teaching and want bad teachers removed had trouble defending these RIFs, except the editors of the Washington Post.
At some of the most challenged high schools, significant numbers of students will have to be re-scheduled into classes a month into the year. Cardozo HS is losing 16 teachers, 18 at Ballou HS and 15 at Spingarn HS. Parents and teachers throughout the City are scrambling to figure out what the impact will be on their kids. A demonstration has been called for Thursday, October 8 , from 4:30 to 6:00 at Freedom Plaza in front of the Wilson Building.