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Poor Performing Teachers Let Go

“98 D.C. teachers fired for poor performance”
by Emma Brown
Washington Post
August 1, 2012

D.C. school officials said Wednesday that 98 teachers were fired this week for poor performance, a large-scale dismissal that has become almost routine in the city but remains rare among school systems nationwide.

Those who were dismissed — about half the number let go last year — account for less than 3 percent of the school system’s approximately 4,100 teachers.

They received low scores on the rigorous evaluation instrument known as IMPACT, which has drawn national attention as one of the first to link teacher pay and job security with classroom performance and student achievement.

That concept has gained traction among policymakers around the country, said Sandi Jacobs of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based advocacy group.

But the D.C. Public Schools system, which has dismissed nearly 400 teachers since 2009 because of poor performance, is still one of the few in which an unsatisfactory rating can lead to a rapid exit.

“Most of the new next-generation evaluation systems haven’t really hit the ground yet,” Jacobs said. “Nobody’s where DCPS is.”

This week’s firings are the second round of teacher dismissals under Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who received considerable support from the local teachers union during his 2010 campaign.

The numbers released Wednesday include only teachers in traditional public schools. Public charter schools have latitude to use their own evaluations.

Under IMPACT, teachers are observed five times each year. They’re graded on their ability to meet nine standards, including managing time, explaining information clearly and correcting students’ misunderstandings.

For some teachers — those who teach math or reading in grades four through eight — half their evaluation depends on how students fare on yearly standardized tests.

Of the teachers dismissed this week, 39 were rated ineffective on IMPACT, and 59 were rated minimally effective

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