Headlines about D.C. school reform efforts have often involved the firing of teachers who scored poorly on the IMPACT evaluations — about 300 in the past two years. But the District has also shed 145 teachers, including counselors, deemed effective or even highly effective. This layoff method is known in the bureaucracy as “excessing.”
Reasons for excessing vary from school to school, with principals making the final call. They include budget cuts, rising teacher salaries, enrollment declines, changes in academic programs and staff overhauls mandated under federal law.
About 70 percent of the 522 teachers excessed since 2010 found other jobs in the system, school officials report. Washington Teachers’ Union President Nathan Saunders said schools can ill afford to lose any effective educators. He contends that a push for younger, lower-cost hires — some from programs such as Teach for America and D.C. Teaching Fellows — has wrongfully forced out seasoned practitioners.
The Washington Post; D.C. educators rated effective can still lose jobs. By Bill Turque, November 2
Its funny to see how policy effects our society in a long term scenario. How were we to know that programs like Teach for America and D.C. Teaching Fellows, created with the best of intentions to help raise not just the quantity of educators in the District but the quality, would oust those that have helped set the precedent for those new teachers walking through the hallways for the first time? Clearly the short-sighted idea was that these programs would help direct young persons with a drive to help make a difference into teaching in areas that need them most; but the unforeseen overflow has now resulted in a different effect on D.C.’s schools. Its cyclical, almost tidal: as new teachers are brought in, they not only patch up the holes left behind by vacancies or poorly-performing teachers but also “wash away” the experienced teachers whose cumulative salaries earned over many years of efficient educating are too much for the struggling schools/ districts to handle.
Is this right? It’s hard to say; are these older, higher paid, more experienced teacher more partial to their current setting, or the monetary security their experience has afforded them? Are they willing to pursue their higher salary elsewhere, or are they willing to take a marginal salary cut to help the school/ district retain some of the quality teachers brought in by the programs we created? It’s hard to not compare this phenomenon to a different one that the District is undergoing as well: gentrification. Are we gentrifying our teaching corps? Are we attempting to bring in the new, only to push out the old, without any support or structure to fall back on?
The only thing I can say is that I truly believe, that at the end of the day, if you are a teacher for the right reasons? There will always be a student out there that needs your help.