Racing to the bottom by firing experience

With Ohio on the verge of adopting the worst aspects of Washington DC's teacher evaluation and merit pay system, more concerning revelations continue to surface. It's no secret that DC public schools were embroiled in a test cheating scandal under the leadership of corporate education reformer Michele Rhee. Now those falsified test results might be causing good teachers to lose their jobs

Student test scores from 100 District of Columbia public schools still under investigation for cheating were used in value-added calculations that were incorporated into some teachers' evaluations this year, according to DCPS spokesperson Fred Lewis. More than 200 D.C. teachers were terminated last week on the basis of their evaluation results.

Previously inflated student achievements are now falling back to earth, and the teachers tasked with catching them are being held responsible for the lower scores now legitimately being measured. In some cases, this is causing teachers evaluations to fall into the dangerous categories of being ineffective - where they are subject to dismissal.

When asked whether there was any chance the appeal decision could be made before the 2011-2012 school year begins, Lewis said:

"No, unfortunately, the appeals decisions will not be made before the beginning of the year. While this would be ideal, the window to file an appeal must be at least 30 days, which is after the first day of school. We also want to make sure we have all necessary evidence in order to ensure the process is comprehensive and fair. We do not want to rush."

Now that Washington DC is a few years into it's regular mass firing of teachers, recently released data from Department of Education shows an alarming result

DC Teacher Demographic

Almost half of Washington DC's teachers have 2 years or less experience! Does anyone still think corporate education reform and "teacher accountability" is about putting "Students First"? Or do we think administrators faced with harsh budget conditions are looking for any means possible to relieve themselves of more experienced and higher paid teaching professionals?

Left unchecked, Ohio's public education system will be in a race to the bottom, with students being served by teachers with little experience, few mentors, low pay, and all in a high pressure vocation. It may be a cheaper way to deliver "education", but at what true cost?