Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rhee and WTU sign controvercial agreement

[Back from a mini--work related--break]

Chancellor Rhee and WTU President George Parker have signed an agreement giving the Chancellor final say over the placement of DCPS teachers who are teaching at schools slated for closure at the end of this school year. The agreement is meeting some resistance, however, due to a perceived backtracking by Rhee on a promise she made to try to keep displaced teachers and students together next year.
Parents at the hearings asked Rhee, " 'Is it possible for the students to have the teachers from the old school to ease them into their transition?' The response was, 'Oh, sure. We can take care of that,' " said Nicola Turner, who has twins in first grade at Stevens Elementary School in Northwest Washington, which is slated to close.

But at a meeting last week, Turner said, Rhee told parents that the teacher transfer was not automatic and that teachers would have to interview for positions at the receiving schools.

"It's important to me that the teachers transition with the students," Turner said. The students are being disrupted enough "going into unfamiliar surroundings," she said.

Rhee's spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said in a statement that it would be impossible for all teachers at the closing schools to relocate to the receiving schools. The agreement "directly points out the fact that teachers won't automatically lose their jobs but in fact will have the opportunity to seek opportunities at receiving schools and/or transfer to other schools in the school system," she said.

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