Vincent Gray answers questions at the Washington Post

Vincent C. Gray, chairman of Council of the District of Columbia, was online Monday, Jan. 5 at noon ET to discuss the issues facing the council when it begins a new session this week.

Temple Hills, Md.: Chancellor Rhee has put over 400 certified and tenured (including special education) teachers on probation in order to terminate them by the end of March. Will they lose their benefits or will they be given an opportunity to retire with full benefits under age 55? Many of the teachers have twenty years or more and are under the retirement age of 55. What will happen to the students at this time of year who will have no instructor? I personally think terminating teachers, especially at this time of year, is going to result in overcrowded classes that will include special needs children in regular classes with no special ed teacher thus resulting in ineffective teaching. Perhaps, this is what the Chancellor wants so she can put more certified and tenured teachers on probation.

Vincent C. Gray
: The Council is conducting a public hearing on Jan. 16 on teacher quality. We intend to raise a number of questions at that hearing about the basis for placing teachers on probation and how DCPS intends to address the myriad issues associated with this. We continue to be deeply concerned about DCPS and the Washington Teachers Union being able to reach an agreement which would allow far more predictability in the relationship of teachers to DCPS. …

Washington, D.C.: Please discuss your proposal to conduct and independent evaluation of policies and programs put in place by school chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Vincent C. Gray: This is not just a proposal. The Public Education Reform Amendment Act, which became law in June 2007, contains a provision that an Annual Evaluation shall be conducted. At the end of five years, there is to be an assessment of the entire period to determine progress. The Mayor nominated two people to conduct the evaluation last April. The Council conducted a public hearing at the end of May and decided it would not approve them because, while they are eminently qualified professionals, they also have a position on Mayoral takeovers. Moreover, we were concerned that the Mayor proposed to pay for this through a private fund. Despite making a formal inquiry, we were unable to learn the source of these private funds. Both of these issues left me with discomfort about moving forward on this nomination and approach. We have received no other nominations from the Mayor. Thus, we are looking at taking additional steps in order to move forward on this overdue legislative requirement.

2 Responses to “Vincent Gray answers questions at the Washington Post”

  1. 1 Lisa February 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    First of all, Michelle Rhee never should have been Chancellor. With only two years of teaching experience, it is a slap in the face to those who have gone through the ranks. Besides, I’m sick of people thinking that Ivy Leagers can run schools. They may be smart, but now where it counts. Would a black person be put over an all Asia school system. NO! So why is Michelle Rhee’s spoiled out of touch self over Black children. Michelle is Fenty’s friend, and she had a popular boyfriend, that’s why she was chosen. She wasn’t qualified, nor prepared to take over the school system. It’s just DC’s Dumb City’s way of screwing up again. DCPS needs a person who has been a teacher and an administrator to run the system, not some Ivy League bimbo!

  2. 2 dcblogger February 13, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I’m sick of people thinking that Ivy Leagers can run schools.

    Why not? They’ve been doing such a great job of running Wall Street 😉

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