This week 98 teachers from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) were fired due to chronic poor performance as determined by the district’s IMPACT rating system. As a former teacher who’s been deemed among the worst in my school by one district and among the best in my school at another district, I’m sensitive to evaluations of teaching. Excerpts like this really bother me though:
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.
At some point teaching jobs will be about being effective and, if you’re not effective, being dedicated to changing your practices/habits/thoughts to improve to benefits students and their learning—not about strategic political contributions that will save someone a job.
An element of this punitive situation that will largely go unnoticed due to the negative image of IMPACT among many teachers and unions is the other side of the coin—incentives for quality performance.
About two-thirds of teachers were rated effective.
Teachers rated highly effective are eligible for bonuses of up to $25,000. This year, 988 teachers—or about a quarter of the teaching corps—earned that top rating, up from 663 last year.
My starting salary as a secondary school social studies teacher in Mississippi in 2007 was barely $30,000. I remember being overjoyed when I got a bonus of $1,000 (that was taxed…and given to me nine months after I started work) for coming to the district highly qualified. It remains to be seen whether these sorts of incentives will bear fruit in recruiting “better” college students into the teaching profession, keeping quality novice teachers from leaving in the first five years, or pushing current teachers to work harder but a lot of eyes are on D.C. and IMPACT.blog comments powered by Disqus