From the earliest days of the PEP meetings I raised this issue that even one example of teachers being punished for political reasons that have nothing to do with their teaching taints attempts to remove truly poor teachers. Joel Klein of course has done nothing but support the most awful principals from hell (PFHs) no matter what the evidence.
I think the first case we (Betsy Combier) raised was that of Dr. Bob Drake, a chemistry teacher at Bronx HS of Science who was fired by PFH Valerie Reidy because he objected to her using "Dr." before her title since she was not a phd. Of course Klein ignored the case. Drake by the way was hired by other systems in top performing schools in the suburbs since then at much higher salary than he was getting here.
Reidy meanwhile continued her vendettas - most notably within the math department where 20 teachers filed a complaint against her and she had a top level math teacher and chapter leader U-rated -twice. He has since transferred with UFT assistance - which looks like a good thing on the surface but also shows how the UFT allows its chapter leaders to be eaten - which undermines the union at its core.
By the way, I am convinced that part of the core curriculum at the Leadership Principal training academies is how to defang and destroy union reps or activists.
But political vendettas by principals under the guise of going after bad teachers is another story the ed press ignores. Where is that value added for bad reporting?
Of course Michelle Rhee who talks a big game also has her political vendettas in DC.
Today Gary Imhoff in TheMail has this piece.
Many of you are familiar with Wilson High School history teacher Erich Martel, or at least with his past battles to improve public education in DC and specifically at Wilson. Now he has been reassigned to a technology high school by DCPS’s administrators, motivated by the complaints of a principal who was upset by Martel’s fight to keep the school’s administration honest and accountable (see Bill Turque’s blog, http://tinyurl.com/28tnrbz, and the front-page article in the September 1 issue of the Northwest Current, http://www.currentnewspapers.com/admin/uploadfiles/NW Sept. 1 1.pdf). This is another example of the Rhee administration’s petty, personal retaliation against teachers who are not members of the Rhee/Fenty inner circle — retaliation that has nothing to do with the competence and ability of teachers. See a lot more about this in Martel’s message in this issue and in the links from his message.
Yes, Bill Turque is one ed reporter who must have a high value added, as does WAPO's Valerie Strauss.
Here is Erich Martel's
Open Letter to Chancellor Michelle Rhee
Erich Martel, email@example.com
[This letter and its attachments are a “protected disclosure” (DC Code 1-615.51).] I am outraged that you would permit Instructional Superintendent John Davis to involuntarily transfer me from Woodrow Wilson H.S. to an off-budget assignment at Phelps ACE H.S. (http://www.dcpswatch.com/martel/100730.htm) on transparently fabricated grounds of my “significant educational philosophy differences with the Wilson H.S. administration” and then to besmirch my decades-long commitment and contributions to students and colleagues at Wilson H.S. and throughout DCPS by affirming that action as being “in the best interests of DCPS.”
The involuntary transfer came after I sent several “protected disclosures” (DC Code 1-615.51) describing mismanagement and other violations at Wilson H.S. to Ms. Henderson, to Mr. Davis, and to you and which I made for the purpose of correction. Each one described actions by one or more members of the Wilson H.S. administration that undermined the learning environment at Wilson H.S. The action by Mr. Davis is, therefore, an act of retaliation, as defined by law. (My reports were in compliance with the DC Whistleblower Reinforcement Act, which Chancellor Rhee E-mailed all principals and teachers on April 29, 2009, to inform us of our responsibility to report waste, fraud, and mismanagement the DC Office of the Inspector General.)
In this report, I am making requests and reporting additional violations: fraud, cronyism, and serious allegations of improper behavior by DCPS employees and abdication of their responsibilities for supervising 88 students on a class trip. Everything I am reporting would not have happened, if Mr. Cahall held his subordinates accountable, if Mr. Davis held Mr. Cahall accountable, if you and Ms. Henderson held Mr. Davis accountable, and if Mayor Fenty held you accountable. At Wilson H.S., that failure has resulted in cronyism and private arrangements that have had a depressing effect on student learning and a chilling effect on teacher morale.
Our school has one of the most accomplished and dedicated faculties in the city; yet fundamental academic decisions are made behind closed doors by an inner circle with little or no classroom experience. The results show on DC CAS, SAT, and AP results. [Finished online at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2010/10-09-01.htm#martel]