By Peter Doocy, ,
Published December 23, 2015
The final bell rang for 413 D.C. public school employees Friday, after officials announced they were being laid off for poor performance and failure to meet licensing requirements.
Of the terminated staff, 206 are teachers- which adds up to 5 percent of all the public school teachers in the entire District of Columbia.
The biggest chunk of workers let go- 288 of them- were rated subpar by the city school district's evaluation system, called "IMPACT."
The program is Michelle Rhee's brainchild from her days as chancellor of the D.C. public school system, and it uses five 30-minute classroom visits to determine who the good teachers are, and who the bad teachers are. Educators are measured by how high their students score on assessment tests and how well lessons are laid out.
"'IMPACT' is allowing us to do exactly what we set out to do, which is recognize and reward our highest performers, which is to support and develop our people who are struggling, and to move out our lowest performers," DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson told Fox News affiliate WTTG.
Rewards for the "highly effective," can potentially- and literally- pay off big time. The same set of reviews that terminated 206 teachers identified 663 top performers, all of whom are now eligible for up to $25,000 in bonuses.
Still, the Washington Teachers Union has issues with "IMPACT", and they don't think this particular evaluation system gives their members a fair shake.
"'IMPACT' as an evaluation system is biased," contends Washington Teachers’ Union President Nathan A. Saunders. "And most, if not all, evaluation systems run by other human beings have been proven to be biased."
Jason Kamras, the district’s chief of human capital, told WTTG that the terminated staff members will have various options to appeal, depending on which union they’re in.
This is the second year "IMPACT" has been applied to D.C. public school employees.
About 500 teachers received a poor rating last year. Of the 500, 14 had requested appeals through their principal. Appeals were granted to four of the 14 teachers.