D.C. Wire: Bill Turque


Posted at 02:26 PM ET, 10/13/2010

Excerpts: Post reporter Bill Turque on Rhee resignation

Washington Post reporter Bill Turque, who covers the D.C. Public Schools system, was online earlier today to take reader questions after this morning's announcement that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will step down by the end of the month. Excerpts from the discussion follow. Q: What does this mean for the...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  02:26 PM ET, 10/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 08:03 PM ET, 10/12/2010

What grade would you give Rhee?

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's resignation will be announced at a news conference tomorrow morning. What grade would you give her tenure leading the city's schools? Vote in the poll below and explain your rating in the comments....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  08:03 PM ET, 10/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Bill Turque,Education, Bill Turque,Education, Bill Turque,Education

Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 05/26/2010

Brown fundraiser for council chairman draws school construction crowd

In the next five years, the District is slated to spend $1.5 billion to reconstruct and renovate the city's schools. Many of the construction companies and contractors that will be tasked with overhauling those buildings were in the room Tuesday night for a fundraiser to toast - and write checks...

By Ann E. Marimow and Bill Turque  |  11:06 AM ET, 05/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 01/11/2010

Moving Day for D.C. School News

Starting today, news about Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and school reform in the District signs off the D.C. Wire and moves to a different address, D.C. Schools Insider. What happens in the city's public and public charter schools resonates not only with parents, teachers, students and policy makers, but...

By Bill Turque  |  03:50 PM ET, 01/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:26 PM ET, 01/06/2010

Building The Better Teacher

Anyone interested in the future of D.C. public schools should take a look at Amanda Ripley's new piece in The Atlantic, posted Tuesday. Ripley, whose 2008 Time magazine profile of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee featured the now-legendary broom cover, reports on Teach for America's (TFA) painstaking attempts to isolate the...

By Bill Turque  |  05:26 PM ET, 01/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 01/04/2010

Rhee tweaks out-of-boundary lottery

DCPS has adjusted the language in rules covering enrollment in out-of-boundary schools. One of the aims, officials say, is to determine with more precision which families are actually eligible to place their children in schools outside their immediate neighborhoods. Parents who don't want the public school assigned to them by...

By Bill Turque  |  01:57 PM ET, 01/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:23 PM ET, 12/16/2009

Oyster-Adams Principal Calls Out Rude Parents

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Woodley Park was the setting for one of last year's nastier school community disputes. In May 2008 Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, whose two daughters attend the school, fired principal Marta Guzman, along with about two-dozen other D.C. school leaders. Guzman's dismissal aggravated ethnic and class tensions...

By Bill Turque  |  05:23 PM ET, 12/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:56 PM ET, 12/16/2009

Two District agencies to move

D.C. Public Schools and the Department of the Environment will have new digs come February, when they lease space in an office building on top of the New York Avenue Metro station in Northeast's NoMA neighborhood, the city's Department of Real Estate Services announced Wednesday afternoon. DRES director Robin-Eve Jasper...

By Bill Turque  |  04:56 PM ET, 12/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:56 PM ET, 12/16/2009

Oyster-Adams principal calls out rude parents

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Woodley Park was the setting for one of last year's nastier school community disputes. In June 2008 Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, whose two daughters attend the school, fired principal Marta Guzman, along with about two-dozen other D.C. school leaders. Guzman's dismissal aggravated ethnic and class tensions...

By Washington Post editors  |  04:56 PM ET, 12/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:54 AM ET, 12/14/2009

Janey says 'footprint' is still fresh

When Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee met with reporters last week to tout the District's improved math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) , she did it with a nod to her predecessor, Clifford Janey. It was under Janey, who was dismissed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty after...

By Washington Post editors  |  11:54 AM ET, 12/14/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:32 PM ET, 12/10/2009

What did Kaya Henderson say and when didn't she say it?

One of the reasons Hardy Middle School parents and staff were so angered by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's Dec. 4 announcement that she was replacing respected principal Patrick Pope was that it seemed to contradict prior assurances that Pope would remain in place. At the raucous Dec. 4 meeting in...

By Washington Post editors  |  05:32 PM ET, 12/10/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 12/10/2009

Everything on the table at Smothers Elementary

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee was table-hopping Wednesday evening, not at a downtown soiree but the cafeteria of Smothers Elementary school in Northeast, where she held the first of her evening "office hours." About two-dozen parents and other stakeholders signed up and took a number to wait for a one-on-one with...

By Bill Turque  |  10:20 AM ET, 12/10/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 12/08/2009

Rhee to hold office hours

Starting Wednesday evening, DCPS parents and other stakeholders will have a chance for five minutes of face time with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who will begin to hold monthly "office hours" at selected schools. Tomorrow's session will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Smothers Elementary School in Ward 7,...

By Washington Post editors  |  10:47 AM ET, 12/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:21 PM ET, 12/04/2009

Hardy Principal Pope out

D.C. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee infuriated parents and faculty at a Georgetown middle school Friday evening by announcing that she plans to remove its popular long-time principal, Patrick Pope. Rhee said that Pope would finish the academic year at Hardy Middle School, home of a highly regarded arts and instrumental...

By Bill Turque  |  10:21 PM ET, 12/04/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:20 AM ET, 12/04/2009

Wilson Kids Headed To UDC

It looks increasingly likely that Woodrow Wilson High School's 1,500 students will spend the 2010-11 academic year at the University of the District of Columbia while their building undergoes a $70 million renovation. Lew's office says details still need to be worked out, but Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3)...

By Bill Turque  |  09:20 AM ET, 12/04/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:21 PM ET, 12/01/2009

Fired Teachers Rip Union, Ask For Money

A group representing at least some of the 266 District educators laid off on Oct. 2 is asking the Washington Teachers Union (WTU) for $250,000 to finance appeals of their cases. A D.C. Superior Court judge last week upheld Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's decision to close a budget gap by...

By Bill Turque  |  04:21 PM ET, 12/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:09 PM ET, 12/01/2009

DC Officials: Vouchers Underwrite Discrimination

Two top elected officials in Ward 6 have written to Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill) opposing reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCSOP), asserting that some students who receive the federally-funded vouchers attend "seriously deficient" private schools or religious schools with discriminatory employment practices. The future of the program remains...

By Bill Turque  |  01:09 PM ET, 12/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:33 AM ET, 12/01/2009

Rhee, Hardy Parents To Meet

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who said she planned a "major announcement" this month about the future of Hardy Middle School, will meet Friday evening with parents who'd like to know what she has in mind for the arts-focused Georgetown school. Rhee kicked up considerable uncertainty and angst after a Northwest...

By Bill Turque  |  10:33 AM ET, 12/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:10 PM ET, 11/24/2009

WTU Loses Court Challenge To Layoffs

A D.C. Superior Court judge has ruled against a bid by the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) to roll back the Oct. 2 layoffs of 266 DCPS teachers and staff. In an opinion issued late Tuesday morning, Judge Judith Bartnoff said WTU had failed to prove any of its core arguments...

By Bill Turque  |  01:10 PM ET, 11/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 11/24/2009

Twelve Schools Cited For Suspect Test Results

District officials have asked 12 public and public charter schools with irregularities in their 2009 DC-CAS standardized test results to conduct internal investigations. That little news nugget was tucked into the seventh paragraph of a joint statement by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and State Superintendent of Education Kerri Briggs--released shortly...

By Bill Turque  |  11:36 AM ET, 11/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 11/20/2009

Bleak Hallways At Ballou

When schools opened in August, the Fenty Administration proudly showcased the latest results of its $1 billion overhaul of DCPS buildings. Students at School Without Walls High School, Deal Middle School, Wheatley Education Campus and H.D. Cooke and Savoy elementary schools returned to facilities handsomely renovated under the guidance of...

By Bill Turque  |  11:51 AM ET, 11/20/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 11/20/2009

Report: Rhee spoke to feds on Johnson's behalf

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee had several conversations last year with a federal inspector general investigating Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson for alleged financial misconduct and inappropriate behavior with female students at a charter school he operated, The Los Angeles Times reported Friday. The paper said Rhee, who once served...

By Bill Turque  |  11:18 AM ET, 11/20/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 02:36 PM ET, 11/19/2009

Security Firm Found Lacking Back in Schools

The District dumped Watkins Security from its contract to safeguard D.C. public schools in 2005 after an inspector general's report found that it was overpriced, underqualified, ineffective and employed some guards with criminal records. It awarded a new contract to Hawk One. Turns out Watkins is back, this time as...

By Bill Turque  |  02:36 PM ET, 11/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:44 PM ET, 11/19/2009

Michelle Rhee, Bringing Us Together

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee likes to say -- and did so again Tuesday at a CEO gathering sponsored by The Wall Street Journal--that "collaboration and consensus building are quite frankly overrated in my mind." So who better to participate in a national town hall to search for common...

By Bill Turque  |  01:44 PM ET, 11/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 02:50 PM ET, 11/18/2009

DCPS 2011 Budget Season Begins

Seems like the dust was just beginning to clear from all the scuffling over DCPS' 2010 budget, which included confrontations between Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and the D.C. Council over enrollment projections and teacher layoffs. But those who can't wait for another round will be pleased to know that Rhee...

By Bill Turque  |  02:50 PM ET, 11/18/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:08 PM ET, 11/10/2009

The hard road of Michelle Rhee's CFOs

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi named a new interim school system CFO Tuesday. Noel Bravo, a former senior budget adviser to Mayor Anthony A. Williams, replaces Noah Wepman, who resigned or was fired, depending on who you ask. Bravo is walking into what has become one of District...

By Bill Turque  |  06:08 PM ET, 11/10/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:32 PM ET, 11/09/2009

Finance chief for D.C. schools is out, source says

DCPS chief financial officer Noah Wepman, excoriated by the D.C. Council last month for sitting on news about mounting budget pressures in the school system, submitted his resignation Monday, according to a top District source. WTOP, citing sources, reported late Monday afternoon that he'd been fired. Whether he was thrown...

By Steve Reiss  |  07:32 PM ET, 11/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:36 PM ET, 11/05/2009

Judge To Rule Next Week On Teacher Layoffs

After listening to more than six hours of testimony and argument Thursday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff said she would rule "sometime next week" on the Washington Teachers' Union's (WTU) bid to roll back the layoffs of 266 DCPS teachers and staff. WTU is seeking an injunction that...

By Bill Turque  |  07:36 PM ET, 11/05/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:41 PM ET, 11/04/2009

Answers to Fifteen Questions for Chancellor Rhee

On Oct. 14, we posted 15 questions for Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee regarding recent budget cuts and layoffs of 388 school employees, including 229 teachers and 37 support staff. The questions were posed before last Thursday's D.C. Council hearing, when Rhee disclosed that she decided to save $9 million...

By Bill Turque  |  04:41 PM ET, 11/04/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:17 PM ET, 11/02/2009

Gray Calls For Wepman's Ouster

D.C Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, still fuming over last Thursday's confrontation with with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, called Monday for the head of school system CFO Noah Wepman, who did not report the existence of a $12 to $13 million deficit in its 2010 budget. "It was shocking to...

By Washington Post editors  |  12:17 PM ET, 11/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:46 PM ET, 10/28/2009

No TRO For WTU, Yet

The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) failed today in its bid to secure a court order barring the District from formally discharging the 266 public school instructors and staff it laid off Oct. 2. But a D.C. Superior Court judge left the door open to taking action next week. The educators...

By Bill Turque  |  06:46 PM ET, 10/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 02:46 PM ET, 10/27/2009

Fired DC principals go to court again

District teachers are not the only ex-school employees turning to the courts for redress. Last week a group of principals and assistant principals dismissed by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee in 2008 refiled an $84 million lawsuit alleging, among other things, age and race discrimination, defamation and civil conspiracy. The plaintiffs...

By Bill Turque  |  02:46 PM ET, 10/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:16 PM ET, 10/26/2009

WTU asks for Wednesday hearing to stay layoffs

With laid off teachers scheduled to be dropped from the District payroll on Nov. 2, the Washington Teachers' Union asked a D.C. Superior Court Monday for a temporary restraining order to keep them in place until legal issues can be sorted out. The 266 teachers and support staff represented...

By Bill Turque  |  07:16 PM ET, 10/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:04 PM ET, 10/26/2009

New Haven teachers pact: message to Rhee?

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten have been pounding the blackboard in praise of the recently completed New Haven teachers contract, hailing it as a model for what's possible when unions and elected officials collaborate in good faith. The agreement calls for teacher evaluations...

By Bill Turque  |  07:04 PM ET, 10/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 10/26/2009

Rhee: Not All Laid Off Teachers "Poor Educators"

When Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee first announced plans for teacher layoffs last month, she made clear that she was using what she described as a $43.9 million budget shortfall as an opportunity to rid the system of ineffective teachers. "As we are having to downsize staff are we [looking...

By Bill Turque  |  12:40 PM ET, 10/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:03 PM ET, 10/23/2009

Gray: Ed Data Project "A Sordid Mess"

The D.C. Council spent a couple of hours hammering two senior District officials Friday afternoon about the collapse of the $12 million educational data warehouse it voted to fund more than a year ago. On Sept. 9, the District dumped Williams, Adley & Co., the lead contractor on the Statewide...

By Bill Turque  |  07:03 PM ET, 10/23/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 10/23/2009

WTU amends lawsuit, Nickles says 'baloney'

The District was expected Friday to answer the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) lawsuit challenging the Oct. 2 layoffs of 266 instructors and staff, but will hold off because WTU tweaked its complaint late Thursday. The union is asking for an injunction to stop the firings until an arbitrator can determine...

By Bill Turque  |  12:48 PM ET, 10/23/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 10/22/2009

Low-income schools take brunt of cuts

The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) has extracted some interesting details from DCPS on the Oct. 2 layoffs. Turns out that nearly 70 percent of the staff reductions came from its highest-need schools. Based on data supplied by DCPS, the union found that 24.3 percent of the 267 layoffs (64 teachers...

By Bill Turque  |  12:44 PM ET, 10/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:03 PM ET, 10/21/2009

Some D.C. teachers go back to work

In the next few days, District lawyers are expected to respond to the Washington Teachers' Union lawsuit, explaining why DCPS was within its rights to lay off 266 teachers and staff. At the same time, the school system has quietly reinstated 25 teachers terminated last summer under the so-called "90-day...

By Bill Turque  |  05:03 PM ET, 10/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 10/21/2009

Lessons From Laid Off Teachers

There may never be another D.C. Council hearing quite like the 18-hour epic last Friday/Saturday that saw more than 40 public school teachers, most of them among the 266 laid off on Oct. 2, come to the witness table. Whatever level of skill each possessed as an educator-- asked by...

By Bill Turque  |  11:15 AM ET, 10/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 10/15/2009

Coming Next: Michelle of Arc?

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who is still living down her broom-wielding Time cover, appears in the new edition of Education Next as "D.C.'s Braveheart." This one, however is clearly a photoshop job, with her head plunked on top of a suit of armor. The accompanying story by June Kronholz...

By Bill Turque  |  10:50 AM ET, 10/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:19 PM ET, 10/14/2009

Charter School Enrollment Up

Public charter school enrollment continues its steady growth, increasing nine percent over last year, according to an unaudited count for the 2009-2010 academic year, officials announced Wednesday. The D.C. Public Charter School Board said the student population, in 60 schools across 90 campuses, is 27,953, just shy of the projected...

By Bill Turque  |  06:19 PM ET, 10/14/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:01 PM ET, 10/12/2009

Honored in February, Sacked in October

Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBCT) is a signal achievement in the education world. It means that a teacher has completed between one and three years of rigorous study and self-appraisal that includes a portfolio of student work, classroom videotapes and tests of content knowledge. In...

By Bill Turque  |  04:01 PM ET, 10/12/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:48 PM ET, 10/08/2009

Rhee Challenges Council's Math

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee continues trying to flesh out her side of the DCPS budget shortfall/layoffs imbroglio. On "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" this afternoon, she challenged D.C. Council President Vincent C. Gray's contention that DCPS has more money this year to spend on fewer students. Gray says the $43.9 million...

By Bill Turque  |  03:48 PM ET, 10/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 02:10 PM ET, 10/08/2009

Union: Rhee 'Packing the Bargaining Unit'

The Washington Teachers' Union lawsuit to block last week's layoffs of 266 instructors and staff addresses one of the most bewildering aspects of DCPS' alleged budget shortfall: Why did Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee make 934 new hires in the spring and summer for a school system in which enrollment was...

By Bill Turque  |  02:10 PM ET, 10/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 08:05 PM ET, 10/07/2009

District Teachers Lawyer Up

While the Washington Teachers' Union has gone to court to block the District from laying off 266 teachers and staff, other D.C. educators are taking action on their own. Among the first of what is likely to be a wave of wrongful termination suits landed in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday....

By Bill Turque  |  08:05 PM ET, 10/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:08 PM ET, 10/07/2009

Teachers Sue District Over Layoffs

The Washington Teachers Union sued today to block last week's teacher layoffs, charging that District public school principals improperly targeted educators for dismissal on the basis of age or their willingness to speak out against administrators, union president George Parker said late this afternoon. Parker said the suit, filed in...

By Bill Turque  |  05:08 PM ET, 10/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:11 PM ET, 10/07/2009

Rhee Gives More Detail on Cuts

Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee issued this statement Wednesday.... Members of the DCPS Community: Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the DCPS FY10 budget and our recent decision to separate the employment of school staff members in order to balance our budget. We...

By Washington Post editors  |  03:11 PM ET, 10/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 10/07/2009

Rhee: Younger Teachers Got More of the Ax

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, going on the offensive against critics of last week's teacher layoffs, said younger instructors were "more likely" to have been shown the door than DCPS veterans. In an interview on WAMU this morning, Rhee said: "If you look at the reality of years of service, brand...

By Bill Turque  |  12:37 PM ET, 10/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:48 PM ET, 10/06/2009

Rhee Gets Pushback at Alma Mater

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee didn't leave student protests over teacher layoffs and budget cuts completely behind her while she was at Cornell University Monday for a lecture. According to The Cornell Daily Sun, a group called the Cornell Organization for Labor Action (COLA) distributed cards at the site of Rhee's...

By Bill Turque  |  01:48 PM ET, 10/06/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:08 PM ET, 10/02/2009

D.C. Teacher Layoffs Press Release

Here's what D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee released on layoff plans today: Schools Across the District Finalize Budget Adjustments WASHINGTON, DC - Today, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) finalized budget adjustments for the 2009-2010 school year. Due to spending pressure caused by the D.C. Council's budget reduction and the on-going...

By Washington Post editors  |  03:08 PM ET, 10/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 10/01/2009

School Ombudsman's Office Closes

The District's office of the Ombudsman for Public Education is officially kaput, a victim of the recent budget cutbacks. It winked out of existence Wednesday, the last day of Fiscal Year 2009. Established as part of the mayoral takeover of the public school system, it was envisioned an an independent...

By Bill Turque  |  12:12 PM ET, 10/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:35 AM ET, 09/30/2009

Tough Sledding for Ed Data Project

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. State Superintendent of Education Kerri L. Briggs didn't have a lot to say Monday about why they canned Williams, Adley & Co., hired last year to build a $12 million educational data warehouse. But in an eight-page termination letter, John P. Varghese, interim...

By Washington Post editors  |  09:35 AM ET, 09/30/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 09/29/2009

Roast Teacher, with a Budget Reduction?

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, perhaps trying to prove that she can take the heat and stay in the kitchen, will join star chefs Carla Hall and Delilah Winder for the TrueFlavors Celebrity Cook-Off on Nov. 12 at CulinAerie, a cooking school in Northwest. She'll be part of a team that...

By Bill Turque  |  11:27 AM ET, 09/29/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:44 PM ET, 09/25/2009

D.C. Principals' Union Rips Layoffs

The president of the union that represents DCPS principals accused Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee Friday of unfairly leaving school administrators to take the heat for the upcoming round of teacher layoffs, creating "the very real potential of subjecting our members to physical harm and unsafe working conditions." Aona H. Jefferson,...

By Bill Turque  |  04:44 PM ET, 09/25/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:48 PM ET, 09/21/2009

Cut First, Ask Questions Later at DCPS

When Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee announced last Wednesday in front of D.C. school headquarters that the District will lay off teachers as part of up to $40 million in budget reductions, they said the public would have at least some voice in the process of...

By Bill Turque  |  04:48 PM ET, 09/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 09/16/2009

At Cleveland Elementary, "SWBAT" Is The Word

Walk into just about any classroom in this handsomely restored, 98-year-old Shaw neighborhood school and you find signs of the Michelle Rhee era writ large. Virtually every available wall or board space is thick with directives from the "Teaching and Learning Framework" she introduced to District educators last month. The...

By Bill Turque  |  12:52 PM ET, 09/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:40 PM ET, 09/14/2009

DCPS Report: Little Opening Day Drama

Compared to the fiascoes of year's past, most of D.C.'s 127 public schools had uncommonly quiet openings last month, according to a report released this evening by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's office. There were no major scheduling snafus and just a smattering of teacher vacancies when classes began on Aug....

By Bill Turque  |  07:40 PM ET, 09/14/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 09/08/2009

Nickles Says Erasure Analysis Wasn't Erased

Last Friday, after spending three months considering the matter, District officials finally responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for an analysis of answer sheet erasures on the 2008 DC-CAS standardized tests. Former D.C. State Superintendent of Education Deborah A. Gist asked the test's publisher, CTB McGraw-Hill, to run...

By Bill Turque  |  03:45 PM ET, 09/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:27 PM ET, 09/08/2009

Green Dot's Barr: Unions Part of Solution

With contract talks between the District and the Washington Teachers' Union closing in on their second anniversary this fall, it's interesting to listen to Green Dot charter schools founder Steve Barr discuss his reasons for using unionized teachers in his attempted turnaround of L.A.'s Locke High School. Barr, who has...

By Bill Turque  |  01:27 PM ET, 09/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:00 PM ET, 09/01/2009

Special Ed Kids Miss The Bus

While the biggest back-to-school problems seem to be in Prince George's County this year, the District hasn't been glitch free. For the last week, about 100 special education students have not been picked up by their buses because of issues with a new computerized routing system. Parents who have spoken...

By Bill Turque  |  05:00 PM ET, 09/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:05 PM ET, 09/01/2009

D.C. School Crime Study Vouches for Vouchers

Researchers for the Heritage Foundation and Lexington Institute caution parents to read their new analysis of crime in D.C public schools with, well, caution. Based on Freedom of Information Act requests, they found that police fielded more than 900 calls to 911 to report violent incidents at the school addresses...

By Washington Post editors  |  04:05 PM ET, 09/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:38 PM ET, 08/31/2009

Fenty Vetoes Funds for State Ed. Board Again

For the second time in two months, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has vetoed a $950,000 provision in the 2010 budget that would allow the D.C. State Board of Education more autonomy. The board's nine members are elected but have no authority over day-to-day school operations. That power rests solely with...

By Bill Turque  |  05:38 PM ET, 08/31/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:22 PM ET, 08/28/2009

Woodrow Wilson Principal Hospitalized

Wilson High School principal Peter Cahall was taken to the hospital for observation earlier today after complaining of chest pains. Deputy D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Crosswhite said the pains developed while Cahall was breaking up a fight at the Northwest D.C. school. DCPS spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway confirmed that Cahall was...

By Bill Turque  |  05:22 PM ET, 08/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 08/27/2009

AP Scores Up, SATs Down in D.C.

D.C. public high school students improved their showing on Advanced Placement exams this past year, District officials report. The number of students scoring a 3, 4 or 5 on at least one AP exam increased by 26.5 percent, with 166 more students passing an exam in 2008-2009 than in 2007-2008,...

By Bill Turque  |  12:31 PM ET, 08/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:00 PM ET, 08/26/2009

DCPS Enrollment: 40,179

As of 9 a.m. today, D.C. public school enrollment stood at 40,179, according to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's office. That's a significant bump over the 37,000 reported by officials just before the beginning of the academic year on Monday. The increase is the product of late arrivals and more...

By Bill Turque  |  03:00 PM ET, 08/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 08:59 AM ET, 08/26/2009

Chancellor's Schedule Is Up

Late yesterday DCPS resolved whatever issues it had with the portion of its new website that was supposed to display Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's public schedule. Where it once just showed her "busy" it now lists her whereabouts. She is slated to conduct a community forum at 6:30 this...

By Bill Turque  |  08:59 AM ET, 08/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:25 PM ET, 08/25/2009

The Chancellor: Busy, Busy Busy

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's public schedule has always been one of the more peculiar features of the DCPS website. That's because only occasionally does it actually note what she is doing in public. Those consulting the page on July 23 would not know, for example, that she was set to...

By Washington Post editors  |  04:25 PM ET, 08/25/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:09 PM ET, 08/21/2009

Lew: Burroughs Will Be Ready

D.C. school facilities czar Allen Lew promised this afternoon that Burroughs Education Campus in Northeast will be ready for students Monday morning. Burroughs parents charged today that the school is not habitable because of incomplete renovations. They reported dust and debris, tables and desks cluttering the halls, and classrooms with...

By Bill Turque  |  05:09 PM ET, 08/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:41 PM ET, 08/21/2009

Parents Say Burroughs School is a Mess

Parents at John Burroughs Education Campus in Northeast say that the school is in no shape to open on Monday, when classes are scheduled to begin in the District. They've called a late afternoon press conference to protest incomplete renovations that they say have left many classrooms unusable. In a...

By Bill Turque  |  01:41 PM ET, 08/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 08/19/2009

WTU's Parker: Trust But Don't Amplify

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said this summer that she hoped to have a new labor contract in place by the beginning of the school year, a prediction she repeated to reporter John Merrow in a piece aired on last night's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." With teachers back to...

By Bill Turque  |  12:50 PM ET, 08/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:41 PM ET, 08/12/2009

Cheating on DC-CAS Costs Charter School

The teacher at Howard Road Academy Public Charter School suspected something was seriously amiss in April when a student taking the math portion of the DC-CAS standardized test announced that she was finished -- way early. "You can't be finished. Go back and check your work," the teacher said. "We...

By Bill Turque  |  03:41 PM ET, 08/12/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:03 PM ET, 07/28/2009

Searching For The "It" In School Reform

The District took a first step toward an independent evaluation of its education reform efforts Monday, and it was an ambitious if wobbly one. For six hours, under the auspices of the National Research Council (NRC), thirty-six speakers strung across six panels--academics, public officials, school administrators, business leaders and actually...

By Bill Turque  |  09:03 PM ET, 07/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 07/28/2009

Release of Test Data Delayed

District officials have pushed back by a week the release of school-level data from the DC-CAS standardized tests. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) was due to post the numbers today. But, kind of like a teacher nudged by students or parents bump a C+ up to...

By Bill Turque  |  11:44 AM ET, 07/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:42 PM ET, 07/24/2009

More New Principals For Rhee

Teacher blogs and school listservs have been buzzing for weeks about the anticipated replacement of numerous DCPS principals. Shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's office finally confirmed that school's out permanently for 25 of them. This year's turnover is not quite as heavy as 2008, when...

By Bill Turque  |  11:42 PM ET, 07/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:36 PM ET, 07/24/2009

Reinoso Says Funding for School Study Intact

The Fenty Administration says that it has, in fact, not cut funding for an independent evaluation of public school reform. When we inquired about this on Monday, mayoral spokeswoman Mafara Hobson referred us to city administrator Neil Albert's testimony that day before the D.C. Council, which said nothing about the...

By Bill Turque  |  06:36 PM ET, 07/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 07/23/2009

Mobility Issues Hinder School Choice, Study Finds

With nearly two-thirds of the District's public schools deemed by the federal government to be underperforming, it isn't surprising that families are willing to travel for a school they like. Just 37 percent of all students attended their in-boundary DCPS school this year, according to the 21st Century Schools Fund....

By Bill Turque  |  12:59 PM ET, 07/23/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 07/22/2009

DC to Charter Schools: Check's In The Mail

D.C.'s public charter schools, stiffed by District government on a payment due last week, will be made whole by the middle of next week at the latest, the D.C. Public Charter School Board said this afternoon. The District missed a $103 million quarterly payment to the sixty charters last...

By Bill Turque  |  03:53 PM ET, 07/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:32 PM ET, 07/13/2009

Cheating on the DC-CAS, Details Redacted

An unspecified number of students at a District school have had their DC-CAS test scores invalidated because they apparently got an advance look at the test, according to a June 18 letter from Acting State Superintendent of Education Kerri L. Briggs. The letter, from which all names and other details...

By Bill Turque  |  07:32 PM ET, 07/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:17 PM ET, 07/09/2009

Possible Reprieve For Novice DCPS Teachers

Reversing its previous practice, DCPS says it will review last month's firing of about 60 first or second-year teachers. Under Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, the District has maintained that probationary teachers are not entitled to the formal grievance process tenured instructors can pursue if they are dismissed. But Rhee spokeswoman...

By Bill Turque  |  03:17 PM ET, 07/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:19 PM ET, 07/08/2009

DCPS: Enrollment Numbers Not a Problem

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee got into a nasty spat with the D.C. Council this spring over how many students DCPS expected to enroll for the coming school year. Rhee said that the steady decline of recent years had leveled off, and that projections showed student population even ticking up ever...

By Bill Turque  |  09:19 PM ET, 07/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:10 PM ET, 07/08/2009

School Security Firm Under Fire

Hawk One Security, which is supposed to help keep order in D.C. public schools, is getting tough--with its own guards. That's according to a series of unfair labor practice charges filed by Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). SEIU told the National Labor Relations Board last...

By Bill Turque  |  09:10 PM ET, 07/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 07/01/2009

Brokaw Visits Rhee on Route 50 Tour

As a strictly geographic matter, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's office at 825 North Capitol St. NE is not along Route 50, which enters the District from Maryland via New York Ave., jogs across town to Constitution Ave. and exits to Virginia across the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. But she's close enough...

By Bill Turque  |  12:34 PM ET, 07/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 07/01/2009

D.C. Teachers Become Central Office Fellows

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who presided over the firing of 250 teachers last month, is also continuing her attempts to build bridges with District educators by bringing six of them into her office for a five-week summer fellowship. Rhee said in a statement that the first annual Teachers Central to...

By Bill Turque  |  11:12 AM ET, 07/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 08:32 PM ET, 06/16/2009

D.C. Teachers Shown the Door

DCPS started sending dismissal notices to teachers today, as first reported by Candi Peterson in The Washington Teacher. Jennifer Calloway, spokeswoman for Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, did not have hard numbers available, but said that "as part of DCPS' ongoing commitment to reforming public schools in the District and providing...

By Bill Turque  |  08:32 PM ET, 06/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:25 PM ET, 06/15/2009

Rhee Says Thanks. And Thanks Again

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has taken pains to build more support within the District's teaching ranks in recent months, convening small group chats to hear instructors' concerns and praising them for their hard work. DCPS has even launched a series of "teacher snapshots" on its website to provide a...

By Bill Turque  |  04:25 PM ET, 06/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 06/10/2009

Survey: D.C. Kids Want To Graduate

A new Education Week study places on-time graduation rates for D.C. public schools at below 50 percent, but that's not because District students don't aspire to college. That's one of the findings of a survey by S.T.E.P. Up D.C. (Success Through Educational Progress), a network of youth-serving organizations. Eighty-two percent...

By Bill Turque  |  11:45 AM ET, 06/10/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 01:08 PM ET, 06/09/2009

DCPS Says It Drafted General Independently

DCPS says it moved on its own to hire former Brigadier Gen. Anthony J. Tata for its newly created chief operating officer's post. The Wire, citing a knowledgeable source, reported yesterday that Tata's selection came with the assistance of Terence Golden, chairman of the influential Federal City Council. Jennifer Calloway,...

By Bill Turque  |  01:08 PM ET, 06/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 02:52 PM ET, 06/03/2009

Rhee Pursues Master Plan

DCPS is seeking 36 "master educators" to serve as impartial, third-party evaluators of teachers under the new assessment system being developed by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. District teachers have long complained that the current evaluation scheme--which relies primarily on school principals who may lack expertise in certain subjects, or who...

By Bill Turque  |  02:52 PM ET, 06/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:55 PM ET, 05/28/2009

No Charters for Kids of Board Vice-Chair

Brian W. Jones, vice chairman of the D.C. Public Charter School Board, was finishing up his testimony at the D.C. Council's confirmation hearing today for an old friend and colleague, Kerri L. Briggs, the Acting State Superintendent for Education, when he mentioned that he was the father of two school...

By Bill Turque  |  06:55 PM ET, 05/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:20 PM ET, 05/28/2009

Briggs Explains Her Bush Years

Kerri L. Briggs, the former Bush administration official who is Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's choice to be the new D.C. State Superintendent of Education, had to do a little Texas two-step at her confirmation hearing today when pressed on just how much Dubya she planned to bring to her new...

By Bill Turque  |  06:20 PM ET, 05/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:20 PM ET, 05/27/2009

Gray and Rhee Still Contesting the Count

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee continue their standoff over public school enrollment and funding, with the latest wrinkles involving stimulus money. Gray is telling constituents that if Rhee is so concerned about the $27.3 million the D.C. Council pulled from the 2010...

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  09:20 PM ET, 05/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 05/27/2009

DCPS's Departed

In the Cold War era, Kremlin watchers used to count the exiting limosines to figure out who was still standing in the top circles of the Soviet government. At 825 North Capitol, DCPS headquarters, you wait for the latest organizational chart to emerge. The new power grid shows that two...

By Bill Turque  |  10:55 AM ET, 05/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:17 PM ET, 05/22/2009

Out-of-School Wednesdays Off The Table

After getting an earful from parents and teachers, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has backed away from a plan to close D.C. public schools on six Wednesdays between September and March next year for teacher training. A final draft of the 2009-10 academic calendar, posted on the DCPS website late this...

By Bill Turque  |  07:17 PM ET, 05/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:35 PM ET, 05/19/2009

DCPS Consultant Models Meltdown for Kids

Michael Moody is not a name you're likely to recognize unless you are a DCPS teacher or administrator. But Moody is an important player in Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's attempt to upend and transform District schools. A consultant carried on the organizational chart as "Special Advisor, Academics," Moody is a...

By Bill Turque  |  04:35 PM ET, 05/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 05/19/2009

Another Charter School Bites The Dust

Barbara Jordan Public Charter School, a middle school in Northwest D.C., is closing at the end of next month, citing declining enrollment. The D.C. Public Charter School Board voted last night to accept the school's decision to relinquish its charter. The school, which serves grades 5 through 8, will remain...

By Bill Turque  |  12:15 PM ET, 05/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:12 PM ET, 05/14/2009

Gray vs. Rhee: About More Than Numbers

Is it personal or just business? The escalating dispute between Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee over budget dollars and enrollment projections seems to resonate on both levels. Rhee has been pushing back in an unusually public manner since the Council voted Monday to slice...

By Bill Turque  |  09:12 PM ET, 05/14/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:35 PM ET, 05/13/2009

Rhee Visits CIA

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee keeps a robust schedule of speaking engagements but this one was not a typical gig: across the river to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. The occasion was the agency's celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. No text was available, but CIA spokesman George...

By Bill Turque  |  06:35 PM ET, 05/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:30 PM ET, 05/08/2009

Rhee and Weingarten: How About Two Mediators?

Contract talks between DCPS and teachers' union reps resumed a few days ago, but the principal players aren't saying much. That includes newly minted mediator Kurt Schmoke, who when asked for an interview--even with the provision that he didn't have to wade into any pesky contract details--said he'd have to...

By Bill Turque  |  06:30 PM ET, 05/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:38 AM ET, 05/07/2009

Class Dismissed For Saunders

Nathan Saunders' forced march back to the classroom has ended. After a meeting yesterday with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, the WTU general vice president reported that he had been restored to full time union duties. Saunders was dispatched to teach social studies at Eastern High School last month after deputy...

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  09:38 AM ET, 05/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:35 AM ET, 05/07/2009

Rhee and Klein Talk Reform

Given the guests and their advertised topic, the elements for a provocative evening seemed to be in place. "Can the New York City School System Serve as a Model for DC?" That was the question posed to the cities' two chancellors, Joel Klein and Michelle A. Rhee, by the local...

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  09:35 AM ET, 05/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 05/06/2009

Weingarten Tells WTU Members to Play Nice

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten appealed to Washington teachers yesterday evening to stay together as she and their union tried to negotiate a new contract with the District. "The thing that most disturbs me is in-fighting in the membership," she told a Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) reception...

By Bill Turque  |  11:18 AM ET, 05/06/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:40 AM ET, 05/05/2009

Will Rhee Be Nathan Saunders' New Best Friend?

Nathan Saunders has never had much of anything good to say about Michelle Rhee, the D.C. schools chancellor he believes is out to destroy the Washington Teachers Union. That's why the meeting he's scheduled for tomorrow could be a bit, um, awkward. Saunders is asking Rhee to reverse a decision...

By Bill Turque  |  09:40 AM ET, 05/05/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:10 PM ET, 05/01/2009

Who Pulled Officials From Cheh Forum?

District staff routinely make the rounds of evening community meetings to discuss school issues. That's what Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) had in mind when she invited three of them to her education forum at Alice Deal Middle School last night. But when you're chair of the council's government...

By Bill Turque  |  05:10 PM ET, 05/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:37 PM ET, 04/29/2009

Council Selects Group for DCPS Study

The D.C. Council is looking to the research arm of the National Academies for an independent assessment of public school reform under Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. This week's mark up of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed budget sets aside $325,000 for the D.C. Auditor to hire the National Research Council...

By Bill Turque  |  03:37 PM ET, 04/29/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:48 PM ET, 04/27/2009

WTU's Veep Sent Back To School

Nathan Saunders, the second-ranking leader of the Washington Teachers' Union, has been an outspoken critic of both Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and WTU president George Parker, denouncing one for her performance-based salary proposals and the other as a weak and credulous labor leader. Saunders even sued Parker, unsuccessfully, in federal...

By Bill Turque  |  09:48 PM ET, 04/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:53 PM ET, 04/27/2009

DCPS Tries to Calm Swine Fears

D.C. school officials sent a taped phone message to District families this evening assuring them that no swine flu cases have been identified in DCPS or the city. Here is the text of the message: "I am calling from the District of Columbia Public Schools with a message about...

By Bill Turque  |  07:53 PM ET, 04/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 04/24/2009

Out-of-School Wednesdays: Some Work, Mostly Play

Ximena Hartsock, the District's new Parks and Recreation director, filled in a few details last night about plans for public school kids on the six Wednesdays that DCPS wants to devote to teacher training during the 2009-2010 academic year. The free-of-cost programs, to be based in the city's rec centers...

By Bill Turque  |  12:12 PM ET, 04/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 04/22/2009

DCPS 2009-10 Calendar Has Six Mid-Week Closures

D.C. public schools would be closed on six Wednesdays between September and March for teacher training under the 2009-2010 academic calendar proposed yesterday by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. School officials said that they are working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop alternative programs on those days, but...

By Bill Turque  |  04:00 PM ET, 04/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 04/22/2009

Fenty's Charter Funding Change Criticized

When Mayor Adrian M. Fenty rolled out his proposal last month for a major change in the way public charter schools are funded, his lieutenants said the idea was developed in close consultation with the D.C. Public Charter School Board and others in the charter community. Board Chairman Tom Nida...

By Bill Turque  |  12:55 PM ET, 04/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 03:05 PM ET, 04/21/2009

Charter School for Teen Mothers to Close

A residential charter school for teenage mothers and their children will close in June after just two years because of problems with truancy, curriculum and services for special education students. MEI Futures Academy, on New Hampshire Avenue N.E. in the Lamont Riggs neighborhood, had its charter revoked last night by...

By Bill Turque  |  03:05 PM ET, 04/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:01 AM ET, 04/21/2009

DCPS Duns Deadbeat Dems

The D.C. Democratic State Committee, already under investigation for questions about its spending at last year's Democratic National Convention, has apparently stiffed D.C. Public Schools over a $2,500 tab for the use of McKinley Technology High School. The committee held January 19, 2008 delegate selection caucus at the Northeast school,...

By Bill Turque  |  11:01 AM ET, 04/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:37 PM ET, 04/16/2009

Nickles Roughed Up In Special Ed Decision

D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles received a thorough trashing yesterday from a federal judge who denied the District's bid to recover $1,725 in legal costs from a private attorney who filed what officials regarded as a frivolous special education case. Public and public charter school parents who are unhappy...

By Bill Turque  |  05:37 PM ET, 04/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 04/15/2009

WTU Avoids Mortification

Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke may not have been the Washington Teachers Union's (WTU) first choice for a mediator in its stalled talks with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. But union insiders say he is a quantum improvement over one of Rhee's earlier suggestions: billionaire real estate developer and...

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  11:10 AM ET, 04/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 04/01/2009

Gist Quits District for Rhode Island

D.C. State Superintendent of Education Deborah A. Gist has resigned to become Rhode Island's top education officer. Sources said this morning that her appointment as Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to be announced in Providence tomorrow. Sources also said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty will name her...

By Bill Turque  |  10:54 AM ET, 04/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 05:46 PM ET, 03/30/2009

White House Launches D.C. Summer Internships

The Obama Administration, continuing to build bridges to District schools, today announced what is believed to be the first White House internship program intended specifically for D.C. students. The D.C. Scholars Program will place students in part-time, unpaid positions in White House offices and departments this summer. "When I...

By Bill Turque  |  05:46 PM ET, 03/30/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 09:05 PM ET, 03/27/2009

DCPS Toughens Dress Policies

School principals have the right to establish mandatory uniform policies and get tougher with students who violate existing dress codes, under an emergency rule posted on the D.C. Register today by DCPS. Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Michelle Rhee, said the rule was in response to widespread interest...

By Bill Turque  |  09:05 PM ET, 03/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 03/26/2009

Teacher Pay Hikes Tucked Into Funding Formula

Don't bother looking for the spot in the proposed FY 2010 budget where it says there is money for teacher raises. District officials, who confirmed yesterday that public school teachers are the lone exception to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's proposed salary freeze, have placed it into the Uniform Per...

By Bill Turque  |  12:20 PM ET, 03/26/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 06:35 PM ET, 03/25/2009

Teacher Talks Set To Resume With Mediator

The District has completed its review of the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) contract proposal and is ready to return to the negotiating table, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said this evening. Dena Iverson, Rhee's spokeswoman, also said that the District was ready to engage a third-party mediator...

By Bill Turque  |  06:35 PM ET, 03/25/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 03/19/2009

Rhee Joins Influential New Board

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has joined the newly formed advisory board of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, a non-profit that trains new urban school leaders. D.C. State Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist is a recent graduate of one of its programs, The Broad Superintendents...

By Bill Turque  |  07:00 PM ET, 03/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:07 AM ET, 03/17/2009

Study Confirms DCPS Enrollment Decline

Audited enrollment figures quietly posted on Friday confirm that D.C. public schools suffered their steepest annual decline since the District started using an outside firm a decade ago to verify the student population. Enrollment for the 2008-09 academic year stands at 45,190, down 8.5 percent from last year's 49,422. That...

By Bill Turque  |  11:07 AM ET, 03/17/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 03/16/2009

D.C. Schools Cutting Back On 'Read-Aloud'

More than 2,000 students in D.C. public and public charter schools with reading difficulties have questions and passages in the English Language Arts portion of the annual DC-CAS standardized test read to them. But federal and state officials have ordered D.C. schools to sharply reduce the number of "read-aloud"...

By Bill Turque  |  12:51 PM ET, 03/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 02/28/2009

School Hearing Leaves the Parent Out of Transparent?

DCPS took a beating from parents and school activists last year for lack of transparency in development of the 2008-09 budget. It was May before hard information on school allocations was posted on line. Advocates also had to fight off a proposal from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to eliminate the...

By Bill Turque  |  10:00 AM ET, 02/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 01/17/2009

D.C. Teachers Say Morale Is Low

At an 11-hour hearing Friday on the D.C. schools' "human capital" policies, teachers charged that Michelle A. Rhee's quest to reform the historically poor-performing system--which includes a pledge to replace significant numbers of them--has created a culture of fear. Morale, many said, has never been lower. Seemingly arbitrary and capricious...

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  12:25 PM ET, 01/17/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 01/16/2009

School Officials Deny Targeting Older Teachers

DC school officials flatly deny targeting teachers over 40 for placement in the so-called 90 day plan that puts instructors on notice to improve or face dismissal. In a statement issued after press time Thursday evening Dena Iverson, spokeswoman for Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, said the average age of teachers...

By Kathryn Tolbert  |  12:30 PM ET, 01/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 08:37 AM ET, 08/15/2008

East Side, West Side

D.C.'s public school teachers have a lot to complain about: disrespectful students, checked-out parents, clueless administrators. It turns out they give pretty high marks to one group....themselves. That's one of the findings in a survey of 3,200 school employees conducted jointly by the school administration and the Washington Teachers Union....

By Marcia Davis  |  08:37 AM ET, 08/15/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:49 PM ET, 08/14/2008

Small Group of Teachers Protest at Union

This morning's teacher demonstration at union headquarters turned out to be more of an intimate chat. All of eight public school teachers, interested in the sizeable salary increases placed on the table by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, turned out at Washington Teachers Union headquarters on L'Enfant Plaza. They met for...

By Marcia Davis  |  12:49 PM ET, 08/14/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:54 AM ET, 08/13/2008

Chancellor Pottymouth?

A group of aspiring young education reformers got some straight talk last night from D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee about the challenges of trying to overhaul a troubled urban school district. "Sometimes, being a leader sucks," Rhee told the Education Pioneers Fellows, 28 graduate students who are finishing up...

By Marcia Davis  |  11:54 AM ET, 08/13/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/11/2008

The School Grounds Inspector

"Can you smell what I'm smelling?" D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) was picking up the scent of mold in a sixth grade classroom at John Eaton Elementary School Friday afternoon. She was pretty sure she had a fix on it. "I'd be interested to see what's under...

By Marcia Davis  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/11/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 08/08/2008

Probation "A Deal Breaker," Union Source Says

Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) President George Parker stopped just short yesterday of completely rejecting Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's proposal that tenured teachers must spend a year on probation to become eligible for huge salary hikes and performance bonuses. But a union source with direct knowledge of contract talks between the...

By Marcia Davis  |  11:06 AM ET, 08/08/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 03/18/2008

Bill Turque

Bill Turque has covered government and politics at every level for the better part of 30 years. He worked as a city hall reporter for The Kansas City Star and the Dallas Times Herald before joining Newsweek magazine in 1986. He was part of a team of reporters that contributed...

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  12:30 PM ET, 03/18/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
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