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Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 02/03/2012

DCPS fires principal forced out of Dallas school (updated)

Update: D.C. schools strengthening hiring process, more details D.C. school officials have now fired a principal they had recently hired without knowing that she had been accused of “unethical” behavior when she was a principal in Dallas, a district spokeswoman said Friday.

Roslyn Carter had run an elementary school in Dallas until last summer, when she was forced out. According to her termination letter, she was accused of directing some teachers not to teach science, music and social studies, to falsify grades in those subjects and to focus on math and reading in preparation for standardized testing.

D.C. schools spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz said in an e-mail that officials in the school system who hired Carter were unaware of her troubles in Dallas. Salmanowitz said that Carter had been hired by the D.C. system’s Office Of Human Capital, which handles all hiring of school principals and teachers. Carter was a mid-year hire, a process different than for hiring at other times, she said, and now D.C. officials are using the Carter episode “as an opportunity to strength and improve our hiring process as a whole.” It remains unclear why D.C. officials did not know about an investigation into her conduct by the Dallas Independent School District, which was reported last November by the Dallas Morning News , and on this blog.

Salmanowitz said a new principal will be found for Garfield Elementary, where Carter was slated to take over as principal this fall. I reported about Carter’s history in Dallas this week, and D.C. officials said at that time that they had to review the situation.

Salmanowitz’s e-mail, in response to a series of questions I posed to her, said:

At the time that we hired Ms. Carter, we were not aware of the allegations that had been made against her when she served as a principal in the Dallas Independent School District.
Since learning of the allegations and after speaking with Ms. Carter, we determined the best course of action is that she not assume the principal position at Garfield ES. DCPS has terminated her employment.
We will continue our search for a new principal at Garfield Elementary who can help lead the school to great new heights.
There will be no interruption in learning for the children at Garfield Elementary. We hope to have a new planning principal in place soon and will share more information about those decisions with the Garfield community when the hiring process is complete.

The Dallas Morning News reported late last year that Carter had denied many of the accusations made against her in a report that was undertaken by Dallas schools investigators after an anonymous tip was received early last year.

Carter could not be reached for comment about the latest turn of events.

The Dallas report said that she was obsessed with ensuring that her students — the vast majority of them Hispanic — passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). Her school, Field Elementary, had earned the state’s highest rating, “exemplary,” for two years, in part based on the results of that test.

Here’s part of the termination letter, which you can see here:

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More specifically, the recommendation to terminate your employment is being made for the following specific reasons and conduct, all of which individually and collectively violate ... District policies:
1. You directed and caused false school records to be created relating to teachers of record, grades of students for subjects not taught, and grades from teachers for students they did not teach. Specifically, you violated District policy by directing that the state and District approved curriculum for science, music and social studies not be taught so as to allow more time for teaching mathematics and reading in preparation for the TAKS testing. Namely, throughout the year you instructed the music, science and social studies teachers to teach mathematics instead of music, science and social studies and directed these teachers to submit grades for those subjects. Your conduct directly denied students access to state mandated instruction in enrichment subjects/curriculum.
2. To facilitate the above referenced policy violations you directed teachers to share their gradespeed logon passwords with other teachers and instructed the teachers to enter grades for students for which they were not the teacher of record and or teaching.
3. You abused your supervisory authority, violated the terms of the your contract [sic] and violated educator ethics by directing and facilitating the falsification of student attendance and grade records and directing your teachers to violate District and state mandated curriculum requirements by pulling students out of enrichment classes/subjects and requiring them to receive mathematics tutoring.
4. You required a teacher to use his planning period to tutor students in mathematics.
5. You required a grade weights scale contrary to that set out in District policy.
6. In order to conceal your unethical and unlawful conduct you discouraged teachers from reporting potential district policy violations to the Office of Professional Responsibility.
7. In sum, your conduct is inconsistent with the continuance of your employee relationship with the District and constitutes good cause.

The letter was signed by Luis Tamez, executive director of human services of the Dallas Independent School District, and marked as hand-delivered Aug. 18, 2011.

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By  |  04:30 PM ET, 02/03/2012

 
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