Chancellor, Evaluation, and Graduation: Teachers Talk Policy and Implementation

The July 12 Education Town Hall presented a wide-ranging discussion between three educators in the DC Public School system, host Thomas Byrd, and co-producer Valerie Jablow.

Listen here —

Much of the discussion focused on the search for a new DC Public Schools Chancellor. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser chose to wait until after the primary election in the District to replace the interim chancellor, and the strategy she is using, teachers say, is too top-down, with no collaboration with community and schools; Bowser’s method does not following the law in terms of the selection panel, which code requires to include teachers, parents, and students.

NOTE: The position of chancellor was created with the 5-year mayoral control “experiment,” now past a decade of implementation with no formal renewal. The previous chancellor resigned in February 2018 in the wake of a “school lottery scandal” (See EducationDC).

Educators hope for a chancellor who respects collective bargaining, addresses the achievement gap, and can rebuild trust. They also want the law followed and the public, not just the selection panel, to see resumes of chancellor candidates.

Conversation also included graduation policy and teacher evaluation strategies: finding graduation policies that do not lower expectations and considering models of education with less emphasis on age-based benchmarks and more on helping youth feel part of a community. The IMPACT teacher assessment, blames teachers if students don’t advance, based on testing which educators in the system find unfair and unrepresentative of what teachers do; meanwhile, the teacher corps remains unstable after years of mayoral control, which is disruptive for staff and students and makes teaching harder. More mentoring for teachers is required.

Conversation participants: Carynne Conover, educator for 20 years, most with DCPS; Laura Fuchs, social studies teacher at HD Woodson Senior High School for 11 years and active participant in Ward 7 Education Council, Empower DC, and Washington Teachers Union (Executive Board Member); and Derrick Simmons, now in his 5th year at DCPS, math teacher at Eastern Senior High School.

The Education Town Hall with Thomas Byrd
broadcasts from Historic Anacostia
in Washington, DC, on We Act Radio,
Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.

After years of weekly broadcasts, the program now focuses one show each month on local issues and one on “the BUS,” organized by BadAss Teachers, United Opt Out, and SOS March.

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