Michelle Rhee. She wants to “reform” veteran teachers out of the profession.

Michelle Rhee.
Michelle Rhee.

As part of DC school boss Michelle Rhee’s effort to “reform” district schools, she has placed an unknown number of teachers on a 90 day remediation plan. Allegedly these are teachers who have been marked as unsatisfactory in six or more categories by their administrator.

But when the DC teachers union asked for the names of these teachers, Rhee refused.

Why would she refuse? And why is this important to the union?

One issue is that Rhee is a liar. On the one hand she has already admitted that her intent is to fire the teachers, rather than remediate them. Remediation is the intent of the bargained process.

But, according to the Washington Post:

The 90-day plans are part of Rhee’s attempt to remove “a significant share” of the 4,000-member teacher corps, which she regards as “not up to the demanding task of educating our youth effectively,” according to the long-range action document she presented in October.

When busted for this misuse of the remediation plan, Rhee reversed herself and said,

The 90-day plan “is not just a process to terminate teachers, but to identify and support teachers who need help.”

“We think an overemphasis on all the names and numbers will not help us with the environment we’re trying to create.”

Sure, Michelle. Too much emphasis on names and numbers when you want to fire large numbers of teachers with names.

The real issue is that without the names and numbers you can’t tell if there is a pattern to the firings. You know. A pattern that involves race, gender or age. See, that would be against the law, even if  it is helpful to the environment that Rhee is trying to create.

And that’s just what the union suspects.

Nathan Saunders, the union’s executive vice president, said Rhee may be reluctant to reveal the names because she has disproportionately targeted teachers over age 40. Rhee did not respond to a request for comment on Saunders’s charge.

At least one member of the D.C. Council is also asking for more transparency from Rhee. Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) has asked for the number of teachers on 90-day status and their years of experience.

In a Jan. 8 letter to Rhee, Mendelson wrote: “I am troubled by reports that the 90 day plan may be disproportionately administered to senior teachers.”

It just may be that the “environment” Rhee is trying to create is one that would employ mostly teachers who are non-tenured, more easy to intimidate and less costly. This is what the union busters call “reform.” The rest of us just call it discriminatory and illegal. Oh, and scummy.