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D.C. fires 266 teachers for poor performance

July 23, 2010

Education officials in Washington, D.C. announced plans to dismiss 266 teachers today, according the The Washington Post. Another 737 teachers have one year to improve, or they will face layoffs themselves.

The firings come as the result of new teacher performance evaluations, which rely on a combination of classroom observations and student test score data. The system has been championed by D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee, a former colleague of Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

Washington, D.C. teachers’ union leaders have criticized the ratings tool, saying it is more focused on punishment than helping teachers improve. In Rhode Island, state officials and teachers’ union leaders are in the process of developing new teacher evaluations. State officials have made it clear that student performance data should be a significant part of  teacher ratings in all districts.

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