In Washington D.C., some students and adults have protested the firing of about 400 education personnel, including more than 200 teachers. Chancellor Michelle Rhee has come under fire for claiming that these cuts are necessary due to budget constraints, while she has previously stated that she believes that there should be a significant changing of the guard in the D.C. teaching workforce so that teachers who underperform are removed and replaced. As this Washington Post article put it:
In a Sept. 23 interview, a week after announcing the layoffs, Rhee said the budget crunch was legitimate but acknowledged that she intended to use it as an opportunity to continue removing under-performing teachers from the system.
Frankly, it seems to me besides the point if money issues made these cuts necessary. The real issue should be if these teachers were doing their jobs and effectively teaching students or not. And it’s pretty clear from D.C. abysmal performance record that many (if not most) of their public school teachers are failing on that measure.
It’s sad to hear about people losing their jobs, and I feel for the teachers who are jobless and face a tough job market. Yet the education system is supposed to be about the students. For too long too much of the education world has focused on the needs of the teachers, protecting them for any sort of accountability, leaving the students out of the equation. Students should come first and if by firing these teachers, Rhee is able to improve the quality of education for D.C. students then I say three cheers to that.