D.C.'s schools have always been poor and badly maintained. The school system mainly serves the poor, and even schools that are located in upscale neighborhoods have a history of kids being bused from neighborhoods in the inner city (thanks to vouchers). The public schools lack books and the books they do have tend to be outdated. The teachers who were just fired, simply didn't care. The ones that were in the system for 20 or more years, probably cared at one time. After a few years in the system and no help from the D.C. Govt. a lot of them simply gave up. Unfortunately the system for the most part is full of students who don't care and a lot of them are already in the criminal justice system. The teachers have been at the point where they are sick of having a bunch of thugs repeatedly in their class and so they resort to promoting these thugs just to get rid of them. They are tired of baby sitting. These teachers didn't bother to give assignments or encourage kids to study or lecture them about their future. Granted, they were probably fearful of their students. As far as the newer teachers, a lot of them were simply in it for the money (which is not much). But this is no excuse, as a teacher it's your duty to serve these kids, at least try to put them in the right direction, lead the way.
When you have teachers that can't renew their licenses because they haven't been keeping up with their own continuing education, or worse, pass the licensing test, you know the system is broken. The sad part is these teachers have been getting away with this for years, and finally Michelle Rhee came along and decided, enough!!! Clean up your act or else. These teachers obviously didn't take it seriously and probably laughed it off. Why ?? Because of their useless union. The Teacher's union is just as bad as the system. They protect these people knowing how bad these teachers are or were. They got their dues, so why not? I guarantee you these teachers couldn't remember some of their students names, but surely remembered to pay their dues.
In the teachers defense, it's not all their fault. We also have to blame the parents, the same parents who are asking; Who's going to teach my kids since they fired most of the teachers? When you have parents who can't read, or have to work 2 jobs to maintain a household, who is watching these kids or helping them, much less reading to them? Most of them end up in the streets and up to no good. When you have parents that are kids themselves, dropping out of high school and not bothering to take a GED, getting pregnant for a second or third time with a different daddy, what can we expect?
When you have families who migrated to D.C. and expect the public school system to take care, teach their kids to read and write but don't bother to learn the English language or try, we have a big problem. When you can't read or write in your native language and not care about learning the English language, what can we expect? You have to be held accountable. I believe that the parents should be held accountable as much as the teachers. Start fining or maybe jailing them for being negligent and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (granted, a lot of the high school students are already beyond the age of 18).
I'm going to end this story with a personal experience. When I moved back to D.C. after a military career, I was living in Glover Park, until I found a place in VA. My son Rafael attended the Hardy school on Wisconsin Ave. This school was so out of control, besides Raffie being picked on, getting his bike stolen and suffering a mild concussion, we were also ripped off by the system. I paid for a gym uniform, lock, towels and locker rental. Never saw the lock, towels or the uniform. We also paid for school pictures which we never received. Paid for school trips that were canceled or never happened. So where did this money go? I never received a straight answer, the third parties got the blame, and was promised a re-reimbursement, which I'm still waiting on today, 10 years later. Maybe D.C.'s leadership has finally awaken and seen the light.
Lets keep it up and Kudos to Michelle Rhee.
Source; PICTURE FROM GOOGLE PICTURES, RUDY