Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is preparing to bypass the Washington Teachers’ Union in pursuit of the objective she considers essential to overhauling the District’s public schools: the power to fire at will teachers she deems ineffective.
What she calls “Plan B” involves a more aggressive use of powers she already has and that are not subject to contract negotiations with the union. These could include strengthening the existing system of annual personnel evaluations that spell out procedures for terminating teachers.
Rhee is also positioned to benefit from a potentially groundbreaking revision that has unfolded largely outside public view during contract talks. It would make the District school system one of the few in the country to link the licensing of teachers to their classroom performance, rather than their academic credentials. New rules, scheduled to go into effect this week, would grant State Superintendent of Education Deborah A. Gist the discretion to create an advanced teaching credential specifying the bench marks instructors would have to meet to keep their jobs.