DPS lawsuit: Meet teachers who reject claim district is getting rid of good educators

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DPS teacher Zachary Rowe.
Last week, we introduced you to the teachers behind a lawsuit against Denver Public Schools. The teachers claim that DPS is using a provision of the state's landmark 2010 teacher-effectiveness law to get rid of good teachers -- which they say isn't the law's intention. Furthermore, the teacher-plaintiffs claim that what DPS is doing is unconstitutional.

But not all teachers agree with them. We spoke with three teachers -- two from DPS, one from Jefferson County -- who disagree with the lawsuit.

Zachary Rowe is a North High School teacher. Now in his fifth year with DPS, Rowe has served on North's personnel hiring committee, which works with the principal to decide which teachers to hire. Having the ability to choose who North hires has been a critical part of the school's recent success, Rowe says. "When we've had openings, we've been able to go out and find teachers who work within our team and have the chops that we think are necessary to get results," he says. "My main complaint against the lawsuit is that it would strip schools of the autonomy that personnel committees have in vetting, going out and observing, interviewing and ultimately hiring teachers."

Here's a video featuring Rowe.

Rowe is opposed to a practice called "direct placement," sometimes referred to as "forced placement." Before the 2010 teacher-effectiveness law, widely known as Senate Bill 191, was passed, teachers who were "reduced in building" because of a drop in enrollment, for example, and who couldn't find another teaching assignment on their own were direct-placed into an unfilled position. Historically, the schools that received the most placed teachers had the lowest test scores and the most open jobs.

Now, under Senate Bill 191, a teacher who's been "reduced in building," or RIBed, has one year or two hiring cycles, whichever is longer, to find a "mutual consent position," meaning that both the principal and the teacher agree that she's a good fit for the job. If she can't find such a position, the teacher is put on indefinite unpaid leave.

That's the part that the teacher-plaintiffs and the Denver teachers union believe is unconstitutional. They feel DPS is using Senate Bill 191 to get rid of good teachers without the due process they're entitled to. In addition, the teacher-plaintiffs argue that some RIBed teachers -- especially those who are older and higher up on the pay scale -- have been effectively blacklisted from getting a job. Even though they have good evaluations, older RIBed teachers struggle to get mutual consent, they say.

Rowe doesn't believe it. "I was interested in the 'Scarlet R' argument: that when a teacher is RIBed, they're put on a blacklist. But that wasn't my experience having participated in the process," Rowe says. When he was on North's personnel committee, Rowe says he was never explicitly told whether an applicant had been RIBed before.

"It's never been, 'We are now interviewing a RIBed teacher,'" Rowe says. Instead, he says the committee would look for several things, including whether candidates had classroom teaching experience and whether their colleagues spoke highly of them.

Plus, Rowe says, "the data suggests that most of these teachers are hired elsewhere." That's true: According to DPS, 1,240 nonprobationary teachers (which means teachers who've had three years or more of positive evaluations) have been RIBed since Senate Bill 191 went into effect. Of those, 825 have found mutual consent positions.

Continue for more on teachers who disagree with the lawsuit.



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31 comments
denverted
denverted

Maybe they should force place good teachers in less desired schools, and RIB teachers in desired teaching position schools?

Fair distribution of talent throughout the district, plus protecting the rights of employees to not be churned and burned, is a tough systems problem.

Certainly mutual consent is good and should be a part of hiring.  Pcking teams, each captain has to pick fairly from the pool standing in line.

Ultimately, the teachers are employees of the district and the taxpayers, and so are the principles. The district is the power entrusted with hiring them and letting them go on their worthiness.  If they need a better vetting process in hiring, that is a district problem.

denverted
denverted

Should Dept. of transportaion, Policemen, or Fireman, have to reapply if they move to a new building?

The system may not be perfect, but this lose your job if there is a RIB, is not a good solution.  Maybe the teaching staff at a school should have power over who serves as principe?  Seems like "dance of the lemons" is more applicable to administrators.

bobharold
bobharold

I hate to break it to Mr. Rowe, but when you successfully interview for a teaching job you direct the vast majority of your attention at the person actually making the hiring  decision (i.e. the Principal, the Instructional Superintendent, etc...) not the token members of the "hiring committee" who are "picked" (i.e. typically the people kissing up to the Principal) to demonstrate how "inclusive" the committee is...  The Principal is the person talking to HR about RIB's and blacklisted teachers, not the people on the interview committee...  So Mr. Rowe either knows all of this but is still parroting talking points to suck up to people, or he truly believes he's independently making the exact same decisions the Principal would like him to make.  Bureaucracies are full of people like him..

bobharold
bobharold

I hate to break it to Mr. Rowe, but when you successfully interview for a teaching job you direct the vast majority of your attention at the person actually making the hiring  decision (i.e. the Principal, the Instructional Superintendent, etc...) not the token members of the "hiring committee" who are "picked" (i.e. typically the people kissing up to the Principal) to demonstrate how "inclusive" the committee is...  The Principal is the person talking to HR about RIB's and blacklisted teachers, not the people on the interview committee...  So Mr. Rowe either knows all of this but is still parroting talking points to suck up to people, or he truly believes he's independently making the exact same decisions the Principal would like him to make.  Bureaucracies are full of people like him..

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

It sounds like this article is about teachers sucking up to corrupt administrators in hopes of becoming a corrupt administrator.  Lying is the first step.  It is the first step toward being either a bad teacher or a bad administrator. 

whosdp
whosdp

The ''other side of the story,'' as I predicted, is quite different from the one published, last week, isn't it?  It's easy to find a few disgruntled union employees to disparage a policy that's worked against them.  When otherwise qualified people can't hold down their jobs, obvious reasons are often overlooked, in favor of time-tested union arguments.


Unless you believe that DPS should prioritize union concerns above the needs of our school children, those who can't cut it should look elsewhere for employment.

whosdp
whosdp

@muhutdafuga While the overabundance of non-teaching administrators is surely one of the MOST dominant problems with public education, any particular one should be presumed to be honest, unless you have even a scintilla of PROOF that he/she is corrupt.


The first article pointed out FIVE teachers who, despite being given several positions at several schools, couldn't find one that wanted them on a permanent basis.  Some admitted to "clashing" with superiors.  They have no more RIGHT to be kept in schools that have rejected them, than you or I have walking into Dove Valley and demanding coaching positions.


Personally, I'm DELIGHTED that schools can still reject teachers, considering how difficult it is to fire bad ones.  Hasn't that been one of the biggest complaints of public education?  If schools can't fire teachers who sext with their students, they ought to, at LEAST, be able to scrutinize the teachers they hire...RIGHT?!?

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@whosdp WRONG!  There is NO evidence that good teachers that are being wrongly fired are somehow bad for students, in fact just the opposite was proven.  

There is abundant evidence that DPS administration is corrupt.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@whosdp @muhutdafugaCorrupt teachers should be fired along with the vast majority of DPS administrators that are also corrupt.

whosdp
whosdp

@muhutdafuga  Dude...first of all, nobody mentioned in the first article was fired.  There is also no "evidence," other than receiving "acceptable" ratings, that the teachers not hired were particularly good for students, other than what they claim.

What is the "abundant evidence" that DPS is corrupt?  Just because you have a computer, know how to type and are happy to throw out unsubstantiated claims, doesn't make any argument you make, palatable, much less true.


Unions say and do whatever benefits the unions.  Corruption is standard operating procedure in union operations.  If for no other reason than that, I give DPS the benefit of the doubt...

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident @muhutdafugaYou are right, sometimes I can't make sense of what I read.  Take your post, for example!  If you could find one of those good teachers, you might get one to help you write a sentence that makes sense. 

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@whosdp @muhutdafugaWe aren't that far apart, except the inept DPS administration is the heart and soul of the problems DPS has.  How can you claim the unions are top heavy when 1/2 the DPS budget is pissed away on burnt out, inept teachers that couldn't wait to get out of the classroom, that hated to be around students, who left the classroom to become burned out, inept administrators.  

Put the administrators on the same salary scale as teachers, require administrators to have teaching duties then cut the administrative costs of DPS in half.  Then cut it in half again!

Administration can't make a bad teacher good, but they can make a good teacher bad.

whosdp
whosdp

@muhutdafuga  We're sort of saying the same thing, dude.  It's a chicken or the egg question.  I just thing the chicken AND the egg of the problem is the union scourge.  The unions are why things are so top-heavy.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@whosdp @muhutdafugaTherin lies the problem:  Corrupt, lying administration IS the problem.  

Top heavy...how can you be any more top heavy than DPS administration.

We agree that more money won't fix the problem, it may even lead to greater corruption.  Michael Bennett sent a fortune of DPS money to his wall street cronies and lost it for the district, but it later came back to him in the form of vast campaign contributions.  DPS is run by politicians, not educators.

whosdp
whosdp

@muhutdafuga  Therein lies the problem...teachers unions PROTECT the teachers and administrators YOU would like to see fired!!  Larger public school districts in America have WAY TOO MANY administrators for the number of students served.  They could devote larger portions of their budgets to paying better teachers were they not paying such a large ''supporting cast.''

A Portland area school at which I coached T-Ball for a couple years, had a lady on the payroll who did nothing but deal with union issues!  The public school system has been hijacked into a top-heavy, union run operation where the only winners are the unions.  We spend FAR more, per pupil, than any other country for no more return than we did, spending less.

There's a big difference between throwing more and more money at a problem and solving it.  If teachers wanted to get rich, they surely wouldn't have chosen the teaching profession, as they've never made as much money as some people think they should.  But, I digress.


muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@whosdp @muhutdafugaAdministrators are not part of the union, the DCTA.

Unions are wrong to say they are the only thing protecting good teachers from bad administrators.  The union does a mediocre job at best protecting good teachers from bad administrators.

You are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT about waste from the small army of pseudo-administrators.  If they aren't teaching classes, what use are they?  I refer to these people as a band of idiots...people that can't stand to be in classes around students, but can't become a full fledged inept administrator.  Often these clowns are masters of paperwork but failures as teachers.

DPS administrators claim to be all about the students.  Many people believe this, but it isn't true.  If it was, they would make decisions in the best interest of students.  They don't.

The DCTA is primarily made up of TEACHERS.  TEACHERS are DPS, administrators are useless overhead.

Remember, good teachers are ALWAYS thinking of increasing student achievement.  Bad teachers are always thinking of how to get out of the classroom, more often than not, transitioning into administration, or worse yet, into that small army of pseudo-administrators.

whosdp
whosdp

@muhutdafugaOn that point, we are in TOTAL AGREEMENT!!  The reason for all that inept administration is because of UNIONS.  Those jobs can't be eliminated because Denver (and everywhere else) agreed to them in collective bargaining with the union.


The public employees unions would have you believe that without them, public employees would be taken advantage of by the government.  They don't care about the quality of the output, other than not liking bad PR.


In the schools' case, unnecessary layers of staff suck up a LOT of the money taxpayers assume is going towards their kids' educations.  The unions get their shares, donate to democrat candidates who, in turn, tell us we're not spending enough on education.  It's a vicious circle of back scratching.  


The lawsuit against DPS wasn't filed by some teachers...it was filed by Denver Classroom Teachers Association and the Colorado Education Association--yep, teachers unions.  The DPS, supposedly, has the kids' best interests at heart.  We may not think it's doing a great job, but it has to play the cards it is dealt.  In a DPS vs. union battle, I side with DPS...

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@whosdp @muhutdafugaAnd DPS administrators do what's best for them.  I know many of these administrators and know that a sickeningly high number are incompetent and/or corrupt.  

Around 1/2 of DPS $$$ is wasted on inept administration.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @Cognitive_DissidentTranslate:  "This mean old Liberal has facts and logic on his side and defeats my every lie and childish little insult."

Fishingfoyyounghairlessboys, why don't you learn and realize that you will get swatted like a gnat at any time of my choosing.  

You remain off topic and fail to realize that the people sucking up to the district will be gone in a few years when they get to high up the salary scale.

Fishingforyounghairlessboys, just in case you're frothing about my using "to" when it should have been "too" high on the salary scale, I just did that to taunt you!!  I can usually manipulate you into spewing your odd little fantasies about me!  Spew away!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident                                   CD, impossible to reason with this clown.  She is a man hater.  You know the kind.  

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident Thank you for correctly pointing out my brilliance.  But then you call me illiterate.  You are flip flopping like a radical right wing nut.


I've been trying to keep you clowns on topic, if you haven't read my posts, have a trusted adult read them for you and you'll feel my wisdom.


You are right again to say that I, and everyone else for that matter, fail to comprehend the vastness of the universe, but the way you said it kind of makes you look like a radical right wing nut asshole.  You should learn to be nicer.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@muhutdafuga @Cognitive_Dissident  You're simply brilliant trying to call me a conservative because apparently, I'm not left wing in your eyes. You know, the universe has more than your narrow little pinhead view, right?

You're the worst kind of troll: an arrogant, illiterate, off-topic troll.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafugaRadical right wing nuts hate gays, minorities, Liberals, immigrants, women, me...did I miss anyone?

I do think the behavior of the republicans pedophiles cannot be justified.

In general, I agree that hate is a bad thing, that is why I am a proud, all American Liberal.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@muhutdafuga  It is quite hilarious that truly shallow, stupid people believe anyone different from themselves is evil.


When one is blind, it makes it difficult to see.


muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga@Cognitive_DissidentHey fatso, if there were actually any dumbass right wing fascists reading your posts, they would die of shame and embarrassment to think that YOU are speaking for them. 

As for me, I speak only for myself, unlike you,fishingforyounghairlessboys, that have delusions that you speak for everyone.

Here are some more deviant republicans.  Which one are you?


Radical right wing nut Fishingforyounghairlessboys posting his bizarre fantasies along with inappropriate images of children.

Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.

Republican director of the “Young Republican Federation” Nicholas Elizondo of Bakersfield, California molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp, Russell Harding, pled guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.

Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen, Sr. of Kalispell, Montana, was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.

Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@muhutdafuga @Cognitive_Dissident  


Hey fatso, if there were actually any teachers reading your posts, they would die of shame and embarrassment to think that YOU are speaking for them.  

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident @muhutdafugaRe-read your post, then try again, Goober.  I hope you get as big a laugh at your expense as I did.  There is just something about being a radical right wing extremist that makes people stupid.  In fairness, it might just be that the fact free cult universe that radical right wing nuts live3 in attracts stupid people.  Sometimes it's hard to tell which came first, stupid or right wing.  Scientific data shows conservatives are SIGNIFICANTLY less intelligent that good Americans, and that people that get their news from fox know less about the news than people that get their news from Comedy Central.  Personally, I like NPR, which has the MOST intelligent consumers of data.  Let me correct myself for you...radical wingnuts don't consume data, they act on cult inspired feelings.

I'll try and find myself a teacher, they are generally good people, and they could learn from my wisdom as have many excellent teachers.  Most aren't radical right wing nuts because FACTS ARE LIBERAL.  I'd much rather be around a good all-American teacher than a radical, freedom hating right wing nut! 

Aren't I amazing, I can write, but you say I can't read.  That doesn't make much sense, now, does it?  Could it be that when you are defeated by facts and logic, childish insults is all you radical right wing nuts have left?

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