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D.C. Students Protest Layoffs

About 200 D.C. high school students skipped classes Monday morning to march on the offices of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and protest last week's teacher layoffs. The protest -- which began at McKinley Technology High School, one of the hardest hit -- came amid lingering questions about how Rhee determined which teachers to lay off and which schools were targeted. The cuts, part of an effort to close a $40 million budget gap, resulted in 388 school employees losing their jobs; 229 were teachers. Read More

By Jodi Westrick  |  October 5, 2009; 6:35 PM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Those who support the protest are implicitly voting for a tax increase. The protest itself was valid, but was directed at the wrong target. Ms. Rhee has no choice but to work within her budget. The protesters should have gone to the DC Council and demanded a tax increase to pay the teachers who lost their jobs. I'm sure that Ms. Rhee would not have fired them, at least not all of them, had she the money to pay their salaries.
Protest is good, and cleansing, but they should point at the correct target. Ms. Rhee is an executive. Go after the decision-makers instead.

Posted by: LoveIB | October 6, 2009 8:06 AM

I wish there were an equal amount of parents out there. I mean really. Haven't they connected the dots as to why the DCPS system is getting away with what they are? The parents don't rally as a whole unit.

Posted by: BigHustla | October 6, 2009 10:03 AM

children should be kept out of politics...
that said, once this is over, the f's they got while they were out, they keep...
if you want to play, you have to play...
otherwise it's not fair to the other students...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 6, 2009 11:37 AM

Other than the fact that I graduated from D.C. Public Schools, I don't have a dog in this race; but I will say this, it's time for the Straight Talk Express on this school issue. If the teacher cuts were truly due to budget constraints, then the 400+ teachers should have been the first to be released not those who have tenue. Now, if the lay offs were due to employee incompetence, then Rhee and Fenty needs to say that. I can understand the students concerns having their teachers fired three months into their final year in high school...that may not seem like a lot to most of us, but for the students it almost an entire quarter into their school year and now they have to get use to another teacher...if they are given one, along with getting prepared for college applications. The new teacher's grade can only be based upon personality of a the very most a quick exam designed by the new instructor--bad for students. If it's a compentency issue, then say it, and that's a legitimate reason...but that's not what is being stated as the justification. Also, why is it that DC Schools are taking all of the hits due to budget cuts since Rhee was appointed. As usual, DC's budget is being fixed on the backs of its students.

Posted by: Beingsensible | October 6, 2009 11:50 AM

correction: the 400+ teachers who were hired in the past year should have been the first to be released, not those with tenue.

Posted by: Beingsensible | October 6, 2009 11:54 AM

My supporting the right of the students to protest doesn't necessarily translate to my position on the cuts. This is an early experience for many of them in being politically active. The way they know how to make a statement is walking out. Fine, but what are the consequences? Are you willing to accept them? That's part of figuring out who you are, and what risks you're willing to take. There could be a good lesson plan there - what is at stake and what risks would you take? Now, think about the risks others took. It would put it in a new perspective. Also, if the kids are angry, then this is one way for them to blow off steam, in a productive way. It may not seem productive to grown ups, but it beats graffiti. And, I'm not naive enough to think that there aren't some of them aren't out because they think it'd be fun with their friends.

Posted by: KH20003 | October 6, 2009 12:36 PM

Calling this a "student protest" is a misnomer. The protests are incited and organized entirely by the so-called leadership Washington Teachers' Union.

The Union, like any responsible union anywhere in the United States of America, has a number of options when confronting the issue of force reductions, just as virtually every union in the United States has had to do amid budget cuts, a slumping economy, and plummeting demand for their services (in this case, the steady decline in the size of the DCPS student population).

If they cared even a tiny bit about protecting these jobs, they could accept reductions in DCPS' outrageously high teacher salaries. Instead they are walking kids out of class and telling them to shoot the messenger. Their cynicism in disgusting and inexcusable.

The protests are a sham, the union leadership is a joke, and if the teachers themselves have a shred of self-respect, they will hold WTU accountable for its atrocious leadership, and elect more responsible officers when the opportunity arises.yggg

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | October 6, 2009 3:12 PM

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