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Friday, August 11, 2017

Surplussed teacher explains how the district is stopping them from finding a job

Sadly the district has not supported or explained what happened to several dozen teachers surplussed at the last minute.  It is absolutely true that the state put the district in a terrible position, unfortunately, the district decided to make it worse.

Below is an update from one of the teachers.


Friday 8/11/17 8:00 p.m. This update is from Mark Felt, one of the 35 surplussed teachers last Friday, one week ago. I've had an interesting week at my new, assigned school. I thought my experiences might help some of my colleagues, surplussed or not. Plus, comments added in response may help myself and many more teachers. 

Earlier this week, I interviewed at several schools with vacancies- after being told by someone in HR this was permissible. I interviewed twice in one day at an "A" school, and actually was offered the position. Near my home, a great principal and staff (met team during the second interview), thought this was a dream...well! The next day, hearing nothing, I called this wonderful person only to be told by the principal, Mr. Felt, something's happened and HR won't let me hire you. I called the same office- the one in our reassignment letter- only to be told, very brusquely I thought, that no sir "you absolutely cannot interview at this time. We'll tell you where your assignment is" when it's decided upon. And no, it won't be in 10 days, that's not what the letter says (which is correct). 

The 10-day period is as veteran teachers know, when each school's yearly budget is derived, using each school's attendance on this one day. This is what's used to determine how many teachers, staff, etc. to hire at each school. 

So this was deflating, to say the least, especially after the week I had at my newly "assigned" school. I'm assigned to a school with no openings and this is something else I told personnel when I called them. The spokesperson denied they would ever do that, again brusquely I thought. I said but I'm told that by the principal and they simply didn't believe me. So what, now I'm a liar? I didn't argue with them- as they weren't going to change their minds! 

So upon reflection- I had plenty of time to reflect today, spending hours performing meaningless tasks- that I'm in a Virtual Jail. Especially after a colleague told me today how a teacher at their school, transferred to a turnaround school. (Why? Must like working in a dangerous environment, administratively!) How can veterans transfer now; how can schools hire brand new teachers this week; how can I not accept an open position? It's simple: I'm in Virtual Jail, similar to the Virtual School. I think this is where they got the concept. I'm being punished for doing all I could at my old school, including structuring my class exactly as I was told to! I followed their instructions loyally and faithfully, and look at the appreciation I get in return- not to mention results, not that I've seen anything or heard anything yet. 

And I thought later today, if I don't get a class til say late September or early October, and we still use some version of a VAM: my kids will not be prepared as they haven't had a teacher all that time. Substitutes are no substitute for a full-time teacher! (Disclaimer, I was a substitute and I've had some very good substitute teachers.) So, 2 or 3 weeks later, when the October FTE window opens, all of a sudden now I'm responsible for this class! What if they don't perform well? It'll be my responsibility entirely. 

So to close, some veterans can transfer (probably because they put in for a voluntary surplus last May); new teachers can be hired- even into my "assigned" school, and I can't even apply for a position. At any other job, you can apply for an open position anytime- but not DCPS, and perhaps other districts. Why does a 10 year veteran not have seniority over a newly hired teacher? Because we're held in a special list of 35 at the DCPS Virtual Jail. (My fellow surplussees don't know this, because as far as I know they were assigned to schools WITH openings). Hey, I found the bright side: they let me out (on time!) every night to see my wife!


  1. I don't know if you follow Ednotesonline, but this sounds very much like the ATR system set up in NYC and approved by Randi Weingarten in the 2005 contract. Basically teachers who were excessed due to budgets were not allowed to bump less senior teachers and were forced to take on any sub position for the rest of their tenure. They were not allowed to go to the same job fairs or Open Markets as newly graduated ed majors. They were labeled as undesirables by Joel Klein. Now Mayor deBalsio wants them fulfilling open positions and there is a push by Reformers and the media to stop this.

  2. Who is monitoring the arbitrary bad evaluations they are giving teachers that adds to the low VAM scores since these scores were not limited to only student scores? If most of the teachers who were surplus are under the same admin person, why are those admins still there and who is investigating those admins' evaluation practices?
    Some admins are deliberately giving D/NI (developing/needs improvement) just for the heck of it thinking that those low scores will only lower teachers' evals so they won't get a pay increase and help the school with the budget, but not once did they think it would leave the school devastated and lower morale when all the department is gone and the person responsible is the admin who did not care about supporting teachers, making sure new teachers were trained and supported, or give a crap about re-evaluating when they give them mostly D/NI across the board and refuse to re evaluate when asked...A response I got was..."you really don't need another one...since you only get two for the year". Where is the "growth evaluation" that this CAST system was supposed to help teachers grow? NO. This is a chop and drop method using the CAST system that people in Tallahassee do not see since they only see the final results and not the messiness in the details. Who is following up on admin practices?
    I have evidence of admin violation of state statute. Where do I send it?

    Administration violation of state statute
    3. Instructional leadership.—For school administrators, … standards adopted by the State Board of Education under s. 1012.986, … administrator’s appropriate use of evaluation criteria and procedures, recruitment and retention of effective and highly effective classroom teachers, improvement in the percentage of instructional personnel evaluated at the highly effective or effective level, and other leadership practices that result in student learning growth.