On May 16th parents, teachers, and the community stood in solidarity to oppose Denver Public Schools non-renewals of over 200 teachers and “Do Not Rehire” label on over 80 teachers. Public comments at the school board meeting lasted until past 1am. The Board reacted by directing the administration to review and change the ‘Do Not Rehire’ process.
Please sign our petition to the School Board and DPS Administration requesting that they:
• Make sure that the new Do Not Rehire process follows state norms and is only applied after truly egregious or criminal actions.
• Grant immediate rehiring eligibility to those that do not fit the new do not rehire definition, without a waiting period of banishment from DPS. This should include those that were labeled this school year as well as years past.
• Review and make individual decisions on the hiring recommendations that were before the Board at the Monday, May 20th Board meeting.
Make Sure Excellent Teachers are not Treated Like Criminals!
The nearby Aurora School District does not have a systematic do not rehire policy. In the Douglas County School District, a teacher has to exhibit criminal conduct to earn a designation that they should never teach again. In DPS, all you need is a principal that doesn’t think you are “a good fit.” This “good fit” practice has banished high performing teachers from DPS and teaching in general, just because they had a personality conflict with one principal. We applaud the DPS school board for their recent directive to district staff to “change its practice so that there shall not be a permanent restriction on rehire except in serious limited circumstances”.
The problem is: The Devil is in the Details
The School Board did not determine each individual teacher’s case separately whose contract was recommended for non-renewal this spring – even though data presented by teachers and parents, some of whom waited up to 8 hours to present their case, included evidence of teachers who had inspired high student achievement and high personal performance ratings. Instead of engaging in a thoughtful individual review that could have prevented excellent teachers from becoming part of a rush to judgment – the Board decided to agree with all non-renewal recommendations indiscriminately – and to attach a “Do Not Rehire” label en masse – until the new policy is in place.
Also –the school board directive hinted there could be a time period that would determine when someone would be able to apply in Denver again, even if they do not meet the new limited definition of “do not rehire”. If someone does not meet the definition – why are they “banished” at all? Once a “Do Not Rehire” label is associated with a person for any time period, it severely limits their ability to continue their career. We are asking that teachers should be allowed to apply in DPS and other districts without this stigma attached.
Research confirms what parents already know: the most important resource in any classroom is an excellent teacher. Don’t let excellent teachers fall through the cracks!