Monday, October 6

ANOTHER DAY WITH RHEE

Ed Week - We've now had an inside look at how Michelle Rhee's system manages talent. [Arthur] Siebens applied for all open science positions at a hiring fair in June, and was not called for interviews at any of the schools to which he applied. He interviewed at several other schools over the summer, and either was not offered the position or told that "the position has been filled for us." On the first day of school, Siebens – who has a PhD in Physiology - was assigned to teach 9th grade environmental science, a course he has never taught before. To date, he has not even received the teacher's edition of the environmental science book, despite asking for it repeatedly.

And the kicker? The Washington Post reported a week ago that Wilson has a science vacancy. Is this what the "strategic management of talent" looks like?

Art Siebens has 18 years of data, a PhD, a gaggle of national awards, and a legion of parents and students standing behind him. If this can happen to him, it can happen to almost any teacher in the DC system.

Bill Myers Examiner - Seven months after D.C. officials promised to have gotten the District's disabled and mentally ill citizens out of a Massachusetts shock-therapy clinic, three of them still are confined in the school, The Examiner has learned.

The Judge Rotenberg Center is one of the only clinics in the country authorized to use electroshock and other "aversive" therapies on its wards. D.C. officials said they were horrified to discover that that the city was paying to house at least 10 mentally ill or disabled children and adults at Rotenberg. Peter Nickles, the city's interim attorney general, promised to have every D.C. resident out of Rotenberg by March.

Yet the clinic continues to treat two children and a disabled adult from Washington, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show and schools spokeswoman Dena Iverson confirmed. . .

"We are working diligently to find other placements for the two remaining students and will move them to other schools as soon as their placements are secured," Iverson said in an e-mail statement. She refused to discuss the matter further.

The Examiner has written extensively about Rotenberg, which is facing a criminal investigation after three of its patients — one of them an Alexandria boy — were snatched from their beds in the middle of the night and hooked up to shock machines. The "order" for the shocks was given by a runaway from the clinic who made a prank call and impersonated a clinic supervisor.

For critics of the District's $300 million special education system, Rotenberg is just one of several warehouses where the city's most vulnerable children are shipped with little regard for their safety or welfare. Last month, a federal court monitor blasted Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee for ignoring the free-falling special education system. Rhee declined comment for this story.

After The Examiner began documenting problems at clinics like Rotenberg, D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, introduced legislation barring city officials from sending wards to any school or clinic that uses aversive therapy. "It's tantamount to torture," Cheh told The Examiner, =E 2and we're paying for it."

Bill Myers Examiner
- A multimillion-dollar computer system brought in to help save D.C.'s failing special education program doesn't work with existing school software, and city officials are scrambling to account for thousands of vital records ahead of a crucial audit, The Examiner has learned. Earlier this year, the District signed a $4.2 million contract with the Public Consulting Group for help in organizing thousands of chaotically stored special education files and tracking federal deadlines for updating those files. But e-mails obtained by The Examiner show that the group's computer tracking system isn't compatible with the system's enrollment database. This means officials can't access information on thousands of children.

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