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Dear Regular Citizens:


The ruthlessness and unnecessary cruelty with which Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Mayor Adrian Fenty carried out the first mass firing at DC Public School’s central office on Friday should end any misconception that they are about “reform” Reform isn’t carried out with the crude and brutal methods that Rhee and Fenty employ.


What, after all, is the purpose of carrying out indiscriminate firings, without justification or notice, except to assert the brute force possessed by the bosses? What is the purpose of calling armed police officers to march employees out of their workplaces, denying those employees the right even to pack up their personal possessions or to say goodbye to their coworkers, except to humiliate them and to threaten and intimidate the workers who remain? The message from Fenty and Rhee to District government employees still in service is: we hold you in contempt; the thanks you get for your years and decades of work for this government is to know that we look forward to the opportunity to do the same to you.


No doubt, there are diehard Fenty and Rhee supporters who cheered at the sight of these people being tossed on the sidewalk, who are calling for more of the same, who are rooting for Fenty and Rhee to slash the public school workforce more drastically and replace DCPS officials, teachers, and other employees with contractors and consultants, to privatize more schools and farm out more school functions. But, since there is no evidence that any of these slash-and-burn firings will improve students’ education, let those supporters at least stop pretending that they are doing it “for the children.” They are doing it for the pleasures of making the employees of a failed school system suffer, and that is all.


Let us also stop hearing the feigned dismay of the council members who voted for these firings. They — with the honorable exceptions only of Council members Mendelson, Thomas, and Barry, who voted against the bill to give Fenty and Rhee the power to carry out these firings — enthusiastically supported stripping DCPS central office employees of their due process rights and giving Rhee the power to carry out the arbitrary and capricious mass firing that took place Friday.


Council members knew that, if they gave bad and incompetent administrators the power to fire employees capriciously and arbitrarily, the administrators would use that power. They gave them that power, and they did. Council members who voted for the bill don’t have the right to deny responsibility for its results. If they want to fix their mistake, they should. If they don’t want to fix it, they should take their places in line behind Fenty and Rhee, booting employees down the stairs and out the door, laughing instead of crying crocodile tears.



Gary Imhoff

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