In one of the most turbulent days in its recent history, the D.C. public schools system laid off more than 200 teachers Friday and coped with the abrupt loss of its 300 security guards, whose company went out of business overnight Thursday.
The combination of events, which included a skirmish between students and police at McKinley Technology High School that resulted in two arrests, highlighted the challenges faced by Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) as they struggle to reform the troubled system in lean economic times. The layoffs were the deepest cuts for the school system since 2003.
In all, 388 school employees received separation notices, the latest jolt to a system that has seen broad and sometimes wrenching change under Rhee. The schools chief has rolled out a tough evaluation regimen that links some instructors' job security to standardized test scores and raised the bar for other educators with an elaborate set of classroom requirements and guidelines.. . .