- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2005

Nearly a third of the District’s public school teachers are not licensed in their subjects and some of them likely will be fired, Superintendent Clifford B. Janey said yesterday at a congressional hearing.

School officials are examining the credentials of about 1,400 of the city’s 4,700 teachers. About 700 of them have not kept their licenses up to date and the other 700 do not have proof of licensing.

?It will probably end up with an action on my part to dismiss a certain number of people who do not have evidence of license,? Mr. Janey said during a House Government Reform Committee hearing.

Washington Teachers Union President George Parker blamed the school system.

He said the system’s record keeping ?has been broken for so long? that such a situation is likely.

?If that’s the case, it is a sad comment on the system’s record keeping and monitoring system because teachers are required to renew their certification every five years,? he said.

Mr. Janey said some teachers have lacked certification for as long as 10 years.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican and the committee chairman, said Mr. Janey, who arrived in August, has an opportunity to fix ?a broken system.?

?At a time when so many things are going right in the nation’s capital, [public schooling] continues to be plagued by management problems, declining enrollment, crumbling facilities, escalating violence and substandard academic achievement,? he said.

?The District’s improved health cannot be sustained without a better public school system.?

Mr. Davis also heard testimony during the three-hour hearing from Chief Charles H. Ramsey of the Metropolitan Police Department, Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ administration, the D.C. Council and school board officials.

Chief Ramsey reported the number of juvenile arrests has increased significantly in the past three years. The department arrested 2,950 juveniles in 2004, compared with 2,558 in 2003 and 2,422 in 2002, he said.

Chief Ramsey said the department has increased truancy enforcement, picking up more than 4,300 truant students in the past 17 months, and 1,200 this calendar year.

Mr. Janey also said he expects to hire more principals for the next school year, after appointing 24 new ones this year.

Mr. Parker said school officials undervalue their teachers and the real problem is the city’s inability to retain good teachers.

?We are losing a lot of our highly qualified veteran teachers to the suburbs because of higher pay, administration and support, and something as simple as respect,? he said.

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