Dr. Siebens' students were as surprised as he was to learn the news of his removal from the Wilson High School faculty. Galvanized to action, they testified at public hearings to bring attention to the unfairness of his dismissal and to gain support for his reinstatement.
DC Council, July 11, 2008
At a public roundtable hearing by the Committee of the Whole on "Progress in Modernizing and Improving District of Columbia School Facilities", four of Dr. Siebens' former students testified before Chairman Vincent Gray and other councilmembers.
DC Council, July 12, 2008
Four of Dr. Siebens' students also testified before the City Council at its monthly Youth Hearing. Two students testified explaining their reasons for supporting Dr. Siebens' reinstatement, and two students sang one of the songs composed by Dr. Siebens to help his students learn biology concepts, "The Nephron's Like A Grapevine," which teaches about kidney function. They also sang "Do You Know How Much I Miss You?" which was written by Dr. Siebens as a tribute to his students. Following this testimony, Councilmembers were very supportive of Dr. Siebens. "I wish we had the authority to be able to hire him back, because I would in a New York minute," said Chairman Vincent Gray. "Everything we have heard thus far would suggest an egregious error has been made here and that our young people are going to be deprived of a wonderful teacher, role model and somebody who loves his students," added Gray.
DC State Board of Education, July 23, 2008
Four of Dr. Siebens' students testified before the DC State Board of Education at its Public Hearing on Proposed Regulations Governing Teacher Certification on July 23, 2008, in the Old Council Chambers at 441 4th Street NW.
The theme of the hearing was teacher quality and a proposed change to the teacher licensing and certification rules so that DCPS can get "effective" teachers in every classroom, rather than rely on the current metric of having "qualified" teachers, a definition that relates to the number of education courses or hours of professional development a candidate has taken. The DC State Board of Education is interested in assessing a teacher's positive impact on student achievement and learning.
The students testified about Dr. Siebens' removal from the Wilson faculty, noting how effective he is in the classroom and questioning the absence of standards applied in the evaluation that led to his dismissal. They also submitted to the DC State Board of Education the Petition to Reinstate Dr. Siebens along with representative comments left by signatories to the Petition, and statistics supporting the quality of Dr. Siebens' teaching.