Monday, February 19, 2007

How To Fire An Incompetent Teacher? Not Easy

The series of steps a principal must take to dismiss a public school teach is Byzantine. "It's almost impossible," Klein complains.

The regulations are so onerous that principals rarely even try to fire a teacher. Most just put the bad ones in pretend-work jobs, or sucker another school into taking them. (They call that the "dance of the lemons.") The city payrolls include hundreds of teachers who have been deemed incompetent, violent, or guilty of sexual misconduct. Since the schools are afraid to let them teach, they put them in so-called "rubber rooms" instead. There they read magazines, play cards, and chat, at a cost to New York taxpayers of $20 million a year.

Click on the link here to see a file that shows the dozens and dozens of steps involved to remove an incompetent unionized public shool teacher in NYC. You'll see why principals rarely even try to fire a bad teacher.


At 2/19/2007 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the teacher "bad” before he or she was hired? If so, why did they hire him or her? Possibly incompetent people in the hiring process? Then, fix the hiring process.

If the teacher was “good” when hired, then, why did he or she turn “bad?” Possibly because of a lack of support, unrealistic expectations from children with societal problems, and burnout to name just a few reasons. Then, support the teacher.

I believe that the majority of teachers are “good.” I like to think my sister is. And, I like to think that I was. Let’s help the teachers do their important jobs. Most are very good and the few who are not will probably get fed up and quit or bail out at the first opportunity. Focusing on helping teachers by sending them children who are ready to learn will go a longer ways toward solving problems than complaining about the few who are problematic.

At 2/19/2007 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following is just some thoughts I had when I read this article. We believe and hope all teachers are good since we trust to leave our children with them. But teachers are a group of people, just as students are, dentists, and construction workers and we can not expect all these people to be good. There must be at least one bad teacher somewhere, and this one bad teacher must be disciplined or even fired. I have experienced first hand a bad teacher and just like any other group of people there are possible lemons among them. We cannot expect all teachers to be good because they are just like everyone else they are not special just because we entrust them with the most special people in our lives.

At 2/20/2007 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. There are a few bad teachers. But, if the focus is on hiring good teachers and providing a supportive environment to keep the teachers "good," the number of "bad" teachers will be far far fewer. Most people are not inherently bad, but are a product of a dysfunctional organization. You can believe there are a lot of “bad” teachers if you want; however, I refuse to believe that. I look for the good in all people and separate the “bad” people from the bad situations.

As far as violent or teachers properly convicted mentioned in the article, if the New York laws and teacher licensing rules are not addressing those issues, the legislators are not doing their jobs and THEY should be held accountable and removed from office. School districts have enough problems without dealing with people who should be in jail or not licensed. That should be a state’s responsibility.

After hiring good teachers, providing a supportive teaching environment to keep them, and letting the laws and licensing remove the criminals, objective criteria should be established to remove any remaining “bad” teachers. If there is still a major problem to address, then, I agree the system should be streamlined to remove the bad teachers. Possibly the present system is so cumbersome because the school districts can’t do their job and are attempting to remove teachers who should not be removed. It’s always easy to point the finger in the other direction: Isn’t it?

I am not saying there aren’t bad teachers. I am sure there are a few. However, I am saying any rational problem solving methodology requires addressing the root cause of the problem and not the symptoms.

At 12/29/2007 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi i have the mean teacher and she is rasies sometimes and she be nice to some kids like jenna,haily,ben and baily. aint that rode this shcool needs help. shcool= westside elemtry school in jonhtown. her name is mrs.jaber

At 3/10/2010 9:36 AM, Anonymous C.Rose said...

Being malicious does not mean the same as being incompetent. Some of the meanest teachers are the best- the one teacher I learned the most from was cruel. Being a "mean teacher" does not mean you deserve to be fired, as long as the students continue to assimilate information. However, favoritism and bias should not be a part of a teacher's vocabulary.


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