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Chart: Two Years/ 27 Steps To Fire A Bad Teacher

Picture 108

(Chicago Tribune)


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Seems to be a lengthy process. Let's, for sake of argument, say that none of the teachers in question have committed a felony or other crime that would disqualify them from teaching, or for that matter simply do not show up physically to class. We can all agree that those people should not be allowed to teach. But what of the teacher who is trying their best and just doesn't measure up to the vision of the administrator? What part of the process would good and reasonable people say is appropriate protection for both the student and the teacher? Propose a better model.

I think these sorts of models lie by omission. The fact is that bad teachers are squeezed out of the teaching profession every year. Bad teachers are made to feel outside their school culture, often get crappy duties and generally feel unwelcome and quit. Look at the stats for teacher turn-over. They are high. The fact is the job sucks unless you are ok at it. Who wants to come to work to an out of control classroom everyday?

These charts also fail to make real comparisons to the private sector. The basic fact of life is every job has some poor workers around and I have worked in the private sector (law firms, health administration, restaurants) as well as public education, and I can tell you, bad workers thrive in the private sector, in fact they often seem to get promoted. Bosses were powerless to fire them for various reasons (fear of getting sued, lack of strong applicants, alliances within the firm). No union there, no long flow charts showing procedures, just life in American.

Let's stop picking on teachers to fix all labor practices, budget shortfalls, administrative inefficiencies and poverty.

I really like Randy's comments and posting, because despite the 27 step process being so detailed, it is still subjective in nature, completed by a human being who could be biased. To be quite honest, I was in a bit of shock as to the depth of the process, but I am assuming you can attribute this detail to the power of the school unions in an effort to avoid principals or administrators having the power to simply dismiss an instructor for poor performance. However, on the flip side, and as educators, the unions should see the folly of this mapping, because these poor instructors can do more harm than good and removing them from the school system in a condensed termination process, possibly including a third party to avoid bias would ensure that the system is fair, accurate, and that those who are simply showing up for a paycheck need to find another profession.

The detail of this process is absolutely shocking and probably why some incompetent, lazy instructors/teachers are still gainfully employed as they hide behind this 27 step shield.

The details do not sound so lengthy as a brief glance might reveal. The first year: principal has to observe the teacher twice to decide if they should be fired. To anyone in a classroom, we all know some moments look bad if simply walked in on without having a full context. So two bad observations, fair. Then, mercifully, the teacher is given a chance to improve with some help from a mentor. This sounds ok and fair...put this would not need to take a year as the chart claims.

Then the teacher continues to fail and then there is a hearing to present the case against the teacher. Sounds fair. Again this doesn't need to take as much time as the chart shows. The chart even takes the extra step to list "teacher given notice" to make it seem at a galnce that this is an insanely long process. The teacher then shockingly gets to appeal this. Seems ok and fair. This again could be done fairly quickly if districts were serious about all this. Then they are fired. I agree the process could be quicker if the boss walks in and sees the teacher looking in the other direction while two kids are doing something bad and fires them on the spot. But what would that produce? Also, you could remove the extra chance for a person to redeem themselves and go right to the formal hearing in which you explain why you are firing. That would cut out a couple months.

You also have to keep in mind two things: The principal 1) hired the person so you can assume they already like the person and the teacher had good references so therefore firing them on the spot would not happen very often. Presumably the administrator hired someone good. And 2) the principal CAN fire teachers before they tenure so why not beef-up the observations before tenure to make sure you are on board with the person before they get some rights. If a principal does not fire a bad teacher in those first two years that is just the adminstrators fault, not the teacher union's fault for develping some job protections. Let's get serious about this stuff.


You make a good point about the need for oversight and that upon the initial hire, the relationship is at its zenith. However, with all the turnaround, the likelihood of a teacher having the same principal for their entire career is unlikely as everyone is striving to move onwards and upwards. Yes, by all means, include oversight committees, and I do not think tenure should be an option or inducement of employment, because tenure does not mandate growth or improvement, instead, security and for some, laziness.

It is hard to fire anyone these days in the litigous society we have created, but this is too much.

I appreciate Randy's comment. When I first think about it 2 years seems likt a long time.

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