Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One problem with public schools - they pay teachers not to teach

New York City public schools are well known for paying a few teachers to sit in a room, away from students. Public school officials have made the decision that it is cheaper to keep these bad teachers away from students than to try to fire them.

It looks like this problem is also happening in San Diego. When Schools Pay Teachers Not to Teach starts with:

Lynne Holyoke knew her principal wanted to fire her. The retired art teacher said the two had often sparred over her teaching style. But instead, Holyoke said the school district made her an offer: Take a year off with pay and resign at the end of it. Holyoke agreed and spent the year on paid administrative leave, doing art therapy, volunteering and mulling her future.
"It was like a package to go," she said.
Holyoke is not the only educator who has been pulled from her classroom but paid nonetheless. Fifty-six educators have been put on paid administrative leave in San Diego Unified over the last six years, taken out of their ordinary jobs but kept on the payroll for anywhere from a few days to more than four years.
Some teachers have been accused of crimes or inappropriate behavior and are removed from their classes until the charges are proven or disproven. Some are awaiting hearings that decide whether they will be fired. A small number are suffering medical problems.


I'd love to know how many teachers nationwide are being paid to stay away from students.

In general when employees at private companies break the law there is no problem in firing them. But teachers at public schools get tenure and a well financed teacher union to protect them. It is almost impossible to fire an average bad teacher.

Until this changes public schools will keep prompting many parents to turn to homeschooling.

(Hat tip: Friends of Dave)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education


Jean said...

Los Angeles Unified does a lot of this. Here's the LA Times series: Failure gets a pass.

Crimson Wife said...

I'd like to see a law passed whereby teachers placed on paid administrative leave after alleged wrongdoing have to pay back the money if the allegations subsequently are proven true.

Henry Cate said...

Jean: thanks for the link.

Crimson Wife: I'd vote the law. Would you like to run for office? :-)

Ruralmama said...

Yuck. That just makes me feel icky inside. I'd third that law that Crimson Wife came up with. Bleah, yuck.

Luke said...

My wife learned about this practice in college as an Ed major. It is pretty crazy.

On the other hand, this often happens in the corporate world too. I know of several employees who have been kept on far longer than they should have been because it took the company that long to build up enough documentation so they could get rid of the person without fear of lawsuit.