Monday, May 24, 2010

Public schools will stay broken as long as it costs half a million to fire a bad teacher

One of the biggest problems with government schools is how hard it is to get rid of bad teachers. LAUSD's Dance of the Lemons is a great article on this topic. One of the points it makes is how horrible it is for children who suffer through a year with a bad teacher. Yet when a principal tries to fire a bad teacher, he will soon find itis almost impossible. The average cost to fire a bad teacher seems to be half a million dollars, and the attempts aren't always successful.

The article starts with:

Several years ago, a 74-year-old Dominguez Elementary School fourth-grade teacher was having trouble controlling her students as her abilities deteriorated amid signs of "burnout." Shirley Loftis was told by Los Angeles Unified School District administrators to retire or be fired, and she did retire, but hardly under the school district's terms.
The principal at Dominguez, Irene Hinojosa, recalls how she spent three years documenting Loftis' poor teaching skills and inability to control 10-year-olds. "From the minute I observed her, she basically didn't seem to have the knowledge of the standards and how to deliver them," Hinojosa tells L.A. Weekly. "I had her do lessons on the same standard over and over again, and children did not get it. On simple math concepts [such as determining perimeters and area] — over and over, she didn't know how to deliver."

There are few professions which are as well protected as teaching in public schools. Think about it, the teacher inflicted great educational harm on students over three years. There is such a focus on making sure that no teacher ever is wrongly let go, that generations of students have suffered. it would be easy to make the point that government schools aren't really about education, but a jobs program.

It should be much easier to fire bad teachers. Until this happens public schools will never get better.

The article makes a number of great points. It is a bit long, but well worth reading.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Technorati tags: children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education

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