Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teacher unions + progressive education techniques = failure

Teacher Tenure Under Fire as States Try to Cut Deficits

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It took the Los Angeles school district five years at a cost of $3.5 million to fire six teachers for poor performance, An investigation by a L.A. area weekly newspaper found.

In Washington, D.C., 75 teachers were dismissed for alleged incompetence in 2008. One teacher was let go for playing DVDs in class, another missed 20 days of work in two months. All ended up being reinstated by an arbitrator.

The story is similar in New York City where hundreds of teachers considered too inept to teach are kept out of classrooms, but continue to collect full salaries and benefits.

"The administration there has decided that it's actually harmful to children to have them in classrooms and yet the public is still responsible for continuing to pay full salary and benefits for these people year in and year out," said Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools and Founder of StudentsFirst. "That's absolutely a waste of taxpayer dollars."

An even louder chorus of critics is attacking unionized public school teachers for their tenure and seniority rules, job protections that make it difficult to remove bad teachers.

On Thursday, the head of the largest national teachers union responded to the continued criticism by offering a major concession, a proposal to make it easier and faster to fire even tenured teachers who are not making the grade.

"Under the proposal, a teacher deemed 'unsatisfactory' would be required to submit to an improvement plan which could last anywhere from a month to a year," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "If administrators and peer experts thought the teacher had not improved, they would refer it to an arbitrator who would decide within 100 days to keep or dismiss the teacher."

Under the new proposal it would still take as long as 15 months to remove a teacher who's ultimately determined unfit to be in a classroom.

Many of the teacher's union protections have already been eroded and thousands of teachers are being fired as states and cities cut their budgets to close deficits.

In Providence, Rhode Island, all 1,900 teachers just received termination notices, ahead of what are expected to be massive layoffs. The city's mayor says state law will allow the dismissals outside of seniority rules.

No comments: