Monday, March 29, 2010

Improve education, fire bad teachers

A great article about how important it is to lay off teachers by merit, not seniority:


Across the country, tight state budgets are forcing dramatic cuts in education. Some districts have laid off hundreds of teachers. Others have shut down schools. Last week, for example, California issued pink slips to almost 22,000 teachers. But states and districts could take a smarter, more effective approach in trimming education budgets, particularly when it comes to teacher layoffs. Most use a "last hired, first fired" approach that does not look at teacher effectiveness. The result is that many schools could end up pushing out some of their highest-performing teachers while keeping their least effective ones.

This problem is much deeper than the issue of teacher layoffs. Far too few schools and districts focus their reform efforts on improving teacher effectiveness.

According to a new report by the Center for American Progress, many teachers essentially have jobs for life because of the tremendous challenges of removing ineffective teachers. Indeed, most districts fire only about 1 percent of tenured teachers a year for poor performance.

But we know some teachers should not be teaching. While most educators work to meet student needs, a recent survey of teachers found that almost 60 percent said there were educators in their schools who failed to do good work and were just going through the motions.



Improve education, fire bad teachers
By: Ulrich Boser and Robin Chait
March 23, 2010 05:18 AM EDT

 Subscribe in a reader