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View Diary: But Why Do We Bash Teachers? (180 comments)

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  •  What nonsense. I belong to the NEA, and there (30+ / 0-)

    most certainly ARE ways to remove incompetent teachers.  In fact, they are clearly spelled out in our contract, and the due process procedures pretty much match the human resource policies and procedures in all 5 of the Fortune 50 companies I worked for during the 20+ years I worked in corporate America as a manager and executive.

    Incompetent teachers in a classroom are a symptom of a management problem.  The manager (principal) has either made a hiring, placement, development, or performance management mistake.  Principals and school administrators have been extremely happy to point fingers at their workers, but the power and responsibility lies with management.  And, I can assure you that I would never have allowed a 1st level manager to get away with such ridiculous blame shifting.  Talk about a lack of accountability!

    For example, I'd seriously question whether or not the math teacher in your anectdote is highly qualified in calculus and or has been given a wholly impossible challenge. I can't imagine this poor worker is happy with this placement (which she has no control over); principals are responsible for placing teachers in the subjects they are required to teach each year. Oooor, if she is content qualified, do you know if this is her first year teaching it?  Did the principal tell her she would be teaching this curriculum a week before school started, alongwith 4 other topic math courses, which means the worker may be actually trying to create lessons (think how long it took you to create your last 60 minute presentation) for 1-5 unfamiliar contents while grading 150 papers each night.  As a previous manager myself, the scattered behavior you describe would immediately clue me in that the worker was overwhelmed and that I had made a mistake.  -- not that the worker I'd placed in such a hopeless situation was a mistake.

    Right hiring -- right placements are the first right steps.

    Or this occurs too: Workers are human, and they do go through life challenges over the course of their careers.  Teachers have lives just like you and every other worker you've ever worked with, and we've all either had one ourselves or known someone who went through a divorce, lost a child, lost a parent, or was undergoing chemo-therapy (all circumstances that have happened to staff at our school, this year).  Good managers know their workers well and know how to make arrangements to help a worker through these situations.  Some principals actually do a good job of this by fostering teams within the school, so fellow teachers rally and step in to take work off the struggling teacher.  e.g. Offering to share lesson plans, materials, and copying for them.  Good principals shift volunteers to help with grading loads.  Again, some great teachers can hit a wall for a year due to life's challenges, and good management minimizes any adverse affects on customers by fostering and supporting teamwork and getting the teacher additional support through the crisis.  

    As for the guy who mutters into his book.  Hmmmm.  How long has the principal been doing a horrible job on performance appraisal responsibilities.  According to our contract, the principal is required to do 2 formative and 1 summative evaluation a year -- on both non-tunured and tenured teachers.  If there are ANY issues (like muttering into a book instead of actually teaching), the principal is supposed to document the performance issue in a Corrective Plan, meet with the teacher to devise a develop plan, and conduct an additional formative evaluation withing 30 days.  If the performance is not improved, the union representative is notified, a joint meeting is held to identify a 2nd corrective/development plan.  The summative evaluation is conducted within 45 days and if there is STILL no change, the teacher is fired.  Period.

    If you have a history teacher who is reading a text to the class, I'm going to guess that either he's related to someone in the school administration or coaches a team.  Either way, I consider that a management failure, and possibly even an executive management corruption issue.

    Teachers can and are fired following due process and documentation.  If they aren't being in your school district, I suggest you demand a copy of the contract and go to your school board to ask why the principals in your district are not doing their job.

    But the most glaring evidence of managerial malfesance IMO in our public school system is the rate of turnover!  A 40+% turnover rate in any division I was leading would have immediately screamed of a serious management problem.  I can't imagine any CEO or even any director accepting that kind of turnover.  It's insane.

    This "few bad apples" crap is just that ... unless you mean that we have quite a few bad apples at the management level where quite real, and widespread harm can indeed occur.  But, we don't hold our principals and school management accountable. Instead, we have allowed them to collude with those who want to destroy unions and public education.

    Therefore, I think the diarist's thesis remains and is certainly worthy of considerable thought.

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Sun May 01, 2011 at 12:31:02 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bkamr, ER Doc, Calamity Jean

      I wanted to stay away from this, for I don't know enough of the ins and outs of public-school administration.  I'm quite glad to see someone who does step in.

      •  My pleasure. It seems like people are willing (23+ / 0-)

        to swallow almost anything if it's repeated enough, or if they are told that everyone else (bandwagon propaganda) agrees that this is the case.

        Then, there is always the "my mom worked as a teacher and she was angry about this one or that one who wasn't fired even though ..."  Yeah, well how was THAT the fault of the worker who got to keep getting paid for not working?  Anytime I hear that from another teacher anywhere in this country, I ask them:  "Why doesn't your principal fire them?"  

        If they even TRY to mouth anti-union bullshit, I just look them in the eye and say, "Come on, why do you really think they still have their job?"  THEN, I hear the real story.  I have yet to hear the reason being other than one of the following:

        1. The lousy teacher is a coach, and the sports teams in that school ARE huge.
        2. The lousy teacher is part of a good ole boys network and the principal plays golf, fishes with, went to school with ....
        3. The lousy teacher is married to a local politician or someone in the district office.  The principal "can't fire" them or the principal might get fired.
        4. The lousy teacher has been working in the building for 40 years and has health issues at this point in their life ... (and the principal doesn't have the guts and ability to confront them and get them the disability needed to be able to leave/ retire)
        5. The "lousy teacher" is not awful at all, but rather is an employeee who has been placed in a horrible situation that only Superman actually could succeed at.  And PS, if you have a system that requires 4 million Supermen then it's the system around the workers that needs to be fixed -- NOT the workers.

        And to address the yeah but "what about the rubber rooms in NYC:"  If it actually took 3 years to simply give the employees their due process hearings, then it's the fault of the people responsible for the process -- namely the school management.  Can you imagine a manager telling a company executive they couldn't manage an HR due process procedure in less than 3 years?  Patently ridiculous.  Those teachers deserved prompt hearings and the opportunity to clear their names and get back to work or to be fired.  

        Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

        by bkamr on Sun May 01, 2011 at 01:01:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I worked part time in my kid's elem (8+ / 0-)

          school for a couple of years.  As a sort of adjunct to the principal, I saw up close and personal how she ran things and it was HORRIBLE.  I have a degree in management, and I was so disgusted.  She might have been a good teacher when she was in the classroom, but a mistake was made in moving her to a principal position.

          But she was power hungry, played the please everybody game, and the teachers took all the heat for her failures.

          I pulled my kids out of that school as soon as it made sense...

          Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by k8dd8d on Sun May 01, 2011 at 01:51:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The principal preparation degrees seem to be (7+ / 0-)

            VERY short on management courses (if they have them at all), and unlike in companies where managers get management skill training, I don't think we have anything like that for principals, at all.

            Frankly, it's no wonder they don't have good hiring, performance evaluation, team building, performance management, conflict management, organizational behavior/ development, change management, and firing skills.  Plus, most of the principals I've met have followed a career path from school, to teaching, to grad school at night to become a principal to becoming a principal.   There isn't much experience with diverse management styles and approaches.  

            It's a perfect recipe for management skill failure.  

            Plus, and this is anecdotal from across the 15 previous business professionals that I personally know/maintain email relationships with (so take it with a big grain of salt), I'm not seeing professional managers choosing to go into the public school system as principals.   To remake myself a teacher, I had to add a 2nd BA in Middle School Ed (1st BA was in math & science) to add to my dual MS in Education and Business.  To become a principal, I think I'd have to have 5 years in the classroom and then, complete another Masters in Ed.  

            Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

            by bkamr on Sun May 01, 2011 at 02:43:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've never met a Principal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              k8dd8d

              that wasn't a former teacher.  Nobody would hire a non-teaching "management" professional to be a principal, even if they didn't need an educational certification.

              But Principals are part of the problem.  They're afraid of the boards (their bosses), and afraid of the unions (their employees).  The only "management" they do is of student behavior, not teacher behavior.  I stand by my belief that unless a teacher commits a criminal offense, or has a sex scandal with a student or another teacher, they, for all practical purposes, cannot be fired.  

              I've had several Principals tell me that they don't even like the job, and only took it to raise their salary at the end of their careers for their pensions.  

              Oh, and I recently asked my sister-in-law, who is a good teacher, why she doesn't become a Principal, and she said she evaluated it, and it wasn't a good deal for her.  She'd have to work in the summer.

              •  Two Things (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bkamr

                We are now training school administrators in special programs with no emphasis on developing teaching skills or experience.  Soon, many principals will have had no teaching background.

                Second, maybe your sister-in-law didn't want to work summers, but she would not have to work more as a principal.  Teachers work long hours (not just at school) and spend a great deal of that time during the summer preparing for the coming year.

                •  Our state actually just upped the requirements (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronBa

                  for in classroom time to become a principal.  Yeah, for KY!  I'm beginning to see that this state actually does have an increasing number of the answers for the country ... if our President would just pay attention.  :)

                  Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

                  by bkamr on Mon May 02, 2011 at 03:40:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Okay, you have a "belief." I have experiential (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronBa

                facts.  My principal just fired/ let go 2 members of our staff, this year, for non-criminal issues.  Both were classroom performance issues.  One teacher was not willing to increase lab/ hands on percentages as compared to lecture instructional time.  The other teacher had been a great teacher for 38 years, but this year, had developed early on-set Altshiemers.  

                The first teacher went through the due process scenario within the contract, and was fired in conjunction with Winter Break.  A new teacher was hired and had a couple of weeks to prepare before coming on-board in January.  And yes, the dismissed teacher was a tenured teacher.

                In the second situation, our principal did NOT just push this teacher to the curb, though. It was actually rather impressive how he handled it.  He met with her family, and THEY helped him persuade her to use her HUGE number of sick day to "take a break," and he brought in an excellent long-term sub that they had vetted through the summer as a possible teacher hire.  Meanwhile, the ailing teacher was still technically "on-staff" through benefits selection time.  The teacher signed up for disability insurance.  There was a 3 month waiting period, and we used a union contract agreement provision that allows us to donate our sick days to someone else.  :)  We covered this teacher as a staff team until the disability could kick in and cover her for disability to kick in to cover her, and her family, until she had her 40 years for full retirement.

                NOTE:  Teachers in our state are not covered by Social Security Disability.

                THIS is how a good principal with good management skills ensures that children have terrific teachers, while still ensuring s/he has solid team morale and extremely low turnover of high performers.

                And, this was just this year.  We have over 100 teachers on staff, and we usually have 1-2 counseled out each year for performance reasons.  Our principal does a very good job of hiring, so our turnover and firing rate is extremely low.  

                Our union contract provides for immediate dismissal for even a misdemeanor of ANY kind.  Period.  Oh, except for a misdemanor public disturbance involving protesting ... :)

                Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

                by bkamr on Mon May 02, 2011 at 03:37:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, and thank you so very much for volunteering (5+ / 0-)

            in your kid's school.  Parent volunteers are soooo wonderful!  I'm glad you found a better educational environment for your children.  It is indeed amazing what havoc one poor principal can cause, and yet, we seem to be doing nothing to help and improve in this area.

            Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

            by bkamr on Sun May 01, 2011 at 02:45:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  not only did I volunteer (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bkamr

              I was hired and worked there part time, helping to manage a special program my kids were a part of.

              It really sucked that I was spending 20 hours a week working/volunteering there and watching my own kids fall through the cracks.

              Here's an example of non-leadership.  One of the reading specialists held a training program for parents who were going to volunteer in a particular class leading reading groups.  I did the training as it was my daughter's class, but when it came time to form the groups, they had too many parents, so I stepped back and said, I'll do it next term.  In this program, they went on and on about reading groups being good practice, how all the kids would benefit, yada, yada.

              So I went to the reading specialist and said, ok, now that I'm trained and not needed in this situation, how can I help (my son's teacher, one grade level higher) get this going in her classroom?  I got a blank stare, then, Oh, Mrs. so-and-so doesn't do reading groups.  SHE believes that independent reading is the way children learn reading best.

              To me, this is a complete failure of leadership.  If it's the best practice, then all teachers should be encouraged and taught and led to do it.  It was crazy to me that the teachers had no leadership whatsoever to what would be best for kids.

              I could go on and on and on with stories like this.  But mostly my stories about this principal are the emperor has no clothes, because she is a pwer monger and plays people against each other, telling each one what they want to hear, and everyone is afraid of her.

              We are homeschooling now.  My kids are happier and learning more than before.  

              Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. ~Thomas Jefferson

              by k8dd8d on Mon May 02, 2011 at 09:28:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's not an either or situation, and that is where (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronBa, k8dd8d

                the real sadness is.  Both teachers are somewhat correct, and that's where you have to understand what makes for reading mastery.  

                For example, I taught both science and language arts, this year, in 6th grade.  At the beginning of the year, we Scantron tested ALL our students and sorted them into reading groups based on individual needs.  The first 45 minutes of every day is all hands on deck for reading groups, so our group sizes are very small. We have special programs for each at-risk group of children based on exactly what would help them the most.  The vast middle group participate in non-fiction reading groups where they learn all sorts of skills like note taking and summarizing as they read for information -- this helps them in ALL their courses and in doing research, as well.  

                Then, all of our kids go off to their regular core classes of social studies, science, math, and language arts, where readin across the curriculum is an expected, integrated, daily activity.  Plus, a chapter book is also read as part of one of the core classes other than language arts.  For example, the 8th grade reads a historical fiction book, in class, together, as part of the social studies class.  Another example is the 6th grade science class read Hoot during the unit on biology.  Historical events and science concepts are integrated with the class reading of these books.

                Now, in language arts, we go to the library every month where students check out independent reading selections.  We do not influence these selections, at all.  These are purely student driven choices.  We provide 15 minutes a day just before last announcements for silent, sustained individual reading.  I play gentle music and it also gives me an end of day time to check in with individual students about missing assignments, a father who has just gotten out of surgery, how are you doing? kind of time.  

                Within language arts itself, we have read 4 chapter books, together.  During the first two, I played a CD of a master reader reading while students read along. THIS is extremely important. A master reader reads fluently and serves as a model in terms of tempo, word pronouncition, speed, emphasis ... for the students.  For the first two books, I ONLY had the students read along with the master reader as their model.  By the time we had finished the second book, ALL my students were flipping the pages in time with the fluent reader.  :)

                In addition, as we read and listened, together, I'd stop the CD and model for them what a master reader does as they read.  Namely, I'd stop to appreciate and re-read a particularly nice use of figurative language.  We'd talk about it, and relish it together.  (And that's how they learned literary definitions like alliteration, hyperbole, idioms, metaphor, simile ....   After each chapter, they'd do the comprehension questions I'd created for them with one another as a table group, and used our literary analysis diagram to go below the plot events to understand how the protagonist was changing based on the conflict and emerging theme.  We'd got into some pretty heavy stuff like racism with The Cay (racism). THIS was the year that they learned that a great novel is great because it doesn't just tell a story about how the protagonist changes, but also has the power to change the reader, too.  

                They also became really proud of themselves with how they could think big and deep and important thoughts.

                When I was sure they had this level of skill and knowledge under their belts, they began trying their hand at using the techniques to write themselves ... and we branched off to do an "independent book read" together.  LOL  How did we do that?  They all read different GooseBumps books!

                We were studying genre differences by then, and the books are formulaic.  They read them independently and did book reports of different sorts.  Then, they presented their book reports to each other as table teams and analyzed how all the different books were really quite similar.

                Their final book, together, is the science chapter book, and I have THEM reading it outloud to one another as everyone follows along. We stop on words that I think might be unfamilar and I challenge them to use context clues to define them.  They stop themselves when they run into great literary phrases.  They help each other gently and quietly when a table mate has trouble sounding out a word.  :)

                Plus, in language arts, I also introduce classics in short stories like "All Summer in a Day" by Bradbury and then, we watch the outstanding video of it on YouTube.  We talk about bullying and acceptance and friendship.  They get the "classics" that they probably would not have chosen for themselves, but are important for their minds, souls, and characters.  THAT is part of my job as their teacher.

                Now, is this just me as a teacher?  I'd argue partially yes, but look at the building wide support and collaboration going on to support reading -- THAT is our principal.  We have REAL reading skills, small groups that target individual skills help, an outstanding library and librarian who delights in helping kids find delightful books, cross-content area teams who collaborate on chapter book reading in non-language arts classes, and I do have teaching freedom to choose from among a nice variety of classroom sets of books with CDs for in my language arts class.

                Are we some wealthy district in CT or Mass?  

                No. We have a free and reduced lunch 32% population in an out-of-the way place in Kentucky.  :)  We also have a Democratic Governor who knows KY parents and went to the matt and threatened a veto of the state budget if education was not put first and held intact.  Yeah, we have the nuts McConnell and Paul, but NO ONE messes with education in KY.  

                We have ZERO charter schools and public education is funded entirely from the state level.  Our cost per student is in the low 25% of the country, and we are consistently among one of the lowest 5 poverty-wise in the country.  

                Yet, our students always test above the national average across the board, AND our 4th graders just tied for 1st in science on the NAEP tests with 6 other states.  Plus, our minority and at risk groups also well out-perform national averages.  

                You'd think with these results that we might have won some Race to the Top funds?  Nope.  We weren't willing to break a winning system by introducing charters, so we got bumpkiss.  

                Our school is tops in our county-wide district, and we are one of the top 5 schools in the state. THAT I attribute to our principal and district management within a state-wide system of good educational management.

                If we can do it, I sincerely believe that all states can.

                Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

                by bkamr on Mon May 02, 2011 at 03:13:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  this is great, thank you (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bkamr, AaronBa

                  it is really wonderful to hear success stories.

                  unfortunately, my children never experienced anything like this in public school in either Michigan where we started, or Washington, where we are now.  Nor did my niece and nephew when they lived with us (before children) in California.  After three states, 5 kids and a lot of exposure to the public schools, we just gave up, because we'd not seen anyone remotely trying to connect with our kids or to meet their individual needs.

                  In Michigan we were in a pretty upper middle class district, in a school with no free/reduced, in Washington, we were in a very diverse school with about 40% free/reduced, in California, it was somewhere in between.

                  Michigan was the best of the three, and we have examined our experience to decide if it was the district, the state, the school, the demographics, what exactly were the differences?

                  My kids are all readers, and I do quite a bit of what you are describing in the choices we are making at home, integrating literature with social studies, history and geography. Literary analysis using the the structure set out in Teaching the Classics, that sort of thing.

                  Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. ~Thomas Jefferson

                  by k8dd8d on Mon May 02, 2011 at 07:16:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  You're Missing The Point (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronBa, fidel, BoxNDox

          I said most teachers are great or least competent but the system works to protect even those who should be fired, thus hurting the reputation of the entire profession.

          Apparently you keep hearing that it is the teacher's fault that there are bad teachers, when all I'm saying is that the system sucks.  The blame certainly resides at the very top of the educational system, starting with the School Superintendent all the way down to the Principle. Part of it is probably human nature. Once a teacher has been hired and been given tenure, nobody wants to admit that they made a mistake and the teacher really isn't any good at all.  It is also a lot of work to remove the teacher and it probably rarely seems worth the effort.

          It doesn't help that there is no real career path for most teachers. You can move into administration but that is a different job. If you are in a Middle School or High School, you might become Department Chair, but that is it. In the end it is only individual self-motivation that makes the difference between a teacher who goes through the motions and one that goes beyond because other then the occasional award potential there are not going to any tangible differences for the dutys or reward between and OK or Awsome teacher.

        •  Teachers like you are (0+ / 0-)

          part of the problem.  Let me guess, you're probably pretty involved in the union.  I'm not a teacher.  I have several relatives who are, and I am an Architect who designs schools.  My clients are school boards.  I'm around board members, superintendents, principals, and teachers everyday.  

          There are a lot of bad and unreasonable teachers - and I don't know any school district where Principals are empowered to hire or fire anyone - only the elected Board can do that.  I'm not going to let you to sit there and make excuses for unqualified, lazy, or opportunistic teachers.  

          But worse, there are a lot of veteran teachers who are close to retirement (and that 60% of the highest three years + full health care for life at age 52) pension, who are mailing it in.  They feel like they've paid their dues, and they resist change or putting in a little extra effort that might make their life a little harder.  I find this to be much more often the root of the problem than that they're politically protected or coach of a sports team.  That is why for all my projects I require that the District assemble a programming team of teachers that is equally balanced in numbers between veteran and young teachers.

          And for the record, one of the reasons "we" as a society bash teachers is because they are paid pretty well by the hour (when you consider they work a 7 hour day in a 9 month year), and they have no basic accountability for student performance.  And, as for your contract due process for termination, just try it.  In most Districts the teacher would sue, and the teachers' union would organize for the next election, turnover the Board, and the new Board would fire the Principal and settle with/reinstate the teacher.  That's why it never happens.

          •  Very Few... (0+ / 0-)

            ...teachers are like you describe.

            And even fewer work only seven hours a day, nine months a year.  Most take work home during the school year and work on grading and prep over weekends, too.  And they use the summer in ways that enhance what they do during the following school year.

            Yes, bad teachers shouldn't be in the classroom, but bad cops should not be on the beat.  Do you vilify all police because of those few, as you do teachers?

          •  An architect? (0+ / 0-)

            I've been at a school that was being rebuilt, and all we ever discussed with the architects was where the lunch room would be and how much storage space the classrooms would have.

            Talking with school districts in order to design buildings does not give you the insight and experience necessary to make such sweeping generalizations.

    •  I wish... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronBa, bkamr, Tookish

      I could recommend this comment 5000 times! Very well done.

    •  Thanks for pointing out the truth of the matter (7+ / 0-)

      I get so tired of hearing how a few bad teachers are the fault of all teachers.  As a teacher, I have zero authority to evaluate or remediate problems with my co-workers.  None.

      Any underperforming teacher can be corrected or fired in a reasonable amount of time (1-2yrs max), if the administration takes the time to document and follow the due process procedures laid out in the contract.  It's not a Herculean task.  Trouble is, most principals don't bother and just pass the problem along to the next principal.

      Underperforming teachers are 100% the result of incompentent, unaccountable administrators.  But we'll never hear about that in the media.  It's much easier to cite anecdotal "bad teacher" stories (everybody's got one) and decry the "failure of public education" than to spend the time and resources needed to actually fix the system.

      Blame the soldiers, indeed.

      •  Analogize to police (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronBa, bkamr, Tookish, ER Doc

        There are some bad cops.  That's not the fault of all cops.  A bad/poorly performing cop can be fired in a reaonable amount of time, IF the admin takes the time to document...

        Underperforming cops are NOT 100% the result of incompetent unaccountable admin , but they are PARTIALLY the problem.

        Many of the problems are systemic and out of the hands of the line officer.

        Both cops and teachers have unions (strong protections), civil service, etc. all stuff that get demonized in the media

    •  Yes its Bad Managment Ultimately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxNDox

      But that doesn't change the fact that it is almost impossible for parents in most districts to get a Principle to do anything about an incompetent teacher. The Principle will pretend to be sympathetic but does his or her best to protect the teacher.

      Nearly my whole family was involved in Public Education. My mom was a teacher, my aunt a School Librarian, an uncle was a School Psychologist and another uncle a Principle. I actually ask my uncle the Principle for advice and his general advice is not to do anything unless I'm ready to risk possible backlash to our daughter. He did tell me I could ask for the Math Teacher to be evaluated and if the Principle is any good, they would do that but it could set us up to be an ugly situation no matter what the results of the evalualation are. If the evaluation was negative it would bee seen as showing the Principle to be doing a poor job of monitoring the staff and if it was positive it won't change the fact that children weren't learning in the class.

      By the way, I thought she might be new too, but she has been a teacher for over a dozen years and has been the only one teaching Honors Pre-Calc for years or else I would have tried to get her transfered which is what I did when she had the droning History Teacher. My theorie is that gave the honors class because they figure these kids will be able to figure stuff out on their own.

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