Photo by robinpiero
Teachers either swing or they don't. And bad teachers don't swing. An objective observer, can watch a teacher for a couple of seconds (well, a minute or two) and figure that out. A teacher who doesn't swing, who leads one to bang their head instead of tapping their intellectual toes, is a painful thing to watch.
But what worsen things as Scot Key of Burque Babble puts it is that, "If there aren't employee protections or a union in place, it is possible for a teacher who 'swings' to be fired by an administrator who 'doesn't swing'." We've fallen down into a tautology!
Regular people -person who are not associated in any way to the school administration, will be quick to think that we could have many more effective teachers if only the administration could get rid of the bad ones, plain simple. But this conjecture by itself proves that there is not research, because that's precisely what everyone already knows with the usual we can fix it message if only we do this.
Corey Bunje Bower is a PhD candidate and works on education policy, he has more questions than answers to bring in on, for example, trying to scope the problem he asks himself, "How many bad teachers are there? What qualifies a teacher as 'bad?' Are there more bad teachers than there are bad lawyers or accountants? Are teachers bad because they have no talent, put forth no effort, or because they attempt to harm students?...Would 'bad' teachers be more effective in a different environment? When should 'bad' teachers be filtered out?" I/we don't either have the answers but may be that some of you have a card under your sleeve.
However, we cannot blame teacher unions in its entirety, they are not the powerful protectors of tenure countrywide in the United States (Texas is one case). If anybody has paid any attention to education news they would hear about 'problem' teachers who are not 'fired' but whose contracts were not renewed. No review by a union representative or the like. All teachers sign a contract when they are hired that is basically set up to get rid of them at will. Is it that way any regular business works? If you don't perform, HR will probably transfer the employee, if not, you will be terminated.
It's likely that the solution is no simpler than the problem. Teachers all know who the bad teachers are. So do students. So do administrators. So do parents. So do union officials. Challenge is how do we get rid of bad teachers, in a organized and timely manner.
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