Saturday, October 28, 2006

Walk the Plank, Mateys!

David L. Brewer, the ex-admiral with no educational experience who's going to lead LA schools, has publicly announced his first priority is removing bad teachers.

That's an interesting approach. Is that the biggest problem facing LA schools right now? Maybe it is. I don't defend bad teachers myself, and I abhor having to work with them. But politicians adore bad teachers. They are a wonderful justification for denying raises. Also, when they inevitably fail tests, they can be kept on staff at reduced salaries, as the city did for many years.

If I were running a school system, I'd also try to get rid of bad teachers, but I would not make it my number one priority. I'd first ensure we stopped hiring bad teachers. Without that, the attacks on teachers are hollow words, good only for publicity.

Here's Schoolgal's take (and thanks for sending me the story):

The first thing out of this guy's mouth is anti-teacher. Sorry
but that's not the way to build a learning community. I am sure the LA
school system has it's fair share of bad teachers, but to make that the
focus of his first interview when he has no real knowledge of education and
what problems educators face says a lot. It says it is time to bust
the union.

Why are teachers like me feeling burned out? Maybe it's the way
admins run the school, or maybe it's the stupid mandates that make it impossible
to teach.

Admins have 3 years to see if a teacher meets the grade, yet many of them
still get through.

I agree. That's not how you build morale, and I've never seen morale as low as it is now here in Fun City.

3 years is plenty of time to determine whether or not someone is effective. The only explanation for utter losers getting tenure after so long is an administration that doesn't give a damn. We've had just such an administration for at least as long as I've been teaching.

Are you gonna do something about that, Admiral?
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