The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, November 20, 2017
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Why firing bad teachers won’t make room for better ones

Bad teachers provide an immense service to this country. You don’t see private industry firing bad workers. The best companies are the ones that have the most bad workers.

Atomic Universes

The best teachers provide new experiences to their students, such as luring them into dark rooms and providing them alcohol and pot.

My friend Jack Schneider has written some thoughts on education reform in the wake of California’s Treu ruling in June, which held that California’s contract with teachers violates the state’s constitutional guarantee to an equitable education.

Explaining his ruling, Treu wrote that inequities in teaching quality, which disproportionately affect low-income and minority students, “shock the conscience.” And he's right. They do. Yet his ruling will do nothing to solve the problem.

Mr. Schneider is absolutely correct. Making it easier to fire child molesters won’t give us better teachers. These teachers care about their students. Why should we fire teachers who so clearly and physically care about their daily charges? One would think that the architects of such a nurturing environment would be encouraged rather than vilified. To the extent that firing these teachers results in hiring new teachers who care less about students, we will make the classroom a cold, colorless sanctuary of hate.

Even the less flamboyant of the so-called “bad” teachers, those who merely “fail to teach”, are far better at their calling than those society unfairly labels as “good teachers.” One need only look back at one’s own past in the public school systems to see why: there is nothing more exhilarating than overcoming mediocre instruction and succeeding by one’s own merits. By forcing students to self-teach, these “bad” teachers perform the most useful service a teacher can provide: the self-empowerment that comes from succeeding on one’s own.

Finally, think of the unemployment rate! Warehousing bad teachers is the purpose of public schools! The fact of the matter is, it is already easy to fire teachers. Just make their life miserable, and those teachers that are only suitable for the private sector will find another job outside of our government schools and leave of their own accord. This trial by fire ensures that only the most dedicated teachers remain in our schools, those who are such unique instructors they cannot acquire a job anywhere else, and who would otherwise fill the unemployment lines and fall back upon the public weal. Firing bad teachers causes unemployment and wastes our tax money.

Some misguided individuals even go so far as to say that firing bad teachers will free up money to pay good teachers more. Such people do not understand how government programs work. In any government-run program, such as our public schools, any extra money goes toward graft and corruption in the administration. If you support firing bad teachers, you support graft and corruption in our public schools.

In short, the problem is not that we should fire more bad teachers. It is that we should fire more good teachers. That is where the real reform lies.

Jack Schneider is an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and the author of “From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse: How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education.” He is a native of Los Angeles. That he works in the professional development community in no way affects his views on this subject.

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