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Is it too hard to remove incompetent teachers?

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 3:17 pm in Education.

On Nov. 9, the Contra Costa Times published the following editorial: “Removing teachers for incompetence is far too difficult.”

Later that day, I received a copy of a rebuttal sent to the Times from Mike Langley, president of the Mt. Diablo Education Association teachers’ union. Since the rebuttal has not yet been published in the Times, I am reposting the editorial below, along with Langley’s response, so blog readers can weigh in.

“Contra Costa Times editorial
© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 11/08/2011 04:00:00 PM PST
Updated: 11/09/2011 11:29:15 AM PST

Most education experts agree that the quality of teachers is the most important factor in the level of education students receive. A 2006 Brookings Institution study of Los Angeles public schools concluded that having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row would be enough to close the considerable black-white test score gap.

Yet it is nearly impossible for principals and school districts to dismiss a poorly performing or even a totally incompetent teacher.

Only a tiny percentage of teachers are fired for any reason, and few of them are for lack of competence. In 2009-10, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing received 5,723 reports of teacher misconduct.

Law enforcement accounted for 94 percent of them, and only 202 credentials were revoked that year.

While the vast majority of teachers are dedicated professionals, as is true in any other profession, there are incompetent educators.

Unlike most other professions in the private sector, however, firing a teacher for poor performance is comparatively rare. That, in part, is because of the expensive, tedious and timely process that is required before a teacher is dismissed or loses a credential.

An extensive Los Angeles Times study in 2009 found that building a case for dismissal is so time-consuming, costly and draining for principals and administrators that many say they don’t make the effort except in the most egregious cases.

The vast majority of firings stem from blatant misconduct, including sexual abuse, other immoral or illegal behavior, insubordination or repeated violation of rules such as not showing up on time.

Firing a teacher solely because he or she can’t teach is rare. In 80 percent of the dismissals that were upheld, classroom performance was not even a factor.

Certainly, teachers thought to be incompetent deserve due process, including a chance to reform. Clearly, however, it is far too difficult to get rid of bad teachers in California, which provides protections that go beyond what educators receive in many other states.

While we think seniority and tenure regulations should not be dismissed altogether, they should not be so rigid that it is virtually impossible to remove incompetent teachers or lay off poorly performing senior teachers.

The decision should rest primarily with principals, who need to have more control over their schools.

What is needed is a better balance between job security for teachers and the ability of school principals and districts to remove poorly performing teachers.

Today, there is an unacceptable imbalance in favor of the former to the detriment of California students.”
—————————————————————

Here is Langley’s response:

“Your editorial on 9 November 2011 concerning the difficulty in firing teachers missed the mark on a number of levels. As an educator with twenty-three years of experience, I have participated in the evaluation process and might help your readers understand the reality behind the myths entwined in your editorial. Although currently I serve as President of the Mt. Diablo Education Association, I have classroom experience at the middle and high school levels and have twice been selected to be a full time mentor teacher. Two years of my mentorship involved evaluating beginning teachers.

The process in California makes it relatively easy to prevent incompetent teachers from staying in our classrooms. For the first two years of their employment in a district, they are on probation and can be dismissed without cause. Simply saying that a teacher is not a good fit is enough for a principal to non-reelect, or deny permanency, for any teacher. The very process of beginning to teach moves many teachers out of the profession. They quit if it is too difficult or time consuming. After two years on probation, the teacher is granted the right of due process before they can be terminated for cause. This simply means that the administrator must identify shortcomings in a teacher’s performance, offer an opportunity to improve and then terminate the teacher if they do not become proficient. The complaint that it is difficult to show cause means that the administrator can’t take time to actually go into the classroom and observe the teacher for twenty minutes two times in a year and identify poor practice. Then they must follow up and take corrective action. It prevents administrators from firing teachers for refusing to change valid grades, for using an electronic grade book in addition to the district grade book to communicate with parents, for reporting cheating on standardized tests, and for trying to place special needs students in a more appropriate setting. These are all events that happened to proficient teachers who were suddenly rated unsatisfactory.

I agree that the quality of the teacher has an impact on student success. But one must be careful how you measure success. Also, quality of the teacher is not the cause of student success nor is it the cause of student failure. The current movement toward narrowing and standardizing curricula to quantify the complex task of the learning experience has been in place to some extent for over a decade. Yet the increase in students failing to meet arbitrary goals is placed squarely on the head of the classroom teacher. Your ‘education experts’ who have championed methods that have no relationship to children’s developmental readiness should look more closely at their theoretical, statistical models to confirm their efficacy in actual practice. One of my peers was being guided in a practice by a consultant hired to raise test scores. When the teacher asked the expert to demonstrate, the consultant admitted that she was only dealing with theory and had never actually attempted the method in a real classroom. Needless to say, she beat a hasty retreat.

Many of our educational leaders, administrators, have had only a minimum of practical classroom experience. They are applying standards and generating expectations based on a paper or a guru’s magic bullet meant to solve the most complex problem in todays’ society. If one can’t change all the factors that impact the ability of children to learn, it seems the appearance of progress trumps doing the hard and controversial work that would allow some equity in our system. Being out of the classroom for as little as three years can distance an educator from reality in a rapidly changing world. Yet we depend on the opinions of experts who have not taught a lesson, or dealt with real students for decades.

Finally, I must address your mixing the concepts of layoffs with terminating for poor performance. Eliminating poor performance should be the focus of administrators every day. They should be coaching, mentoring and evaluating the teachers on their sites. Those who can or will not improve should be terminated. This cannot be done by administrators who lack the skills of teaching and who do not understand how adults learn so that they can teach the teacher. Layoffs are an economic phenomenon that occurs in times of reduced income for the schools. The temptation to lay off more experienced teachers is driven by cost savings. It is not driven by quality. Inexperienced teachers are not better than experienced teachers as a group. Every year one teaches gives the teacher more skills.
Any teacher who does not admit that they are better in their fifth year than they were in their second year of teaching is someone who is not getting any better at their craft. In our local district layoffs occur because of economic uncertainty. If there was some economic stability, all good teachers would avoid layoffs and all poor teachers could be terminated during probation.

Michael D Langley
President, Mt. Diablo Education Association”

Are you satisfied with the current system?

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  • Wait a Minute

    The thing that jumps out about the MDUSD is they are even worse at eliminating (or hiring/supporting) incompetent administrators then they are at evaluating/removing teachers.

    Stevie Lawrence is a prime example of their affinity for incompetent administrators.

    First they hire him, then he proceeds to drive the district even further into the ground through his incompetence and utter lack of leadership and skills as the CVHS charter fiasco so amply demonstrates.

    Then they protect him as they will at his “evaluation” meetings called at the latest possible moment to prevent as much public comment/input as possible.

    Basically, Rome burns while the Neros fiddle.

  • Doctor J

    Read what MDUSD and MDEA were supposed to agree to in order to qualify for the SIG Grants. If they don’t there will be a PAYBACK of the grants ! They are described as “high quality teacher evaluations.” http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr11/documents/sep11item05a4.pdf

  • Flippin’ Tired

    It is impossible to remove an incompetent teacher in this district. My child’s 6th grade math teacher, while a very nice person, had absolutely no control over the classroom, lost assignments, and was out a great deal with health issues and personal problems. Other parents and I complained to the principal and the district, to no avail. Eight years later, this teacher is still in a classroom. Every time I hear my friends mention the teacher’s name, I cringe, knowing their child will waste an entire year in that classroom. Sadly, this teacher’s effectiveness has diminished even further. Complaints fall on deaf ears.

  • Math Major

    This is sad. As a math professional I would be happy to come and teach math, but I would actually intend to teach math. Not the globbedly gook of crap that current education crackpot theory has produced.

  • Just J

    Flip pen, you are right. My son’s 6th grade teacher was the same. For many years parents have been complaining. I was able to have my son moved to a different class but it was a fight. 15 other parents asked me how I did it because they were complaining all year and nothing was done. Because of this math teacher my son has troubles with math and has lost faith.

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    What I have heard from principals in many districts across the country (not just in MDUSD) is that it takes approximately 2 years to remove a poor-performing teacher who has tenure (what Langley prefers to call “due process”). After the teacher has generated sufficient complaints from parents, students, and even from peers (sometimes itself a multi-year culmination of complaints), the principal must make multiple classroom observations and document them in detail. Often, if the teacher is on his/her best behavior during those classroom visits, the observations are inconclusive. (Formal feedback from parents or students is seldom officially considered.) If the principal decides to pursue the case after that stage, which may last up to a year, another process of documentation and other evidence-gathering often occurs. This period is usually supposed to include coaching and feedback for the teacher, but often, neither the teacher nor the principal are interested in doing that in any substantive way. If no improvement is observed (over many months) the process goes to hearings at which the teacher and/or union representatives can argue the teacher’s case. Not every district conforms exactly to this sequence, but this is the general scenario in almost every large public school district.

    Many times, if the heat is turned up, the teacher agrees to a transfer to another school. That is by far the most common outcome. If the case leads to an actual dismissal — extremely rare in almost any district — the teacher then receives a notice period — often of 100 days or more — before he/she is finally out of the classroom.

    It’s no wonder why principals so seldom spend the time, energy, and their limited “political capital” at the district office on getting rid of a teacher. It stirs up trouble, and there are other things they can do to help students at their school. Going after a teacher who is “merely mediocre” is almost unheard of. Unfortunately, meanwhile, year after year, the students of those low-performing teachers do not receive appropriate instruction in key subjects. Mr. Langley knows all of this, of course, but as teacher union officials have acknowledged elsewhere, they are not paid to represent students.

  • NitWit

    Speaking of incompetence. Anyone see this lawsuit show up in their google alert?

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/11/28/MrScience.pdf

  • Doctor J

    @Nitwit #7 — I hope the district has good insurance. What a tragedy to this innocent young girl.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is a rebuttal to the story we ran about how parents deal with “bad” teachers: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19453950?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com.
    The “My Word” opinion piece was written by Mary Crothers, who teaches at Hidden Valley Elementary in Martinez.
    Here’s a link to the story she’s referring to, which was written by our Mercury News education reporter: http://www.contracostatimes.com/education/ci_19277262?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Ms. Crothers did not address how she would help rid her profession of those poor quality teachers, she merely blamed the parents and students. Lots of buck passing, no solutions.

  • Doctor J

    @FT #10, no teacher gets tenure without being “passed off” by their principal — there is not enough weeding out going on in the profession in the early stages. If you keep the garden “weed free” in the beginning, its a lot easier to keep it that way all the way through.

  • Just J

    I think that this teacher seems a bit bitter. She is only pointing fingers at parents. There are tons of good teachers out there but what the story was focused on was the bad ones and how hard it is get rid of them.

    She spoke about job security….the only place there is job security is in the government jobs. Tenure is a huge problem in teaching. This is a fact! The bad teachers are leaving this country in a bad way. The unfortunate thing is the good teachers have their hands tied and can not undue what the bad ones have done.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It looks like the MDEA teachers’ union isn’t buying CFO Bryan Richards’ predictions of looming budget cuts: http://bit.ly/sS6yNU
    Bargaining proposal says union wants pay increases and no furlough days this year, based on unrestricted ending balance of $43 million.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Flippin’ Tired

    A teacher with a myriad of health issues should be fired for incompetence?

    Here are a couple of stories shared from my brother, relayed personally by him from 10th and 11th graders:

    – Teaching a lesson… “Mr.?, have you ever donated sperm?” (this lesson had nothing to do with sexual relations)
    – A student cut his hair and threw it on the girl in front of him to make it look like he cut her hair
    – He had to shut down his teaching to search the class for a stolen iPod 3 times.
    – He’s become the target of fights due to trying to break them up
    – He’s been threatened, spit on, cussed at (in many inappropriate ways).
    – In his time, under a decade, he’s spent upwards to about $5000 of his own money to teach lessons.
    There’s more, but this is all I can recall from what we’ve talked about.

    When did teaching become social work? And we’re worried about teachers not controlling their classroom? Why is this a factor? Since teachers can’t hit kids, they’re now judged on how well they can entice 160 teenagers to learn 180 hours worth of information they may never use.

    I don’t know what sorcery we expect of teachers, but it seems we all need to define incompetence before we throw it around.

  • Just J

    There is no negative. The looming budget cuts are just Lawrence’s way of saying I won’t let you do what you want and teachers and students are not worth it. This District is already sunk. The teachers are not happy the students are getting left behind, Special Education is a joke. When is everyone going to wake up and realize that our students are undereducated!

  • Lawrence Hater

    This mess is 100% stevie;s fault. If he had an ounce of ethics or morals he would resign immediately.

  • g

    The County Agenda for Wednesday is posted and the Charter discussion is first item up at 5:30.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is the link: http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/supe/11mtgs/ag111207.pdf
    It will be interesting to see if anyone from MDUSD appears on behalf of the district. At the Flex Academy hearing, no one from the district spoke. Trustee Linda Mayo attended the meeting, but said she did not wish to speak on behalf of the district. This time around, Board President Gary Eberhart told me he anticipated that someone from the district would speak, to oppose the charter.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Brother of a Teacher, half of my siblings are teachers, so I know what they go through. I’ve heard all the war stories – one of my sisters was mooned, a brother charged with sexual harassment by a 5th grade boy!

    My issue is with a teacher who is out 1/2 the school year and it is to the detriment of the students. This has been going on for 8 years. My child’s homework was lost on too many occasions to count, and I know she did it because I signed it. My letters, e-mails and phone calls to the teacher went unanswered.

    This teacher may once have been a wonderful, effective educator. Now, that is not the case, and while I am sympathetic to health problems, my greater focus is on the children in the classroom who are wasting an entire year. This person needs to leave the classroom, period. Let them work in administration or on special projects that don’t involve the high pressure that a classroom brings.

    Is it all about the kids, or all about the teacher? You have to decide. It’s clear this district has chosen. And 210 more students will waste a year of their time with an ineffective ex-educator.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Flippin’ Tired

    What do you think is the percentage on ‘bad’ teachers in the district? How would you qualitatively and quantitatively define ‘bad’?

    Bear in mind that the median ‘years in’ for any teacher in MDUSD is 7-8 yrs. This means that over 50% of teachers have less than 7 years experience. My brother took a look at the seniority list and looked up the median teacher. I think he said they were a 2003 hire.

    You probably want the mean to be 17 as retirement usually occurs at 35 yrs. How do you control for good/bad when the median years of experience is -10 deviations from the median?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Do you think students should be allowed to evaluate teachers? I interviewed two high school students who complained about a middle school teacher they said was not effective.
    Administrators spend little time evaluating teachers, but students are with them day in and day out. These two students said they know who good teachers are, but are never asked for their opinions. They want a voice in their educations, they said.

  • anon

    Theresa, in the past I never remember seeing a CCBOE meeting posted on the MDUSD website front page. It is clear they are going full out to oppose this charter. They cancelled the PAC meeting for this (not that anything interesting ever happens at the meetings).

    I have to hope that the CCBOE members have been watching this mess and are as equally appalled as many of us are at the handling of this matter by the district.

    I sure hope it passes with harsh words for the district. They have proven exactly why schools would want to get away from their leadership (or Titanic captaining as some would say).

  • Theresa Harrington

    I saw Joe Ovick, County Superintendent of Schools, on Friday. He said the board has been aware of the charter movement, but that he has intentionally not gone to any of the MDUSD board meetings, so that he will be hearing comments about the petition for the first time with the board.
    Unlike MDUSD, the county has posted the entire 849-page petition online: http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/supe/board.html
    Although Wednesday’s meeting is a public hearing and no staff recommendation will be made at that time, Ovick said he anticipated that board members would have plenty of questions for speakers.

  • Linda L

    Theresa #21
    Yes.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Theresa

    Yes, just like consumers do with business – I know, sacrilege, but students know good teaching and I think any responsible teacher should care.

    Problem is; how do you control for Sophomores? The title implies foolishness.

  • Math Wizard

    Brother of a Teacher,

    You are in desperate need of some additional math instruction.

    What the hell does, ” How do you control for good/bad when the median years of experience is -10 deviations from the median?” Even mean.

    Looks like you are another product of the Eberhart educational machine.

  • Theresa Harrington

    I believe sophomores would be just as capable of evaluating teachers as freshmen, juniors and seniors. At all grade levels, some teens are more mature than others.
    Open-ended questions such as “What did you like about this class? What didn’t you like? What suggestions for improvement do you have?” could shed light on what is going on in the classroom from students’ perspectives.

  • Linda L

    There is often a misconception that the students will rank a difficult/demanding teacher poorly and an “easy A” teacher will get high marks. I do not believe this is true. I have found that students often respect those teachers who demand more. Students want a teacher who can explain the course content in a way they can understand, they want a teacher to have control over classroom behavior, and they want accountability with respect to lost assignments, timely grading, and absencses. If students are accountable for these things, the teacher should be as well.

  • Theresa Harrington

    FYI, here’s a story about the education documentary “Race to Nowhere,” which is playing at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland through Tuesday: http://bit.ly/uOOylJ
    It includes interviews with several local students, parents and teachers talking about the pressures today’s teens face while trying to get into good colleges.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Math Wizard

    Correct me then, don’t just say I am wrong. Are we here to call people out anonymously on being incorrect or attempting to gain better understanding.

    @Theresa

    You can ask targeted questions, however in terms of pedagogy should all teachers be agreeable to a student’s learning style or should there be some sort of demand on the side of the student to work harder than the teacher? If a teacher makes the curriculum rigorous, would all students appreciate this?

    In addition, most students have developed the instinct to be subjective to an extent. Are they expressing this subjectivity in their opinion? How do we tell if they know what they need to give an informed decision?

    Ultimately you would want evaluations to be done by a multitude of people early on to develop a comprehensive story of the teacher’s pedagogy. As it is, one administrator does an eval. for one teacher. What if a teacher were evaluated by 3 site master teachers and two different administrators? What do you do if assessments contradict? In addition, teachers are evaluated by standards that vary site to site. Classroom management is different at Mt. D than it is Northgate and classroom management is a big factor in the first years of evaluation.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Teresa

    One thing worth looking into is how the evaluation practice works. One thing across education that is tolerated is to put up with incompetence in high demand subjects, like science and math.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It’s my understanding that at Northgate, department chairs and administrative teams participate in classroom observations. I’m not sure who ultimately writes the evaluations, but the Focus On Learning program at the school involves a larger team of people who are working to mentor teachers and improve instruction.
    However, I have also heard that teachers sometimes feel pressured by “helicopter parents” whose children don’t show them as much respect as they expect.

  • Theresa Harrington

    BOT: I wrote a story about this a few years ago, when a CVHS student videotaped a paper ball fight in her freshman math class.
    Although the principal acknowledged there were discipline problems in the class, he defended the teacher and said it was difficult to find qualified math educators.
    After my story ran, however, the district hired a substitute to work alongside the teacher, who ended up resigning.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Theresa

    I took a couple of teacher prep classes through university – thinking I was going to be a teacher – and in the class that was supposed to be about classroom management, very little was about classroom management. The assumption is you will not have paperball fights. Also, kids know when a teacher is new and it’s like blood in the water x 37.

    What do you do when a student asks if you have donated sperm in front of the entire class? I’ve talked to some teachers and in those cases, they have to use public humiliation. I mean, how effective is the parenting if the student would even dare ask this? How effective is the school’s discipline policy if this student says this. It isn’t as if this student has never been a challenge and this is a one-off malicious comment. How detrimental to the classroom environment if this is asked? The bar for crudeness and ‘dare’ has been raised. Let’s take it back a few steps…why do teachers have to manage students anyways? Why is this a duty of someone with the title of teacher? I can understand management in the sense of organization, pacing, and learning…but this type of stuff? And teachers are evaluated on how well they handle this; I thought they would be evaluated on TEACHING.

  • Doctor J

    Positive role models: remember Jaime Escalante from East LA who moved to Sacramento. He gained respect of his students by inspiring them to greatness. Fantastic movie: Stand and Deliver. Read this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Escalante

  • brotherofateacher

    @Theresa

    You know what story I’d love to read:

    Teachers: Tell me you horror stories

  • Theresa Harrington

    I heard a good one from a teacher who recently retired.
    The upshot was that even straight-A, “good kids” can end up getting involved in drinking, drugs and other “wild” activities and can influence other students to engage in them. If the parents are lenient, they may look the other way.
    Teachers, too, may be tempted to excuse the behavior as teenage “acting out,” instead of trying to nip it in the bud, if the teens are model students.

  • brotherofateacher

    But again, the conversations I repeatedly hear is how we need to get rid of bad teachers. I never hear what could be done to support teachers. I always thought teaching was one of those jobs that is revered and honorable.

    A theory is those who complain are the ones who had teachers from the late ’70s to early ’80s when teachers smoked with students and came to school drunk, etc. When I picture teachers I can only envision the one’s I had. Perhaps that’s why the conversation is always about ‘bad teachers’.

  • Doctor J

    @BOT, one bad apple can spoil the barrel. We need to have better mentoring of new and young teachers BEFORE they get tenure. The problem today is that in order to support the district administrators in their high salaries, we have eliminated most of the on site adminstrators that can act as mentors to teachers. How many of the districts 28 elementary schools have Vice-Principals so the Principals can be teacher mentors ? Those that do, what funds pay for them ? Those that don’t, who handles the discipline ? And in both cases, who is mentoring the young teachers to be better teachers ? Its not SASS. All SASS is doing is using one mold: teachers no longer teach, they test, and test, and test. Lets just hire “testers” and save the money for the Dent Center executives. Grrrrrr.

  • Anon

    BOT,
    I am confused, are you inplying that the days of bad teachers went out with the smoking and drinking bunch from the late 70s and early 80s? Was that sarcasm and I just missed the point?

    There is a system in place to help teachers. There is a minimum 2 year par program that supports failing teachers.
    The culture of teaching is broken. Many in the “profession” claim long hours, low pay, difficult working conditions, unmanagable customers (students/parents), lack of respect for the profession, etc…

    I don’t know if I can name a group of workers who complain more than teachers. It is systemic to the profession and detrimental to reform.
    They chose to become teachers, they have summers off, they have every holiday off with their children, they can leave by 4pm if they choose to. Yes, they take work home… but so do many of us.

    We have teachers teaching in our schools who clearly do not like children, who are incessantly absent, who lose assignments, who take months to grade papers, who are more excited about failing the majority of kids in an AP class than actually making sure they are learning, etc…

    There are many great teachers who are wonderful and they should be celebrated and honored for their contributions. What angers most parents is the protection provided teachers who are failing at their jobs. The rest of us would be fired if we missed 45 days of work (non-illness just a day here and there)and we would be fired for incompetence.

    Why is it different for a teacher? BOT – You repeatedly hear that we need to get rid of bad teachers because we do!

  • brotherofateacher

    @Dr. J

    Sadly, one bad apple can

    @Anon

    Do you get asked by your customers, mockingly, if you donate sperm then have to deal with other customers emboldened to mock you in a similar way?

    You forget that teachers are professionals. When I worked in sales, I had a boss who said park under a shade tree for all I care; make your quarterlies. Teachers have a similar job description*.

    Just curious, of the entire population of teachers, what percent do you believe fit your description?

    @Theresa

    Have you ever come across a job description for a teaching position? They have job descriptions for classified…

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Brother of a teacher,

    I have no idea of the percentage of bad teachers in the district, I just know that this one in particular wasted my daughter’s 6th grade year of math; if not for tutors and money out of my pocket – above and beyond the taxes I pay – she’d never have been ready for 7th grade math.

    This particular teacher told me he/she had been teaching for 35 years. I don’t give a damn about median years, I don’t care about seniority, I don’t “want” anything but effective teachers for ALL students.

    This one stinks. He/She needs to be removed from the classroom before more students are damaged. This one is not a professional by any definition of the word.

    Is it all about numbers, and median years, and unions and teacher rights, or is it ABOUT THE STUDENTS AND WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM? My tax dollars are being wasted on a rotten employee, and that’s unacceptable.

    I have all the respect in the world for teachers; I have no respect for those who protect and defend horrible teachers to the detriment of students.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Flippin’

    How do we achieve 100% effectiveness in teaching? If you are this flippin’ tired about it, what ideas do you have? If you do not care about the causes, how can you care about the effects?

    Do we need to pay teachers more to attract more talent? Do we need a better eval system? Like what?
    Do we need to model our system after more successful EU models; Germany spends less and gets more.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Brother, you aren’t getting it. ONE teacher sucks. He/She needs to be removed from the classroom so he/she does not damage more students. My idea is to help students so they don’t suffer from crappy teachers. My idea is to get this tired, ineffective teacher out of the classroom. What I did about it had NO EFFECT because this district is more afraid of the damn union than it is of parents. More pay won’t remove bad teachers from the classroom because people like you muddy the waters with “medians” and EU models and other tangents. Congratulations. You win; children lose.

  • Doctor J

    TH #13 Friends, compare the MDEA offer with the MDUSD counter-offer: Abbreviation: EA v. SD

    Teacher salary increase: EA 3% permanent increase
    SD

  • Math Wizard

    Brother of a Teacher,

    Might I recommend you don’t use numbers of any kind in your posts? Your math errors are hilarious and clearly indicative of someone who has had the misfortune of attending the Eberhart School for the Gifted.

  • Doctor J

    Sorry, try again.
    TH #13 Friends, compare the MDEA offer with the MDUSD — counter-offer: Abbreviation: EA v. SD
    The districts hide the ball financing has really shot themselves in the foot. Deception is never the best policy. Because of the Charter hearing, all of this had to come out in the open, MDEA feels like they were duped last year and they were with the huge undisclosed reserves last year and this year.

    Teacher salary increase: EA 3% permanent increase plus one time payment of three work days
    SD 1.5% one time payment

    Increase Certificated Hourly rate from $20 per hour to:
    EA: $26 per hour SD: $25 per hour

    Increase Summer/Intervention Hourly from $25 per hour to:
    EA: $33 per hour SD: $30 per hour

    Furlough days:
    2011/12 EA: None SD: 4
    2012/13 EA: None SD: 7

    Other:
    EA No mandatory teacher meetings on one of three non student days.
    SD: One free 3 1/2 hour teacher period on one of the three non student days.

    No mention of other required bargaining on Teacher Evaluations as required by SIG,

  • Doctor J

    The irony of the salary increases, is that all Dent Center administrators and staff will also get comparable pay raises, including Lawrence, Rolen, Richards, and everyone else !
    I am still waiting for ideas on how Bel Air is going to spend $4500 PER STUDENT in SIG Grant money between now and the end of the school year.

  • brotherofateacher

    @Flippin’

    How would you identify a bad teacher?

    @Math

    Enlighten me

  • Theresa Harrington

    The other irony is that the school board cut hours, pay and benefits for classified staff to build up the reserves that MDEA is now using as justification for its pay raise/no furlough proposal.
    Also, the reserves are not really as big as they appear because the district built in furlough days that hadn’t yet been negotiated, so it could certify a “positive” budget (and get a better bond sales rating).
    Now, the district is in the awkward position of having to tell MDEA and the public that it needs to make cuts because the portion of the reserve that assumes furlough days doesn’t really exist.
    Previously, interim superintendent Dick Nicoll told me that he believed it was better to file a “qualified” budget — instead of building in cuts that hadn’t been made — so the public could see exactly how many reductions were necessary.
    Superintendent Steven Lawrence appears to have a different budget philosophy.