There were a few interesting stories today I could have commented on but a friend posted on story already on Facebook. I will instead use the story linked below since it has a bit of local flair and has an interesting focus on education. It even connects to “My Perfect School” posts. Here’s the story:
In brief, a gym teacher at a Clark County School District, high school denied that the Holocaust actually happened. Several students mentioned it to their parents. No disciplinary actions were taken until 23 days after the incident, and only after the Review Journal reported on the story. She is now teaching gym in a middle school.
The major issue here is allowing a teacher that is obviously guilty of gross incompetence to keep her job. First, she was talking about a topic she was not qualified by the state to teach. Now if she has done some reading on the topic that is great, but don’t try and teach my students about a subject not necessary for the class. Secondly, to deny the Holocaust is to deny verifiable historical facts. I would expect to be fired if I said taught something like that.
The larger issue is the ways it is next to impossible to get rid of incompetent, lazy, or bad teachers in our public school systems. A teacher who is not a good teacher keeps getting a paycheck even though they are not doing actions required of them by the state, district or school. What’s worse is the teacher’s union protects these people. This is akin when the Catholic Church did nothing but move around priests who were known child molesters (Its not exactly the same but the concept is the same.).
This is the largest argument I can see for the elimination of tenure at any school. A teacher should not be protected just because they have been there a certain number of years. They need to be held just as accountable, if not more accountable as a new teacher to that school. Teachers need to be observed continuously and evaluated by more than one person. Students and parents need to be involved in this work because they know the teachers, their methods, and behaviors better than anyone else. They should also be involved because they are the consumers of our service.
Since the topic at hand boils down to teacher evaluation, it would be a good idea for me to do a blog posting on the subject of teacher evaluations in “My Perfect School.” I will start working on that to post in the near future.