Teachers know who the bad teachers are. So do students. So do administrators. So do parents. So do union officials.
But year after year, those bad teachers remain in the classroom. Teachers, students, administrators, parents, and union officials moan the same complaints and hold the same wishes of retirement. The bad teacher is still there and nothing changes.
The other teachers on campus ignore the bad teachers or, worse yet, turn a smiling face to them just to “be nice.” Those bad teachers, more often than not, feel no pressure from their colleagues to improve. Peer review is not within the job description of teachers and union contracts often state that such review is not allowed.
Students have little recourse other than to complain. They visit counselors, other teachers, and ultimately their parents to tell of the teaching atrocities. But students, themselves, can actually do very little to change their course assignments. Instead, they suffer through bad instruction for an entire year.
The tenure system puts in place a complex process for removing teachers from the classroom, but one missed step and the process starts all over again. Administrators don’t want to begin the giant load of paperwork that’s required to document offenses and build a case for the bad teacher’s dismissal. It’s much easier to trade bad teachers out to other campuses like Go Fish! cards and this happens on a far too regular basis.
Parents, no doubt struck by the complaints of their children, regularly feel they have no power to remedy the situation. Those that do take it upon themselves to deal with that bad teacher typically transfer their children out of the bad teacher’s class instead of taking the teacher or administration or district to task for allowing such miserable instruction.
Unions regularly fight for bad teachers because the power of unions is based upon equal treatment for all. Unions encourage mediocrity by fighting to keep bad teachers in the classroom just as often as good ones; being in a union means that everyone is treated the same, regardless of effort and regardless of quality.
So how do we get rid of bad teachers?