Survivor, witch hunts, and the quest for teacher quality

[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

We’ve been discussing teacher quality for decades. Everyone is rightfully concerned about making sure that good teachers are in front of students. Thus the teacher quality provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, the calls for performance or merit pay, the concerns about alternative licensure, the quests for better teacher evaluation systems, the gnashing of teeth over ‘obstructionist unions that get in the way of firing bad teachers,’ and so on…

For the purposes of discussion, here’s a modest proposal:

  1. Do our damnedest to create a positive working climate for teachers: ongoing administrative and community support, decent resources, professional development that’s actually useful, etc. Sometimes easier said than done, but nonetheless…
  2. In nearly every school there usually are a handful of teachers who are just going through the motions (or worse). Students know who they are. Other teachers know who they are. Administrators know who they are. Parents know who they are (that’s why they work so hard to get their kid some other teacher instead).
  3. Every year fire the worst teacher in the school. If you don’t have a robust teacher evaluation system (or if you’re worried about administrator bias), do it like they do on Survivor: everyone gets a vote and the one with the most votes leaves the island. Administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents – everyone involved with the school gets a vote. Dismissal by consensus. The more that are involved, (hopefully) the less likelihood of a witch hunt. If necessary, modify the master contract to make this happen.

From Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric:

"You should take the top 20 percent of your employees and make them feel loved," Welch advised. "Take the middle 70 percent and tell them what they need to do to get into the top 20 percent." Managing out the bottom 10 percent of performers is necessary not only for the organization's continued success but also for the sake of employees affected by the rigorous appraisal system. "People need to know where they stand," Welch said. "Failing to differentiate among employees – and holding on to bottom-tier performers – is actually the cruelest form of management there is."

Thoughts?

37 Responses to “Survivor, witch hunts, and the quest for teacher quality”

  1. Gut reaction. In a high turnover school, is getting rid of your worst teacher as important as have some small bit of consistency in the faculty?

    I’ve got a guess about who would lose Survivor if the teachers were the ones voting at my school, and as much as part of me wants the teacher to leave, I’m not sure it helps the students to increase turnover. (Between 27 and 45 percent of our core teachers will not be returning next year.)

    Though if students included were included in the vote I might be just as likely on the chopping board. (The difficulty of being the teacher who most enforces standards in the school. I’m mean enough to grade on what you know. The other teacher makes grades up based on what he thinks the students have done.)

    Regardless, I do wish there were more of the atmosphere Jack Welch describes at my school. Make me feel loved or help me be better.

  2. I like this idea, but I want to highlight one key aspect: “everyone involved with the school gets a vote”. Your kid going to a certain school does not automatically make you involved in that school. Believe me, I wish it did, but it flat doesn’t. Make parents earn a vote. Parents have to volunteer a certain number of hours — something totally reasonable, say 8 hours, so they take one day of work off a year and volunteer at school — during the year or show some sort of real involvement in their students’ education. Have Flip cams available to check out and record you and your student reading/discussing/something educational for a total of X hours.

    I just think that if we’re only going after teachers who are “going through the motions” then having all those people vote is overkill. Administrators can identify them and should be able to fire them. That’s why admins make the big bucks. To carry out the Survivor analogy, not all the people voted off that show were the “weakest link.” Remember, that show was a game. People voted off competitors. This could be an unintended consequence.

  3. The problem with the survivor approach is the possibility that it may be too much like the game.

    The people who are very good at politics are the survivors.

    Office politics on steroids doesn’t sound like it would be a very supportive place to work for the people you want to stay. I would want my staff working their tails off on their subject and delivery, not building alliances.

  4. Love the Jack Welch quote and think that it is totally relevant to schools. That said, there have to be balanced methods of deciding who your best 20% are. We all know that sometimes the “favorite” teachers in the building are not necessarily those who do anything spectacular with their curriculum or pedagogy, but who have the personality and fun activities to capture the rapport of the students and parents. Conversely, many teachers quietly go about the business of helping students without much recognition or outward showiness.

    As to the Survivor method of weeding out the “bad” teachers – while I have definitely wanted to vote people off the island over the years I have also had enough years of association work to know that administrators DO have ways of terminating ineffective teachers if they are willing to do the legwork.

  5. On the surface, I’m totally in, Scott. I think the bottom ten percent of teachers in every school just bring down freaking morale times ten! They’re a drag on everything—student achievement, change efforts, motivation of other faculty members—yet there’s nothing that can be done to “get rid of ‘em.”

    What’s worse is that many of them are at the top of the pay scale, so they’re a drag on the resources and responsiveness of a school, too!

    Here’s where I’m a bit concerned, though: Does this proposal make the faulty assumption that there is an inexhaustible supply of great teachers to fill the places of the bottom 10 percent?

    Would “the replacements” automatically be better than those that we can?

    In my suburban school in a vibrant community outside Raleigh, the answer’s probably yes. In the poor, rural Eastern part of our state—-places where there are only a handful of schools and teachers to begin with—-I’m doubtful.

    Then again, is holding on to incompetence because we’re afraid of hiring more incompetence a responsible decision?

    This one’s got my mind brewing…
    Bill

  6. Like Bill, I like the idea, but I fear some of the side effects. In fact, I see a lot of overlap with the work of Anthony Muhammad on school culture (see the upcoming discussion at Tempered Radical: http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/the_tempered_radical/2009/04/transforming-school-culture-with-anthony-muhammad.html). Would the push toward collaborative Professional Learning Teams be sidelined by all of the one-on-one competition of fighting for your job every day of the year? It would make us all into the Survivors that Muhammad describes.

    Maybe the key is to build community and then develop better programs to help struggling teachers improve, before they find themselves on the chopping block.

    Which is more important: a strong sense of community or a strong group of qualified educators?

  7. If you rank teaches in every school, someone has to be on the bottom. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the people at the bottom are necessarily “bad”, although it might. I think ineffective teachers should be removed, but I’m not sure this is the solution.

  8. I’ve always believed that parents and students should be asked to give feedback on teachers and administrators at the end of the year. If you don’t know how you are perceived, how do you improve your performance? One 30 minute administrative observation each year just isn’t enough.

    In the business world, 360 degree feedback for employee evaluations is common. Customer feedback surveys are even more common. Yet in K-12 schools, we never ask the students what they think of their teachers. Are we too afraid to hear what kids and parents might really think?

  9. I have to agree with Roger and Paul on the dangers of cut-throat political machinations. Does peer review offer a less perilous model?

  10. As a teacher, a coach, and an administrator, there have been times in my career where I have not necessarily been the most popular person in the school. I believe I was doing the right thing, but there were those who strived to be liked rather than do what is right. I don’t know that I want evaluation to become a popularity contest. I would guess that there would be many teachers who would drastically lower their standards to ensure they remain employed. I am not a fan of reality television. This is largely due to the message I believe they send to people who watch them, “Do whatever it takes to win including compromising your basic values and beliefs. Lie and deceive if it benefits you and kiss up to those who are currently in a position to hurt you.”
    Not an environment I want to work in, and certainly not an environment I want my children growing up in.

  11. As the person “voted off the island” my first year of teaching, it nearly crushed me.

    Fortunately, my wife gave me a few months to be sad and then encouraged me to substitute teach. Two years later, I was hired again full-time, and now I’m my school’s lead math teacher.

    I think step three of your plan is an administrative cop out, given the reality of step two.

  12. As a teachers’ union rep, I appreciate the sentiments of point #1. Good administrators “get” it; poor ones talk the talk, but definitely don’t walk the walk. A 360-review of administrators would be welcomed by many teachers.

    As for Point #3, the Survivor concept is undoubtedly enticing. But it clearly won’t work for many of the reasons given above. One not mentioned is that in small schools, we’d be out of teachers in only a few years. My husband works in a preK-8 school with only 6 teachers (including the special ed teacher) and a half-time principal. Many rural schools have similarly-sized faculties.

  13. Let’s try this proposal at your school first, Scott. Then, you can tell us how it worked.

    I think it’s cheap and superficial at best. This is a proposal based on no evidence applicable to a public education institution. Jack Welsh and Survivor are not what we need in education.

    The biggest reason we have any bad teachers at all is because teacher training colleges have handed out degrees and administrative certificates with almost no oversight whatsoever for decades. You should be ashamed of the mess you’ve created. The administrations of the colleges and universities should be ashamed because they’ve allowed it to go on without saying anything. Start demanding quality at the top of the food chain – department heads of teacher training institutions. They’re doing nothing for P-12 classroom teachers and not much for the 13+ teachers, either. Forward this to your dean and VP.

  14. @ Scott
    One of the inherit problems in democracy is assuming one vote is worth the same as another. If I won’t an opinion for what’s wrong with my car i’ll take the mechanic’s over the local grocery clerk. When it comes to picking which teacher have to go and which have to stay I’d leave it up to the principal. They are paid to see the bigger picture. For example a dim with muddling along in some unimportant electives is less of a learning threat than someone in core subjects. I don’t like having to release staff but I do. I do because when in my judgement it is in the best interest of my students and school community I have an ethical obligation to ask. The power the principal has to shape school cultures is directly tied to the power to fire and hire. How else do you shape school culture?

    The problem with the Jack Welch approach is the human reality of pruning the tree to heavily is you scare the “sh$t” out of your good teachers and then you see them start to look at going other places.

    Love your posts as usual. I’m sure this one will generate some fun responses.

  15. Complacency…the teacher’s union tenure system affords too much complacency in the profession. There needs to be a system/process which places teachers at several different accomplishment levels instead of just one (tenured). Perhaps similiar to the university system…assistant professor, associate professor, professor, etc. Further, the idea of one stake-holder/one vote may have merit.

  16. Scott,
    It looks like you have written quite the controversial post. Good for you! It is great to see educators engage in a lively debate. I think that a lot of people who have a lot more experience than I do missed the point. The point is to have an entire staff that is up to snuff. It is not good enough that most of the teachers are great; they ALL need to be great. If teachers were working in a school where there was real pressure to perform they would do so, much like our student perform when we raise the bar. When schools fail to help the middle 70% improve or eliminate the bottom 10% it send the message to the top 20% that it is acceptable to not perform to the highest standard. Maybe I am completely off base, but I do not think Scott was seriously suggesting that a Survivor form of elimination should determine who should stay and who should go. I think it was meant to get us to think about what would happen if that type of system existed. How would teacher performance change? The top teachers would continue to perform and the ones who wanted to keep their jobs would work to improve their performance. Those who did not would go home.

    Like it or not good teachers are popular with students. In order to be effective you have to form relationships with students. Teachers must be able to connect with them. If there is no connection then teaching does not happen. A teacher can possess all of the subject matter knowledge in the world, but if they cannot relate to kids then they might as well not even be in the classroom. Being popular does not mean that a teacher is easy and does not hold students to high standards. If you ask students if they enjoy the classes where the teachers are too easy their honest answer is usually no. Why? They are bored!

  17. The complacency is in the administrators and people who certify administrators. Teacher unions don’t want bad teachers. Teacher unions will work with any administrator that wants to dismiss a poor performing teacher. The problem is – that’s a lot of work because other administrators haven’t been doing their job; they hired and kept teachers that weren’t very good because it was less work than the alternative. An administrator who fires a teacher knows damn well that they better do it right or the spotlight will be on them. Usually they choose to arrange or create a transfer; it’s less risk for the administrator. Whenever I see an administrator point the finger at the union, I know I’m looking at an administrator who lacks skill, courage and wisdom.

    Rather than dismiss one teacher a year why not try promoting one teacher a year, or reward them with 50% of a teacher salary every year. Then the pressure is on the administrator to reward and promote. Currently, our system has no systematic way to reward and promote good teaching. If you have a great 4th grade teacher, what’s their reward? Do you move them to 5th grade or have them teach adults, neither of which they might be that good at or want to do. Perfect a system of reward and recognition before spending more time on a system of punishment and blame. That would work for administrators, too. You will, of course, run into the problem of not having enough money, which brings me back to the lead in my earlier post- the punishment tack is cheap and short term.

  18. There is too much fear and loathing about “bad” teachers. While they can wreak havoc with a class, or group, they can be successfully navigated around to some degree. They are a few among a group. A good administrator can build a work-around, or find a spot where the damage is lessened. Even better, a good administrator can often re-kindle a burnout.
    A ‘bad’ administrator, or even a mediocre one can do a lot more damage to a whole school. I have seen them derail a whole class or classes. Not good. Administrators often can only identify a bad or good teacher by hearsay. They are removed from the day to day struggles of the classroom and must occupy their time in both educational and bureaucratic tasks.
    There should be more attention paid to what constitutes good administrators –especially school superintendents. Their classroom effective experience grows smaller with time, while their political acumen grows. They survive, often at the expense of whole generations of students. Their salaries keep them firmly fighting for their jobs.
    I’ve often thought that every 10 years or so an administrator should go back into the classroom, ideally an academic discipline for a year, to sharpen their teaching skills again. Kids change drastically in 5 years or so and often the distant memory of “what works” in a classroom of today is some ego idealized experience in an administrators’ past.

  19. Scott,

    I was already familiar with “A Modest Proposal” (although I forgot it was Jonathan Swift’s work).

    You have indeed created a conversation.

    My Modest Proposal.

    1. To justify the use of ridding our schools of the lower-level teachers, one must realize that “Reality TV” must actually take place in real life. What better place than in school?

    2. I think the Survivor method should also be extended to include ridding our schools of the lowest 10% of our students. This could assure making AYP by the NCLB deadline. After all, there will always be a bottom 10%, and in just 5 years, nearly half of the current student body will be withdrawn from our schools. Then 100% of the remaining students will meet or exceed standards.

    3. This practice should expand to include ridding our educational institutions of lower-level administrators, parents, and other “stake holders.” My experience is that the worst thing that happens to many students are the parents they have, and teachers are only as good as the leaders they follow.

    Once these measures are taken, we can assure our nation of producing only the highest level of high school graduates.

  20. Chapter 7 of Kotter’s book on a Sense of Urgency is on dealing with the “no-no’s” – folks who are trying to kill a sense of urgency for your vision. If I had a choice on getting rid of a no-no or a bad teacher (by the current paradigm), I’d get rid of the no-no – more long term damage.

    The person voted off the island might not be the same person voted off the ship trying to sail around the world. The question is key – the 10% of today’s poorest performers or the 10% who will get in the way of getting better. The idea that “bad apple management” will get get you to GREAT is not well founded!

  21. The management quote is right on, and the need to remove ineffective teachers who aren’t dedicated to improving (as in the “no-no” comment above) is vital, but the “survivor” method is just ducking responsibility. That’s the responsibility of the principal (or asst. principal). Of course, too many principals aren’t involved enough or qualified enough to make that call and back it up with solid reasons, but that’s no reason to shift the responsibility. It is a good reason to replace the principal, though …

  22. If administrators would just use the contractual tools they have — and you cannot only blame teachers’ unions, because there are two signatures on these contracts — and have more stomach for doing what it takes to move bad employees out, there wouldn’t need to play Survivor.

    Smart union leaders, btw, will actually help move bad teachers out after ensuring due process is followed, because union “solidarity” also means that the union presents a more professional image when it recognizes chronically poor performance is a problem.Bad teachers are as much a morale issue for union members as they are for administrators. A good union gets to poor teachers *before* administrators do so they can help them improve or move them out if remediation doesn’t work. Exercising good quality control independently in maintaing the the value of the service the union sells to the school is a great bargaining chip.

  23. What if there are actually two possible votes:

    First, before the “worst teacher” vote, the community votes on whether the items in #1 really happened – i.e. was there ongoing administrative, community and professional support and regular feedback, and were there decent resources?

    If the result of the first vote is unsatisfactory, then the administrator’s the one held accountable and the teacher vote doesn’t happen.

  24. I am with Curt about the teachers union locals. The good ones help the not-so-good find other careers or get them the training they need to be better.

    More like Guilds than Unions… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild

    I think I am in such a district now. If you aren’t bringing your “A” game, you are on your own. You get help with due process, but vigorous defense probably won’t happen. There is a sense of pride in this school and everyone is expected to work hard. This local has even figured out how to remove administrators who weren’t paying attention.

    Then there is the question, what if you had a staff that you didn’t want (or need) to change? Still have the survivor vote with a stand-pat staff?

  25. I didn’t notice that this was an attempted parody of Swift’s proposal even though it was linked and I was familiar with Swift’s work.

    Swift, with his masterful creation of a persona, clearly articulated the causes of the issue he was addressing in addition to providing details of how a solution might look.

    I know what Swift thought about how the English treated my ancestors, but I’m not sure what you really think about this issue, Scott.

  26. The first step is ensuring a solid peer review/evaluation process. We just had a “teacher of the year” vote in our school. It’s ridiculous since we have never seen each other teach. All we’re working on is what we’ve heard and whether who we like. Essentially it’s become a “years of service” recognition sort of thing. The most senior teacher who hasn’t won it is usually voted.

    I have actually pushed for a 360 type of evaluation. The problem with the Survivor-style has been brought up. It discourages teachers from helping each other.

    Another problem is that it biases against teachers in lower grades. In a K-5 school, what would happen is the K students/parents would only really be able to vote against the K teachers, but the 5th grade students/parents would be able to vote against all grades. The lower grades would have a substantial disadvantage if voting were the only criteria.

  27. As much as I’d love to vote some people out of my kids’ school (I initially thought you were reading my mind for one of my fondest earthly desires at the moment when I saw this post), I have to agree that it’s probably not a good idea. I’d be voting out of fear for the future based on what I’ve heard from other parents simply because the teaching my kids have received so far as been excellent and I wouldn’t want those people to leave. That’s no way to evaluate teaching.

    I also second the notion of improving evaluation. I work in a preschool and our director and co-director often (several times a month) stop by each classroom and hang out with us. It’s very informal and I’ve never felt judged. We’re so used to it that it’s no big deal. Since we don’t all work everyday we often get to sub into classrooms to see what’s going on there. Most of us have spent time working with several teachers by the end of the year. At our own formal evaluations we’re gently pushed to think of ways to improve the ADMINSTRATION’S performance or the general school environment. The families are also asked to evaluate us and the administration every year. Parents are allowed to be in the room while we’re teaching if they like at any time (we do reserve the right to modify the situation if something’s overly disruptive, but I’ve never seen that happen).

    If you are working hard I really don’t see a need to fear a 360 evaluation, particularly if it’s something that happens all through the year with lots of instant feedback and resources for improvement. Teachers need to know this. Plus, the more people who have input the better picture you get. If you just have one administrator evaluating you who happens to dislike you for some reason, you’re in trouble. But if all the other evaluation tools don’t point to the same issues, you’ve saved yourself some stress and maybe your job.

  28. I like the Survivor reference but see some reasons it might not work.
    1)It involves students who would not vote for their “favorite” teacher. This makes the voting harsh for the teacher who has expectations for their students.
    2)You would find staff spending its time building alliances, rather than curriculum.
    3)I noticed you didn’t mention voting members of administration off the island.

    As teacher, each year wouldn’t it be nice to vote certain students off the island? It is not that we gave up on certain students, it is that they failed to try to perform for us.

  29. Mr. Welch makes a valid point that a system needs to be in place to maintain high teacher expectations. The idea of having everyone involved voting is an intriguing one. Jack is right that most of the time everyone in a school knows who the good and bad teachers are. I particularly like the idea of teachers having input on the evaluation process. I think using a school’s faculty is one of the best ways to ensure high expectations in the classroom. To go along with staff participation, it is important to include parents and students in the decision process. The students would be able to evaluate teachers whom they have taken and parents would be able to evaluate teachers whom they have observed. I think it would be important to invite parents into classrooms so they can give an honest and true evaluation of teaching practices. By doing this, you can include all parties involved in the education process and ensure high quality of teaching.

  30. I must admit that I haven’t read through the other comments yet, and so I might be duplicating what’s already been said. While I do agree with the idea that we should share communal responsibility (with leaders taking the lead, of course) for exiting poorly-performing teachers, I don’t think that point #1 jives with #3. I have only seen a few episodes of Survivor, but from what I have seen, the collaboration between individuals is superficial at best – being driven exclusively by the impulse for personal gain – and destructive at worst. Perhaps I’m just not imaginative enough, but it’s hard for me to envision a workplace in which people trust each other but also know they’ll be policy-driven to cast someone off the team on a regular basis. As usual, though, this is a good, provocative post that makes it easier to focus on the central point that, usually, when there’s a bad teacher in the building, many people know about it and so the many should share in the responsibility of intervention.

  31. Thoughts:
    1. Who would replace the teachers that get voted off?
    2. Have you ever WATCHED Survivor? People usually get blindsided. It would be nice to at least offer teachers one chance to improve…
    3. I suspect there are some employment law issues that revolve around privacy, confidentiality, and due process that would be hard to overcome.

    That said, you’re correct that teachers know who the bad teachers are. And the idea of getting teachers involved in some sort of peer evaluation process with real teeth will probably have to be part of the solution.

  32. If everybody is able to identify the bad teachers, then everybody should also be able to identify who hired the bad teachers, who promoted them, and who has allowed the bad teachers to continue in the classroom. If there are bad teachers then there are and have been bad administrators in that school. Where are the administrators who are responsible for the bad teachers? Have any of those administrators been promoted or moved to another building or district?

  33. Sorry Dan. Some states don’t work that way. A college passes somebody through their teacher ed program. They get a license. Then in my state they find a job posting and they “bid” on (apply for) the job. If they’re certified, and if no one with any experience bids on the job, it’s theirs. They have a legal right to it. If there are two of them with no experience/seniority, the superintendent will often flip a coin. Once their in the system, jobs are posted and they can move from school to school through the bid process. Most senior person with the proper certifications has a right to the job. Hiring is not a discretionary activity, and principals play little or no role in the hiring process. They do play a role in the firing process, but it is not a primary role. Principals evaluate teachers. Principals write plans of improvement if the evaluation is bad. But it take a superintendent to fire the teacher. After the teacher is fired, they often file a grievance and an administrative law judge considers whether the firing was done properly. The judge can reinstate the teacher and award damages if the teacher’s due process rights were violated in any way…

    Principals wonder who will replace a bad teacher if they manage to get rid of them. At the middle or high school level, when you’re looking for a specific type of teacher (for example, someone certified in high school physic and chemistry, or in middle school math) principals are sometimes reluctant to start the process – especially if they don’t know for sure that the central office will pull the trigger. At the central office level, the superintendent’s staff is sometimes reluctant to pull the trigger on a firing if it is not absolutely clear that it will stand up in court.

  34. I think you’re actually making my point, Greg. You said a college passes somebody through, implying that the college didn’t do a good job of training or screening. Then, you said if nobody takes the job, the ‘bad’ teacher gets the job. Whose fault is it that nobody with experience wants the job? It’s the administration’s job to create a school where good experienced teachers want to teach.
    Then, you say that principals are reluctant to do what they know they should do because they don’t trust the superintendent to ‘pull the trigger,’and that they won’t be able to find someone good to hire-see above; it’s the administration’s responsibility to create a school where good teachers want to teach.
    You mention that a judge won’t let a teacher’s due process be violated; that’s the way it’s supposed to work. If the administration doesn’t know how to do their job the way it should be done, don’t blame the teachers. Start with quality at the top and everything else falls into place.

  35. Hmmm. First, when you say “administrator” I picture principals, primarily. And you contention was that “If there are bad teachers then there are and have been bad administrators in that school.” And yet the principal doesn’t hire in my state.

    You said “It’s the administration’s job to create a school where good experienced teachers want to teach.” That’s problematic for a couple of reasons. I work in a building that was constructed during the Hoover Presidency. I drive straight through the middle of a strip mine everyday to get to my school. About 90% of the kids at my school live in poverty (qualify for free lunch. While the institutional climate is pretty good, there is nothing my principal can do about the school’s rural isolation, it’s age, the community it serves, or the resources available to it. The second problem is the availability of teachers. No matter how good a school in my district is, there aren’t math and science teachers to attract – at least not who live around here. Those aren’t the only shortage areas.

    I don’t think I said that principals are reluctant to “do what they know they should do.” What I tried to say was that principals look at the teacher they’ve got and wonder whether getting rid of that teacher is good or bad for the kids because the principal already has other vacancies at the school filled by unqualified long term subs.

    You talk about “bad” teachers like people sometimes talk about alcoholics: they’re just born that way because, well, probably it’s genetic or something. That inexperienced teacher who got the job over another inexperienced teacher based on a coin toss probably WASN’T a bad teacher when they walked through the door. At the very least, I don’t think you can tell from looking at them whether someone who has never really taught yet is going to be a bad teacher.

    I’m describing laws and processes that originate with our state’s legislature and are aggravated by a lack of certified people who can fill the vacancies in a school (something that is beyond the control of local administrators and is a national problem). You seem to be saying that the superintendent is to blame, and that principals share some of that blame.

    I am NOT making your point.

  36. What utter, inane dribble. What is a ‘bad teacher’? (And PLEASE spare me the nonsense that everyone ‘knows’ who the bad ones are. Everybody knows who they personally dislike, more like.) Is the drama teacher who can’t control a class but puts on the most fantastic end-of-year shows a ‘bad’ teacher? The miserable maths teacher who bores his classes senseless but reaches disruptive boys like no other? The sparky young French teacher who provides the funnest lessons ever but doesn’t actually teach anyone to speak French? I know who I would vote for today. Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll vote for someone else.

  37. As extreme as this sounds, if we (the eduverse) don’t get on board and proactive with acknowledging and solving the problem of these tumors in our midst then let the games begin!
    -Heather
    aka Tweenteacher

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