In May, Newsweek came out with a cover story proclaiming that “the key to saving American Education was…we must fire bad teachers” (see my post, Did You Know That THE Key To Saving American Education Is Firing Bad Teachers?).
Now, a study has come-out claiming to quantify how many “bad teachers” there are — it says 80% of all new teachers need to be fired after two years probation.
The study, done by two professors (one from Dartmouth and the other from Columbia) actually comes right out and says that.
An article in Slate Magazine (which is generally one of my favorite online reads) supports the study with the headline Clean Out Your Desk: Is firing (a lot of) teachers the only way to improve public schools?
Written by a professor of economics (who, as far as I can tell, has had no experience working in or with K-12 schools), the article is the latest attack on teachers that omits any evidence or suggestion of other ways to improve education. There is no mention of improving curriculum and there is one line about the possibility of improving professional development.
There is, however lots of praise for Teach For America and New York City’s charter schools. Of course, his praise for charter schools is based on a year-old study that doesn’t take into account that the recent collapse in test scores in that city was even more pronounced in charter schools.
At the end of the presentation given by one of the authors of the study, he says “there may be practical reasons limiting success of this strategy.”
But “practicality” is just one reason it wouldn’t work. It’s a flawed analysis of schools, of the people who work there, and of the students who attend them.
Perhaps, one of these days, the people who spend so much time attacking teachers might consider consider listening to us, instead.