Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

January 4, 2007

If only we could get rid of ineffective teachers…

Filed under: Education reform, Teacher issues, Texas — texased @ 4:50 pm

Once again, stating the obvious.

MySA.com: Metro | State:

The only way to reduce school dropouts and increase student performance is to put effective teachers in the classrooms, said Sandy Kress, a leader of the group who also served as a senior education adviser to President Bush.

Ah, but this report has a “solution!”

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas Southwest:

One of the business council’s more prominent recommendations is new authority for school districts to terminate teachers who receive poor performance evaluations for three consecutive years.”

If that teacher receives a third ineffective evaluation, the principal would be required to remove such a teacher, and the teacher would bear the burden of proof in any dismissal hearing,” the proposal read.

Apparently we would have many more effective teachers if only the administration could get rid of the bad ones! This “conclusion” by itself proves that the report was nothing more than a rehash of research that everyone already knows with the usual “we can fix it message if only we do this.”

Why am I so skeptical about the report? This is Texas, teacher unions are not the powerful protectors of tenure as elsewhere in the United States. If anybody has paid any attention to education news they would hear about “problem” teachers who are not “fired” but whose contracts were not renewed. No review by a union representative or the like. All teachers sign a contract when they are hired that is basically set up to get rid of them at will.

In other words, school districts and administrators have always had the ability to get rid of ineffective teachers. And while the evaluations may not explicitly state that the reviewer is to consider yearly progress made by students on the TAKS, it’s not as if administrators don’t already have this information. They choose how to use it.

So why doesn’t the council make recommendations about how to measure the effectiveness of the administrator? (Okay, for all I know they might have since I haven’t read the full report.) Where is the three strikes and your out for administrators? What, you mean they can’t be evaluated in such simple terms? Maybe if they were doing their job effectively in the first place, the business council wouldn’t be worrying determining the effectiveness of teachers.



  1. Thats a bit harsh isnt it? Some teachers may be ineffective to some classes and work really well with other classes! plus a lot of the young teachers are slightly less efective untill they get the experience in dealing with the pupils but if you get rid of them then eventually none of them will get the 1st few years of experince and therefor dont have tha chance of being great

    Comment by A little angel called Mandy — January 4, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

  2. I’m not sure who you think I’m being harsh with. My basic argument is that principals should and are currently able to evaluate teachers and do exactly what you say. But because they don’t do their jobs, the authors of the report think that somehow they can’t do their jobs and that’s just not the case.

    Comment by texased — January 4, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

  3. Think you missunderstood me, i wasnt saying you were being harsh, just the fact that teachers are judged on a few classes they teach and are able to lose their jobs because of those few classes

    Comment by A little angel called Mandy — January 5, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  4. Incompetent, timid principals can’t fire incompetent teachers. Competent principals do it every day and do it in ways that uphold due process and the rights of all involved.

    In Texas, there is no union protection and precious little due process protection. Anyone arguing for the ability of principals to fire bad teachers is either uninformed or is dishonestly manipulating the public into removing the tiny, minimal protections that teachers currently enjoy.

    Comment by Mike — January 10, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

  5. Sorry Mandy, it makes sense now.

    Comment by texased — January 11, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  6. Teachers’ unions in Texas are a union by name only, they lack the power to strike or collective bargaing, making them little more than liability insurance providers.

    Comment by Mike in Texas — January 13, 2007 @ 9:42 am

  7. Exactly. So the question is, what is the real impetus to “education reform” in Texas? We can already hire and fire teachers at will.

    Comment by texased — January 13, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  8. Teachers can’t exactly be fired at will (it’s not quote that bad) but they can absolutely be let go for failing to meet whatever performance standards they’ve been given. The problem, as pointed out, is that principals have to be able to articulate what the standard is and why the teacher didn’t meet it, and many principals aren’t able to meet their own job descriptions in doing that.

    On the other hand, lots and lots of teachers are let go every year and replaced with people the principals hope will be better suited to their campus.

    The “reformers” are usually private sector businessmen who don’t fully appreciate how our education system works, and as soon as they hear that the principal can’t just walk around handing out pink slips at will – as they unfortunately can in most other workplaces in Texas – then the “reformers” think there is a problem. Whenever they hear that a teacher has been proposed for termination and had the audacity to ask “why,” which the law allows them to do, the reformers turn red and have to resist the urge to yell “Because I said so! Now go to your room!”

    Comment by Pam — January 19, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

  9. i need to know what the reasons are in texas for a tenured teacher to be fired. she called my daughter stupid and pushed her (hard) where she lost her balance, pushed her out the door of the classroom and locked her out. My daughter is 16 and has never had a disipline problem. never even had a tardy. she is an a, b student and involved in lots at school. i have learned that this teacher has MANY negetive things in her “file” but the don’t do anything about it. tomorrow morning i have an appt with the school district police to file assault charges on her. do you think this is grounds for her to finally be fired?

    Comment by johnna wells — January 25, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  10. I am a 16 year old student who suffers from the “bad teacher syndrome”. Some teachers just don’y care fro their students as they should. We have all had the teacher who makes ytou want to learn and we have had the one who we know is just passing the hours. It does us no good to ahve ineffective teachers because they have sway over our most precious aspect of our society, and thats our youth. If a teacher fails to educate and inspiere us as a youth. They should have a few years of tenure to get used to teh atmosphere, but to let them continue teaching for years without any progress made should be a crime.

    -Billy Limpy

    Comment by Billy Limpy — April 11, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  11. In Texas, schools, Police, Teachers, and all other school officials enjoy what is known in Texas as “Qualified Immunity”. Basically meaning that the School Official can and will do what they choose to do.No real fear of reprisal or matter of law.

    In Floresville Texas a student does not enjoy the right to not incriminate themselves in a court of law. Page Three of the FISD Student Code of Conduct outlines this fact. Anything a Student says or does, can and will be used against them in a Texas court of law.

    Titled School Official’s, Lowly Teachers and Police on the other hand, enjoy
    “ Qualified Immunity” when caught breaking the law. These offenders enjoy the full realm of civil liberty protections and legal services that a school district can provide. With tax funded monies.

    Texas students are punished in a heart beat, with no pulse for resollution,no pulse other than the “Life Altering Events the student has already experienced”. Resollution is dispensed by the offenders themselves.Very much like inmates of the State of Tx.in the landmark case,
    Estelle v Ruiz. Read it.

    It is my opinion that the Texas Schools are using our children to fund Guised Educational programs. Thus creating room for skimming for administrative salaries, Not teachers salalries. There is little oversight in the handlng of monies within the many school districts in Texas
    And when there is money involved. Bad publicity is the last thing a school district needs when asking Mom and Dad for a dollar come tax-time.

    Children (students) being abused is better covered-up? And it is easier to believe that its the childs fault and not the adults. Education does not ensure total wisdom. The proof is in the data. Offenders live for years within a school system and are afforded the full protections of their civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy. Students are made-out to be trouble and are afforded social stigmata.

    Comment by Mark Sanchez — February 26, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  12. […] If only we could get rid of ineffective teachers… « Texas Ed …Jan 4, 2007 … This is Texas, teacher unions are not the powerful protectors of tenure as elsewhere … Teachers’ unions in Texas are a union by name only, … […]

    Pingback by Teachers union texas | Kimmelintl — July 12, 2011 @ 6:33 am

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