A recent front-page feature story in the Herald & Review reported about a new program that will tie student performance to teacher evaluations. Finally, a way to get rid of all the bad teachers and replace them with good ones is on the horizon. Or is it just more tampering with the schools?

Tying student performance to teacher evaluation sounds like a good idea to the general public that knows very little about what is really going on in the schools except what is reported by a largely uninformed, biased media. This idea has a nice ring to it especially since 82 percent of Illinois’ 860 school districts have failed to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB is the worst “reform” ever to hit the schools. NCLB was crammed down the throats of the teachers with no preparation and no regard for their input.

In reality, this new plan is a cleverly disguised ploy to circumvent tenure laws and make it easier to get rid of teachers unpopular with incompetent administrators. Rather than go through a lengthy teacher dismissal process where the administration is required to provide valid evidence that the accused is worthy of firing; something they are loathe to do because in most cases what will really be exposed is the incompetence of the accusing administrators and not the teacher.

With this plan, it will be a cinch to get rid of someone who has crossed paths with the administration. Simply stack the unpopular teacher with the school’s worst discipline problems then pull all support for that teacher. Turn the other teachers against him or her, creating a hostile professional environment, and sit back and wait for the target to resign in frustration. Problem solved.


Donald Gruber


(2) comments


I hope you teach your students to compose their writing better than the example you present here Don. I don't necessarily disagree with you that tenure serves a purpose, but this over emotional conspiracy theory you present here does not make your case. Please tell us your plan for identifying and removing incompetent teachers and administrators, while still protecting teachers from arbitrary dismissal. I'd love to year your ideas.


Sorry, Dane, I can't claim 100% guilt for the writing here. My original letter was largely rewritten, but the intent is still there (guess the editors need something to do). I did get in a bit of a hurry when I wrote this one and ended it badly. I should have said "...then fire the target based on failing student test scores." This is clearly a-not- so-subtle way around tenure laws which were developed to protect teachers from just this sort of arbitrary attack in the first place. Tenure provides a procedure that protects the accused in the event of not meeting professional standards. Exposing an administrator's lack of ability is not a cause for dismissal. The example I inadvertently gave at the end of this letter is what is currently being done to otherwise excellent, but unpopular teachers (unpopular with administrators).

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