AJC teacher quality series: Georgia’s Fair Dismissal Law makes it costly to fire problem educators

over (Medium)Today’s installment of the AJC series on teacher quality in the Sunday AJC concentrates on teacher job protections and the obstacles to firing problem teachers.

I have found  great disagreement among education leaders on how hard it is to remove an ineffective or problem teacher from the classroom. Some school chiefs tell me it is a matter of careful documentation and can be done, while others say it’s a major undertaking that saps all their time and energy and still ends up in court battles.

In the fifth entry in the ongoing AJC teacher quality series, reporters describe a recent tribunal hearing to fire an Atlanta teacher for incompetence and insubordination:  Located at the district’s headquarters, the hearing room is staged like a traditional courtroom: In front sits a hearing officer, paid for by the district to oversee the proceedings. To the officer’s right: three tribunal members, designated by the school board, who in Atlanta can each bill up to $150 a day, plus expenses. To the officer’s left, a court stenographer who typically charges $100 a day plus $7 per transcript page. And facing the officer and tribunal sits the school district’s attorney, behind stacks of papers that hint at the hours spent investigating the case.

The AJC is making this occasional series on teacher quality available only to subscribers. You can read today’s full article by picking up a copy of Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution or logging on to the paper’s iPad app. Here is a link to the AJC digital options, including an E-subscription, which gives you the actual paper online.

Here is a link to our Part 1 discussion here on the blog.

Here is a link to our Part 2 discussion.

Here is a link to our Part 3 discussion:

Here is a link to our Part 4 discussion:

And here are some findings from today’s installment of the teacher quality series:

–The Atlanta cheating scandal is shining a spotlight on teacher job protections, which were abolished in 2000 under then-Gov. Roy Barnes but restored three years later by his successor, Gov. Sonny Perdue.

–Atlanta taxpayers are spending $1 million a month to keep about 130 educators named in the report on paid leave while the district prepares legal cases needed to fire them. The school district expects to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more in legal fees. That’s because schools must build legal cases against teachers with three or more years of experience, who can only be let go for eight allowable reasons. Teachers can appeal their firing all the way to the state Supreme Court.

–Supporters of the law say teachers need protection  against unwarranted accusations or angry parents, or from the political maneuvering of meddling school board members. But critics say the laws are an impediment to Georgia’s attempt to improve the quality of the teaching workforce. As the pressure to improve test scores increases, they argue, so must the flexibility to remove bad teachers.

–The time and financial commitment required to fire a teacher in Georgia means only a small number of teachers in metro Atlanta districts -  less than 1 percent of the workforce – are let go in any given year.

–It often takes a year to build a case against a teacher for low performance, but by law the case usually can’t include actions from previous school years. In other words, once a teacher signs a contract for the new school year, problems from the past can’t be used as evidence to fire them.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

164 comments Add your comment

Checks and Balances

October 9th, 2011
6:31 am

Does Fair Dismissal protect some poor teachers. Yes, yes, yes.

Does Fair Dismissal protect many excellent teachers from the capricious actions of poor, extremely poor administrators? Yes, yes, yes, and thousand times yes.

Look at APS and the literally hundreds of teachers they tried to fire, not because they were poor, but because they tried to expose CHEATING administrators, an action so egregious, the governor had to step in.

Let’s get some REAL checks and balances to stop these abuses. Let’s stop hamstring teachers with IMPOSSIBLE mandates and BOGUS instructional fads. Let’s EMPOWER teachers to be so successful, let’s make teaching conditions so good, that the good teachers THEMSELVES demand their sorry, trifling peers get the boot.

But right now, we are doing the moral equivalent of blaming the soldiers for losing the war in Vietnam, instead of the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. for their failing policies.

Elizabeth

October 9th, 2011
6:41 am

Not another article about how to fire poor teachers! More teacher slamming. How much do you think we can take? Teachers can be fired if administrators will do the paperwork. But most don’t want to or have the time to do it. They wa t to make a capricious decision based on the mood of the moment or one bad observation or incident. One student falsely accusing a teacher can get you fired. One administrator who does not like you or your teaching style can cause you to be removed. One parent complaint can cause havoc fo ryour career. And you want to take away that protection? Watch us leave if that happens– in droves– and then watch us sue, because you better believe I would.

Why there is Fair Dismissal

October 9th, 2011
6:46 am

Consider the teacher who was given more than a dozen NI on their observation.

Obviously an extremely poor teacher, a perfect example of a system that protects poor teachers, right?

Now consider this: at the time of the alleged “observation” when the principal was in the room “observing” this teacher in action; the children were in another part of the school with another teacher!

And the teacher was told because it was what the principal had “observed” it could not be appealed.

Yes, even though the students were in another room, with another teacher, at the time of the alleged “observation” because the principal allegedly “observed” the NI, the observation could not be appealed.

But do those who whine about “poor teachers protected” hold themselves even a portion of accountable as they want to hold teachers, and craft legislation to stop abuses such as these?

In fact I challenge anybody to post where a politician in Georgia has introduced the first piece of legislation that addresses using the evaluation instrument in a punitive manner.

(Crickets, chirping)

One final note: is it any surprise the alleged “observation” occurred immediate after a meeting where the lack of support for discipline in the school was brought up?

Follow the logic

October 9th, 2011
6:51 am

What’s next from the AJC, a series of articles about how we should abolish the 4th Amendment to the Constitution because some criminals have been let go in the past when police failed to follow it?

But this is par for the course for the AJC and Maureen and the ongoing mantra called “blame teachers first”. After all, Maureen is the one who said retaliation against teachers happens rarely if at all.

Shoot first, ask questions later

October 9th, 2011
6:58 am

Dang this pesky criminal justice system. Costs, costs, costs. Let’s just shoot all the “ineffective” citizens at the first sign of trouble. After all, isn’t just as important to have an “effective” citizenry as it is “effective” teachers?

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
7:14 am

Funny Maureen wants to whine about this:

‘Atlanta taxpayers are spending $1 million a month to keep about 130 educators named in the report on paid leave while the district prepares legal cases needed to fire them”

Who approved these contracts? Beverly Hall. Yes the same Beverly Hall Maureen repeatedly said needed to stay at the helm of APS for the “stability” she provided.

But has Maureen showed even a fraction of accountability she asks of teachers to acknowledge the consequences of taking such a position?

Or would she rather continue her favorite game, “blame teachers first”?

teacher&mom

October 9th, 2011
8:08 am

If an administrator is WILLING to do the paperwork, dismissal is a piece of cake.

I’ve yet to witness a teacher (good or bad) win the dismissal battle. Superintendents and school board members may acknowledge behind closed doors that the administrator is weak and ineffective, but publicly they will support the admin. Administration almost ALWAYS wins.

Teachers will call PAGE and GAE to find little to no support….because everyone has a hard time holding our administrators accountable.

Why do you think Beverly Hall was able to work her “magic” for so long and keep the naysayers quiet? The AJC, mayor’s office, and business community was supporting Hall up to the last minute. Why did everyone assume Hall and her leadership was innocent but was so quick to pass judgement on the teachers?

Because in the state of GA, a teacher is assumed guilty before proven innocent. That’s how we “keep” our teachers in line.

(btw: I believe Hall, the administrators, testing coordinators, and teachers who were involved should be fired and their license revoked….but they deserve due process.)

carlosgvv

October 9th, 2011
8:27 am

Those in charge are hesitant to fire poor teachers for a number of reasons. One obvious one is that they don’t want to be called “racist” and have Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton marching outside their offices. And, they don’t want lawyers swarming around them like locusts threating them professionally and financially.

teacher&mom

October 9th, 2011
8:32 am

Perhaps it is time for an AJC piece on school leadership?

How does GA train our administrators? What are the credentials?

What are the qualities of a strong administrator? How do you measure strong leadership?

Once an administrator is in place, what process monitors their progress and achievement?

What is the process for removing ineffective leadership? How often does this occur?

Does strong leadership make a difference? Is it important?

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
8:35 am

“Why do you think Beverly Hall was able to work her “magic” for so long and keep the naysayers quiet? The AJC, mayor’s office, and business community was supporting Hall up to the last minute.”

Yes teacher&mom. ALL the evidence one ever needed for a board with some guts to ask Hall to step down was available MONTHS before she left.

But people like Maureen said she needed to stay so she could provide “stability”.

Had she NOT been there, the four Executive Directors would not have been “rubber stamped” to return and the system would NOT be paying them to sit on their collective backsides right now.

But what do we expect from a “blame teachers first” shill who makes statements such as the lack of support for teachers in matters of discipline isn’t a “pressing issue” in the schools?

Sallie

October 9th, 2011
8:37 am

Let’s just run up the cost of trying to get rid of poor performing teachers so the slugs can stay and the parents and taxpayers give up. The price of keeping poorly performing teachers and orgainztional brittleness that comes from stifling processes is that the parents most directly involved lose heart and the taxpayers gradulally stop being willing to foot the bill. Just wait till the next SPLOST vote.

Sharon Pitts must Go

October 9th, 2011
8:38 am

I agree with “What Maureen Wanted”…Atlanta Taxpayers should rise up and demand action on these educators who are being paid 1 million + of taxpayers money to sit at home.

Concerned

October 9th, 2011
8:46 am

What about teachers who make one mistake should they loss their jobs because of one mistake. Can teachers really win at tribunals or is it a waste of time and money?

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
8:53 am

Sallie, what specific steps are you willing to take to address administrative RETALIATION that makes Fair Dismissal rights necessary in the first place?

And why won’t even ONE politician, (outside of possibly State Sen. Ralph Long) address that in Georgia?

What would you say to the HUNDREDS of APS teachers who almost lost their teaching jobs, NOT because they were incompetent, but because they testified to RAMPANT, WIDESPREAD cheating?

When we can answer THAT question, then we can move with moral authority to rid the deadweight. And we need to, because some “teachers” are just a flat out embarrassment.

But what we have now are GOOD teachers targeted for dismissal for speaking out in FAR more often than poor teachers targeted, so why are you surprised teachers would advocate for Fair Dismissal rights to remain intact?

What, you think teachers enjoy working with clowns who are an embarrassment to the profession?

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
8:59 am

You want to fix this, here’s how.

Every administrator gets a “vote of confidence” from the staff every year. They have to pass a certain “benchmark” to remain.

Oh,but that cuts the principal off at the knees, in that the principal has to placate staff? Yes, IF you make the “benchmark” 90% or above.

But let’s say you make it 50%? After all, if a principal can’t even get 50% of their staff on board to support them, what more proof do you need that they are a weak, ineffective leader for THAT particular school?

Even a “50%” benchmark (as a good “watered down” starting point that not even GAE or PAGE could find fault with) would be a good starting point to deter administrators who act in heavy handed, capricious ways.

But will a political even BEGIN to discuss this? GAE or PAGE even BEGIN to discuss this? And you wonder why there are people like “Fled” and other FORMER Georgia teachers who populate this blog, yet are providing VALUE to schools outside Georgia?

Former Teacher

October 9th, 2011
9:20 am

Couldn’t you put all those teachers earning salaries and sitting at home to work as school-based tutors? If they aren’t grading, they can’t be cheating so what’s the harm? At least they could help some of the students improve. Make them earn the money. We never said they couldn’t teach – we just said they couldn’t be trusted to grade. A million a month? That’s a lot of tutoring money!

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
9:28 am

But don’t you see Former Teacher asking a SRT Executive Direction to actually help a student is “beneath” their exalted status.

Here’s a more instructive question. Did any of the SRT Executive Directors even OFFER to be of service to children, while their cases were under appeal?

Just Be a Superior Teacher

October 9th, 2011
9:40 am

No wonder we are at the bottom in all metrics in education. We need to be able to fire teachers and administrators on the spot when they are sub-par and do not understand that they must be superior to teach our kids to be future leaders. We must require excellence instead of settling for lazy, good-for-nothing teachers with poor attitudes who cannot succeed in any job, anywhere else, except maybe another government job.

But of course, leave it to the government, in all of its divisions and departments, to protect those with bad attitudes who are lazy and incompetent. This is the reason for the saying, “good enough for government work.”

Our society accepts, and even promotes, the lowest common denominator as the standard. Our acceptance of mediocrity, and promotion of base-culture, as normal will be our total destruction as a society. We see this being played out in failing schools and school systems.

OhHaiThur

October 9th, 2011
9:41 am

All of this wouldn’t have been an issue if it had been resolved earlier in 2011 before contract renewals went out. Then whoever stepped in to start the firings could have saved taxpayers millions by simply not renewing their contracts.

Arguing over this teacher protection law is looking at the wrong thing. It shouldn’t have taken as long as it did to get started reviewing the files and records on this, but people at the county and state level were slow to act on any of it.

Jenna

October 9th, 2011
9:44 am

I don’t see why anyone would want to teach in thid state…teachers are treated like crap in GA. Maureen…I am sure most teachers would agree with giving up tenure if they could leave their jobs at any point in the school year like a regular job. Teachers are indentured servants for 10 months. How do u think parents would like them apples?

Anonmom

October 9th, 2011
9:50 am

Tangentially — in DCSS– there are only about 5-6 schools (in the entire system of over 100 schools) with principals who have been in their positions for over 5 years; further, the vast majority (e.g. you’d be hard pressed to find….) of the principals have experience in the classroom for more than 8-10 years. The folks supervising the principals and those in central office also don’t have substantial teaching experience. If you probe deeper — you’ll find that a significant number of those “in authority” (principals, assistant principals, area superintendents, etc.) over actual education issues have come out of “non academic” areas — e.g. gym (one of whom is a very experienced principal at an excellent middle school). I think that if there was/is a culture of “experience” in the classroom with classroom management and an educational background in various disciplines “up the ladder” — I think there would be a better system of “checks and balances” as issues arose and folks needed to go or there were issues that were “correctable.” When you have a system that promotes based on “patronage” rather than experience, you design a system that is unable to really function and properly “cull” those who need to be culled (I’m speaking from the perspective of a parent with 3 kids going through the system and not from the perspective of an employee within the system).

Once upon a time — there were monthly meetings in DCSS on how to run a school and to be a principal — Dr. Brown eliminated these meeting – I think he thought that the Area Superintendents would take over that training — “how to fire” was one of the topics that was regularly addressed.

The Devil You Say

October 9th, 2011
9:51 am

As a friend of a teacher who was literally maligned and defamed by the Coweta School System, the fault lies with the corrupt and administrators and not with the teachers.

HS Math Teacher

October 9th, 2011
9:55 am

The state should look at offering some type of early retirement package for teachers. Of the few poor teachers I’ve known in my career, all but one had about 5 years until retirement. All but one were great teachers in the past.

Another Math Teacher

October 9th, 2011
9:59 am

A skilled administrator can get rid of a poor teacher easily.

A skilled administrator can get rid of an excellent teacher with some work.

The Devil You Say

October 9th, 2011
10:01 am

One of these administrators actually admitted under oath to sexually harassing this teacher, yet he is still working as an administrator, while this teacher has not worked as a teacher since!!!!

Burroughston Broch

October 9th, 2011
10:05 am

I don’t agree with the whining about teacher dismissal. In Georgia, every employee is an employee at will, unless he is a teacher or other government employee, or has an employment contract. Being an employee at will means that you can be dismissed without your employer having to show cause. Guess what, folks? It works and it’s better than the “educational process.”. Sure, some effective people get a raw deal on occasion and some drones get a job for life. Some people work for a firm (think school) and they don’t fit in, so they leave and go to a firm where they fit in. Implementing this process in the educational system would help in straightening out the mess that we have.

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
10:07 am

What you don’t get “Just Be A Superior Teacher” most likely because you don’t WANT to get it, is that GOOD teachers are targeted far more often than poor ones.

Why do you think teachers are leaving Georgia? Because teaching conditions are so wonderful?

And do you think given teachers LESS power is going to make them feel MORE empowered about staying?

Let’s just add “Just Be A Superior Teacher” to the list of people who offer NOTHING to protect teachers from retaliation, which would be the one thing that would get most if not all people on board to start removing the deadweight.

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
10:16 am

“Being an employee at will means that you can be dismissed without your employer having to show cause”

And is this what would be best for students BB? A teacher summarily dismissed because they didn’t want to buy Amway products from the principal? Or got an abortion (Oh, you don’t think that doesn’t happen here in Georgia?) Or because they stood up against for example…WIDESPREAD MASSIVE CHEATING?

Yes let’s just cut these teachers off at the knees for taking a stand; that’ll be sure to make things better!

Address administrative RETALIATION…then address the deadweight.

What do you think teachers ENJOY working with clowns who make the whole profession look bad? No, they just know without some protection, THEY may be targets for no legitimate, valid reason.

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
10:20 am

Notice not a SINGLE person whining about teachers having Fair Dismissal Right will address the issue of administrative RETALIATION that makes those rights necessary in the first place?

In the private sector, at least the option remains that you can make a case that you add VALUE to a company, but since the goal in the public schools is to perpetuate the bureaucracy and pretend it’s “working” even THAT option isn’t available to teachers who speak out on issues of concern

It's what Maureen wanted

October 9th, 2011
10:23 am

Yes BB it worked in D.C under Michelle Rhee. Got rid of some teachers, scores went up.

Oops! Turns out they didn’t go up; turns out it was yet another case of….WIDESPREAD, MASSIVE, CHEATING.

Private School Guy

October 9th, 2011
10:28 am

The series really needs to look at entrenched administrators in public schools. How many principals and assistant principal have been fired in Georgia schools in the last decades? Is the ratio of dismissed administrators the same ratio as teachers? What ever the system is it can’t work unless the same rules that apply to teachers apply to those in charge. In cases that have made news many administrators that have done something detrimental end up with the same pay in some central office department.

George

October 9th, 2011
10:33 am

We basically need to fire parents thats the real issue.I have a son that is a senior at Miller Grove High School. The teachers are great because we support them.We need to wake up We only hear this where test scores are low.Teachers can give students work and they will laugh at you .Wow the scores are in and they are low That sorry teacher did not do her job lets fire him or her. Next stop the jail house we are stll spending money as a tax payers.We can change all of this over night give the teacher power to fail a student.The principal is only a poltican not a leader.

Private School Guy

October 9th, 2011
10:35 am

The need for fair dismissal was explained to me in a grad school class for educators many years ago. While the process can bog things down it prevents a principal in a small town high school from firing a totally competent teacher so that the wife of the new football coach can have a job. The process was set up to stem nepotism and patronage.

Logic 05

October 9th, 2011
10:38 am

Yet another reasons for vouchers.

Cassie

October 9th, 2011
10:45 am

Is there a separate set of procedures for firing incompetent and/or corrupt administrators?

Polk County

October 9th, 2011
10:46 am

I agree that the problem usually starts at the top with ineffective, cowardly leadership. Strong leaders LEAD by example and don’t make excuses – they solve problems. Great teachers lose motivation when forced to work alongside with lazy teachers who are getting their degrees online and/or becoming educators for the summers off. Every child deserves to have teachers who make learning fun – those who aren’t willng to step up and deliver should be culled to make way for those who want to make a difference. Even one bad apple means 20+ unprepared students who deserve better.

November 6, 2012

October 9th, 2011
10:53 am

Once again, every principal knows who the lousy teachers are and should have the authority to fire them; however, we know that’s not gonna happen because of political pressure to keep these people employed. I have been lectured over and over on the fact that we don’t have teacher unions in Georgia, but we do have MACE and Dr. John has proven to be someone you really don’t want to tangle with……so we keep the bad teachers. Political Correctness gone AMOK. Our education business should be run like a business……you have a bad apple, you fire them…..period.

www.indictbeverlyhall.com

October 9th, 2011
11:03 am

http://www.indictbeverlyhall.com/

The road to education reform starts in Atlanta!

www.indictkathyaugustine.com

October 9th, 2011
11:12 am

Bonnie had Clyde, Batman had Robin, and Bev had…

http://www.indictkathyaugustine.com/

MB

October 9th, 2011
11:48 am

AnonMom, Fulton also has had a LOT of admin turnover. Look at the board briefs for the past two years and the turnover is disturbing. Believe me, not all the changes are positive either; less nepotism but definite trend toward very young principals, leaving more experienced APs (generally with more classroom experience) to work under the inexperienced. HR just moved people around (seemingly at their whims) and it has created an atmosphere of fear.

What M W anted: My local HS leadership team and LSAC had a meeting with zero support (NO confidence) for a second year principal. They moved him, of course, downtown for a CO job and then to another in the county. Based on his FY 2010 salary in OpenGA, he will likely make a higher salary than the remaining HS principals. HOW is THAT reasonable? Rewards for ineffectiveness?

Jack

October 9th, 2011
11:55 am

I’m sure it’s been asked before, but why are teachers hired if their qualifications are suspect? Why are they given a contract before their qualifications are proven in the classroom? In most professions, a trial period is requied. A degree in education doesn’t mean you can teach; it means you can earn a degree.

One parents inside perspective

October 9th, 2011
11:55 am

For starters be selective with your pool of applicants. In real estate it’s location location location. In hiring teachers it needs to be background check background check background check. As an example: The school district hires a Sub after said amount of time that Sub is hired as a full time employee working in a classroom setting with special needs students. At some point that teacher restrains a student. Most likely there is going to be an unhappy parent. With some checking that parent finds that this teacher has had criminal chargers of domestic violence in his past one incident involving a gun. In my opinion this teacher is a high expense liability to the school district. I realize the pickings are slim but do your do diligence before hiring employees that will cause future issues.

MB

October 9th, 2011
12:01 pm

Polk County and 11/6/12: AMEN!! I spent most of five years trying to get away from a situation aided and abetted by a weak administrator. At least five people before myself identified and documented the complete ineffectiveness of a fellow teacher but this admin would NEVER follow through. Talk about demoralizing (and creating a complete lack of respect for admin…) Unfortunately, in Fulton at least, it seemed the RIF in 2010 became just what due process was meant to prevent. Teachers who were thorns in their principal’s side were quickly documented out, but the true deadwood Cindy Loe said should go is still in the schools…

hryder

October 9th, 2011
12:04 pm

Many people would not have the angst toward specific persons, or in fact most areas when conflicts arise, if a small amount of basic statistics were understood. There is nothing wrong or bad with being average, normal, or usual. Yet most people do not want people teaching who are average and when one realizes that there has to be someone teaching who is below average to recognize average and the merry go round begins. If, in today’s economy, teaching salaries began at $2000,000.00 there would be no shortage of highly motivated highly competent people teaching. But, there would still be, by definition, average, below average, and above average teachers. Most of the time you get what you are willing to pay. High school drop-outs only rarely become CEOs. Most millionaires did not attain their holdings by purchasing a lottery ticket. Many know from a children’s literature book that we can not all be firemen. Yet many think that all teachers should be well above average.

Dacula High School Parent

October 9th, 2011
12:06 pm

AJC if you want another story to investigate, check out the recent release of good teachers at Dacula High School. The principal was told not to hire any new teachers. There was a hiring freeze.
A new football coach was brought in, and he brought in three or four coaches with him.
Rumor has it that all one coach does is break down film, and one works with one of the running backs.
Good coaches were removed from coaching so the new coach had his yes men in place.
I believe all of the new teachers either do not teach in the classroom or only supervise in school suspension.
Three or four really good teachers were reassigned to other schools well into the school year. Some students had as many as 5 or 6 of their classes rescheduled because of the reassignments.
The remaining teachers are scared to death to even discuss the subject.
Why don’t you call the principal and ask why he disobeyed the hiring freeze, and why he shipped of good quality teachers. What is more important at DHS? Football or student learning.

At Dacula High School, the answer is simple. Football!

Another Math Teacher

October 9th, 2011
12:07 pm

Jack:

“I’m sure it’s been asked before, but why are teachers hired if their qualifications are suspect? Why are they given a contract before their qualifications are proven in the classroom? In most professions, a trial period is requied. A degree in education doesn’t mean you can teach; it means you can earn a degree.”

You don’t get fair dismissal rights until your 4th contract signed. Teachers in Georgia have around 2.5 years before they reach that point. (Longer than most all professions in terms of a trial period.)

If you are questioning why they get a 10 month contract prior to having a few years teaching, I’m sure teachers would love to be at-will employees with no repercussions for leaving mid year.

Jazznifa

October 9th, 2011
12:12 pm

Removing problem government workers is challenging across the board, not just in education.

In the federal agency I’m familiar with our union will go to the mat for an underperforming dues paying member every time. It’s the rare manager who has the time or inclination to jump through all the flaming hoops – including dealing with the EEO complaint that invariably gets filed – necessary to remove someone. Usually we’ll just try to transfer the slacker someplace where he/she can do the least harm.

DLink

October 9th, 2011
12:20 pm

Just heard on the news, “There is plenty of parking available here at the gay pride festival, including the MARTA parking lot…” When the news treats MARTA as a convenient parking lot for our cars, it’s no wonder people don’t think about using mass transit as it should be used. /rant.

On topic. Before ANYBODY should be allowed to “fire” a teacher, the teacher MUST first be allowed to “fire” individually disruptive/incapable students. End topic.

Pincipaled

October 9th, 2011
12:35 pm

“What is the process for removing ineffective leadership?”

Considering administrators in the schools don’t even have the protections that the teachers do regarding due process, I’d say very easily

Unfortunatley this is the reason so many principals seem weak or vindictive. Try to stand up for the teachers to the Superintendent and a principal willbe out of a job much quicker a d with less recourse than the teacher.

All principals know this. We manage a group ( teachers) with much more job protection than we have and work for people with 3 year contracts and buy out deals.

Lee

October 9th, 2011
12:38 pm

“It often takes a year to build a case against a teacher for low performance, but by law the case usually can’t include actions from previous school years. In other words, once a teacher signs a contract for the new school year, problems from the past can’t be used as evidence to fire them.”

Explains a lot, actually. As long as the teacher’s issues do not get too egregious within the year, the principal knows that next year will bring a new set of students/parents and he will have a few months reprieve before the complaints start anew.

My teacher wife has had four different principals and an untold number of assistant principals in the past ten years. Expect no action against the problem teacher in the first year. The second year, the administrator knows who the poor teachers are, but unless something happened that forces them to take action, few rarely do. By the third year, the administrator is looking toward his/her next job and they do not want to do anything to rock the boat – better to let the next administrator deal with the problem.

End result, problems never get addressed.

…and if you have the misfortune of having your child assigned to one of these not-worth-a-crap teachers, get ready for a year of pure hell.
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Speaking of contracts, the only benefit I see is that it locks the teacher into a position for a year, which in theory, minimizes disruptions to the class.

However, administration is free to uproot a teacher weeks or months into the school year and move them to another grade/school. Also, as recent events have illustrated, the number of days (and subsequent annual pay) may be changed unilaterally by the school system.

So, contracts, why do school systems even do them anymore? They mean nothing.
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One last thing, in my 35 years in the corporate world as well as owning my own business, I can attest to the fact that one problem employee can change the entire dynamics of a group. Petty, spiteful, and mean employees will poison the work environment. As Barney Fife would say, you have to “nip it in the bud.”