California legislators want to make it easier to fire bad teachers—and the bill even has the support of the California Teachers Association. The LA Times editorial board has the details:
Under the existing system, when teachers fight an attempt to fire them, the matter goes to a review panel made up of an administrative law judge and two teachers, one picked by the union and one by the school district. But the district-chosen teacher must meet a list of criteria, such as having worked in the same discipline as the fired teacher for at least five of the past 10 years. Considering how many teachers leave before they’ve even been in the classroom for five years, finding such a teacher to sit on the panel can be time-consuming; in addition, the union then can challenge whether that teacher is qualified, creating long delays. In the end, administrators don’t bother trying to fire teachers except in the strongest and most egregious cases, and they rarely get rid of a teacher solely because he or she can’t teach. AB 375 would loosen the criteria for picking that second teacher on the panel and would limit challenges, among other changes.
Making it easier to stop giving paychecks to physically abusive teachers is more of a correction of insanity than a step into the Light. But at least it’s a start. We agree with the LA Times that the bill could have done even more, like allowing parents to be considered for spots on review panels that examine teachers under fire. Teachers are not the only ones who should be judging teacher performance: parents should have their voices heard as much as, if not more than, hand-picked union members.This bill is far from a cure-all, but its success up to this point is noteworthy. Passing the Assembly Education Committee with the support of one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the country is a hopeful sign that the drivers of the blue model coalition are slowly coming around to the need for change.[California chalkboard image and “Fired” stamp image courtesy of Shutterstock.com]