Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Good, The Bad And The Mediocre

I attended public schools during the 50's and 60's. I thought these were good schools then and I think so even more now because of the teachers. I cannot think of a single teacher who did not demonstrate competency in his or her field. Not that they were all motivational geniuses, I certainly had a few clunkers that I wish I could have avoided. But everyone of them knew their subject matter.

This is a December 1998 article from the Eagle Forum entitled Why Bad Teachers Aren't Fired.

"Teachers who drink alcohol before class, or even during class; teachers who deal drugs; teachers who can't read or do basic math - all are more commonplace than many parents realize, and their presence in America's classrooms is nothing new."

This is an old complaint, but I think it is profitable to return to it in light of more recent developments.

"So why can't these incompetent teachers be fired, as private-sector employees usually are if they drink on the job or prove unfit to perform required duties? The answer is tenure. About 80% of all public school teachers have tenure. "

Incompetent teachers are like ticks. Once they burrow into the system you have to dig them out.

"According to the Sept. 21 Investors Business Daily, estimates of the number of incompetent teachers range from a low of 5% to as many as 18% of the 2.6 million total, or between 135,000 and 468,000 bad teachers. Last spring, prospective teachers in Massachusetts made headlines when 59% failed a basic skills test."

In the Spring of 1998, the State of Massachusetts required that:

"candidates for public school teaching positions take a basic skills test. The test was geared to an 8th grade level of competency. When 59% of the candidates failed, Massachusetts Education Commissioner Frank W. Haydu III suggested that the passing grade be lowered from 77% to 66%, which would have raised the percentage of successful candidates to 56%. The state Board of Education agreed, and a majority voted to lower the standards despite opposition from some members, one of whom called the test results "frightening."

Like all good liberals, they lowered the standards to improve performance. No wonder these people re-elect The Swimmer year after year. They're as dumb as rocks.

So, in eight years, how have things changed? From the March 24, 2006 Boston Globe:

"Nearly 9 percent of Boston public schools teachers are not qualified to teach under federal standards, primarily because they flunked the state teacher's test and do not have teaching licenses, Boston school officials said this week."

How did they graduate from college? How did they get hired??! If a cop or a fireman flunks out of the academy, he's history.

"Boston school officials, ... are dismissing more than 110 of the system's 380 unqualified teachers at the end of the school year, telling them their contracts will not be renewed because they are unlicensed. The officials said they would work with the remaining unqualified teachers to help them get the necessary credentials. In all, 8.5 percent of the school system's 4,100 teachers don't meet federal standards."

They are only dismissing 110 out of 380 unqualified teachers, that's less then a third. Better yet, these incompetents are teaching until the end of the school year. And the other 270 incompetents will be re-educated at taxpayer expense, to pass minimum requirements.

And school officials wonder why more parents are opting to school their children at home.

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