Teachers chief: Bad teachers should find new jobsBy PHILIP ELLIOTT
The Associated Press | July 23,2013WASHINGTON — Teachers who aren’t up to snuff shouldn’t be in classrooms and should find new professions, the head of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers said Monday.
Randi Weingarten told a gathering of her union’s rank-and-file members that they should be more vigilant about their colleagues’ abilities and said weak educators who don’t make improvements only hurt the profession. The tough warning comes as state education chiefs have been trying to implement tougher standards for those in the classrooms and weed out teachers whose students aren’t making progress.
“If someone can’t teach, after they’ve been prepared and supported, they shouldn’t be in our profession,” Weingarten said to applause from more than 2,000 union members meeting here.
Weingarten said too often teachers are left “to sink or swim” without help from more senior teachers or their schools’ leaders. She stressed new teachers should be mentored and offered more training if their college coursework was inadequate.
But she acknowledged she did not want to be in the business of defending all teachers. She said union-backed evaluation systems would help keep successful teachers in the classrooms — and remove those who aren’t helping students.
“It recasts tenure as a guarantee of fairness and due process, not as an excuse for managers not to manage, and not to cloak incompetence,” Weingarten said.
School reform advocates often point to teacher tenure as a roadblock to change. Those advocates say the promise of essential lifetime jobs has left teachers unaccountable and leaves students in classrooms with uninspired teachers. If a teacher has no real prospect of being dismissed, there is little a school official can do to force changes.
Correct, Weingarten said. Some teachers fit that bill and should be kicked out of classrooms if they have been given a manageable classroom and sufficient supplemental training.
“We want people to be prepared and supported,” she told reporters after the speech. “But if they can’t do our job, which is the hardest job in America, then they shouldn’t be there.”
But she also had harsh words for those who would fire teachers based on students’ performances on standardized tests. That practice has gained popularity as states have implemented school improvement plans to hold teachers accountable.
“I have a plea for those who fixate on how to dismiss teachers — a plea — fixate instead on how we nurture, support and keep them,” Weingarten said.
Follow Philip Elliott on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/philip—elliottMORE IN Wire NewsThe Los Angeles Dodgers said Shuba died at his home in Youngstown, Ohio. Full StoryHONG KONG — Hong Kong’s leader refused to meet with pro-democracy demonstrators by their midnight... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor, Venus Genetrix; on this day in 1933, FBI agents in Memphis, Tennessee, arrest Machine Gun Kelly; Yves Rossi flies the English Channel with home-made jet-pack.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1852, Henri Giffard demonstrates the first steam-powered airship, sailing 17 miles from Paris to Trappes; on this day in 1877, Japanese imperial troops crush the Satsuma Rebellion, Saigo Takamori dies in Kagoshima.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch meets with Killington business owners, governor candidates debate, Gov. Shumlin discusses progress in anti-opiate campaign, Spanos trial venue moves to White River Junction.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1776, as Nathan Hale is hanged by British military authorities for spying, he utters his famous last words — or does he? In 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempts to kill President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Patrick McArdle reports and the theft of an $89,000 shotgun, police release a video of the Monday Castleton robbery, O'Gorman reports a lawsuit by a local man claiming his vehicle unlawfully seized, police leave him in cold.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Giles Corey of Salem, Mass., is pressed to death during the Salem witch trials; on this day in 1952, film comedian Charlie Chaplin, while traveling to England, is denied re-entry into the United States by U.S. attorney general.