Monday, January 24, 2011
Fire All the Bottom Teachers
The grants from Race to the Top encouraged 27 states to broaden their charter school laws, which will make it much easier for wealthy entrepreneurs like Dennis Bakke to expand their operations at a time when the economy has been hard on them. Many states now allow value added scores, which have been shown to be significantly more accurate than a coin flip, to be used to evaluate teachers. This week, Alabama finally outlawed teachers unions from deducting union dues from teacher pay checks, banned teachers from running for state legislature, and required teachers to ride in the back of the school bus on field trips.
Now, with a slow-moving economic recovery and no more federal stimulus dollars to spend, rumors are flying that in some cities 15 percent to 20 percent of teachers may face layoffs. We, have to ask ourselves, why stop there? Of course, states and school districts will look for other ways to cut costs. But when you get right down to it, firing teachers is more fun and there is no way that 1.2 million teachers losing their jobs will adversely effect the economy.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama should lead the charge for student accountability by announcing that teachers whose students were in the bottom quartile on state standardized tests need not report. The real tragic secret of American education is that fully 25% of public school students are in the bottom quartile on standardized tests and this is inexcusable. Once we fire those teachers, are schools will improve greatly. It would also be a great help if he announced that he was advocating making the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 permanent.