Friday, June 13, 2008
The Collaterial Damage Done To The Students When A Teacher Is Removed
The DOE's dirty little secret is the damage that is done to the students when a teacher is removed from his/her classroom. While a few teachers need to be removed because they really are a danger to their students (examples: sexual abuse, corporal punishment, gross incompetence, and drugs etc.). However, the DOE has lumped teachers accussed of these serious behaviors with the 93% of teachers who will end up back in the classroom. The DOE refuses to differentiate between minor or frivolous incidents, if they are even true, with serious incidents. The lack of a clear and fair removal policy allows Tweed to encourage principals to remove teachers at will. Especially highly-paid veteran teachers. Moreover, the unfair, one-sided, and biased investigation process allows the DOE to keep teachers in "rubber rooms" for over two years at full pay until their 3020-a hearings are completed.
While these teachers will eventually find their way back to the classroom, what about the students they left behind? The DOE does not even acknowledge the collaterial damage to the students that removing a teacher brings. In many cases the school must use substitutes or ATRs that are not even certified in the subject area for the remainder of the school year. In fact some special programs such as Advanced Placement classes must be discontinued in mid-year due to a lack of a quality teacher. Further, the trust between teacher and the students is destroyed and any academic progress is reversed. Moreover, the removal of a fellow teacher lowers morale and inhibits other teachers to make the extra effort to reach the difficult student. Finally, the removal of a teacher from the classroom may be a short-term victory for the principal, it is a long-term disaster for the school as teacher distrust and fear make cooperation and collaboration with the administration highly unlikely. This lack of unity affects the student body as well as few teachers are willing to sponsor clubs or provide adult direction for student activities for fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior. Is it any wonder that overall student achievement is flat?
It is a pity that in the zeal by Tweed to get teachers to retire or resign they seem to have forgotten their prime responsibility. To do what is best for the students. In the wacky world of DOE "children last" continues.