Dismissing Incompetent Teachers
In Texas, we’ve got an intractable problem with teacher quality. Half of our teachers are incompetent, half are indispensable. The only people capable of discerning which are which are powerless observers of this continuing tragedy.
It gets worse.
The Texas legislature and/or Texas courts, are about to do additional grievous harm to our children by enabling and perpetuating poor teacher performance. It appears they may flood our sickly system with billions of new dollars while demanding neither professional nor fiscal accountability from Texas public schools.
Both empirical and anecdotal analyses provide compelling evidence that not less than 50% of Texas teachers currently in the classroom should be summarily dismissed.
How did we get to this sad state of affairs? Poor education, over unionization, lax administration and parental disassociation has provided Texas with some of the worst results in the nation.
The following details the causes, the evidence and the cure.
Colleges of Education
On March 15, 2005, Dr. Arthur E Levin, President of Columbia University, the nations most prestigious teacher’s college, released a scathing report on the quality of colleges of education currently producing education leaders. He said the quality of programs was “Inadequate to Appalling.”
Issues elucidated include:
An Irrelevant Curriculum – The typical course of study amounts to little more than a grab bag of survey classes. Almost 9 out of 10 of program alumni said schools of education fail to adequately prepare their graduates to cope with classroom realities.
Low Admission and Graduation Standards – Education school faculty give students in leadership programs their lowest ranking on academic motivation and performance. As a group, those students appear more interested in earning credits and the salary increases that follow than in pursuing rigorous academic studies.
Weak Faculty – Graduate programs in educational administration depend too heavily on adjunct professors, most of whom lack expertise in the academic content they are supposed to teach. Their dominant mode of instruction is providing personal anecdotes from their careers as administrators.
Inadequate Clinical Instruction – Although many aspiring administrators say they want opportunities to connect university study with practical experience, meaningful clinical instruction is rare.
Inappropriate Degrees – There are too many degrees and certificates in educational administration, and they mean different things in different places.
Poor Research – Educational administration is overwhelmingly engaged in non-empirical research and it is disconnected from practice. Currently, the research in educational administration cannot answer questions as basic as whether school leadership programs have any impact on student achievement in the schools that graduates of these programs lead.
To arrive at these conclusions, Dr. Levine examined more than 1200 departments and schools of education across the country.
A June 22, 2005 Education Week article buttresses Dr. Levine’s conclusions. According to the article:
“After spending four years sifting through hundreds of studies on teacher education, a national panel has concluded that there’s little empirical evidence to show that many of the most common practices in the field produce effective teachers.”
The conclusion was published in a 766-page study produced by a panel of experts from the American Educational Research Association.
Additionally, a review of GRE scores supports the contention that those least qualified academically are presently in charge of our children’s academics. The following numbers were obtained from the 2004-2005 GRE Guide to the use of scores. The guide provided recent verbal and quantitative scores for a variety of disciplines.
Mean GRE Verbal Score for Education Students: 450
Mean GRE Verbal Score For Engineering Students: 471
Mean GRE Quantitive Score For Education Students: 531
Mean GRE Quantitive Score For Engineer Students: 722
Number of other disciplines, out of 6, with mean scores higher than Education: 6
Dr. Levine reports that education programs are engaged in a:
“Race To The Bottom”
in which they compete for education students by lowering standards and offering faster and less demanding degrees.
Independent evidence from a variety of sources supports his argument. Unfortunately, Texas is way out front in this race.
What Texas Educators Say
In a February 3, 2002 Dallas Morning News article entitled Harassment and Abuse Used To Push Teacher’s Out, the following quotes reveal the sad state of affairs in Texas Public Schools.
“School principals can recite the bloodless bureaucratic procedures and paperwork for evaluating, disciplining and firing bad teachers. In candid moments, they also can share stories about the practical methods they use to get rid of bad teachers.”
Why is this necessary?
“Firing isn’t easy. Texas employment law and teacher contract provisions make it difficult for principals to get rid of experienced teachers. They can rarely be fired on the spot unless they become criminals or blatantly derelict.”
“Documenting a case for termination can take one or two years and can result in costly legal proceedings if the teacher files an appeal.”
What damage is done to Texas children?
“The stakes are high when children land in a teacher’s classroom.” Dr. Mendro said. “Declines in achievement can last up to three years after a student leaves a bad teacher’s classroom”, he said. “It is a myth that if a kid has an ineffective teacher, you can make up the difference next year.”
How pervasive is the problem?
Dr. Robert Mendro, assistant superintendent for research and evaluation at Dallas Public Schools, has developed “Classroom Effectiveness Indices” on 6,000 Dallas Independent School District teachers. His research, which is based on pupils’ standardized test results, indicates that 30 percent to 40 percent of those teachers could be labeled as “ineffective”.
Reiterating, according to Texas public schools own internal research:
30% – 40% Of Teachers Can’t Teach!
External indicators, i.e., those that Texas public schools can’t influence, confirm that ineffective teaching is much more pervasive than the 40% acknowledged by Dr. Mendro.
Half Of Texas Teachers Can’t Teach.
Fifty percent of Texas public schools cannot meet Adequate Yearly Progress as defined by No Child Left Behind. For an expanded discussion: Click Here
Fifty percent of Texas High School Graduates require remediation in reading, writing or mathematics upon matriculation into a Texas state university. For an expanded discussion, Click Here
According to the April 2005 Intercultural Development Research Association Newsletter, Texas leads the nation in adult illiteracy.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is not impressed. According to their September 2004 “Report Card on American Education” spanning the period from 1981 – 2001, Texas’ National Ranking is 41 out of 50 states.
The Taiwanese kid cleaning our clocks with less than 40% of our per capita GDP is not impressed either.
Texas parents are frantic over the harm inflicted on their children.
How Stupid Are We?
- The people that educate our teachers tell us that the negligible rigor of their curriculum has resulted in a virtual degree mill. As evidenced by the results of the GRE and the comments of the people who train them, our education graduates are the least capable among us. We then take these “so-called” graduates and employ them to educate our children.
- We’re then told by the people that hired these “Educators” that as many as 40% of them are incompetent. Further, it’s going to take years to get rid of the worst of them. While Texas Public Schools are playing games to drive the flotsam into the street, our children are suffering. As Dr. Mendro disclosed, it will take years for Texas children to catch up, if they can at all.
- We then learn that 50% of our schools can’t make adequate yearly progress and that 50% of our graduates cannot read, write and/or compute.
- Unsurprisingly, this menagerie of misfits has provided Texas with the highest rate of adult illiteracy in the nation.
- Now, the Texas legislature and/or the Texas courts intend to give 100% of our teachers, regardless of competence, a raise along with billions more so they may continue to work their magic.
Just think, by providing these “Educators” more money and more time, we’ll soon have the highest rate of adult illiteracy in the world.
Stop The Insanity!
Texas public schools are doing irreparable damage to our children, our state and our nation. Nothing terrifies Texas Educrats more than a “Child With a Choice” or a “Parent With The Power of the Purse.” That’s what it will take to regain control of our schools. We can fix the problem tomorrow if our legislators will place children first.
Texas has teachers that can teach. Fifty percent of our schools did make Adequate Yearly Progress.
Let’s Put Those Teachers In Charge!
Fifty percent of our schools are producing graduates that don’t require remediation.
Let’s Put Those Teachers In Charge.
It’s impossible for the legislature or the courts to know which teachers are competent and which are disasters. The only people close enough to the situation to correctly ascertain the child’s progress is the parents.
Let’s take advantage of the most powerful force on earth to assure our children are educated. That force is a parent’s love for their children.
Here’s How We’ll Do It.
Rather than perpetuating a failed system, let’s provide parents the “Power of the Purse.”
Rather than compelling principals, superintendents and school boards to play games to get incompetent Educrats to leave, let’s permit parents to walk away from the incompetents, taking their children and their cash.
Rather than waiting decades for colleges of education to clean their house, let’s permit parents to select competent Texas Educators. Teacher’s that can teach will then be richly rewarded permitting them to establish legitimate schools that benefit students.
It’s imperative that parents are provided the power of the purse through 100% fully funded educational vouchers. Without parental control of their child’s education, we’re wasting lives, wasting money and throwing Texas’ future away.
No one, aside from the teacher’s unions and others of their ideologically inbred ilk, thinks our public schools are satisfactory. Why are we compelled to deliver our cash and our kids to these people?
For our children to succeed, we must have teachers with very high expectations and with a very good education themselves. A teacher can’t get kids to a level they themselves haven’t reached. The only person capable of discerning an instructor’s competence is the parent of the child receiving the instruction.
This Is a Matter of Justice and Injustice.
Defenseless Texas children are mandated to use “Educators,” up to 40% of which are recognized as incompetents by their schools. It is unjust to compel Texans to deliver our children to acknowledged incompetents.
Make no mistake; Texas already has unrestricted school choice if you can afford it. Why do we throw poor kids to the wolves? Texas needs to assure that family income is no impediment to learning. Texas needs 100% fully funded education vouchers so that all Texas children may attend the public, private or parochial school that best serves their needs.
With 100% fully funded educational vouchers all Texas children will have fully qualified teachers permitting them to reach their full potential. Who will assure they have qualified teachers? Texas parents!
Work With Us!
Contact the Governor, your state senator, state representative and your State Board of Education Representative today. Urge them to support 100% Fully Funded School Choice in Texas.
To find your Texas state representative, Click Here.
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