This part right here is actually heart-rending:
Jettisoning a teacher solely because he or she can't teach is rare. In 80% of the dismissals that were upheld, classroom performance was not even a factor.Read the whole thing, here.
When teaching is at issue, years of effort - and thousands of dollars - sometimes go into rehabilitating the teacher as students suffer. Over the three years before he was fired, one struggling math teacher in Stockton was observed 13 times by school officials, failed three year-end evaluations, was offered a more desirable assignment and joined a mentoring program as most of his ninth-grade students flunked his courses.
As a case winds its way through the system, legal costs can soar into the six figures.
Meanwhile, said Kendra Wallace, principal of Daniel Webster Middle School on Los Angeles' Westside, an ineffective teacher can instruct 125 to 260 students a year - up to 1,300 in the five years she says it often takes to remove a tenured employee.
"The hardest conversation to have is when a student comes in and looks at you and says, 'Can you please come teach our class?' " she said.
When coaching and other improvement efforts don't work, she said, "You're in the position of having to look at 125 kids and just say, 'I'm sorry,' because the process of removal is really difficult. . . . You're looking at these kids and knowing they are going to high school and they're not ready. It is absolutely devastating."
The article cites Obama's major address on education in March, where he announced,"It is time to start rewarding good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones ... I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences."
But as the Times piece indicates, the nation's tenure system itself may protect bad teachers from facing the consequences of their poor teaching. And, think unions!