I just read the weirdest thing on Roadrunner: In Buffalo, teachers get free plastic surgery. So do other public workers, like cops and firemen. The union contracts have allowed this for about 40 years. No deductibles. It costs the school district something like 5.9 million dollars a year.
The school district has a 42 million dollar deficit.
I don’t know, guys. I love teachers, but this stinks.
In New York, the teachers’ union has come to an agreement with the city in which teachers will start being evaluated in 2014. The evaluation will be based 60% on teacher performance and 40% on students’ performance. In my school district, I would think this would be something the teachers would like, because I’m sure these evaluations would tell the district that they have an amazing group of teachers. We’ve had some great teachers over the years.
But we’ve also had a couple, a very few, stinkers, teachers who were bored in the classroom, mean to the kids, inconsistent, unstable, unable to control the class, unable to understand that “learning disability” does not mean “lazy little sh**,” had half the kids drop the class. And the district is stuck if the teacher has tenure. They can’t get rid of them. When you complain about a tenured teacher, no one wants to talk to you.
What bothers me about the New York contract is that it wipes the slate clean for the teachers. Any complaints, issues, problems from the past will be forgotten. All the previous documentation is disregarded, maybe even years of problems. What happens in the next two years determines whether they stay or go.
Somehow we’ve lost sight of what’s important in the schools: What’s best for the kids? If a teacher has good health care, they don’t miss school as often and they do a better job for the kids. All for it. But plastic surgery? How does that help the kids?
I hate to ever say anything negative about teachers, because my kids’ teachers have largely been my partners in helping my kids succeed in school, and I think most of them become teachers because they are called to it. They do it because they love kids and they are passionate about education, not for the money.
But keeping bad teachers on the job just makes the good teachers look bad too. If you were a good teacher, why would you want a bad teacher to get the same money, the same treatment that you get? Shouldn’t you get a bonus, extra recognition, more job security for being a great teacher, not an ineffective teacher who lost the fire in the belly for this job years ago and is just treading water until retirement?
And why doesn’t anyone ever ask the parents how they think their kids’ teachers did this year? Who better to give you an evaluation than the people who worked with the teacher all year long?
Everyone talks about the kids and the teachers, but no one ever talks about the parents in this triad unless it’s to say, “We don’t get enough parental involvement, and the kids suffer.”
Maybe we’d be more involved if anyone ever listened to us. Just a thought.