What Should Happen with an Ineffective Teacher by Dr. Jay Hertzog

During a recent conversation, I was asked: “What happens – and should happen – with an ineffective teacher?”   Well, I’m certain my response will stir some controversy, but then again, the following is the approach I personally used as a principal. Briefly, this is what I recommend and the process I used.

First, if a professional educator is considered ineffective, it is imperative that the individual and his/her actions are documented through the professional evaluation system and that this system is used on every educator within the system.  In addition, every professional educator in the district MUST know the system used to define “effective”.  It then is up to the principal and department chair (high school), team leader (middle school), or lead teacher (elementary school) to work with the person to remediate and improve those skills found to been ineffective. Once again, it is IMPERATIVE that all such assistance be documented and that the person receiving the remediation receives copies of the summaries held to remediate (remember, the three key words in educational administration are:  DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT). This process of remediation should be completed in a reasonable amount of time; a time that MUST be specified in the district handbook/policy manual. If, at the end of that period of time, the person is still rated as “ineffective,” that rating, plus the documentation that has been done to remediate the issues in question, action must be taken to terminate the person’s employment.

It is important to note  that although the person may have achieved tenure, the courts do not recognize tenure.  Rather, when deciding on the termination of education employees, the courts look at whether an employee’s First (Freedom of Speech) or Fourteenth (Due Process) Amendments were violated. Therefore, when administrators hide behind a faculty member’s tenure as the reason for not pursuing those who are ineffective in the classroom, it is out of their desire to  avoid conflict and the process which will ensue termination of the employee rather than the issue of tenure.

EDITOR: You are encouraged to respond. Your comments will help to strengthen the profession. Thank you Dr. Hertzog.

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