At Mr. AB’s underenrolled school, two very good teachers — “bright spots of energy and competence in a dismal landscape of apathy and incapability” — were let go. They had the least seniority.
(The principal) spoke of their dedication and competence, and said that it made him sad to see them leave while looking at what was allowed to remain in our classrooms. He recognized his own fault in not being tougher on the less competent teachers on our staff and said that this experience was going to help him change.
Normally, teacher competence isn’t discussed, Mr. AB says.
When three-quarters of my 5th graders cannot fluently subtract, there needs to be frank talk about how we, the teachers, are failing our students. We need to take the next step. We need to name names. We need to make our failing teaches face up to their litany of Fs just as we heap those marks upon our failing students. Firing teachers for incompetence is difficult but it can be done. Creating a climate where the incompetent are not welcome is much less difficult but it must be done.
The teachers who were let go found jobs at other schools. He doesn’t expect they will return.