I know the teachers' union contract provides strong employment protection, but I don't think it's right to have students in classrooms with teachers who are 1) mean or disrespectful or 2) not contributing to students' learning.
What can/should parents do when faced with this kind of situation? What can/should other teachers at the school do? What is the role of the principal or the district administration? And how can/should the union contract change to reward good teachers while enabling bad teachers to be moved out of teaching positions.
To be clear, I'm not talking about teachers who are just perceived as average or below-average. I'm talking about teachers whose presence is detrimental to children. Below are comments from a couple of blog threads that indicate the kind of situation I mean.
[curious parent] Can anyone speak to the issue at West Woodland? My understanding is that several families have pulled their children from a second-grade class after complaints about the teacher were ignored.
[anonymous] Regarding West Woodland. It is a second grade teacher at West Woodland. A little boy got a concussion from "falling out of his chair and hitting his desk." The teacher didn't take him to the nurse or clean up the blood but said, something like show your mommy what happens when you don't know how to sit in your chair. She is the worst--throw her out!!! They also have a K teacher who shames all the kids. Beware touring parents. How come we can't get rid of these inept teachers???
[anonymous]...But for example-my child had a 5th grade teacher who anounced at the beginning of the year she didn't spend much time on math- this was at the beginning of the year classroom meeting. This teacher was also out of the classroom more than she was in it- but as she wouldn't go on leave a permanent sub could not be hired.This was 6 years ago-this pattern has continued since then and she is still teaching. One of the reasons why she is still teaching is because principals at the school (plural because they have averaged only a year or two before they move on) have other things on their plate besides encouraging burnt out teachers to retire.