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I'd like to make something clear regarding my recent post on Waiting for Superman -- please don't read my post thinking that I'm necessarily drinking all of the Kool-Aid. I have questions and doubts just like
anybody else. I don't believe that charters and KIPP and Geoffrey Canada
are the end all be all, if you will. I'm a public school teacher who
believes very strongly that we need to fix our system and I believe that
teachers in the public schools are doing a tremendous job, day in and
day out. But I also believe that we need to accept our responsibility as
well.

I've received a couple emails since my post which have been critical of the stance that I've taken concerning the dismissal of bad teachers. I'd like to clarify my position, just to make sure that it's completely
understood. I believe that once a struggling teacher has been identified
(and I believe this is done through observations, not simply the result
of test scores), he deserves all the help a district has to correct the
problems. I believe that should this teacher not make the necessary
improvements -- and the commitment necessary for our profession -- then
the employer should be permitted to work to remove him. I don't believe
that this teacher should be able to hide behind tenure whatsoever, but I
do believe in due process. For some reason, this was misunderstood in
my last post.

In addition, I am a supporter of our unions; I grew up in a union household and was taught their value early on. I am also a building representative and have had the opportunity to work alongside men and
women who tirelessly work to make our working conditions better. Their
job is underappreciated and there are times I wonder why they put
themselves through the trouble. Selflessly, there are people working in
our unions every single day to help us in the classroom. I will never
believe that a failing teacher who refuses to work to get better and
show improvement, however, should be retained just because of having
taught for two to three years.

Our clientele is simply too precious to allow this to happen. There are Daisy's and Bianca's and Anthony's and Emily's and Francisco's in each and every school in our country. We must strive to make sure that
each one of our clients isn't forced to enter a high stakes lottery by necessity - but the choice should still be there.

There's not a doubt in my mind that I will be referring to this film in future posts -- if nothing else, the film has affected me in this manner -- we need to address these issues, and if it serves as a
rallying cry for the incredible professionals in our industry, then so
be it.


This post may be found at: http://dailylifeasateacher.wordpress.com

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Comment by Nathan Grimm on October 29, 2010 at 12:42pm
I totally appreciate where you are coming from. I think your views on the way underperforming teachers should be handled is very reasonable. Our education writer for My Dog Ate My Blog just did a piece on KIPP schools from her personal experiences, http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/blog/2010/10/28/kipp-schools/. I would love to hear what you think.

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