Monday letters: Lawmakers should make firing bad teachers easier

May 12, 2014 

— At last someone is seeing the problem with education and teachers in South Carolina for what it is. A Senate proposal would be a step in the right direction (“Plan to make firing teachers easier likely dead for year,” April 4), and Sen. Paul Thurmond, who proposed the measure, and others deserve credit.

This is not an indictment on the many effective and competent teachers who help our students realize their full potential. The challenges and sacrifices that teachers make are enormous, and they deserve more recognition and remuneration than they have now.

However, it is high time we addressed headlong the outdated policies that make it difficult to fire ineffective teachers. Unfortunately, the schools and the districts know these problems exist but are handicapped because of seniority rules, among other factors. The idea that a beginning but competent teacher is not hired or is fired first needs to change for the sake of our children’s future.

Keeping incompetent teachers in our schools makes no good sense, but it won’t do us any good to engage in witchhunting or unfairly fire teachers; a reasonable balance is critical for ensuring quality and adequate remuneration for the many great teachers in our state.

If we fail to address this growing sense of complacency among teachers, it will erode quality and effectiveness in our schools.

No meaningful change will occur until we change the rules, irrespective of whose ox is gored. Only then would we begin to experience that positive shift in student performance.

Mike Bona

Columbia

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