In the discussion of how to get rid of bad teachers, both Cindi Ross Scoppe and Sen. Paul Thurmond fail to see where the problem likely is: with principals and administrators who hire without fully looking at or appreciating the qualifications of the teachers they interview and then assign these teachers to classes they are ill prepared to teach.
The teacher that Ms. Scoppe describes may not have asked to teach calculus, may not have wanted to teach calculus, but upon finding it on his schedule had no way to avoid it (“The cost of one bad teacher,” April 22). He may have been minimally qualified to teach math at all, but because he had those minimal qualifications and the principal needed a calculus teacher, he found himself doing that. One question Ms. Scoppe might ask is whether there was anyone at her school who could have shown the competence she desired and, if so, why that teacher was not in the calculus classroom. It may be lack of judgment on the principal’s part that gave her a weak teacher.
Those who are intent upon bashing teachers should look at educational leadership in schools and districts, and consider what it is doing or not doing to create a cadre of competent teachers who can use their expertise to the best advantage. If there are weak teachers in the classroom, there has to be some process by which they got there. It may be the process that is at fault, not the teacher.