To the Editor:
It is quite easy to share the anger of Randi Weingarten, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, when it comes to the application of theory that has obviously not worked to date to bolster teacher quality (“Scholars Suggest Policies to Bolster Teacher Quality,” April 11, 2007). But to argue that retaining teachers is a more crucial issue than firing bad ones is to call for the perpetuation of a gross disservice to students everywhere.
My school’s staff was reminded frequently of one question to ask themselves at the end of each school day: “If my own child was a student in each of my five classes today, would I have been satisfied with the level of instruction given?” To indicate that firing bad teachers is not crucial, or not as crucial as any other aspect of what we do, is to imply that we can write off certain classes and their students because it is more important to keep the teacher than to ensure the best educational experience possible.
Steven C. Appelbaum
Boca Raton, Fla.
A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 2007 edition of Education Week as Firing Bad Teachers Trumps Retention Efforts