Education Letter to the Editor

Firing Bad Teachers Trumps Retention Efforts

May 01, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)