Opinion
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

School Boards and Tedium Mar Evaluation Process

April 14, 2015 1 min read

To the Editor:

I am retiring this year after 41 years in education, and I want to comment on the Commentary by David Finley (“Teacher Tenure: An Innocent Victim of Vergara v. California,” March 4, 2015) on teacher tenure.

As a superintendent and a principal for many years, I have been successful in not renewing the contracts of incompetent tenured teachers based on evaluations. Although it takes more time and work, it can and should be done.

However, the essay fails to mention that in order to be successful, the administration must have the support of its local school board. This is sometimes difficult to obtain in smaller districts, where the tenured teacher may have friends on the board or may even be related to a board member. My experience has been that once a principal takes a recommendation of non-renewal to the school board that is justified and properly documented, and it is not supported for personal or political reasons, the principals of the district get the message to leave the tenured teachers alone. The board has basically destroyed the teacher evaluation system that was in place.

I also found another statement in the Commentary ironic. While it is true that it does not take long at all to determine an outstanding teacher from an incompetent one, the evaluation system required in most states has become so tedious and time consuming that it bogs down the entire process. Principals do not need to waste their time with a lot of documentation when they already know a teacher is outstanding, other than to express appreciation to the teacher for the job performed. They need to spend their time working with the weaker teachers, and if improvement is not made, remove them from the classroom.

Jerry Noble

Superintendent

Greene County Tech School District

Paragould, Ark.

For more reader opinions about Vergara v. California and the implications for teacher tenure, browse the following letters:
“Teacher-Tenure Essay Draws Passionate Response,” April 15, 2015.
“Bad Leaders Damage More Than a Classroom,” April 15, 2015.
“Teachers Aren’t Alone in Being Vilified,” April 15, 2015.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 15, 2015 edition of Education Week as Teacher-Tenure Essay Draws Passionate Responses

Events

School & District Management Live Event EdWeek Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

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

Teaching Profession Why Teachers Leave—or Don't: A Look at the Numbers
New EdWeek survey results reveal why teachers consider leaving the profession, and how the pandemic has changed their decisionmaking.
6 min read
v40 32 Teacher Retention INTRO DATA
Stephanie Shafer for Education Week<br/>
Teaching Profession We Asked Teachers How They Want to Be Appreciated. Here's What They Said
All they need is respect, independence, a break, and a heartfelt word of thanks after a difficult year.
3 min read
Image shows a teacher in a classroom.
skynesher/E+
Teaching Profession New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning
As school districts plan for online learning to continue beyond the pandemic, they'll need teachers to staff those virtual classrooms.
4 min read
Teaching Profession Teacher Salaries Are Increasing. See How Your State Compares
The National Education Association warns that some of the progress in teacher pay could be jeopardized by the pandemic.
2 min read
Teacher Salary Rankings 04262021 943331302
iStock/Getty Images Plus