Thursday, March 03, 2011

An Illustrated Guide to Firing a Tenured Public School Teacher

Krykee doodle. I thought hammering out an I.E.P. for my kid was excruciating.

This chart is courtesy the Chicago Tribune and illustrates the typical termination process in the Chicago public schools. Note at the very bottom it states, "Total elapsed time: 2-5 years. At any point in this process, the teacher can retire or - if offered - take a buyout."

What's left unsaid is "at tax payer expense." Or perhaps it's simply understood a terminated employee is bought off under terms of the teacher's union contract.

This type of overpriced, byzantine bureaucracy is a textbook example why I usually refer to any and all public schools and teachers as government schools and teachers.

Illinois is not alone in this expensive labyrinth.

In 2010, the Alabama Legislature had to revise that state's tenured teacher law to allow for a teacher convicted of a class A felony, such as murder, first degree rape, arson, robbery or burglary, as well as sex offenses, to be terminated without pay (yes, really).

Last month in Ohio, an eighth-grade science teacher named John Freshwater was finally fired by the Mount Vernon school board. Mr. Freshwater made headlines after he used a Tesla coil in his science classroom to burn crosses into the arms of willing students. This was one of many infractions.

Yet, it took nearly two years of hearings, and 6,500 pages of testimony to terminate John Freshwater. It cost the tax payers of that district $900,000.00! Most of that went to lawyers representing the district.

As a result, Ohio lawmakers seek to revise some of the provisions in a 1941 law known as the Ohio Teacher Tenure Act.
"The provision on teacher hearings as it appeared in 1941 in the Ohio General Code, the forerunner of the Ohio Revised Code, reads almost word for word with today's law, down to that the hearing can't be "held during the summer vacation without the teacher's consent."
Your tax dollars at work.
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