The US Chamber of Commerce’s new report, “Leaders and Laggards, A State-by-State Report Card on Education Innovation” takes a dim view of Kentucky’s policies for removing ineffective teachers from the state’s classrooms. The Chamber awarded us an overall grade of “F” for our performance on these teacher policies.
That is no surprise. Kentucky doesn’t even have a formal process to remove the teaching certificates of ineffective teachers.
This figure, derived from data in a table on page 35 of the Chamber report, shows how our principals answered several interesting questions concerning the teacher removal issue.
As you look at the figure, consider that a lower number means the issue is a bigger problem in removing ineffective teachers from our classrooms. The fact that the first four items are relatively big impediments to removing poor performing teachers is no surprise. But, these tend to be even bigger issues here than in other states with better policies.
For example, while only 14 percent of our principals say that tenure does not unduly get in the way of removing poor teachers, across the nation 28 percent said this isn’t an issue.
One statistic cited in the Chamber’s report stuck me as quite interesting. It is the percentage of principals in each state that say teacher removal is not adversely impacted by any difficulty in finding replacements. Here in Kentucky, a very large 72 percent of the principals say that the need to find a replacement teacher isn’t a big factor in the removal process. Apparently, most of our principals believe replacements are available for poor performing teachers.
In Kentucky, even in those relatively rare cases when poor performing teachers somehow wind up leaving one school system, they too often just show up in another school somewhere else in the state. That is due in part to a teacher evaluation system that functions mostly as a rubber stamp rather than a real analysis program that could alert the prospective new school district to the teacher’s true performance.