Should we fire bad teachers, and close poorly performing schools?
I went to see Geoffrey Canada’s speech at UTC on February 15. What he said left me feeling both motivated and depressed. He spoke about inequalities and gaps in education, the unpreparedness of the US government for a solution, and the fact that there are many people who simply don’t care enough about America’s children.
A recurring issue in his speech was to hold educators responsible for children’s learning. It is also the reason behind his opinion that bad teachers should be fired, and poorly performing schools should be closed.
I enjoyed Mr. Canada’s analogy to the math problem involving two trains going from point A to point B at the same speed, but leaving at different times of the day. When is train B going to catch up with train A? – Never. It is the same way with students who are behind grade level. Extra accommodations are needed.
A child’s ability to stay focused and retain information can be affected by something as simple as not eating breakfast before going to school, or not being dressed well enough for cold weather. These are just two examples of the simplest possible reasons for a child’s underperformance on a given day. This is why schools should be better prepared to take care of children. I believe a school should be like a second home to a child. There should be accommodations such as meals and snacks, extra clothing, and extra time in the day to accommodate teacher preparation and difference in children’s learning speed.
I agree with Mr. Canada’s opinion that bad teachers should be fired. I also think that some of them should be offered a chance to succeed in a better school environment – such as a charter school (unless it was somehow proven beforehand that their lack of success is due to a total lack of care toward their job and the students). Just as we want our doctors to care about us as patients and devote their full abilities to solving a problem, we want our teachers to care about our children, and be willing to spend more time on their job. As it was mentioned in the movie The Lottery: Time should be the variable – Achievement should be the constant.
It is true that teachers should not be the only people responsible for a child’s success. Parents should be involved not only at home, but at their child’s school as well. Unfortunately, not all parents are made equal, and not all parents have the time needed to devote to their child and school. The government can take action against a teacher’s under-performance, but not much can be done about busy or uncaring parents.
For more information on this topic:
Harlem Children’s Zone
Waiting For “Superman” Movie
The Lottery Movie