Being able to dismiss poor teachers or those that do not fit in with a school’s culture and philosophy is an important aspect of education reform. To do so, I think it is pivotal to do away with the current system of tenure. However, there should be measures to protect teachers. If a useful evaluation system is put in place, the teachers with good evaluations can be safeguarded from being dismissed due to differences with management. The unions can also institute measures to safeguard teachers with good track records who perhaps are going through a difficult period. After a negative evaluation, these teachers can be offered extra paid training. If the problem persists for a certain period of time and various avenues to address the problem have been pursued, then hopefully teachers can be let go without expecting a court battle with the union. Furthermore, if teachers are excessed by committees that include fellow educators, then the decision won’t be unduly based on one person’s bias or the desire for management to cut short-term costs.
It is also important to not force transfers or limit the hiring options of schools. The system of “mutual consent” that was adopted in New York appears to solve this problem. However, the problem of paying the teachers in the reserve pool persists. Without the overprotective policies of tenure, some of those problems will go away. Teachers who do go into the reserve pool should be paid a lower salary, perhaps an entry-level salary or ¾ of what they would expect to be earning. There should also be limits to how long teachers can stay in the reserve pool and get paid a salary. To aid the teachers in reserve, after a period of time they should receive the first notifications of open positions and have the first opportunities to interview for them.