Who Really Benefits?
Unlike many other professions, individuals in the teaching profession have as many opportunities to acquire and enhance skills while on the job, even when exhibiting poor performance (Seldin, 2005). Doctors, for example, are not allowed to practice if they have not acquired the necessary skills or with several malpractice complaints on their record. Allowing teachers to practice when their mediocre performance is documented often results in great cost to the school system fiscally and students academically. A study conducted by Zueleke (2001), concluded districts should monitor how and why material and human resources are utilized in the teaching and learning process (p. 394). By implementing such practices, districts can save money, recruit qualified teachers, and provide effective instruction.
Currently, the teaching profession is under public scrutiny due to the need to become more accountable for the academic achievement of all students. Heightened levels of accountability are being enforced by federal and state mandates to attain student achievement on high-stakes tests. With federal legislation, such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), more is required of educators in terms of certification requirements, qualifications, teaching strategies, and documenting overall student performance. Districts need to determine the most cost effective method of continuing to train non-performing teachers as compared to intensifying recruitment and hiring qualified teachers (NCLB, 2004). The financial burden in supporting non-performing teachers is no longer feasible and limits academic growth in today’s classroom. If not addressed soon, these important issues facing education will have an adverse effect on learning and society.
Keeping Nonperforming Teachers Cost Money
Teachers who continue to exhibit mediocrity are allowed to stay in classrooms, which impacts fiscal budgets and student learning. A staggering 85% of most school budgets are devoted to salaries and benefits (Odden, 2011, p. 14). Therefore, districts need do a cost analysis of the amount of money allocated for training ineffective teachers (p. 14). Do we continue to utilize time, money, and resources in assisting teachers in developing skills who continue to exhibit mediocrity? Schools and districts must begin to scrutinize allocation of professional development resources used to continue to develop an underperforming teacher. Researchers also state that the amount of funds spent on division-wide professional development does not change the teaching practices in the classroom or drastically change student achievement (p. 15). As educational leaders, the question of needs is asked; do we place more emphasis on our nonperforming teachers or educating our students? Districts have an obligation to ensure the educational needs of all students are being met and keeping a mediocre teacher is not cost effective.
Although some researchers suggest the lack of...