Opinion: ‘Solutions’ for broken schools are simple — except in the real world

Barth Keck
Barth Keck

Barth Keck is an English teacher and assistant football coach who also teaches courses in journalism and media literacy at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

Schools are broken. We have to fix them. What can we possibly do?

Well, the fundamental job of schools is performed by teachers. So teachers must be the problem. Let’s fix the teachers.

Let’s start by eliminating tenure. Too many bad teachers remain in classrooms because of ironclad tenure laws. If we eliminate tenure, then we’ll eliminate all of the bad teachers. And if we eliminate all bad teachers, every student will learn at a higher level.

We can also get more bang for our buck if we get rid of silly ideas like tying teacher pay to additional college degrees.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


5 responses to “Opinion: ‘Solutions’ for broken schools are simple — except in the real world”

  1. John Hamlin

    The tenure, LIFO, and no performance evaluation policies applicable to Connecticut teachers are a recipe for failure. Until we hold teachers accountable and give administrators and school boards the right to run schools, we should stop pouring our money down the drain. There’s a reason charter schools perform significantly better than our unionized public schools.

  2. EveT

    The opening premise, that “schools are broken,” is highly questionable. Could some of our schools be better? Yes. Could many of our schools be better? Probably. But “broken”? This brings to mind the old saying that no politician ever won an election by saying that our schools are doing just fine.

  3. Admo

    Tenure is not the problem. Poverty, uninvolved parents, non- English speaking parents who cannot help their kids, lack of discipline , teaching to the test. Charter schools do not always do best and if they do it’s because of parent involvement in their children’s education. There are much more stringent teacher evaluations and steps to eliminate bad teachers. They have 4 years to get tenure. Maybe principals aren’t doing their jobs evaluating new teachers and weeding them out.

  4. Casey Smith

    There are multiple components to student learning, but the big three are the teachers, the students and the students’ families. Two of the three I just named are not school building based.
    It’s easy to blame it all on teachers, after all, they are the ones on the front lines. However, knowledge is acquired, not simply imparted. And the only way that it is acquired is by student effort. Teachers can make the lessons more “attractive” and interesting, but at the end of the day, when the students walk out of the classroom door, the burden is on them to actually remember the information.
    Even the elite prep schools have students who fail simply because they don’t value education or see its relevance. And when the tuition is in the thousands of dollars per semester, “bad” teachers are not a factor. A “bad” teacher will be gone in a heart beat.
    So, while I am no fan of tenure, I’m not convinced it’s the monster in the closet as far as education goes. There’s too many moving parts in a classroom (disabilities, language, peer pressure, etc.)to blame it all on tenure. And since I went to school (so last century!) with a kid who had his own custom pool cue with its own zippered carrying case and loudly proclaimed his lofty ambition was to drive a dump truck, I understand not every student has a goal of becoming the CEO of a major company, a doctor or a lawyer.
    It’s time to stop beating on teachers and start realizing that students are not from cookie cutter molds.

  5. John Hamlin

    So teachers are not to be evaluated, held accountable, or removed when they are failing? Just blame it on the students? While students and their parents are a HUGE part of the problem, the teachers are the only part that the city and the taxpayers can control to some extent. Except that the unions block all progress. Even a California court rules that tenure and LIFO rules were unconstitutional and damaged children. Wake up and smell the repeal of tenure on the horizon! And celebrate its demise.

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