Sunday, February 9, 2014

Let's fire all the third grade teachers!

The Detroit Pistons fired their coach today (Sunday, February 9). Mo Cheeks was hired just last summer. Several months and fifty games later he is done.

Maurice Cheeks
Pistons owner Tom Gores simply said, "Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change."

Results matter. 

Yet, this seems a little premature.

Tom Gores, the owner, fired Cheeks. As it should be. He hired Cheeks. Just last summer, Mr. Gores said, "After spending some time with Maurice, I was very impressed not only with his basketball knowledge but his communication and leadership skills."

Yet, now Mr. Gores clearly is no longer impressed. Mr. Gores did not say anything about Mr. Gores' lack of performance. 

And so it goes. Those that are hired are fired. Those that hire basically say its not their fault. 

Teachers in Michigan know how that feels. 

Michigan's state legislature has created a teacher evaluation system that requires a "student growth" component. It seems that teachers are being blamed.

Let's be clear. It is critically important that our students learn. 

And teachers are hired to teach students. So it would seem natural that if students do not learn we could blame the teachers. After all, "with our talent . . "

But that's not fair. Oh, certainly, teachers need to be able to demonstrate that students are learning. That is their job - to teach.

But those of us who hire, the Superintendents, the Boards of Education, we need to do our part. We need to focus on class size, support, materials, buildings, professional development. 

We are in this together. 

We can't fire all the third grade teachers. It would not be fair. It would not be appropriate. 

Instead, I need to listen to the teachers. What do they need to do their job? What is making their job difficult? How can I help? 

I need to support teachers not fire them.

Mr. Gores can fire Mo Cheeks.

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