What It Takes To Get Rid of a Bad Teacher in Chicago


The Chicago Tribune has put together a great, if depressing, graphic showing all the steps required to fire a tenured but ineffective teacher in the Windy City. The short version? It takes 2-5 years, and as many as 27 steps—which, according to the Tribune, is why many school principals don't even try. See the whole thing here.

In 2006, Reason published an illustrated guide to firing a teacher in New York City's public school system

NEXT: Stop Crying and Start Cutting

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  1. That’s the best argument against public employee unions I can think of.

    When I was was in private school as a kid? We had a teacher the parents didn’t like…

    And they fired him.

    No seriously. They fired him, and then he wasn’t a teacher at our school anymore.

    It’s a shame the way teachers’ unions trap financially disadvantaged students in substandard schools–schools with problems that don’t have anything to do with how much money is being spent on them.

    …but it’s even sadder (in its own way) that so many middle class kids get ensnared by the same thing! How does paying school teachers outrageous pension benefits help get rid of substandard teachers?

    That’s one of the reasons I would never work as a teacher. I’ve worked with incompetent people in the past, but over time, they generally get laid off or fired. I can’t imagine having to work everyday with incompetent people who never get fired…

    I’d rather pick strawberries for a living.

    1. You missed a key point as to why overachieving people generally do not work in unionized industries…

      “I can’t imagine having to work everyday with incompetent people WHO GET PAID THE SAME AS COMPETENT PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR YEARS SERVICE AND who never get fired”

      1. ^^THIS^^ is why I left teaching after a year to work in the private sector.

    2. At my private highschool teachers got fired all the time as well. Of course there were some older ones who skated by due to what I assume was school politics.

    3. …but it’s even sadder (in its own way) that so many middle class kids get ensnared by the same thing!

      I was one of those “middle class kids” that was failed by the public school system. I don’t necessarily agree with you that it’s more sad than poor kids getting shafted in the same way, but I do find it peculiar that it is so seldom discussed. I guess that for teacher unions to admit the problem extends beyond the ghetto would be to also admit that the problem isn’t bad kids or lack of funding.


    1. You beat me to it, Matrix.

      Anyway: “If that ‘bad’ teacher saves helps turn around the life of just *one* child ….”

      1. Then she’s still behind because of the other 9 students (small class size, of course) whose lives she ruined that year. But that would be math, and maths is hard.

  3. Good, but not as good as the classic Reason graphic about how to fire a teacher in New York.

  4. SPUTNIK!!!

    1. “SPUTNIK!!!”
      At the time, a local high school didn’t have enough math and science teachers for the new mandate/demand (I never knew which) in those subjects.
      The school did have language teachers with small classes, so they bumped the class sizes in languages and had the language teachers start teaching math (asking them to cover physics or chem was just too much).
      It was fun asking the Spanish teacher to explain certain algebra functions; as far as she was concerned, a prime number was the amount on her paycheck.

  5. Well, school isn’t really about the kids anyway, it’s about making sure ineffective immoible idiots can create the illusion that they are productive members of society by babysitting ADHD afflicted monkeys. Without school employing a signficant mass of people who have no business educating, we might actually have Americans willing to work in factories…and by Gore we can’t have that! SOMALIA!!!!

  6. Interesting. This is what it takes to fire a hospital attorney:

    CEO calls attorney, says “You’re fired.”

    1. We, uh, we fixed the glitch. So he won’t be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it’ll just work itself out naturally.

    2. Maybe not under Obamacare. The law is clearer with physicians: they can’t be fired or voluntarily leave.

  7. The really sad part is that this kind of reality will likely convince none of the dolts in Wisconsin who’re banging on drums and rending their clothes to stick up for the “common man” teachers.

    Do any of these useful idiots realize how spectacularly a public union employee can screw up and still retain a job and a pension? I guess it’s more important that a union member can demand a living at the expense of the hundreds of children they neglect every year.

    1. “Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year.”

      – NEA General Counsel (now retired) Bob Chanin in 2009

    2. I guess it’s more important that a union member can demand a living at the expense of the hundreds pairs of children they neglect every year.

      FTFY, due to the small class size initiative.

  8. The police union called and said that 2-5 years is far too fast! It’s practically a revolving door for professional public employees credibly accused of misconduct!

  9. Bad teachers? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

  10. Where are all of the usual suspects talking about the tons of layoffs of pubsec union employees?

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