According to Barrie Bennett, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the dismissal process is so onerous, the risk of reprisal from teachers’ unions so great, that “most principals find it’s not worth the effort.” Instead, they approve transfers, or hide struggling teachers where their deficiencies can go unnoticed. The result however, is this: a system that keeps incompetent teachers in the classroom.The Ontario stats are written as 27 since 2004, only 0.002 per cent of all teachers registered with the Ontario College of Teachers. That stat is likely flawed, simply based on the assumption that all OCT members are classroom teachers or teachers on other assignments. They're not. Principals, superintendents and directors of education all have to be OCT members-- and Macleans doesn't specify whether it accounted for these when it produced the stat in the article.
The fact that more bad teachers aren’t being fired is “a problem that nobody wants to talk about,” says (Virgina assistant principal Brendan) Menuey, who authored a 2007 study on the subject. Despite research indicating that about five per cent of every workforce is incompetent, he uncovered a truth about his district he describes as “scandalous”: less than one-tenth of one per cent of tenured teachers were being dismissed annually for poor performance.
I'd be curious to see how they got that number-- particularly since a lingering item on my to-do list is to crawl the entire database posted online and then do some number-crunching with it.
As to the issue itself-- "bad" teachers.
This is a minefield as far as I'm concerned. The effectiveness of a teacher is highly subjective, and there are few objective yardsticks by which to make a dispassionate judgment on a teacher's abilities. Do we fire teachers whose students suck at standardized assessments? Is it really entirely their fault?
There are some easy measurements however-- the obvious ones like abuse, bullying (yes, some teachers do that too), poor classroom management, etc. There are yardsticks for that, and it's a shame if some administrators feel as though they're just not up to challenging the federation to can a teacher who obviously shouldn't have gotten into the profession in the first place.
Perhaps if our teachers' college programs were, oh, better, we'd weed out more of these types of teachers before they ever entered the classroom.
However, how does one go about canning the teacher who's counting the paydays until retirement and has lost his/her fire? Or, in this age of children whose parents solve all their problems, do you can the teacher who actually makes students work? The one (of a decreasing number, some would say) who refuses to grade on a curve? Or, as asked earlier, the one whose students perform poorly on a standardized assessment?