Two opinion pieces in the last few days offer an interesting juxtaposition: Center for American Progress analysts Ulrich Boser and Robin Chait write over at Politico about firing teachers, and call for more of it. The Times editorial page embraces the more systemic human capital approach that some charter school management organizations are employing.
Both make some good points but one of the key aspects of why the CMOs don’t have to fire many teachers is that they’ve become pretty good at hiring. That’s in part a result of the numbers of people who want to teach there — they can be selective — and also because of a lot of attention to this function. In other words, while the comprehensive approach is key, some things are absolutely necessary and better hiring = less firing. This is not, by the way, some sort of revealed truth. Rather, it’s common practice in high-performing organizations. The problem is how little attention has been paid to these issues in education.