THE BLOG
10/26/2010 01:38 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Randi Weingarten: Don't Scapegoat Superintendents.

Last week I read Randi Weingarten's (President, American Federation of Teachers) blog post on how superintendents shouldn't scapegoat their teachers.

I hate to say this, but I often agree with Ms. Weingarten's positions.

I want it noted I'm not going over to the dark side (not that I'm implying teacher's unions are the dark side, they're just the opposite side... and everyone needs a villain).

If I can sum up Ms. Weingarten's position (and I think I can since this is my blog): teachers shouldn't be the only ones who are held accountable for student achievement.

Bravo! (sorry, I just went a little Broadway on you... consider yourself lucky I didn't throw in some jazz hands).

She believes responsibility for underperforming schools should also be placed on superintendents (and others, but superintendents made their way into the title of the article).

I couldn't agree more.

Everyone has a role in schools being successful: parents, teachers, communities, school board members, coaches, custodians, aides, secretaries and most importantly... lunch ladies (if you don't believe me... try being great on an empty stomach).

Superintendents need to lead this charge. They are in a position to demand excellence and accountability from others, but also ensure that teachers have the resources to help their students succeed (her words... not mine... because I'm not an attorney or president of anything).

I hate to take a hard line union position, but she's right (I'm morphing into Jimmy Hoffa right before your eyes).

Superintendents need to have higher expectations. They also need to put their students and teachers in a position to be successful.

She also points out we need to do a better job at collaboration and innovation.

Again, I agree.

I'm losing... power... to control... my... anti-union... thoughts.

Is it possible Ms. Weingarten is my kryptonite (superhero reference... always good for blog traffic). Is it possible I've been miscast? Could it be I'm not cut out for the role of superintendent?

Maybe I need to send the AFT several thousand dollars to catch up on my union dues.

I would if I could, but I can't. I don't completely agree with her and I just can't (you almost had me under your spell Madame President).

She's left out one fundamental fact.

Getting rid of bad teachers is too complicated.

It's too easy to get in a classroom and it's way too hard to remove bad teachers once they are there. Our tenured system is overprotective of bad teachers. The union is only as good as their worst teacher. This is unfortunate. Unfortunate for students who sit in these classrooms.

Unions like to focus on their best and brightest teachers (as they should).

Superintendents are put in a position where they have to deal with the not best and brightest (somebody has to do it).

We need a system that will allow us to quickly address (i.e. remove) the teachers who aren't helping students learn.

And I think the same type of plan should go for administrators.

If you're bad, get out.

If you aren't getting the job done you need to be gone today. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Not after two or three years of remediation. Not when you decide to retire.

Today.

I've heard the arguments about this not being fair. Evil administrators will get rid of great teachers (why would they do this?) People need time to improve.

I'm not buying this.

Students don't have time.

Their education is on the clock (tick, tick, tick).

We are in the business of helping students learn aren't we?

If a child has one terrible teacher during their 13 years of education, they've lost 7.7 percent of a quality education.

It only gets worse if they have two, or five, or nine bad teachers (if you don't believe me, ask a math teacher).

I wish teachers didn't get so much blame when it comes to failing schools. I wish it was spread around.

But teachers get blamed because they're 99.9 percent of the reason students succeed.