As a public school teacher and a vice president of the California Federation of Teachers, I agree that we need to streamline the procedures for terminating poor teachers. I don't want underperforming teachers in our classrooms, and neither does my union.
But what gets lost in this crusade to fire bad teachers is a much more serious problem: About half of the new teachers in our country leave within their first five years. It's not news to the young teachers that the job is tough; what is new is this aggressive tone we're taking with our teachers.
If we want great schools, we're going to need to find a way to attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession. And once we get them, we'll need to find a way to keep them.