Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Why is it so hard to fire bad teachers?

With higher education tuition fees on the rise nationally, higher education students want to know where their money goes.

A portion pays the professors’ salaries, whether they are competent or not.

Community college campuses across the nation have their share of professors who do not meet the needs of the students, yet they still hold their tenured positions.

“Tenure is the status of holding one’s position on a permanent basis, granted to teachers, civil service personnel, etc. On the fulfillment of specified requirements,” defines Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

Tuition is expensive and it is important that it be applied to something that helps improve the education students pay to receive.

Of course professors should be paid for their job, but as in any other job, duties and responsibilities must be met.

Students should not have to rely on websites such as to find out if it is even worth their time to attend a certain professor’s class.

That alone is proof that tuition money is being spent on professors who do not do their best job but continue to be employed in colleges.

California’s Education Code, section 87732 states that a tenured professor, also known as a faculty member, can be fired for several reasons, including unsatisfactory performance as long as the appropriate procedures are followed.

However, the reality is that termination of a tenured professor can be a difficult, lengthy and an expensive process.

“In one of the first legal test cases challenging the firing of a teacher for ‘unsatisfactory performance’—which recently replaced ‘incompetence’ on the statutory list of acceptable reasons for teacher dismissals—costs are estimated to run as high as $500,000,” wrote Sigrid Bethan in his 1999 article, “Tracing the Roots of Teacher Tenure,” published in the California Journal.

The strongest evidence on how difficult it is to fire a tenured professor is the lack of evidence itself. The last tenured professor fired in the state was a University of California Riverside finance professor, Sarkis Joseph Khoury in 2012.

It took more than two decades for the Khoury to be dismissed as he and the university continuously filed lawsuits against each other.

A tenured professor has the right to dispute the charges presented against him, which is another reason why colleges shy away from trying to dismiss them in the first place.

“If it is difficult — purposely difficult — to fire a tenured professor, it’s also very hard to become one,” states the National Education Association website.

In the state of California contracted or probationary academic employees of community colleges are considered for tenure based on annual evaluations for three consecutive academic years’ service.

Probationary professors are held more accountable than tenured ones who only need to be reviewed once every three academic years.

This is a flaw in the system; tenured professors need to be evaluated more often.

It would give them a reason to do their job well and not become complacent with their teaching.

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