The Bloomberg administration has made getting rid of inadequate teachers a linchpin of its efforts to improve city schools. But in the two years since the Education Department began an intensive effort to root out such teachers from the more than 55,000 who have tenure, officials have managed to fire only three for incompetence.
Ten others whom the department charged with incompetence settled their cases by resigning or retiring, and nine agreed to pay fines of a few thousand dollars or take classes, or both, so they could keep their jobs. One teacher lost his job before his case was decided, after the department called immigration officials and his visa was revoked. The cases of more than 50 others are awaiting arbitration.
Lawyers for the department said an additional 418 teachers had left the system after finding out that they could face charges of incompetence. Because no formal charges were brought in these cases, the number is hard to corroborate; officials from the teachers’ union said they doubted it was that high.