Resident protests teacher tenure, encourages merit pay

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Claiming some teachers in the Moffat County School District should not be in the classroom, Toby Grotz of Craig wrote a letter to the Moffat County Board of Education, Superintendent Duane Wrightson, school principals, Colorado State Board of Education and Gov. Bill Owens.

Grotz requested teachers be fired and hired as school officials see fit and "to actively seek to enact legislation that removes non-probationary status (tenure) and includes merit pay so that the best teachers can be rewarded for their efforts."

Grotz claims some teachers are damaging children due to their "incompetence." He wants to know which teachers are involved in the remediation process, a developmental plan that addresses corrections needed to be made by teachers. If corrections are not made during remediation, the teacher could be terminated.

Grotz wants to see these figures because he believes taxpayers have a right to know what they are paying for.

"I am sorry if you see my actions as destructive," Grotz told the Moffat County Board of Education.

According to Superintendent Wrightson, it is up to school principals to evaluate instructors and these evaluations are confidential. Wrightson is confident in the abilities of district principals.

"I feel good as a superintendent that our principals are doing very well," Wrightson said. "The point is we evaluate and try to help people become better teachers."

Wrightson cited Educational Statute 22:9:109, which states evaluation reports are to be kept confidential, and public record statute 24:72:204, stating what documents can and cannot be made public, as reasons why Grotz's claims and requests cannot be met.

Grotz came to his conclusion after hearing a statistic from the president of the National Education Association stating 60 percent of teachers in the nation should not be in the classroom. Grotz stated in his letter, "Do you have any staff members that should find another profession? Do you have any teachers that are on a remediation plan because they are not qualified by today's standards to be teaching, or do you support these people 100 percent, no matter what?"

Grotz believes every principal in every public school in the country has staff members that should be counseled to leave the profession or fired.

According to Wrightson, the statutes clearly spell out what teachers can be fired for and what information is public. He also commented there are five reasons why an instructor can be terminated. These reasons are incompetence, neglective duty, immorality, insubordination and budget restrictions.

"The public does not have a say in termination," Wrightson said.

Due to statutes and the evaluation process, nothing can be done to meet Grotz's claims. It is possible for the public to speak with school principals about certain instructors, but obtaining information on evaluations and teachers in remediation will remain confidential.

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