Obama wants to give principals more firing power

If Obama has his way, principals will have the power to hire all new teachers, keep the good ones and get rid of the bad ones.

Principals at Fremont say this power would be good for schools, but they don’t think the plan will pass.

“In order for any enterprise to work, the supervisor must be able to act on poor performance,” said Daniel Hurst, princi­pal of College Preparatory and Architec­ture Academy.

Obama addressed the nation’s drop­out crisis on March 1, proposing $900 million be given to 5,000 of the nation’s lowest performing schools over the next five years if they make drastic changes, including getting rid of bad teachers.

Obama thinks his plan can help reduce the number of dropouts.

California has one of the highest dropout rates in the country, and Oakland is the worst out of all the districts in the East Bay; only 48 percent of students who enter Oakland public schools as freshmen graduate with a high school diploma four years later, according to California Department of Education.

It is unclear if any of Fremont Federa­tion of High Schools would be on the list of 5,000 schools that could receive the money.

None of the three schools that will continue to stay open on the Fremont campus next year were on the California Department of Education’s lowest-achieving schools list; however, Media Academy, Mandela Academy and College Preparatory and Architecture Academy have all been listed in the bottom 10 percent of California schools on the Academic Performance Index in recent years.

To get the money, schools would have to make big changes, including firing staff, establishing charter systems or shut­tering their facilities indefinitely, accord­ing to the Associated Press.

Fremont principals said that they don’t believe that this plan is necessary, but it would be nice to have the power.

“I don’t feel like I have any bad teach­ers,” said Media Academy Principal Benjamin Schmookler. “We might have average teachers, but overall we have really good teachers right now, to fire any would be a mistake.

However, Schmookler does feel that principals should be given the right to fire staff.

He said when he had to fire a teacher in the past, he was forced to collect mountains of paperwork to document why the teacher should be fired and go to court.