Say what you will about ABC News corresopndent John Stossel (and there's a lot to say), but his piece in The Reason about the difficulty in firing a NYC public school teacher is pretty great. There is an extensive two-page PDF that shows the complicated-beyond-belief process of how an administrator would fire a teacher - basically you need an iron-clad reason, nerves of steel, and a few years of patience.
The regulations are so onerous that principals rarely even try to fire a teacher. Most just put the bad ones in pretend-work jobs, or sucker another school into taking them. (They call that the "dance of the lemons.") The city payrolls include hundreds of teachers who have been deemed incompetent, violent, or guilty of sexual misconduct. Since the schools are afraid to let them teach, they put them in so-called "rubber rooms" instead. There they read magazines, play cards, and chat, at a cost to New York taxpayers of $20 million a year.
Once, Klein reports, the school system discovered that a teacher was sending sexual e-mails to a 16-year-old student. "This was the most unbelievable case to me," he says, "because the e-mail was there, he admitted to it. It was so thoroughly offensive." Even with the teacher's confession, it took six years of expensive litigation before the school could fire him. He didn't teach during those six years, but he still got paid—more than $350,000 total.
And the PDF is wonderfully illustrated by Terry Colon.