Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rhode Island high school to fire every teacher

From the Providence (RI) Journal:
The teachers didn’t blink.

Under threat of losing their jobs if they didn’t go along with extra work for not a lot of extra pay, the Central Falls Teachers’ Union refused Friday morning to accept a reform plan for one of the worst-performing high schools in the state.

The superintendent didn’t blink either.

After learning of the union’s position, School Supt. Frances Gallo notified the state that she was switching to an alternative she was hoping to avoid: firing the entire staff at Central Falls High School. In total, about 100 teachers, administrators and assistants will lose their jobs.

Gallo blamed the union’s “callous disregard” for the situation, saying union leaders “knew full well what would happen” if they rejected the six conditions Gallo said were crucial to improving the school. The conditions are adding 25 minutes to the school day, providing tutoring on a rotating schedule before and after school, eating lunch with students once a week, submitting to more rigorous evaluations, attending weekly after-school planning sessions with other teachers and participating in two weeks of training in the summer.
The national unemployment rate stands at 9.7%.  Rhode Islands unemployment rate is 12.9%Central Falls High School ranks 45th out of 52 public high schools in the state.  The teachers at the high school make $70,000-$78,000, as compared to a median income in the town of $22,000.  And they refused to work 25 extra minutes a day, provide tutoring before and after school, eat lunch with students one day a week, submit to more rigorous evaluations, attend weekly after-school planning session and participate in two weeks of training in the summer?  In my experience, good teachers do most of these things without being asked.  The fact that the union would reject these reasonable conditions in this current economic and political environment is nothing short of astonishing.

People will move across the country to Rhode Island for those jobs.

1 comment:

  1. I teach in that district and trying to get correct facts straight to the public has been impossible. The salary everyone mentions $70,000+ would only be a teacher at top step (10 years) with a masters or more. We have many teachers at the HS in their 1-9th year which starts at about 40,000 with bachelor's. Even though we have some 20+ year teachers teaching there is no way median is that much. Also the union agreed to the same model but since they were under contract still they feel negotiations were necessary. These teachers already stay after and many take courses at night. They just didn't want to be dictated - and as far as the lunch issue they buy lunch often for kids (pizza) and really these high school kids say they want their freedom during lunch. Fine - give them lunch duty but don't make it sound like the teacher don't want to be around the kids. By the way the administration took away lunch duty two years ago to add professional development and the extra hour they already are mandated to stay after with no extra pay.