School Committee Fires Entire RI School - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-24-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 24,999
Local Time: 12:05 PM
School Committee Fires Entire RI School

Duncan applauds vote to fire entire RI school

February 24, 2010

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. --The U.S. Secretary of Education is applauding the vote to fire all the teachers at the high school in Central Falls because it is one of the worst performing schools in the state.

"This is hard work and these are tough decisions, but students only have one chance for an education," Duncan said in Wednesday's edition of The Providence Journal, "and when schools continue to struggle we have a collective obligation to take action."

The Central Falls School Committee on Tuesday evening voted 5-2 to fire every educator at the school, from teachers to guidance counselors to the principal, at the end of the school year. The vote came the same day that State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist approved the firing plan, which was recommended by Superintendent Frances Gallo, and gave the district 120 days to come up with a detailed plan.

Central Falls Teachers Union President Jane Sessums says she is reviewing several legal options.

Central Falls High School, the only school in this tiny and impoverished city of one square mile just north of Providence, is persistently one of the worst-performing schools in the state. Only about half its students graduate, and only 7 percent of its 11th graders were proficient in math in 2009.

The plan was developed because of a federal effort to makeover failing schools. Those schools can select one of four options to fix themselves, which include requiring a longer school day, turning management over to a charter school, firing the entire teaching staff and rehiring no more than half, or closing the school.

In Rhode Island, Gist identified the state's six worst performing schools and asked the superintendents to develop plans to fix them. The other five schools are in Providence, and their plans are due to Gist by March 17.

Gallo and the teachers had been negotiating for a longer school day and other provisions, but talks broke down over money. She said earlier this month that she had no choice but to fire all the teachers, and rehire no more than half.

Hundreds of people attended a rally at a city park before the school committee meeting, many of them union members.

"This is immoral, illegal, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful and disrespectful," George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, told the crowd.

Mark Bostic, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers, said it would stand behind the teachers "as long as it takes to get justice."

------

Information from: The Providence Journal, Rhode Island, Providence, news, sports, entertainment, ads | projo.com | The Providence Journal
__________________

__________________
MrsSpringsteen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
Vincent Vega's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Berlin
Posts: 6,615
Local Time: 06:05 PM
Because it simply must be the incompetent staff.
__________________

__________________
Vincent Vega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2010, 05:08 PM   #3
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,430
Local Time: 05:05 PM
Up to half of them could be rehired.

Not sure what to do here -- seems to be a lose-lose scenario.
__________________
nathan1977 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2010, 07:08 PM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
the iron horse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: in a glass of CheerWine
Posts: 3,252
Local Time: 12:05 PM
"The plan was developed because of a federal effort to makeover failing schools."

~MrsSpringteen


It's called No Child Left Behind and it was one of President George Bushes
first action as president. Ted Kennedy was a co-sponsor.

It is the most invasive program ever passed by the federal government.

Signed in by a Republican

I teach 7th grade in a public middle school. NCLB has put the screws on teachers and has only caused more stress and more stupid red tape for teachers to dance through.

It's been a mess.

President Obama has hinted at changing the requirements for schools that NCLB demands.

I hope something is done.
__________________
the iron horse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 01:06 AM   #5
Refugee
 
U2387's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,217
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Tough decision here is 100% right.

Usually under performing inner city schools are in places that have larger populations and therefore, more schools than Central Falls. So closing schools is usually an option, one that Duncan employed many times at the helm of the Chicago School system with much success.

I don't think that this should be replicated everywhere, and I think the Obama/Duncan guidelines in awarding Race To The Top grants make clear it is the least desirable option and one that is ideally used as a last resort.

NCLB, as iron horse points out, was largely an invasive unfunded mandate. The unfunded part of that equation rendered it meaningless, beyond its testing requirements, etc, most of which were already in place in some form in every state. The concepts of NCLB are not new, we have done standardized testing and accountability based funding since 1964.

Obama's efforts at changing it have so far have focused on how to actually spur real education reform and get results as opposed to keeping it as a sweeping, unfunded mandate that is invasive in nature and short on substance.

The race to the top grants to states are coming with strings attached- most prominently with respect to charter schools and improving under performing schools. The MA legislature was forced kicking and screaming into lifting the charter school cap at the end of 2009 in order to be eligible for the money.

The major problem I have with teachers' unions is they will play the victim card to no end(as they are doing now) but will often fight tooth and nail any reform that would have avoided whatever situation they term as the next grave injustice. They resist charter schools reflexively, though they are successful, resist proven reforms, in Central Falls, they resisted a longer school day, etc.

I have no problem with teachers' unions existing, and I think that overall, we pay teachers way too little for the emphasis all of our politicians regardless of party place on the importance of education. When we have the money to spend, it should be domestic priority #1 after taking care of our veterans. I have never supported private school vouchers(if the state is giving you a Cadillac and you want a Bentley, make up the difference yourself) and I think merit pay should NEVER BE tied to standardized test scores. We need to look at the overall credentials and effectiveness of the teacher if we are giving merit pay.

However, these organizations have become entrenched interest groups in and of themselves, and many times will use most of their clout not to advocate for better wages or smaller class sizes, etc, but to actively resist effective reforms. Worst case scenario(which unfortunately happens alot in MA), they will defend tooth and nail groups of teachers who have been proven time and time again to be ineffective at their jobs.

My uncle is a Boston public school teacher who is in charge of summer remedial courses for poorly performing teachers and often they will treat the entire class as a joke, literally act like little children, etc because the union continues to require the jaws of life to deliver a pink slip. He has also been in the negotiation room with the Union and The City during this recession. They were going to lay off hundreds of teachers, and they could have avoided it by having everyone pay 15% of their health care premiums instead of 10. Not one teacher would have been laid off. The teachers' union negotiator, making $250,000, the grand savior of the working class and defender of the downtrodden that he is, decided to fight this tooth and nail and the city sent out the pink slips the next week.

In my experience, teachers unions are notorious for having the budget opened right out in front of them, shown that the city or whoever has no money, can not make their demands this year without going even more broke, reminded by the Mayor that they are and have been his 1st priority when times are good, and still refusing to understand the situation. If the people you work for are legit broke and can not afford to pay you now without jeopardizing the entire future, then it is not right to go out and make them into satan with your radio ads, especially if the officials in question have strong pro labor, pro education credentials. Last I checked, Mayor Menino did not trade in derivatives or hand out no documentation loans or not pay for 2 wars. Sadly, they do this all the time in MA.

Pro teacher, pro education is absolutely necessary. Teachers are the dedicated professionals who make most of it happen, no disputing that anywhere. Still, we should never lose site of the fact that setting up a massive education system and pumping federal money into it in hopes of preparing our kids for leadership in the global economy is serious business and must come with a laser beam focus on results. Nothing should be more important than providing the best quality education to our kids.

Sometimes it results in an unfortunate situation like Central Falls. I just feel bad for what is undoubtedly a good amount of truly dedicated professionals who will lose their jobs because of years of neglect(RI is impoverished, has been hit hard by the recession and is EXTREMELY CORRUPT) and the intransigence of the union in Central Falls.

Not to turn everything into politics, but education reform is an area that Obama has been more effective at in a year than anyone else has been their entire presidency. This is rarely if ever mentioned, and is NEVER mentioned in the context of it being done despite major opposition from interest groups and the left wing of his OWN PARTY. So the media will keep airing the tea party claims of a far left agenda, while they will ignore real policy implementations that show Obama standing up to interest groups in his own party, just as he promised throughout the campaign. Goddamn liberal media.
__________________
U2387 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 11:42 AM   #6
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
WildHoneyAlways's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: In a glass case of emotion
Posts: 8,158
Local Time: 11:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by U2387 View Post
Tough decision here is 100% right.
Are you willing to work a longer work day for the same pay?

Oh and Race to the Top is taking away the $232,000 grant we were awarded this year because we will not close our school, fire all the teachers, turn into a charter school. etc. (The grant would have potentially lasted 3 years @ $232,000 each year) I have never been a fan of Obama's education plans.
__________________
WildHoneyAlways is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 01:50 PM   #7
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 12:05 PM
When Phil worked for the worst public school in the district, it was an eye-opening experience for us (both of us had private ed as kids, me because the public schools in the district where we lived were failing and downright dangerous). It seemed to me that their problems were bureaucratic. The principal was making well over six figures yet was only working at the school part time and the time he was there was basically useless since kids and teachers alike did not respect him. The teachers were forced to use curriculum that made learning either very boring or very complicated. For example, Phil's kids basically only did reading and math, reading and math, reading and math....I was trying to give him ideas for fun science projects and he said they only do science like once a week, and once again are required to adhere to a strict curriculum based on tests and standards. No wonder the kids have no focus and act out! My memories of grade school were fun. That's not to say I didn't struggle with some things, but we did fun projects and I learned to enjoy reading and for the most part worshiped my teachers. When I was in first grade, my mom read with me almost every night. In his school, there was no support at home. Many of the kids were being raised by their siblings who were also still in grade school, or by elderly, immobile grandparents. The parents either worked too many hours to be in their lives, or were high or stoned or partying. Many had "working" mothers if you know what I mean. And yet the teachers get blamed for "poor test scores" that are obviously a reflection of zero parental involvement (many times the *only* parental involvement was jumping on the administration's back and defending a kid when the kid was beating up on other kids, threatening teachers, bringing weapons to school, etc) and a ridiculous curriculum. Sometimes I think it's really the administration and the politicians who should be fired and the teachers should run the schools.
__________________
Liesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 02:36 PM   #8
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildHoneyAlways View Post
Are you willing to work a longer work day for the same pay?
I don't necessarily think anyone should have to work more for the same pay, but the reality is that teachers are not at all unique. In fact, many salaried employees do this all the time - nobody compensates me more when I am here from 8 am until 3 am as opposed to being here from 9 am to 7 pm. Now an argument can be made that this is a matter of bonus compensation (which it is to some extent), but for many other people, they don't even get that.
__________________
anitram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 02:44 PM   #9
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
Vincent Vega's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Berlin
Posts: 6,615
Local Time: 06:05 PM
I think that description fits in some ways how the effects of No Child Left Behind are being portrayed in The Wire, and also remind me of what many students told me here in Germany who had to do standardized tests that were handed out at all schools in one land (state). The teachers pretty much had to get done what was required from the tests so the students would perform well and the school would look good. No matter if it really was relevant, or if the students had fun while learning something or anything. Only thing that matters is that the students will know the content of the tests so they do well.
__________________
Vincent Vega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 02:47 PM   #10
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
WildHoneyAlways's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: In a glass case of emotion
Posts: 8,158
Local Time: 11:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by anitram View Post
I don't necessarily think anyone should have to work more for the same pay, but the reality is that teachers are not at all unique. In fact, many salaried employees do this all the time - nobody compensates me more when I am here from 8 am until 3 am as opposed to being here from 9 am to 7 pm. Now an argument can be made that this is a matter of bonus compensation (which it is to some extent), but for many other people, they don't even get that.
The difference is that a change in working conditions must be negotiate per the teacher's contract.

Moreover, no one compensates me when I work with students, grade papers, or lesson plan until 6:30 pm when my contract states that my work day last from 7:30 am-3:30 pm.
__________________
WildHoneyAlways is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 02:56 PM   #11
Breakdancing Soul Pilgrim
 
UberBeaver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: the most serious...douch hammer ever
Posts: 20,318
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildHoneyAlways View Post
The difference is that a change in working conditions must be negotiate per the teacher's contract.

Moreover, no one compensates me when I work with students, grade papers, or lesson plan until 6:30 pm when my contract states that my work day last from 7:30 am-3:30 pm.
Shouldn't you be working?
__________________
UberBeaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 02:57 PM   #12
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildHoneyAlways View Post
The difference is that a change in working conditions must be negotiate per the teacher's contract.

Moreover, no one compensates me when I work with students, grade papers, or lesson plan until 6:30 pm when my contract states that my work day last from 7:30 am-3:30 pm.
Then I agree with you as a matter of contract law.

I have just never seen a teaching contract that actually specifies such hours - that seems like piss poor drafting. However I also wonder how "work day" is defined for the purposes of the contract.
__________________
anitram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 03:58 PM   #13
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Phil's does but he is paid by an agency, not the school or the district. It's a rip off because he's getting paid less than half of the teacher on maternity leave, and he's the type that is always there plenty early and often gets home later than I do even though school is out around 3pm. Plus he spends the evenings and weekends setting up activities. But he is paid Mon-Fri 8am-3pm (or whatever the exact times are). This is how the schools can cut costs - say they have 40 kids in one class, they are required to have two "teachers" because of the student:teacher ratio, but instead of hiring a "teacher" as defined by the salary and benefits, they hire an "aide" or a "long term sub" and pay them shit-per-hour who happens to be equally if not more qualified than the actual teacher getting the salary and the benefits (same degree, same certificate, same endorsements).
__________________
Liesje is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 05:01 PM   #14
Refugee
 
U2387's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,217
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildHoneyAlways View Post
Are you willing to work a longer work day for the same pay?

Oh and Race to the Top is taking away the $232,000 grant we were awarded this year because we will not close our school, fire all the teachers, turn into a charter school. etc. (The grant would have potentially lasted 3 years @ $232,000 each year) I have never been a fan of Obama's education plans.
Many, many, many people do this everywhere.

It has been happening now for the better part of the last 30 years.

The teacher's day does not end at the closing bell, but then again, it doesn't end at 5PM for people in other industries either. My mom has to bring home her blackberry, keep up with e mails, work on reports, etc. My dad did real estate, he got to the office at 9 AM and would come home around 9PM and still be doing work at home/answering calls, etc. My best friend's dad was the Police Chief in my town, he was at their beckon call 24/7. In none of the cases I mentioned did the person's pay go up.

I understand what you are saying about the contracts, but like antitram said, it's bad contract drafting. Plus, can't the contract be renegotiated like contracts are all the time?

I just find it hard to understand why some teachers' unions resist proven reforms such as longer school days, public charter schools, etc.

Race to the top in general and Duncan in the Central Falls debate specifically makes clear that firing all the teachers is the most undesirable option.

Obama's education policies are well fine by me. Nothing could be more important than solving problems and getting results. Unlike Bush, who could have cared less about teachers or professionalism at the Dept of Education, Obama has hired a true expert(Duncan) whose philosophy is to work with teachers in good faith, not work against them.

It is my opinion that some unions need to recognize this and meet him half way.

I don't care that some unions will oppose this, an interest group's job is to advocate for their side at all costs to the exclusion of everything else. A policymakers job is to make optimal policy. The job descriptions are extremely different, and just like I don't want a President beholden to big oil and big pharma, I don't want a President beholden to teachers' unions.

In the end, they are simply special interest organizations with an agenda and well paid leadership and lobbyists. Their seat at the table should never be revoked, but they should not get veto power over anything, or be looked at as the moral voice of education.
__________________
U2387 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2010, 05:20 PM   #15
Refugee
 
U2387's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,217
Local Time: 12:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
When Phil worked for the worst public school in the district, it was an eye-opening experience for us (both of us had private ed as kids, me because the public schools in the district where we lived were failing and downright dangerous). It seemed to me that their problems were bureaucratic. The principal was making well over six figures yet was only working at the school part time and the time he was there was basically useless since kids and teachers alike did not respect him. The teachers were forced to use curriculum that made learning either very boring or very complicated. For example, Phil's kids basically only did reading and math, reading and math, reading and math....I was trying to give him ideas for fun science projects and he said they only do science like once a week, and once again are required to adhere to a strict curriculum based on tests and standards. No wonder the kids have no focus and act out! My memories of grade school were fun. That's not to say I didn't struggle with some things, but we did fun projects and I learned to enjoy reading and for the most part worshiped my teachers. When I was in first grade, my mom read with me almost every night. In his school, there was no support at home. Many of the kids were being raised by their siblings who were also still in grade school, or by elderly, immobile grandparents. The parents either worked too many hours to be in their lives, or were high or stoned or partying. Many had "working" mothers if you know what I mean. And yet the teachers get blamed for "poor test scores" that are obviously a reflection of zero parental involvement (many times the *only* parental involvement was jumping on the administration's back and defending a kid when the kid was beating up on other kids, threatening teachers, bringing weapons to school, etc) and a ridiculous curriculum. Sometimes I think it's really the administration and the politicians who should be fired and the teachers should run the schools.
I do agree that testing should not be the end all and the be all. We are moving away from that with more science and technology emphasis, pilot programs, innovative teaching methods, etc. There needs to be some standards and way of measuring them, but testing should be 1 of many ways to judge progress.

I could not agree more with the points you make about parental involvement. Joe Biden would always say in the primary debates that most of the achievement gap is in place before anyone even sets foot in a classroom due to disparities in home life. Parental involvement is key, and my town is now exactly like you described: the parents do not read to the kids, do not take the time to be responsible and know what is going on with them, and the only time you have involvement on a grand scale is when some aspiring gangster has(shock of shocks, God forbid) been punished for being a verbal and physical disruption.

In 2008, we were facing a state takeover if we did not get our act together fast. This is Randolph, MA I am talking about, a school system that won NATIONAL ACCLAIM numerous times in the 1980s and no one could figure out just how we made it work. We are a 33K town, sandwiched between the worst neighborhoods of Boston and the worst neighborhoods of Brockton, lower middle class/middle class town(not wealthy) and we were constantly beating the towns that all of the lawyers, doctors and fidelity executives lived in. We were sending 10 or 15 kids from the public high school to Harvard, MIT and Yale every year. Then the 90s happened, then the 00s and long story short, there we were in 2008. Amidst such a shocking decline, the biggest outrage we heard from 2 dimwits on the school committee was that the Police were in the Middle School arresting a kid who had stabbed someone!!! It made the schools look "unsafe." So it is safer to let little thug with the knife stay in the classroom? Not to mention towns with much less crime than us have the cops in the schools every day!

If my mom did not read to me, did not go in and see my teachers, did not ask questions of the school administration, if my dad was not intimately involved in town politics, etc then I do not know where I would be. The schools and the teachers, who have the kids 6 hours out of 24, can not be held responsible for everything the kids do.

I respect teachers, and I know full well the bind they are put in when teaching in districts like Central Falls. The teachers in Newport RI or Orange County California or Sudbury, MA are no better or more qualified just because these are wealthier areas with more stable home lives and more resources. Parents and politicians alike are wrong to blame society's problems(dysfunction with parents and lack of prioritization of education with politicians) on teachers. No teacher should be judged in effective just based on the test scores in the district where he or she teaches. Many sociological factors obviously go into these results.

However, proven and effective reforms that could, coupled with parental involvement and more resources, make a strong positive difference should not be reflexively opposed by teachers' unions.
__________________

__________________
U2387 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com