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Finally a school district does something right.

Old 02-19-10, 11:37 AM
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Finally a school district does something right.

Apparently due to being one of the lowest performing schools in the state has forced the Superintendent of the Central Falls School District ti fire ALL the teachers/administrators/workers in the high school. I think more school district needs to follow in this example. If teachers are not performing then they should face the consequences. There are too many teachers who have tenure/seniority or whatever that could care less about teaching and just want the summers off. I will say though that probably the majority of teachers are good people who are actually trying to educate and teach kids but you need accountability and if there is a systemic and prolonged problem then face the consequences.

Central Falls to fire every high school teacher

01:00 AM EST on Saturday, February 13, 2010

By Jennifer D. Jordan and LINDA bORG

Journal Staff Writers

School Supt. Frances Gallo announces her plan to fire the teachers, while system trustees and staff listen.

The Providence Journal / Glenn Osmundson

CENTRAL FALLS –– 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 high school’s 74 teachers will receive letters during school vacation advising them to attend a Feb. 22 meeting where each will be handed a termination notice that takes effect for the 2010-’11 school year, Gallo said.

Gallo said she was devastated and that she had thought the union would agree to her conditions, even though she did not offer to pay the teachers more for most of the additional responsibilities.

A month ago, Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist mandated that the district adopt one of four models to fix the troubled school, which has some of the lowest graduation rates and test scores in the state.

Gallo’s first choice, the “transformation” model, was consistent with her conditions on how to improve the high school. But if the teachers would not agree, the superintendent said she would select her second choice, the “turnaround” model, which requires the removal of the entire staff of the school. The turnaround model allows the district to hire back no more than 50 percent of the old staff.

“I am saddened and shaken at the core by the enormous ramifications of my responsibilities,” Gallo said. “The only solace I have is that I know I provided every opportunity possible, in fully public and transparent ways, the means to avoid this.”

Union officials say they, too, want to improve the high school but are unwilling to sign off on the six conditions, especially without receiving additional pay. In a letter, union officials said they do not think Gallo has the authority to fire the teachers and she must negotiate the terms of the reforms.

In an interview, Jane M. Sessums, union president, said the union intends to fight the terminations, although she was not ready to say how.

Students Friday expressed sadness, frustration and dismay at learning that their teachers would be fired en masse. Most had no idea why their teachers were being let go.

“They are very sweet,” said André Monteiro, 19, a senior. “They help us out and get the job done. They treat us with respect.”


“It’s sad,” said Jessica Lemur, another senior. “They stay when we need help. They love us. I was shocked when I heard the rumors.”

A couple of parents said they were stunned by the announcement and said they blamed students, not teachers, for the high school’s consistently poor performance.

“It’s not fair,” said Angela Perez, who has a daughter at the high school. “They shouldn’t be punished because the students are lazy.”

“The teachers care so much,” said Perez’s daughter, Ivannah Perez, a recent Central Falls graduate. “I’ve seen them stay after school. I’ve seen them struggle. It’s the students. They don’t want to learn.”

Most teachers declined to talk as they left school yesterday. But a couple of teachers paused long enough to share their thoughts.

Sheila Lawless-Burke, an English-as-a-Second Language teacher, said teachers are not opposed to working harder — or longer; they simply want the opportunity to negotiate the details of their contract, not have it imposed from above.

“It’s all about the politics,” she said, “about making Fran Gallo look good. The issue is having the right to negotiate. Once we allow the superintendent to get her foot in the door, where will it stop?”

Gist, who has 10 days to review Gallo’s proposal, said she expects to make a decision early next week.

“We know she is moving forward urgently and we want to support that,” Gist said.

Gallo and Gist say they have the authority to make these changes, based on federal education regulations and on state law that allows the state to intervene in chronically failing schools and districts.

“We’re very confident we are following both state and federal laws very carefully,” Gist said, “and, in fact, it’s the expectation both in state and federal law that we take these steps.”

TIMELINE Showdown over Central Falls HS

March 17, 2007: Frances A. Gallo, veteran educator and former deputy superintendent of Providence schools, is chosen as Central Falls school superintendent.

2008-2009: Test scores remain a problem at Central Falls High School as only 3 percent of 11th graders are proficient in math in 2008 and 7 percent in 2009.

November 2009: Gallo begins talks with teachers on her plans to reform the high school.

Jan. 11, 2010: State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist names the high school as one of the state’s worst schools and in need of closure or complete overhaul. Gallo says she already has a plan ready to implement in the fall. The plan would include a longer school day, more training, more tutoring.

Feb. 1-5, 2010: Gallo and union leaders are unable to reach an agreement on pay issues for the extra work. She says the failure is forcing her to switch to a reform model that calls for firing all teachers at the high school.

Feb. 9, 2010: During a packed meeting, Gallo gives the teachers’ union more time to agree on her original plan.

Feb. 12, 2010 Talks fail; Gallo proceeds with across-the-board firing plan.


http://www.projo.com/education/conte...1.3a65218.html

Last edited by Hadrian7; 02-19-10 at 11:53 AM.
Old 02-19-10, 11:42 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

The problem I have with this is it is an all or nothing action....it does not take into account that some teachers might be working hard and others not. I sure would be upset if the town I lived in had a high crime rate, and the governments solution would be to drop a bomb on it killing everyone. Sort of reminds me of the plot to the Simpsons movie.
Old 02-19-10, 11:47 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

“They are very sweet,” said André Monteiro, 19, a senior. “They help us out and get the job done. They treat us with respect.”


Thanks for making the point, Andre.

Good thing. I would be willing to bet the parents should be fired as well.
Old 02-19-10, 11:48 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by foxdvd View Post
The problem I have with this is it is an all or nothing action....it does not take into account that some teachers might be working hard and others not. I sure would be upset if the town I lived in had a high crime rate, and the governments solution would be to drop a bomb on it killing everyone. Sort of reminds me of the plot to the Simpsons movie.
Agree, but it looks like that is the only remedy under the law. They can hire back up to 50% of the current staff.
Old 02-19-10, 11:48 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by foxdvd View Post
The problem I have with this is it is an all or nothing action....it does not take into account that some teachers might be working hard and others not.
I read she can rehire up to 50% of the staff
Old 02-19-10, 11:48 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by foxdvd View Post
The problem I have with this is it is an all or nothing action....it does not take into account that some teachers might be working hard and others not. I sure would be upset if the town I lived in had a high crime rate, and the governments solution would be to drop a bomb on it killing everyone. Sort of reminds me of the plot to the Simpsons movie.
The superintendent came up with an alternate plan to extend the school day by 25 minutes and for the teachers to provide extra tutoring to kids. The district even offered some increased pay for that, just not what the union wanted. The union wouldn't play ball (or rather tried to play hard ball), so the superintendent did exactly what she promised to do. Fire the teachers and start over.
Old 02-19-10, 11:49 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

I should have bolded some parts but I was lazy. The district is firing everybody, but apparently they have the ability to rehire up to 50% of them if they wanted to. One of my issues is how can the union be so obtuse to think nothing needed to change? When only 3% in 2008 and 7% in 2009 of your 11th grade students are proficient in math that there isn't a problem? I say firing everyone and then rehiring the good ones like they want to do is the best solution.
Old 02-19-10, 11:50 AM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post


Thanks for making the point, Andre.

Good thing. I would be willing to bet the parents should be fired as well.
That's nothing, I've had 19 year old sophomores before.
Old 02-19-10, 12:14 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

The median income for Central Falls, RI is $22,000
The average salary for the affected teachers is $78,000

Linky: http://www.examiner.com/x-39124-Prov...layoff-notices
Old 02-19-10, 12:18 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by kenbuzz View Post
The median income for Central Falls, RI is $22,000
The average salary for the affected teachers is $78,000

Linky: http://www.examiner.com/x-39124-Prov...layoff-notices
Damn, I think a 20 year teacher with a Masters around here is closer to $55,000. I wonder what the top end for them is. We have principals that make that much.
Old 02-19-10, 12:21 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Taking the "dance of the lemons" into account, it is more likely that they were ALL incompetent than otherwise.
Old 02-19-10, 12:22 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Agree, but it looks like that is the only remedy under the law.
Correct. If the teachers weren't unionized, the school could selectively weed-out the bad apples. But since they want to be treated collectively, it basically comes down to an all-or-nothing proposition. The teachers opted to unionize, and that union played hardball and called the school on their "bluff". Only now it looks like the school wasn't bluffing.

Edited to add: In effect, you can think of the teachers as being contracted employees of the union, who in turn is selling the teachers' services to the school. The union is delivering an inferior product and rejected the school's proposed solution, knowing that the school's other stated option was to just terminate their relationship with the union altogether. If there was a normal employer-employee relationship here, where the employee was held to a standard of performance, the employer would have the latitude to take whatever measures it deems necessary to fix a deficiency. In this case, since the teachers are de-facto contractors, and since their employer has not agreed to the conditions the customer has insisted upon in order to continue using their services, the customer has decided to look elsewhere.

Last edited by kenbuzz; 02-19-10 at 12:26 PM.
Old 02-19-10, 12:23 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Agree, but it looks like that is the only remedy under the law. They can hire back up to 50% of the current staff.
Originally Posted by MrX View Post
I read she can rehire up to 50% of the staff
Originally Posted by Hadrian7 View Post
The district is firing everybody, but apparently they have the ability to rehire up to 50% of them if they wanted to.
My question is this:

Can they hire back any of the people who will be fired?
Old 02-19-10, 12:25 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by kenbuzz View Post
The median income for Central Falls, RI is $22,000
The average salary for the affected teachers is $78,000

Linky: http://www.examiner.com/x-39124-Prov...layoff-notices
Well, technically you're comparing the median (middle) vs. mean (average) here. Although they are similar, ultimately they do not necessarily need to come to the same mathematical point.

According to google answers: http://answers.google.com/answers/th...id/769229.html

The median income in America is: $24,325

The mean income in America is: $35,499

Note that this data is for individuals and do not represent household incomes.
Old 02-19-10, 12:27 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
My question is this:

Can they hire back any of the people who will be fired?
From the looks of things the answer would be yes.
Old 02-19-10, 12:29 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Old 02-19-10, 12:32 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by ilanus21 View Post
lol no its , just compltle deff as the hire to the fareq!
^ Head of the English Department at Central Falls.
Old 02-19-10, 12:33 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by ilanus21 View Post
lol no its , just compltle deff as the hire to the fareq!
Narfle the Garthok!
Old 02-19-10, 12:35 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.



Old 02-19-10, 12:39 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by Hadrian7 View Post
Well, technically you're comparing the median (middle) vs. mean (average) here. Although they are similar, ultimately they do not necessarily need to come to the same mathematical point.
I have a math degree, I thoroughly understand the difference between median and mean. But others may not.

Median is the middle, like how a median strip is in the middle of a highway. It speaks to a point about which one-half of the population is split. For a large popupation, median is an appropriate descriptor, because it tends to compensate for a few members of that population having a disproportionately large or small value, while retaining characteristics caused by large subclumps of similarly-valued members.

Mean is the average. For a small population, particularly one selected from a larger population, mean is an appropriate descriptor because it talks to a shared trait of the members of that sample. I believe that comparing the teachers' average salary against the median income of the town is appropriate.

Edited to add - If you want to compare mean to mean, the mean income of Central Falls RI is $1400 LOWER than the median income, making the disparity between the teachers' salaries and those in the town even larger!

Linky: http://www.simplyhired.com/a/local-j...tral+Falls,+RI
Central Falls Job Salaries
According to government data, the average salary for Central Falls, Rhode Island is $21,199, and the median income of households in Central Falls was $22,628.

Last edited by kenbuzz; 02-19-10 at 12:42 PM.
Old 02-19-10, 12:40 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

The only problem I have with it, and it's a problem that's never addressed in these situations, is why are the elementary schools not being included in this? It looks like it's a unit district so it shouldn't be that hard to do. It's fairly obvious these kids are not coming into high school prepared to handle the material.
Old 02-19-10, 12:47 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

What teachers are going to want to go there? The school is underperforming, and presumably will be for a while, assuming that it wasn't all just the fault of the teachers. You go in knowing that you'll need to do a lot of extra work, and that the union hates the administration. Plus, if you were one of the better teachers, why go back? Unless there's a ton of supply of teachers and not a lot of demand in that county.

I'm also confused by a few other things. They're firing the administrators too, even though it's the teachers union that balked? And the title says that they were offered a little extra pay, but the article says that they were offered nothing?

Don't get me wrong, I agree that the teachers unions are too strong and make it really hard to weed out bad teachers.
Old 02-19-10, 12:49 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Teachers unions are powerless and inefective. What good is a union if it can't prevent something like this, nor hold a strong position at the bargaining table? It should be easier for teachers to opt out of the union.

KVR, this is the second education thread where you've commented on the pay of teachers in your area. My wife has been a teacher for 9 years in CA, has a masters, and makes $71,000/year. We've all seen what RI teachers make. What's the deal with Seattle or wherever you live? Lower cost of living?

Last edited by Mabuse; 02-19-10 at 12:51 PM.
Old 02-19-10, 12:49 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Narfle the Garthok!
Old 02-19-10, 12:51 PM
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Re: Finally a school district does something right.

Looks like the students are rallying... in support of the school.

Students to rally for Central Falls HS shakeup
By Associated Press
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - Added 1d 22h ago

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Students are planning to rally in support of a decision to fire teachers at chronically troubled Central Falls High School.

Providence students and adult leaders of Young Voices will gather Wednesday in support of Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo.


Gallo announced this month she would fire the teachers at Central Falls High School for refusing an improvement plan. It would have included an extra 25 minutes in the school day, required teachers to offer tutoring to students and forced teachers to get two weeks of summer training.

The teachers’ union says it wants more pay for the additional work.

Young Voices co-director Karen Feldman said Central Falls students won’t speak at the rally for fear of retaliation from their teachers.
My question is this - so they hire new teachers, won't these teachers be in the same union, under the same contract?

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