Thursday, March 4, 2010

A word of caution about Central Falls.

I am surprised at how much coverage the teacher firings in Central Falls, R.I., have gotten, given that schools around the country have gone through these kinds of transformations for years. We should not write about this like it’s brand-new; it is not even close to the first time this has happened. It is usually called “making teachers reapply for their jobs.” Provide some context, keeping in mind that frequently when an entire staff is thrown out, many of them reapply and are rehired.


  1. Actually, the thing I realized today is that this is probably the first closing specifically dictated by ARRA (the rules for those closings were announced Dec. 19 -- RI was fast off the block), so, although it doesn't seem like the reporters covering it were conscious of that, it is a significant trend-setting event in that respect.

  2. But TN has been fresh starting schools by firing everyone and being able to hire back up to 50% of the prior staff...I don't see why al the uproar over RI...what I don't understand is why the union didn't willingly try the requested changes in the first place...these teachers are making a fortune at 70K for just over 9 months of work or close to 90K a year...

  3. Linda, if ever there was a textbook example of terrible education journalism, the Central Falls case is it. Why have your compatriots at the Providence Journal and other media done such a bad job? All the coverage has been on the teachers and their union, none on the State of Rhode Island's Board of Regents, the RI Dept. of Education, the University of Rhode Island Ed. Dept. and the Rhode Island "Education Establishment" in general. IT'S THEM WHO HAVE BEEN RUNNING THE SHOW AT CENTRAL FALLS FOR 19---COUNT 'EM---19 YEARS!!! For the past SEVEN YEARS, since NCLB has been in effect, the school has been "failing to make progress," and for the past FIVE YEARS the school has been in corrective action, ALL WHILE THE DISTRICT HAS BEEN UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE STATE BOARD OF REGENTS WHO HAVE APPOINTED THE SUPERVISING COMMITTEE FOR THE DISTRICT AND AN "OVERSIGHT" BOARD FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL ITSELF. Why, Linda, haven't your fellow professionals reported that? Why haven't they dug into that? The high school has had 5 principals during the years of corrective action. They have had a "flavor-of-the-year" parade of "reforms" at the school that they have adopted and abandoned, seemingly at random with all the major players in the state establishment leaning in. Reform experiments at the school have been conducted with about as much attention to detail and procedure as you would expect from a dyslexic ten year old with a chemistry set on Christmas morning. The latest was announced with great fanfare in the pages of the Providence Journal last July, the "Academies" model, but not a single word of how that scheme has functioned has been printed.(It's been a farce.) Not a single word has been printed about the dysfunctional, rube-goldberg schedule or what has happened to students denied required credits because of it. Not has been printed about the colossal waste of instructional time---homeroom time, advisory time, and professional development time---occasioned by that schedule that probably violates state regulations for minimum instructional time. AGAIN, ALL UNDER THE WATCH OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND OTHER BIG PLAYERS IN THE STATE EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT. You bet there are problems in educational journalism, Linda; and they are all on display right now in the case of Central Falls High School.