May 16th, 2010
05:51 PM ET

Union: Rhode Island school reaches deal to rehire teachers

A Rhode Island high school that fired all its teachers in February has reached a tentative agreement with the school's teachers union to rehire them, the union announced Sunday.

The school board of the Central Falls School District, outside of Providence, had voted to fire its high school's 93 teachers and administrators over low student performance.

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soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. A Teacher

    Blame the teachers! What is the absentee rate for the students? Any support at home? I have taught for over a quarter century and there are too many variables to blame it all on the teachers. I have students that have over 50 absences and come and go from the USA to Mexico and back, and I'm supposed to pass them? The do poorly on their tests(you need to be in class to learn) and now its my fault? RIGHT. When you call home and the parents could care less, you teach them whenever they choose to show up......careful people if you blame an ENTIRE faculity........where's a student's personal responsibility?

    May 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Stephen

    Only something like 9% of American labor is union. The company line that unions "wreck the product" is stupid and worse, counts on people not knowing that America, unlike the rest of the first world, is not exactly a union bastion.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. alanjay1

    Look, I refuse to believe that all 93 teachers at that school suck. What kind of company fires ALL of it's employees at once after years of poor performance? None that I've ever heard of. It's a horrible idea. How in the heck is a failing school going to hire 93 new teachers that are supposed to be any better? Who wants to work at a place where you and your entire staff could be axed?

    No doubt there are some sucky teachers in the group. But I will bet you the good ones outnumber the bad.

    Most of the commenters on this board don't seem to understand education in low income communities. Let me clue you in. If you have a really disadvantaged student population, you could have some of the best teachers in the world and still fail. Running a successful low-income school requires a combination of extremely strong leadership with extremely well-trained, and dedicated teachers. 95% of urban schools lack this, because frankly, there's just not enough superhuman teachers and principals to fit the demand.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sean

    Another example of uneducated America seeing the word "teacher" and spouting off at their feed hole without a synapse firing first. Unions suck, teachers are overpaid, they have summers off, pension plans, yadda yadda yadda...

    Figure it out Jed, without teachers you do not have any other profession. Just because you dropped out and are bitter does not give you the right to negate the education of children that live in your community.

    Oh, does. You get to stand up and berate the school board for taxes that you can't afford b/c you didn't graduate, therefore why should you have to pay for the next generation of children to get an education?

    Maybe this is why Asia is kicking our ass in the "global economy" and we are stuck figuring out how to stop an oil spill. Go figure.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Haben

    I actually believe that firing and then rehiring might benefit the school. Even though it is not 100% the teachers fault, they are still somewhat responsible to blame for the childrens low scores. A student can only be as motivated as his/her teacher makes them. The teachers were obviously fired for a reason in the 1st place. Maybe this will be a lesson to them and get them to try harder at educating the children or find different learning methods to make it work.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jgtennessee

    The problem with teachers unions is that they exert undo influence on the parents of kids in those schools via individual teacher sympathy through pressure (comments, etc.) to the kids. The general public despises what the teachers' unions stand for, but you have parents in those same school districts supporting the unions' actions because of that influence through the kids. The unions are out for the buck. They want increased salaries and health and retirement benefits (or to maintain the ridiculously high costing plans they have. Those benefit packages will bankrupt school districts and draw money from student education.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pablo

    The blame is always put on the teacher when students perform poorly. Statistics show however that the biggest indicators of student success are that both the students and parents are motivated about the students education. So it would only seem fair that if the teachers are fired the parents should also be let go.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    It is the easy thing to do ... the easy "fix" to blame and fire the teachers.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Prince Tamino

    Seth is right on! No official has the guts to say it but the problem in educating today's kids can be found most frequently with lousy/absent/"busy" parents. Good home almost always equals better school performance. Hold the teachers accountable, but don't expect them to be mommy and daddy too...not with these crappy salaries they get! BTW....teachers NEED unions to protect them from imbeciles who make decisions like this one in RI.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ken

    And once again, a union wins over the betterment of the kids. These folks were fired due to low performance and being unable to teach the kids. Now they are being rehired only because Obama has backed off on his education stance (I guess the official policy now is No kid left behind unless it get in the way of a union contract in which case sacrifice the kid). And because of lawsuits that woudl bankrupt the district hurting the kids (once again, the union filed all the lawsuits .. better to protect the teachers than educate the kids!). Disgusting.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. alanjay1

    It pains me to see the vicious knee-jerk reactions toward teachers on this board. It shows how little understand the general public has of education, especially in the inner-city. Let me clue you in.

    I'm an Ivy-league educated engineer with a graduate degree that teaches in the inner city. I was good at engineering, but I was inspired to teach by the problems with education in places just like the one in this article. If teaching were so easy, you would think that my educational background would make me really successful at my job. Let me tell you that it is hands-down the HARDEST experience of my life. Earning a graduate degree in engineering does not even compare. I'm not trying to say that I'm so special because of my background, and obviously the fact that I'm a good engineer doesn't mean I should be a good teacher. I'm just saying the the job of a teacher is no cakewalk.

    If the general public actually knew what goes on in the schools and the emotional baggage these students bring in door with them every day, people would be horrified. In my experience, the union plays far,far less of a role than they're made out to play. If you really want to know what it's like, read the words of actual teachers:

    May 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nunziata

    The best teachers in the world will not make a difference if you have kids who don't want to learn and parents who don't care. In my opinion, some teachers in these underserving schools deserve "combat pay" for all they have to put up with(ie. lazy students, hostile parents, incompetent administrators, etc)

    May 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. URIGrad

    This was the best move Gist & company could make. She really, really wants to win race to the top to promote her nomadic carpetbagger climb. This was never about improving education in Central Falls. That was just the lightning rod for anti-union efforts by Gist, both Carcieri and others. If she cared about education in RI other than as a stepping stone, she would have intervened in East Providence and Central Falls long before now. Guess what, RI still will not win Race to the Top in Round 2. Gist has alienated way too many educators.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. maestro

    This article failed to explain that the teacher's union and the admin were arguing over compensation for the extra hours the teachers were required use to help after school. In the middle of negotiations, the admin saw a loophole where they could let go of the teachers and rehire them without negotiating the extra hours. They would get paid whatever the district admin. wanted. Take the job or don't sign the contract. Smart but unethical.

    May 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mitch

    first of all, why did the district fire ALL of the teachers at once?? were they ALL terrible? no...the school board decided that it was the teachers' fault, not the students and their parents. here is more info on the decision.....The two sides said Sunday a so-called transformation plan for Central Falls High School for the coming school year will allow current staff members to return to the school without having to reapply for their jobs.
    The agreement also imposes a longer school day, more after-school tutoring and other changes....don't blame the union....this is why they're here, to keep doofuses like these from ruining education!!!

    May 16, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
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