Special Report
Education News in Brief

Firing of Teachers at Rhode Island School Ignites Battle

By The Associated Press — March 01, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

No more than half the teachers at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island would be hired back under a move that has enraged the state’s powerful teachers’ union, earned criticism from students, and brought praise from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and some parents.

The mass firings by the end of the school year were approved by the school district’s board of trustees last week after talks failed between Superintendent Frances Gallo and the local teachers’ union over changes, including offering more tutoring and a longer school day. The teachers say they want more pay for the additional work.

The shakeup comes as Rhode Island’s education commissioner, Deborah Gist, pushes the state to compete for millions of dollars in federal funding to reform the worst 5 percent of its schools, including those in Central Falls. State law requires schools to warn teachers by March 1 if their jobs are in jeopardy for the following school year.

To get the federal money, schools must choose one of four paths set, including mass firings. Ms. Gallo has said she initially hoped to avoid layoffs by adopting a plan that would have lengthened the school day and required teachers to get additional training and offer more tutoring.

Secretary Duncan applauded the plan, saying students only have one chance for an education.

“When schools continue to struggle, we have a collective obligation to take action,” he said in a statement.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that improvements made in the last two years have been overlooked in the rush to make judgments and cast blame. Ms. Weingarten said reading scores, for example, have risen by 21 percent.

A version of this article appeared in the March 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Firing of Teachers at Rhode Island School Ignites Battle


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week