School & District Management

The Meaning of the Central Falls Deal

By Bryan Toporek — May 18, 2010 1 min read
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You’ve heard the news by now: Months after making headlines by firing every one of their staff members, Central Falls High School in Rhode Island has agreed to bring back all of those fired staff members without making them reapply for their jobs.

Some reactions from around the edublogosphere:

Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post believes a deal would have been reached much quicker had President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan kept their noses out of it:

What do you think would have happened if Obama and Duncan had not taken sides when the teachers were first fired, and instead had urged the opposing sides to work harder to reach a better solution? I think it is fair to assume that the negotiations would have reached success a lot sooner, sparing the Central Falls community a lot of grief.

On the other hand, political reporter Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic suggests that the compromise shows the influence of the administration’s policies and ultimately amounts to “notch in the cap of the AFT”:

Evaluating teachers by evaluating student test scores is a reality that Obama doesn't want to change, and AFT, instead of fighting this tooth and nail, is helping to shape the policy by accommodating reality. You can bet that the White House is watching.

The American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess believes the union was accomodating to the point of giving in:

The final accord makes it clear that not only was there no compromise, but Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo, who started the negotiation asking for six big concessions, wound up pocketing more than a dozen. If the Central Falls teachers play poker like they negotiate, they might be advised to just mail their Visa card to Vegas and call it a day.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.