Teaching Profession

R.I. Teacher Drama May Be Nearing Conclusion

By Stephen Sawchuk — March 08, 2010 1 min read

It looks like the teachers and administrators in Central Falls, R.I., are back at the bargaining table to work out a plan for transforming the school.

Jay Mathews at the WaPo apologizes for missing the 50 percent teacher-rehiring clause in a recent column. But he’s not the only one who made this error; it’s been missing in a lot of the national coverage. It took me three posts on the R.I. situation before I brought it up, an omission I made out of the (incorrect) assumption that it was common knowledge that staff-reconstitution policies, including these federal school improvement grants, generally let teachers reapply for their jobs.

The New York Times walks through some more reaction, complete with some tough talk from AFT’s Randi Weingarten and NEA’s Dennis Van Roekel. The story unfortunately omits important context, namely that this dispute is as much about classic labor issues like wages as it is about philosophical differences on how to turn around schools. (EdWeek’s Dakarai Aarons has much more for you here.)

It’s still not clear to me how the teacher-dismissal policies in this federal program relate to state laws and local bargaining contracts. We probably haven’t seen the last of this issue.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.