Troubled R.I. school hits bumps on road to education reform

Administrators are considering closing the school or re-firing all teachers.

The teachers at Central Falls High School in Central Falls, R.I., struck a deal to get their jobs back last year after the entire staff was fired in a radical, last-ditch attempt to raise student performance. But if the administrators thought the teachers would be grateful for a second chance, they were wrong.

Many teachers aren’t showing up for work, often calling out sick. Several abruptly quit within the first few weeks of the school year. Administrators have had to scramble to find qualified substitutes and have withheld hundreds of student grades because of the teacher absences.

The progress that the city’s school board–and the Obama administration–had hoped for seems increasingly, and alarmingly, elusive.…Read More

Fired Rhode Island teachers approve deal to get jobs back

The mass firings of teachers at a struggling high school in Central Falls, R.I., have been a flashpoint in the national debate over education reform. Now, after months of negotiations on how to improve Central Falls High School, administrators and teachers struck a unified tone as they detailed an agreement that will allow the staffers to keep their jobs while requiring them to work a longer day and tutor students outside class, reports the Associated Press. The agreement, which officials said passed overwhelmingly in a teachers union vote May 17, allows the roughly 90 fired teachers and staff to reclaim their jobs without having to reapply. The teachers were to lose their jobs at the end of the school year. Central Falls is one of the state’s lowest performing schools, with only 7 percent of 11th graders testing proficient in math last fall. The school was under a mandate from the state to make improvements, and Superintendent Frances Gallo and the school board opted for the mass firings after a breakdown in talks with teachers about other reforms that would have required more work, some without extra pay. No more than half the teachers could have been rehired under federal rules. Since the February board vote, the teachers and the school district had been working with a mediator. They hammered out an agreement over the weekend that reverses the firings just weeks before the end of the school year…

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