Off With Their Heads! {added edit}

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I will be working (at home) today providing an assist to my Teacher (Musician) husband as he prepares to start what he refers to as his “War Room”… i.e. job hunting. He is still employed, but, word is getting around and all the staff at his school are brushing up their resumes.

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When I read this headline (& story) at Common Dreams, I just guffawed. I admit I don’t really quite know how to guffaw but I think I just did.

Obama’s Idea of Education Reform? Fire All the Teachers

Central Falls {Rhode Island} Thrust into School Reform Forefront

snip snip snip to the end:

As of Wednesday morning, 88 teachers, along with the high school’s administrative team, faced their own uncertainty. All 93 were sent letters of termination.

This is the only high school in a small Rhode Island town apparently. Here’s some more from a local RI source.

Supt. Frances Gallo had just recommended that the district’s Board of Trustees fire the entire teaching staff of the city’s only high school, effective at the end of the school year.

Then, as the board’s vice chairwoman, Sonia Rodrigues, read each name aloud, a teacher stood. Some stood in silence, others held back tears.

“Look up, Gallo! Look at us!”

Gallo was sitting on the stage with the seven trustees and a small group of administrators. She rose and looked out at the audience in the packed high school auditorium. She remained standing until the last of 93 names – a history teacher, a reading specialist, physical education, music and art teachers, a social worker, a nurse, the school psychologist, even the principal – was called.

More point of view from the AFL-CIO blog:

In all, 93 persons were put in the street-74 classroom teachers, plus reading specialists, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, the school psychologist, the principal and three assistant principals. Negotiations over ways to improve the school between teachers and the school superintendent broke down when school officials insisted that teachers add new duties, some without any extra pay at all.

In a rally before the trustees meeting, some 500 union members and community supporters called on the board to reconsider its decision. Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee told the crowd:

 

This is immoral, illegal, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful and disrespectful. What is happening here tonight is the wrong thing and we’re not going to put up with it.

snip

AFT (American Fed of Teachers) President Randi Weingarten criticized Central Falls Superintendent Frances Gallo, who has been at the helm for three years, for not accepting any responsibility for the situation at the school. She said in “their rush to make judgments and cast blame,” school officials ignored positive steps toward improvement that have been made, such as a rise in reading scores of 21 percent. Read Weingarten’s statement here.

Weingarten adds:

Central Falls High School faces tremendous academic and economic challenges, but firing all of the teachers is a failed approach and will not result in the kinds of changes necessary to improve instruction and learning.

Gawd this is so despicable. Im sorry I dont have time to elaborate or explore more. Some of those articles have hundreds of comments, as you might imagine. I really need to get back to work on that resume thing. We are not in Rhode Island nor a small town and lots of other details are not a match, but…. there are enough similarities to my DH’s school (students’ low test scores) for me to be, uhm, a little freaked out by this.

You’d think I’d be paying attention to Education Reform “issues” and all but, alas, I do not. I do know what I hear nearly every day, when DH comes home from work and talks about the utter nonsense that goes on. I don’t even want to get into it, but… suffice it to say… this whole ridiculous concept of assessing an individual teacher’s performance, or a school’s status based on these absurd Test Scores… with no attention to all the “mitigating circumstances” (low income families, lots of ESL kids here etc etc etc) is just so banal, so … Im at a loss for words here. Ignorant. It’s just plain ignorant.

Gah.

10:30a.m. EDIT: h/t taoskier for noticing!: also per the Common Dreams piece, the Hopey McChange Administration seems to think this is a swell approach:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has taken notice.

“I applaud Commissioner Gist and Superintendent Gallo for showing courage and doing the right thing for kids,” Duncan said Tuesday night.

Governor Carcieri also praised Gallo and the trustees for their “action to reform Central Falls High School.”

As both Gallo and Gist fielded calls from the national media Wednesday, the commissioner of education said she recognized the gravity of their actions.

“These are the lives of young people – more than 50 percent of whom are not finishing high school, which completely changes the course of their lives,” Gist said.

“And this choice that Dr. Gallo made, and that we support, also affects the lives of people who have chosen to be teachers and have dedicated their lives to education. So this is an extremely serious situation,” she said. “But we have to do the right thing, and I do commend Dr. Gallo for her courageous steps.”

and crossposted to Wild Wild Left

22 comments

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  1. Photobucket

    • Edger on February 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    plans to eliminate grade 12

    • Diane G on February 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    this is our future?

    Lets impeach the bastard already.

  2. This actually is part of the union busting strategy. Get rid of collective bargaining, and the next thing is tenure.

    And after that will be the defined benefit pension. This would make Reagan jump for joy. Finally, those commie teachers defeated! They need to learn about the real world, where nobody is guaranteed anything.

    What a great group to pick on in this time of economic collapse. States can save billions by creating  leaner, meaner school systems. It’s really about dedication to the profession and caring, just like Obama is dedicated to his campaign promises. He has truly become a nightmare. But like nightmares, he and his reactionary counsel know that people forget them after they wake up.

    • Edger on February 27, 2010 at 2:20 am

       A sample of the current budget situation from the 50 states shows that the fiscal crisis has spread nationwide.

       The list of states facing severe financial  problems goes on and on. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute, as of January 2009 at least 46 states have reported facing budget shortfalls for the current and/or the next fiscal year, totaling an estimated $99 billion.

       These are just the initial estimates of the impact that the economic crisis will have on state revenues and budgets. The severity of the budget crisis ultimately depends on how long and how deep the downturn becomes and the degree of ongoing state support that the federal government ultimately provides over the next several years.

       Depending on the trajectory of the crisis, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities forecasts that the combined state-level budget shortfalls may add up to over $350 billion by 2011.

    …900,000 state workers, many in education, across the US could lose their jobs as state deficits explode:

    The Grim State of the States: Public Education Under Attack

    January 03, 2010

  3. what a day…

  4. The “Dumbing Down” agenda, which I thought belonged to the republican side is now spreading.

    Who could be next.

    Hey, let`s fire all the farmers.

    Or, or… I got it, air traffic controllers.

  5. in Afternoon Edition today.

  6. lining up for miles.  If they are able to find any new teachers willing to work in that district, I doubt that many of them will be buying their own homes any time soon.

    And, on a larger scale, how might we suppose that this heavy handed action will affect the willingness of competent teachers to take jobs in schools that have a poor track record?  

    • dkmich on February 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    kind of says it all about Obama.   Duncan is a disaster.  He screwed over the Chicago schools big time and increased gang violence 10x.  When he redrew the school boundaries, he paid no attention to gang turf.  He threw bitter enemies into the same buildings and was then surprised by the violence.  When you put a privatizer and bean counter in charge, who cares about silly things like gangs.

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  7. Off with their heads and kill the whale too.

    Oh no it’s not our national education policy that education is indoctrination.  It’s not the difficulty of educating kids in declining urban areas with narrow minded MCAS goals.

    No the top goal here is to reinforce globalized corpo-fascism.

    • Xanthe on February 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    We don’t need no music in school.

    Besides there’s YouTube.

  8. About the importance of a good, well-rounded education…

    Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.

    And the opposite of this would be?

    Oh, yes, and he had a few words about banks as well…

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

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