May 16, 2010

Central Falls: Tomorrow's News Today

Justin Katz

The press releases are coming out concerning an administration-union deal in Central Falls. First in the emailbox was the union's take:

The Central Falls Teachers Union and the Central Falls School District reached a tentative agreement Saturday to implement a transformation plan for Central Falls High School for the 2010-11 school year in a way that involves all stakeholders—administrators, teachers, students and parents—to create a pathway toward excellence for everyone at the school.

Both the school district and the union agree that while this has been a difficult process for everyone involved, the negotiations resulted in a newfound appreciation for shared responsibility, and a solid commitment to bring lasting solutions that will improve teaching and learning at Central Falls High School.

As part of that agreement, which is pending ratification, the current staff will return to the school without having to reapply for their jobs. Teachers will need to recommit to their jobs and interview with the new principal. The agreed upon plan would also incorporate important changes designed to increase student achievement. These include a longer school day, more after-school tutoring, a new evaluation system designed to inform teaching and learning, and targeted and embedded professional development, among other changes. Details of the agreement will be released following a ratification vote by Central Falls teachers at a meeting Monday. A press conference is scheduled at the high school at 3:30 p.m.

Followed, just now, by two cents from Education Commissioner Deborah Gist:

I am really pleased that the Central Falls School Department, under Dr. Frances Gallo’s leadership, and the Central Falls Teachers Union have come to a tentative agreement about a plan to transform Central Falls High School, and that they will do that work together. The ideal situation is when we can do this important work collaboratively, and that's why this agreement is so promising. ...

From the outset, I have said that my one commitment is to ensure that we provide the best possible education for the students of Central Falls High School. The tentative agreement reached today is evidence that all parties can put aside their differences and work in the best interest of our students. Now it's time to move forward and work together to make Central Falls High School one of the best schools in Rhode Island.

We'll see who got what, but I have to think that the teachers have become increasingly nervous as the applicant pool to replace them has approached the 1,000 mark.

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Or was it the fact that documentation shows RIDE consistently provided mixed and confusing direction and outdated course syllabus or started educational programs and stopped them mid-term to CFH administrators and educators thereby causing educational turmoil in the school.

Posted by: Ken at May 16, 2010 10:01 PM

"Embedded professional development"

If this is what I suspect, the teachers will be using class time to escape classroom teaching to attend "professional"development, meaning a substantial cost increase for substitute teachers.

I always wonder why they can't seem to find time for professional development during July and August, when they are not otherwise occupied with the children they so cherish?

Posted by: John at May 17, 2010 6:50 AM

"I always wonder why they can't seem to find time for professional development during July and August"


Posted by: Monique at May 17, 2010 7:26 AM

Silly boy. Everyone knows that they need July and August as down-time to recover from that stressful 180 day academic year of 3-ish hours a day actually in a classroom.

The rest of us can only thank our lucky stars that we don't endure such a draconian work life!

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at May 17, 2010 8:11 AM

I guess I don't understand why Gallo didn't stick to her guns and hire the best she could find out of those 1,000 applications? Or does she think the problem is more than just the teachers?

Look at the upcoming alternatives:

1. Hire them all back, then if it fails in another year or two, she can say "See, it *is* the teachers!"

2. Hire the best of the 1,000 and if it fails, it falls squarely on her and she's retired.

3. Things improve and everyone's happy.

I'm guessing she feared #2 and is banking on #1 or #3.

Posted by: Patrick at May 17, 2010 8:53 AM

I want to know if there is a backroom deal for Gist's support of binding arbitration and perpetual contracts somewhere in this mess.

Posted by: MadMom at May 17, 2010 9:29 AM

Let's just change the state motto to "we'll cave".

Posted by: George at May 17, 2010 9:50 AM

"Hopeless" will be sufficient.

Posted by: John at May 17, 2010 11:11 AM

"I want to know if there is a backroom deal for Gist's support of binding arbitration and perpetual contracts somewhere in this mess." by MadMom

You're balls on accurate on the binding arbitration. Got the word today. I'll say with a fair amount of certainty that Gist created this mess. Dr. Gallo went from wanting to remove 5-10 teachers to firing them all after the CFTU refused to sigh the first RTTT MoU. This wasn't her doing. She was
forced...possibly bullying maybe?

Gist is a fraud and will now use Gallo as the scapegoat. Mark my words.

Posted by: glk23 at May 17, 2010 7:58 PM
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