A Rhode Island school board voted 5-2 this week to fire every teacher at Central Falls High School. Today US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applauded the move.
I blogged about this earlier this week. School Supt. Frances Gallo had come up with a plan: teachers would receive additional training and take part in afterschool sessions, for which they'd be paid $30 an hour.
Gallo also asked teachers to do a few things for no additional pay, like spending an extra 25 minutes in school. I'd think dedicated teachers in struggling schools would be willling to spend a little more time with their students. But these teachers are in a union. Their reaction?
Union officials said they wanted to be paid for more of the duties and wanted to receive a higher pay rate –– $90 per hour.
So Gallo, unlike most officials who just cave in to public sector union demands because a) it's not their money and b) it's easier to give in, took a novel approach. She fired the lot of them.
Gallo mailed letters Thursday afternoon to every teacher at Central Falls High School informing them that she is recommending their termination at the end of the current school year.
Wow. Gallo is a good role model for students.
The school board had to approve Gallo's recommendation. I didn’t think they would show the same backbone Gallo demonstrated. But they did.
Union members' comments were predictable:
"This is immoral, illegal, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful and disrespectful," George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, told the crowd.
Mark Bostic, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers, said it would stand behind the teachers "as long as it takes to get justice."
Yawn. How about justice for the under-served kids? Give me a break.