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Rhode Island School Cleans House

Ian Scott on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 4:43:30 pm

All educators at the high school in Central Falls, RI will be fired after this school year.  The drastic measure is part of a program to reinvent this troubled school which ranks among the worst in the state.

The shake up is driven by a federal program that provides funds to reform a state's worst performing schools.  According to the Boston Globe:

The shake-up comes as Rhode Island's new education commissioner, Deborah Gist, pushes the state to compete for nearly $13 million in federal funding to reform the worst 5 percent of its schools, including in Central Falls.

To get the money, schools must choose one of four paths set under federal law, including mass firings. Gallo has said she initially hope to avoid layoffs by adopting a plan that would have lengthened the school day and required teachers to get additional training and offer more after-school tutoring.

The four options for failing schools to receive federal money are:

  • Turnaround: replacing a school principal and at least half the staff;
  • Restart: converting a school to an autonomous charter school or hiring an education management organization to run it;
  • Shutdown: closing a school and dispersing its students;
  • Transformation: replacing a principal, improving teacher effectiveness and taking other steps for comprehensive reform.

Despite being applauded by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan as, “showing courage and doing the right thing for kids,” teachers unions in Rhode Island are moving to block the mass firing.

Read more from the Boston Globe -  Plan to fire all its teachers roils poor RI city and the Providence Journal - Every Central Falls teacher fired, labor outraged.

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