If you've ever taken a look at the shoddy excuse that passes for "education" in our public schools, and ever thought that the solution might just be to "fire 'em all," then you'll love Rhode Island's State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist:
“It was her [Gist's] Jan. 11 order to overhaul the state's six lowest-performing schools that triggered the chain of events leading to last week's decision to fire the entire teaching staff at Central Falls High School, effective at the end of the school year." ['Teacher unions challenged in unprecedented face-off,' The Providence Journal, Feb. 28]
The actual firings, enacted by the Central Falls school Board of Trustees in a 5-2 vote on Feb. 23, have created a storm of controversy and have been denounced by the labor unions: “This is immoral, illegal, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful and disrespectful,” said George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, “...and we're not going to put up with it.”
You might not have any choice, Mr. Nee-for the legality of this operation has been approved by no less authorities than the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama himself, both of whom offered, back in January, states a new weapon to fix their broken schools: "All the approaches the federal government is pushing are extreme," the article continues, "and have been used in failing schools throughout the country: school closure; takeover by a charter or school management organization; transformation which includes a longer school day, among other significant changes; and turnover which removes the entire staff, with no more than half rehired."
Now if you want to talk about "immoral, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful and disrespectful," then let's talk about the very public schools themselves, which have been overrun with a hotbed of teach-by-rote, look-say, "self-esteem" training and a tidal wave of other brain rot geared much more toward indoctrination and the obliteration of the conceptual faculty than it is to any kind of "education."
But don't ever expect a labor union to support the idea that rewards should be based on performance.
And, it bears mentioning at this point, the "turnover" option opted for by Gist and school Superintendent Frances Gallo was not their first choice: Originally, both had advocated the "transformation" alternative-but changed their minds when "union officials said they were willing to make the changes but wanted to be paid for more of the extra work, and at a higher rate of $90 per hour." So, once again, a greedy labor union sows the seeds of its own destruction. Who says "there ain't no justice"?
Completely ignoring union greed and poor teacher performance, however, Jane Sessums, president of the Central Falls teacher's union, said: "We have teachers at the high school that have grown up in this community. That's what education at Central Falls is about."
Funny, I always thought education was about learning to read, write and perform simple mathematical operations, as an absolute bare minimum — yet, at Central Falls, the article continues, "Only one in 10 can perform the math expected of them. Just 55 percent read at grade level. More than half drop out, ill-equipped for good jobs or the opportunity to better their lot." And this is what Sessums believes merits rewarding? You have got to be kidding. What would you do with the staff of a restaurant that was only competent enough to deliver a glass of water to 10 percent of the patrons who ordered it, over half of whom proceeded to walk out?
And, therein lies the root of the whole problem, which "charter" schools, "transformations" and "turnovers" can help with but only temporarily ameliorate: the fact that we have public schools at all. The long-term solution to the disasters of our "educational" system, which functions as little more than tax-supported propaganda-camp day-care centers, is to remove the government from its operations completely through the "transformation" of privatization.
Then, and only then, will you see the free interplay and accountability of free competition on a free market work its wonders, just as it does with shoes, refrigerators and a million other sectors of our economy.
Think Duncan and Obama might have any interest in that.