Ockham and Central Falls

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Fo-3_5Gbqoc/SjuTvrWrgbI/AAAAAAAAABo/oMGqsLz34S0/s1600-R/o_apple_worm.jpgIt’s sad, but why is it at all surprising that teachers in Central Falls — subject to a (temporary) mass firing last school year — feel detached from their work and are looking for jobs elsewhere?

You really didn’t need to get too deep into the weeds to worry that the firings at CF made little sense and would only exacerbate problems in the district.  How was CF going to attract and retain teachers if it was understood that they could be fired, en masse, regardless of their individual performance?  Why would a great upstart young teacher with lots of options — entertaining offers from, say, Providence, Boston, and CF — choose to teach in CF, with a precedent of firing teachers without even concern for how good they were.  (Teachers who’d recently been evaluated, and none of whom were even in corrective action plans.)

At least in places like Washington, DC, where restructurings have become part of the rhythm of the school year, teachers keep their jobs when their school gets restructured — they’re just moved to other schools in the given district.  In a one-school town like CF, that’s just impossible.

Holistic evaluations make sense — in DC there’s a teacher evaluation program that operates separately from determinations about school closures — but never does it make sense to fire teachers because of factors beyond their control.  (And never does it make sense to be shocked at inequitable education outcomes in a country with such deep class divides.)

The firings, whether a temporary negotiating strategy or fully enacted, were going to be disruptive.  And now the families of CF must contend with the consequences.

2 thoughts on “Ockham and Central Falls”

  1. East Sider22

    I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Segal’s opinion as it pertains to the sentiments of prospective new hires in CF. The fact of the matter is that there were 700-800 applicants seeking employment as an educator in CF when Gallo sent termination letters to 50% of the teacher population. That speaks volumes to me: 1) their is a surplus of teachers looking for jobs in RI; and 2) they are eager to work in a district that is ready for positive change.

    With respect to teachers preferring employment in Boston… thats simply a red herring. Different state, different accredidation process, different job market.

  2. That’s a legitimate concern to have, but also has nothing to do with the point David made. Central Falls wasn’t about bumping.

    We can say pretty safely though that if teachers are going to be discouraged by the chance that a few of them will get laid off or bumped out, then they’ll sure as hell be discouraged by legit concerns that they could ALL get fired for stuff they have no control over.

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