Saturday, February 27, 2010

Firing All The Teachers

Last week, when Toyota executives were being grilled before Congress, it was hard to know whom to root for: root for Toyota and you root for a company that knowingly ignored serious safety concerns in its cars, root for Congress and you root for a bunch of grandstanding blowhard idiots. Tough choice.

Likewise, I'm torn regarding this story of the Rhode Island school that's fired all its teachers because they won't work a few extra hours a week without extra pay. I admit enjoying the relative job security I have, and I don't want to think that could ever be jeopardized (especially since I'm one of those rock-the-boat teachers). Additionally, I wouldn't really want to be required to work extra time at no additional pay. On the other hand, when you're working at one of the worst-performing schools in the state, you can't just expect to continue the status quo. The fact that the teachers union is rocked by this is just gravy for me :-)

Is there any indication that the requested additional work would do any good? Read about the community surrounding this school; has there been any outreach to get the community to "do its part" to improve student achievement, or is it all to come down on the shoulders of the teachers? Did the teachers offer anything, or just expect to keep on keeping on?

It's hard to know whom to root for.


Unknown said...

I think we should root for the students.

Personally, I don't think a few extra minutes a day would make much difference, but I also don't think it something I would want to lose my job over.

Anonymous said...

I have only skimmed the coverage of this story, so I may have missed it, but what I want to know is whether the teachers were even asked about this. Did they take a vote? Or was it union/local chiefs who answered "no" on behalf of the indians?

In my own experience, working in a multi-school district, there was very little communication between the rank-and-file and their union reps. You could ask rank-and-file teachers about what the union was negotiating on their behalf, and probably 90%-95% hadn't the vaguest idea.

I wonder what the union will do now for these soon-to-be jobless members.

It is very hard to know who to root for here.

Ellen K said...

While I don't like unions-and I think they allow marginal teachers to keep jobs-I have to wonder where the emphasis is on the students and their families on the RESPONSIBILITY of learning. I usually come early and stay late to help students, but I would resent being told that I have to stay late even if students don't show up. Likewise, firing everyone punishes the teachers who are working. This seems like a simplistic solution by an administrator that isn't interested in doing the research in order to qualify which teacher stays or goes. I would not want to work for such a person.

allen (in Michigan) said...

It was one of the lousiest schools in Rhode Island and was a couple years past the time one of the NCLB-required changes should have been made to the school. I doubt the story will have much effect on the national level.

mmazenko said...


Ineffective administration allows marginal teachers to keep their job. People like to complain that its too costly to fire poor teachers. But its not too costly to observe and evaluate them as poor teachers.

99% of non-probationary teachers in Denver Public Schools received "satisfactory" ratings in evaluations last year. That is the problem.