Rhode Island high school fires all teachers at once

on February 24 2010 3:45 PM

Every teacher and staff at the Central Falls High School in Rhode Island was fired in the midst of a federal effort to fix under-performing schools nationwide.

The Central Falls school Board of Trustees voted 5-2 Tuesday night to fire a total of 93 employees at the high school. Included are 74 classroom teachers plus reading specialists, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, the school psychologist and the principal, the Providence Journal reports.

Shame on you, shouted few of the teachers to the trustees in response to the firing, according to the paper.

Central Falls High School has been one of the lowest achieving schools in Rhode Island. It has very low test scores and a graduation rate o 48 percent, according to the Providence Journal.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he applauded, the board for  showing courage and doing the right thing for kids, the Journal reports. His department is pushing states to identify and overhaul poor performing schools.

As a solution to raise the schools' level, the Education Department proposed four methods and one of them is turnaround, which means firing the entire teaching staff and no more than 50 percent rehired. Other fixes to the problems include school closure, takeover by a charter or school-management organization and transformation (i.e. longer school days), the Journal notes.

Rhode Island is one of the first states to publicly release a list of low performance  schools and put into action the new federal mandate, according to the Journal.

The firings followed failed negotiations with the teachers' union to improve test scores by spending more time with the students, CNN reports. Teachers called for an increase in their salaries for the extra hours, according to the report.

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