Friday, February 26, 2010

Central Falls Redux

I have to side with Rick Hess over Andy Rotherham on the question of whether the mass firing of teachers at Rhode island's Central Falls High School is a portend of things to come. In yesterday's Christian Science Monitor story, Hess calls the situation in Central Falls "a canary in a coal mine." In a blog post yesterday, Rotherham calls is "a bogus trend story."
“This will be a canary in the coal mine,” says Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Such dramatic moves are likely to multiply as “an increasing crop of no-excuses superintendents and state commissioners” take the view that “it’s essential to clean house” to improve persistently failing schools, he says.

This Rhode Island high school situation sure seems like a bogus trend story. Turnarounds may be a trend but really dramatic moves like this seem pretty anomalous. That whale in Florida killing people seems like a more common trend than schools firing all the teachers en masse. -- Eduwonk
In a Tweet this morning, Alexander Russo sardonically notes that "'mass layoff' sounds so much worse than school 'closing' or school 'turnaround' tho they're all the same thing." Indeed.

This morning word comes from the Providence Journal blog that teachers will appeal their firings. No surprise there.

Related Post: Rhode Island District Fires All Of Its High School Teachers (2/25/2010)


UPDATE: President Obama comments on Central Falls in his prepared remarks before the America's Promise Alliance Education Event on March 1, 2010 (via TWIE, via D_Aarons).

"If a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn't show signs of improvement, then there's got to be a sense of accountability. And that's what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th graders passed state math tests -- 7 percent."