Thursday, March 4, 2010

Compromise in Central Falls?

The Central Falls (Rhode Island) Teachers' Union, an AFT affiliate, has approached district superintendent Frances Gallo and signaled a willingness to compromise over several reform issues that last month led Gallo and the school board to recommend the firing of the entire staff at Central Falls High School. It appears that this story is still being written. Sometimes dramatic steps are what is needed to achieve compromise.

For more, check out today's Washington Post ...
"I am pleased to reassure the union their place in the planning process," Central Falls Superintendent Frances Gallo said in a statement. She said she welcomes union input in developing "a dynamic plan to dramatically improve student achievement" at Central Falls High School.

Gallo's statement followed an overture Tuesday from the Central Falls Teachers' Union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The instructors have offered support for a longer school day, as well as more rigorous evaluations and training, among other steps.

and Providence Journal stories...
Late Tuesday, Central Falls Teachers Union president Jane Sessums made the first move in a news release that said the teachers were willing to embrace a set of reforms that were very similar to changes Gallo initially proposed.

“My heart skipped a beat,” Gallo said after reading Sessums’ proposal. “I thought, ‘They are basically saying they want what we want for the first time, with the kind of assurances I need.’ … This brings the union back with us, in the conversation about meaningful reform. It’s where they should be.”

Less than 24 hours later, Gallo opened the door with a news release of her own, saying she was excited by the prospect of reaching agreement with the teachers.

Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist, whose order to improve the struggling school sparked the mass firings, said she was encouraged by the rapprochement between the two sides.

“Our focus in everything … is how to ensure the children in Central Falls receive an excellent education,” Gist said, “and that is always going to be improved when all the adults are working cooperatively together.

Related blog posts:

Central Falls Redux (2/26/2010)
Rhode Island District Fires All Of Its High School Teachers (2/24/2010)