Details of the agreement will be released following a ratification vote by Central Falls teachers at a meeting today. The union and district had been working with a mediator since March. They released a joint statement yesterday.
Both the school district and the union agree that while this has been a difficult process for everyone involved, the negotiations resulted in a newfound appreciation for shared responsibility, and a solid commitment to bring lasting solutions that will improve teaching and learning at Central Falls High School.
Under the deal, teachers will need to recommit to their jobs and interview with the new principal. Other changes aimed at increasing student achievement include: a new evaluation system designed to inform teaching and learning, and targeted and embedded professional development.
So, essentially, the Central Falls administration and Board of Trustees made a big deal about absolutely nothing. There was plenty of sympathy given to the teachers at the time, and a lot of mixed feelings when it came to the Transformational Model in general.
Now, however, one would expect to see a lot of contempt and anger coming from every corner of the country except for the teacher's unions. The idea of using the Transformational Model to “fix” a failing school is to actually transform something. Instead, the only changes will be the ones by the model; changes that were already existing policy, just not widely participated in.
And, the important part of the model, the firing of the staff with the ability to re-hire only 50% will apparently be ignored, allowing every bad teacher or staff back to the school; along with the good.
Over 700 people applied for jobs at Central Falls High School in anticipation of the expected conclusion. One would assume there would have been some better quality talent in that pool of 700 than some of those who are returning to work with little consequence.
This time, the losers here are the kids, and the cycle of failure will likely continue. A school, an hour from Worcester, five minutes from Attleboro, twenty minutes from Providence is one of the worst in the country. Thanks to this gutless action from the parties involved, it very well will continue to be. The only hope is that the outlined changes that are part of the Transformational Model will be effective, even though the same cast of characters is involved.