Teachers Fired One and All
I sure wish people would stop throwing teachers under the bus.
It's been reported — with a certain level of glee in some places — the firing of all 74 classroom teachers as well as the principal, assistant principals, counselors, reading specialists, PE teachers and the school psychologist at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. The teachers plan to appeal the firings.
The firings apparently were the result of a combination of things; things like an all out showdown over attempts at reform, efforts to grab some of those federal tax dollars, abysmal test scores and labor disputes.
In the end, though, news reports distilled the drama down to teachers refusing to work an extra 25 minutes without pay along with some other stuff. That little piece of news got some people just a tad snarky.
Of course, news reports that teachers at Central Falls High School earn an average $75,000 a year didn't help either. Nor did reports that the school only manages a 48 percent graduation rate and only 7 percent of the students there are proficienct in math by the 11th grade. That kind of stuff just doesn't make anyone feel very warm and fuzzy towards those teachers.
I must admit that even I wasn't feeling very warm and fuzzy towards my fellow educators, especially since I've been dragging myself up to my school at 7:30 a.m. and not leaving until 5:30 p.m., and my salary is a good 25 percent less than that.
But all of that just hides the real issue.
Instead of blaming the teachers and throwing them under the bus, let's consider a few other things:
- When teachers have to attend to all the social issues first before they can educate their students, well, all bets are off. One chemistry teacher there said, "Once, I changed the diaper of my student's baby so my student could finish her chemistry test uninterrupted...This is ordinary. This is normal in Central Falls. We do this all the time."
- When you have five principals in six years, that spells no leadership and difficulties even under the best of circumstances. If you can't run a private company well with no leadership or poor leadership, why would you expect success at a school?