As schools in the UK get back to work after February half term, US educational officials are threatening drastic action to improve a failing school – they're talking about firing its whole staff. About 100 teachers, administrators and staff members could lose their jobs.
The Providence Journal reports that School Superintendent Frances Gallo asked members of the teacher's union to take on extra work at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. When the union refused, Gallo announced her intention to replace the staff instead.
Gallo asked teachers to do the following: Add 25 minutes to the school day; provide tutoring before and after school; eat lunch with students once a week; submit to more rigorous evaluations; attend weekly after-school planning sessions with fellow teachers and participate in two weeks of training during the summer break.
Teachers would not agree to the conditions of her proposed transformation, and now she is invoking what the Journal calls the "turnaround" model for improving the school, which allows her to fire the entire staff. That model also bars the school district from hiring back more than 50 percent of those who are let go.
Union officials say that they agree that the high school needs to improve. However, they are unwilling to agree to the proposed conditions – especially without getting paid for them. Union president Jane M. Sessums tells the Providence Journal that the union will fight the impending terminations.
Teachers at the school have now received a letter telling them to attend a meeting this week, where termination notices will be handed out. Here's more on the story from Fox25News in Boston:
What do you think? Do failing schools need tough action like this, or have authorities gone too far?