Compromise at Central Falls High

The plan to fire all teachers and staff at Central Falls High in Rhode Island is off, it appears.  The day after President Obama backed the firings, the union blinked, proposing a reform plan similar to what the superintendent wanted in the first place. A compromise is in the works.

“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.

The union now will accept “a longer school day, as well as more rigorous evaluations and training, among other steps.”

Will that help? Rhode Island has been trying to improve the school for many years to no avail.

“There just is very little evidence in terms of what works in quickly turning around a persistently low-performing school,” said Grover “Russ” Whitehurst, a Brookings Institution scholar who oversaw education research under President George W. Bush.

Flypaper, which has lots of links, thinks the students will be no better off and perhaps worse.

When a school is as dysfunctional as Central Falls High, it’s not just the teachers. It’s a succession of ineffective principals, faddish and incoherent curricula, poor support from parents and a lot more. A bad school drags down average teachers and drives out the most ambitious. What this school needs is an exceptionally good principal — competent is not good enough — with the authority to replace the least-effective tenured teachers. Central Falls might get a strong leader, but is unlikely to let the new principal fire the  teachers who flunk those “rigorous evaluations.”

About Joanne


  1. Miller Smith says:

    There will be no improvement in anything at that school no matter what program or teaching staff installed in it.

    Every school taken over in Maryland where the staff was fired has never recovered up to the lo level that prompted the take over and firings. Now the state and systems no longer do mass firings and takeovers as they get blamed when things get and stay worse. They now do “alternative governance” and recruiting teachers to work in low performing schools…which does not work either.

    Demographics rule the school roost.

  2. Mike Curtis says:

    The military fires its generals for failure…it never blames the troops. Most of what we call management is composed of administrators getting in the way of the work that needs to be done.

    Firing teachers for poor results is not the same as firing teachers for poor performance. If you don’t know the difference, and you’re an administrator, then you’re not a good general.

  3. tim-10-ber says:

    What will work? Most likely…ditching the worn out concept of academic years based on a child’s age and do the following: assess the students; determine their skill/knowledge level, start working with them at their level and move up from there. Can’t anyone get creative and try the only thing that will probably work?

    Working with students 2,3 4 or more grade levels behind and expecting them to do “grade level” work is just plain dumb…


  1. […] blogger Joanne Jacobs thinks a touch new principal with firing power is what CF High really needs in order to improve. […]

  2. […] the original post:  Compromise at Central Falls High « Joanne Jacobs tags: backed-the-firings, between-metro, central, central-falls, daily, firings, […]