Home > Politics > Let’s Just Fire All the Teachers – Rhode Island Did

Let’s Just Fire All the Teachers – Rhode Island Did

February 26, 2011

The tactics being used against public employees are bullying, abusive, and reprehensible. When I heard that Rhode Island was going to send out termination notices to all of its public teachers, I was appalled. This is actually a maneuver to weaken unions. Here is the story from today’s NY Times:

A day after the school board in Providence, R.I., voted to send termination notices to all of the city’s 1,926 teachers, Mayor Angel Taveras sought to calm the uproar by saying that an “overwhelming majority” would not, in fact, lose their jobs.

Rhode Island law requires teachers to be notified of possible layoffs or terminations by March 1, which is why the school board did not wait for next year’s budget picture to become clearer.

The city will have to close some of its 40 schools by September, Mr. Taveras said, and only those teachers would lose their jobs.

“Given that we don’t know the schools yet that we’re going to target,” he said in an interview, “the most appropriate thing is to require notices to all the teachers.”

Teachers have accused Mr. Taveras of trying to bypass seniority rules by sending termination notices instead of layoff warnings. With layoffs, teachers are typically asked back based on seniority. Terminations give the district more control over which teachers will be rehired.

The notices going out to teachers warn not that they will be fired, Ms. Withers said, but that they might be.

Steven Smith, the president of the Providence Teachers Union, did not return calls on Friday. But Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, described the school board’s move as an unprecedented power play.

“What’s going on here,” she said, “is somebody has an idea about wanting to arbitrarily and capriciously choose who they want teaching in schools next year.”

Ms. Weingarten said the termination notices were also a way of to pressure the city’s teachers’ union as it prepares for contract negotiations. Its current contract ends in June.

Entire article, click here

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