Home > Conscious Parenting, High Schools, Parenting, Parenting Support, Public Education, Teacher Unions, Teachers, Uncategorized > Education in Crisis; America’s High Schools & Rhode Island, Part 2

Education in Crisis; America’s High Schools & Rhode Island, Part 2

Central Falls is one of the poorest towns in the state of Rhode Island. There are lots of boarded up windows, abandoned buildings, and decrepit factories. It is a depressed community. Wikipedia states the median income in Central Falls is $22,000. Teacher’s salaries at the high school average between $72,000 and $78,000 (which exemplifies a nationwide trend in which public sector workers make far more than their private sector counterparts and with better benefits). Fifty percent (50%) of their students are failing all of their classes, the graduation rate is under 50%, and only 7% of its 11th graders were proficient in math in 2009.

Does this sound like a high school where you live? It has too, because we have more than 5000 high schools in our country that are considered “non-performing” and 2,000 of those high schools produce more than half of the nation’s dropouts.

Sooooo, to try and alleviate the serious educational problems these students face at the Central Falls High School, School Superintendent Frances Gallo developed a modest plan to help her students in this failing school. She asked her teachers:

  • to work 25 minutes longer each day without extra pay
  • to eat lunch with the students once in a while
  • to help with tutoring students after school

The teachers didn’t blink. They refused these onerous demands of doing extra work for no extra pay (to help their failing students graduate). The Central Falls Teachers’ Union refused to accept a reform plan for one of the worst performing high schools in the state.

Superintendent Gallo didn’t blink either. After learning of the union’s decision she notified the state of Rhode Island that she was switching to a plan she hoped she could avoid and she fired the entire staff at Central Falls High School, 100 teachers, the principal, all administrators, and assistants. They all lost their jobs.

Superintendent Gallo is replacing everyone!

The Teacher’s Union responded at a rally at the city park before a school committee meeting. George Nee, president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, told the crowd, “This is immoral, illegal, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful, and disrespectful.” Mark Bostic, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers, said it would stand behind its teachers “as long as it takes to get justice.”

NOW, who among us will stand behind the students “as long as it takes to get justice”?  Who among us will SHOUT OUT  that the failing rates across this country is “immoral, illegal, unjust, irresponsible, disgraceful, and disrespectful”? The students at Central Falls High School are failing, dropping out, and living wasted lives in an economy that demands, more than ever, an education in order to have a future? Where are the parents and where is their voice? Does anyone hear their voice?

Since I am a self employed business owner with no benefits, I must leave this post to attend a meeting. I will have more to say in the next post about Teachers, Unions, and our “Obsolete” (Bill Gates said this), “State of Emergency” (Oprah Winfrey said this), “Unrecognized Educational Crisis” (Former U.S. Secretary of Education, Ron Paige said this) educational system.

  1. March 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

    WOW! Well said! I find it so hard to believe that the teachers wouldn’t agree to those modest requests to help their students! Ms. Gallo certainly has my support!

  2. March 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Thank you for your support. Every little bit helps – first we plant seeds, then the rain comes, then the seeds sprout, and then we have a tree with many leaves.

  3. March 5, 2010 at 9:58 am

    It’s my opinion that much, if not all, of what is described could have been addressed at much earlier ages. If we were educated about the significance of what happens developmentally in the 0 -3 year old brain, it would be infinitely easier to address these issues!

    • March 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

      Ingrid, You are correct and I have written about that in earlier posts. The other factor in this abysmal education mess is the near absence of responsible Parenting. We have children, who have no parenting skills, giving birth to children. Because they were not parented responsibly they have no example to model after. If we can effect change in Parenting, we may be able to effect change education.

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