PROVIDENCE — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers.It's very simple - Providence, Rhode Island just busted the teachers' union.
More than 700 teachers jammed a high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.
“How do we feel? Disrespected,” said Julie Latessa, a special-needs teacher, before the vote. “We are broken. How do you repair the damage you have done today?”
Every teacher received a certified letter from the School Department on Thursday informing them that they might be terminated at the end of the school year. It also said the School Board would vote on the proposed dismissals at Thursday night’s meeting, which was moved to the Providence Career and Technical Academy to accommodate the huge turnout.
Many of the teachers were caught off guard by Mayor Angel Taveras’ decision to terminate teachers instead of laying them off. Last night, speakers questioned the mayor’s rationale: a $40-million school budget deficit and a March 1 deadline by which the School Department must notify teachers if their jobs are in jeopardy.
“This is a quasi-legal power grab,” said Richard Larkin, a teacher at Classical High School. “You want to pick and choose teachers. Well, we will not be bullied.”
Speaker after speaker demanded to know why they were being fired. Didn’t the teachers union sign on to the federal Race to the Top initiative? Hasn’t the union collaborated with Supt. Tom Brady on new curricula? Isn’t the union working with the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers on a new teacher evaluation?
“I’m feeling disrespected, devalued and marginalized,” said Ed Gorden. “Termination is a career-ender. You are putting a scarlet letter on every one of us.”
Teachers begged the School Board to issue layoffs rather than fire them outright because, under the layoff provisions, teachers are recalled based on seniority. There is no guarantee that seniority would be used to bring back any of the fired teachers. School leaders have been vague about exactly how seniority will play out in the case of terminations.
They can hire the cheapest teachers now, dispense with the more expensive vets and save the district millions.
So what if the school system is destabilized beyond breaking?
This is ABOUT THE MONEY.
The rich oligarchs - these guys, the superrich who already own 85% of the country's wealth - want more, more, more.
The last powerful union - the teachers union - is being broken in their power grab.
And of course this has been done with the full consent and help of "liberals" like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Miller.
Even worse, the teachers union leadership doesn't seem to understand the danger.
Or maybe they're on the neo-liberal payroll too, just like "liberals" like Barack Obama, George Miller and Bill Clinton.
Either way, while teachers are being fired all over the country for the simple of crime of making too much money or being a member of a union, AFT head Randi Weingarten is putting out plans on how to fire teachers with more ease.
Hey, Randi, haven't you noticed the oligarchs have been doing this pretty easily already?
So now we're down the the end game. Hundreds of thousands of teachers will be fired across the country this year, evaluation rules have been changed so that in the near future most teachers will be graded using value-added systems tied to test scores with huge margins of error, setting up perhaps a million teachers to be fired in the next few years.
And that's not hyperbole - that's reality.
Hell, they just fired nearly two thousand in Providence alone.
Oh, and those teachers in Central Falls, Rhode Island who were fired as a result of Obama's RttT policy who got their jobs back because they collaborated with the ed deformers to add time, days and other goodies to the school?
They got fired this week too.
ALL of them.
The lesson for teachers is to STOP COLLABORATING with the ed deform movement or their political shills.
How many fired teachers will it take for the NEA and AFT leadership to get that through their heads?
Or will it take an Egypt-like coup inside the teachers unions to finally bring the point across - NO MORE COLLABORATION.
COLLABORATION LEADS TO EXPLOITATION AND MASS FIRINGS.
The Providence teachers collaborated and gave the reformers everything they wanted.
They were fired for their collaborative efforts.
Same for the Central Falls teachers.
And the same will happen all across this country until teachers FIGHT BACK AGAINST THE OLIGARCHS