Education Commissioner Peter McWalters has ordered the city schools to begin filling teacher vacancies based on qualifications rather than seniority, an order that could fly in the face of the teachers’ contract.
McWalters, in a no-nonsense letter yesterday to Supt. Tom Brady, said the district hasn’t been moving fast enough to improve student achievement and that it was time to intervene in a much more aggressive fashion.
The order should come as no surprise to the district. Over the last two years the commissioner has issued a series of “corrective action” orders that spelled out what the district needed to do to improve student performance.
“This is intervention,” McWalters said yesterday. “Every state gets to the point when it’s time to stop suggesting. The district can’t come back and tell me they can’t get it done.”
McWalters said that seniority can no longer be the way that teachers are assigned and vacancies are filled. Starting this fall, teachers at six Providence schools, including the new career and technical high school and the new East Side middle school, will be assigned based on whether they have the skills needed to serve students at those particular schools.