An Earthquake: Rhode Island School Superintendents Told To Abolish Teacher Seniority

Linda Borg:

Dropping a bombshell on the teachers’ unions, state Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist ordered school superintendents to abolish the practice of assigning teachers based on how many years they have in the school system.
Gist, who sent a letter to superintendents on Tuesday, is upending tradition and taking on two powerful unions, the National Education Association Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFT), who together represent 12,000 public school teachers.
On Friday, the unions said they were blindsided by Gist’s announcement, adding that the commissioner made no attempt to confer with labor before going public with the decision.
“We’re going to court,” said Marcia Reback, president of the Federation of Teachers. “I’m startled that there was no conversation with the unions about this. I’m startled there were no public hearings, and I’m startled at the content. This narrows the scope of collective bargaining.”
Gist says she has the authority to do away with seniority under the new Basic Education Plan, which the Rhode Island Board of Regents approved in June and which takes effect July 1.

Makes sense…..
NBC10 has more.

One thought on “An Earthquake: Rhode Island School Superintendents Told To Abolish Teacher Seniority”

  1. I think the URL for the new Basic Education Plan is
    Now the work begins determining if this document actually gives Gist the authority to invalidate existing contract provisions with teachers. Then again, one must determine if the mentioned seniority provision has any real cause and effect on the performance of students, and the degree to which teaching assignments are significantly determined by seniority. (In contrast to age, experience, expertise, skills).
    On the other hand, seniority cuts both directions. My old, then young, high school math teacher survived the math fads over the years, ignoring the demands of new age math curriculum by counting on his seniority to continue to each real high school math while the new teachers, math illiterate by comparison, continued on their damaging way.
    By comparison, I know of one MMSD support staff person who’s philosophy was “if you’re having difficulty in some subject in school it’s probably because you’re simply not smart enough to learn the material”, should have been fired 30 years before, bar seniority keeping her around.

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