Central Falls Superintendent Stalling on Talks With Teachers
Less than a week after agreeing to negotiate with fired teachers at Central Falls (R.I.) High School and their union, the school superintendent is delaying the talks.
In a statement, Jane Sessums, president of the Central Falls Teachers Union, an AFT affiliate, urged Superintendent Frances Gallo to “resume negotiations with the teachers union and to accept (Rhode Island Education) Commissioner Deborah Gist’s offer to provide impartial mediation.”
We must not keep this school, its students, teachers and staff on tenterhooks any longer.
The school superintendent fired all teachers at Central Falls High on Feb. 23. She agreed March 3 to resume bargaining and include the union in all discussions on a comprehensive education plan that will help students and teachers succeed. The move followed a nationwide public outcry, with thousands signing an online petition to tell school officials the students deserve better and they should work with teachers to build on improvements at the high school. (Keep the pressure on the Central Falls school administration. Sign a petition here.)
On Tuesday evening, a group of about 40 current and former Central Falls High students held a candlelight vigil in honor of the fired teachers and staff. Priscilla Villa, 18, a freshman in college told the Providence Journal:
All the teachers here have been a big part of my life. The teachers here inspired me to go to college.
The teachers union has presented a comprehensive education plan to transform the school, Sessums said. The proposal includes serious recommendations for implementing high school reform programs that have succeeded in other low-performing districts and it needs to be an integral part of what the parties discuss when they return to the table, she added.
As we have consistently said, the Central Falls Teachers Union is ready to resume negotiations. We are committed to a reform plan that will put Central Falls High School on a pathway to excellence. Delaying negotiations is done at a cost to the students of Central Fall High. We urge Superintendent Gallo to reconsider her ill-advised resistance to beginning that process.