Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Central Falls: It is Really Small and Weird!

The Answer Sheet:

The firings by the Central Falls school trustees made big headlines, not because reconstituting a school is new, but perhaps because it is the only school in the state’s poorest and smallest city, and because it was not reported as being the consequence of years of calculated efforts to fix the school (even if it was).

I've probably written this before but I'll try to be more clear:

  • This is different than a bigger city because over 50% of these teachers will not have jobs next year. They won't be ATR's, won't be transferred, won't be making a full time salary while subbing. There is no other school in the district to push them to. They'll be unemployed teachers with Central Falls High School on their resume -- rejects from the "worst." In Chicago, New York, Providence, you've still got a job of some kind, at least for a year, even if your school closes or is reconstituted out of your school (as far as I know).
  • This is more like a small town firing all its teachers than a city firing some of theirs.
  • Central Falls is really unlike any other "city" you've ever seen. Just imagine carving out a one square mile chunk of the poorest immigrant neighborhood in the closest metropolitan area and calling it a "city." It is just absurd.
  • Central Falls is so poor that, in a state with one of the lowest state contributions to school funding, the state covers all of the non-federal tab for the district, and hassince the 90's.

The existence of this city and school district is completely ill-conceived.

Let me put it this way: if you grew up in Rhode Island, Central Falls is just another local quirk; if you never lived in Rhode Island, you assume it is just a small city; if you moved to Rhode Island and live here, when you find out what Central Falls really is, it is a total wtf moment.

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