I think my comment over at Mike Klonsky's got eaten, so I'll just write it here.
First, I was going to say that I thought Gist's timeline on submitting a turnaround plan had forced Gallo into a corner, but re-reading the timeline, Central Falls' deadline is March 16, so that's not the cause of the truncated negotiation, although it does give them some cover for re-starting the process and coming to a different conclusion.
One reason to regard this as a potential trend is that the whole process is driven by the conditions of receiving stimulus funding. It is not NCLB as usual. As the federal ED didn't release the guidelines for intervention in the lowest 5% of schools, required under ARRA, this until December 18. Rhode Island released its list of low-performing schools on January 11. Central Falls blew up February 12. We're just the first in line for this journey.
Related to that, I hadn't realized the extent to which the whole process, including the criteria for determining who is "lowest performing" was dictated by ED. Under those rules, you're eligible for intervention for low test scores or a graduation rate under 60%, so graduation rate must explain why the state chose schools that are by no means the lowest in achievement scores.
Looking forward to some... ambitious credit recovery programs springing up in RI's urban high schools.