Monday, May 17, 2010

The Loser in Central Falls? Rushed, Pre-fab Reforms (hopefully)

On the whole, I don't think anyone won in Central Falls. Perhaps "management" comes out best for the moment, as Rick Hess thinks, especially since they avoid our actually finding out what the limits of teacher labor law actually are in 21st century Rhode Island. On the other hand, it looks like many teachers will be getting almost a $5,000 raise, which ain't chicken feed.

It will be annoying if we discover in 2015 that all these negotiations outside of normal collective bargaining were completely unnecessary.

But I don't think "reform" won, particularly since neither the "turnaround" nor "transformation" models are or were likely to achieve anything dramatic. Although, the big elephant in Rhode Island is the question of how a successful turnaround will be defined. Especially in math. From 7% to... 25% (realistic)?, 50% (unrealistic and unsatisfying)?, 75% (not gonna happen)?

I hope the biggest loser is the idea that trying to make these decisions based on a slate of prefab options and extremely short timetables, with very quick soundbite reactions from national political figures, is just a bad idea. And frankly we're not likely to see anything as rash on a national level as these stimulus-driven measures anytime soon. This circus has made everyone look bad.


Anonymous said...

I think there is a fundamental difference in goals. The reformers are looking to disrupt... and they have succeeded. And... they will leave in their wake schools and districts, disrupted, that will be ready to be disrupted again at any time.


Tom Hoffman said...

It is a lot like "urban renewal," which in this neighborhood mostly just has parking lots as its legacy.

Anonymous said...


Renew or destroy? Different people, different goals, same name.