American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
February 25th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

RI district fires entire high school staff

In one tiny, poverty-stricken city in the nation's smallest state, a big battle is erupting at the local high school.

The school board in Central Falls, Rhode Island has voted to fire every teacher. It's part of a new federal push for education reform that requires each state to identify its worst performing schools and take specific action to fix them.

But is wiping out an entire staff the most sensible approach? We were joined on Thursday's American Morning by Deborah Gist, education commissioner for the state of Rhode Island.

Read more: All teachers fired at Rhode Island school

Filed under: Education cuts
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Kenny of NY

    It's about time!!! When my kids went to school the teachers were so bad we couldn't fire them, The unions are way to strong. They need to break the unions and fire hundreds and thousands of terrible teachers all accross the country. Yea for RI

    March 25, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  2. Kenny of NY

    I'm all for teaching the children to have a better education. However, I ran for a school board seat many years ago in my town. I can't tell you the double dipping, over lapping of departments and programs. This just an out right rip off the school board/teachers are doing. This is just one small town in the country, if you multiply over the whole country its shameful. I know across the country the entire education system is ripping off the tax payers big time with this kind of abuse. they can make a 20% reduction in teachers, staff and administration across the board and still give the kids a decent education. Just remember so many of these kids in school today are NOT legal citizens. So why do we have to pay more taxes for illegal's!!! Teachers have had it to good for to many years. Let them stop hidding behind the children and for more pay, why should a teacher be paid so much and be off all summer and get such outragous bennifits with their health and retirement bennifits.

    March 25, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  3. Donald Clayton Gilbert

    I have a solution for solving the education budget problems not only in Cali. but for the entire U.S. And it may sound like a crackpot idea but lets take the crack out of it and there's your solution. Lets pay for it with a tax on pot, and no I don't smoke it, Anymore

    March 22, 2010 at 7:23 am |
  4. nick

    Education is the MOST IMPORTANT PART in society without which, there can be no progress in life and the country. Form any country to move and make a progress, education is the only way out.

    Even Health of the people is important.



    USA CANNOT AFFORD to go back in society.

    USA has to pay more attention to education and health to remain prosperous and be a leader in the world.

    All the governing personnel in the Govt, everywhere, enjoy more salaries and perks. They should voluntarily give up some of their wealth.

    President Obama has given out his Nobel Peace Prize to charity.

    Govt should not touch education and health. instead, provide more funds to maintain and enhance the prosperity of the country.


    March 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  5. Claude Nickerson

    That sounds really unusual for a whole taecher's staff to be fired at a high school. This seems strange to me.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  6. Claude Nickerson

    Yes, teachers want the best and if they do not, then they should seek another profession. We all get cold feet and have been under a system where so many have to get As, Bs, Cs, Ds, and Fs. If they deserve such a grade so be it. if not, do not! I know this occurs in college too! we a had a buddy buddy system of what professor to avoid for they were henchpersons! You people at CNN know about that. Everybody has done this! SURVIVAL!

    March 4, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  7. Wayne Webb

    One of the fundamental things we have to understand is that we cannot "learn" anybody anything. Learning is the function of the learner. CNN suggested in its initial coverage that there was something somehow wrong in the teachers being paid $70,000 per year–that being too much money, I suppose, to pay a teacher for anything–and especially because they teach low-income people. Are they reasoning that poorer people should have more poorly-paid teachers, and, I suppose that teachers who teach in wealthier neighborhoods should be paid more? Is there something wrong with the concept that if people (even educators) work extra hours that they should be paid more for it?
    CNN is my prefrrred choice for television news–but is there any possible way they could have handled this any more poorly?

    February 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  8. jim vicalvi

    Get rid of the teacher's unions. They make the teachers to complacent. They know that they won't lose their jobs. Why wasn't the person in charge fired too?

    February 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  9. kent, NJ

    The RI commissioner of education sounds great. I heard her this morning on cnn. She sounds like someone we need to run the NJ department of education. The teachers and school administrators in NJ have bankrupted the state. All the teacher unions want is more money , free medical, dental and vision care, pensions, and tenure for life. In return NJ has the highest property taxes in the nation, we spend 20,000 per pupil, a local school superintendent in every municipality and we still have poor performance compared to other states which pay 60% less property taxes. You go girl!

    February 25, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  10. ALLAN

    Several points that seem to have gone unmentioned strike me about this issue.

    First, one of the criticisms about this school was the fact that they were graduating students that couldn't read.

    Most high school teachers are not trained or equipped to teach reading. This is supposed to be done at the PRIMARY SCHOOL level. How did these students GET to high school unable to read and how did this become the responsibility of the high school teachers?

    Secondly, if one considers the amount of time the public schools actually have the average student in the classroom once one subtracts weekends, evenings, school breaks and vacations... it leaves about 17% of the student's total year.

    Don't the parents have some responsibility in the success or failure of their children?

    Finally, I understand that a very large percentage of the students in this district come from homes where some language OTHER than English is spoken, and often cultural differences make a HUGE difference in how much respect is given to the teachers.

    Several of the schools in our county here in Florida have a very high percentage of "English as a Second Language" students... and those schools traditionally have a much lower "score" under the poorly designed "No Child Left Behind" measurements.

    February 25, 2010 at 9:50 am |