Barack Obama Is Watching Your Kids, Just Not the Banks (Photo via White House)

This is the kind of moment for which you want your Democratic President to really step up.

In the middle of the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, more than 90 dedicated professional educators find themselves put out into the street. On Feb. 23, the Central Falls, R.I., school trustees fired the entire teaching staff of Central Falls High School, supposedly because of declining test scores at the school, which is located in Rhode Island’s smallest and poorest city.

In all, 93 persons were put in the street—74 classroom teachers, plus reading specialists, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, the school psychologist, the principal and three assistant principals. Negotiations over ways to improve the school between teachers and the school superintendent broke down when school officials insisted that teachers add new duties, some without any extra pay at all.

A wholesale firing of an entire school; the only ones left in the entire high school are the food service workers and the custodians.

So why is the Obama administration going out of its way to praise this mass firing?  In a speech to Colin Powell’s dropout prevention nonprofit at the US Chamber of Commerce headquarters, Obama “voiced support” for the firings.

President Obama voiced support Monday for the mass firings of educators at a failing Rhode Island school, drawing an immediate rebuke from teachers union officials whose members have chafed at some of his education policies.

Speaking at an event intended to highlight his strategy for turning around struggling schools by offering an increase in federal funding for local districts that shake up their lowest-achieving campuses, Obama called the controversial firings justified.

This wasn’t just an off the cuff remark from Obama – this is the administration’s official position. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan went out of his way to praise the firings.

Meanwhile, state and local education officials received some high-powered support of their own, when U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan weighed in, saying he “applauded” them for “showing courage and doing the right thing for kids.” […]

“This is hard work and these are tough decisions, but students only have one chance for an education,” Education Secretary Duncan said, “and when schools continue to struggle we have a collective obligation to take action.”

So yeah, the position of Barack Obama’s administration is that when schools aren’t doing well, it’s totally cool to clean house and fire everyone but the food service workers, no questions asked.

And the position of Barack Obama’s administration with failing banks and financial institutions?  Keep every single one (except the guy forced out by shareholders), and hell, keep their ludicrous pay – cause it’s in their contracts.

At least he’s consistent.

You can sign a petition to support the teachers at Central Falls High School here with the AFT.

Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.