Providence Fires All Its Teachers
Apparently there is a widespread anti-union movement among local governments. The Providence Journal reports that in that city in Rhode Island ALL of the teachers are being terminated… not laid off. This seems to be a blatant ploy by the School Board to break the union, and to restructure radically the teaching profession in that state.
PROVIDENCE — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers.
More than 700 teachers jammed a high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.
“How do we feel? Disrespected,” said Julie Latessa, a special-needs teacher, before the vote. “We are broken. How do you repair the damage you have done today?”
Every teacher received a certified letter from the School Department on Thursday informing them that they might be terminated at the end of the school year. It also said the School Board would vote on the proposed dismissals at Thursday night’s meeting, which was moved to the Providence Career and Technical Academy to accommodate the huge turnout.
Many of the teachers were caught off guard by Mayor Angel Taveras’ decision to terminate teachers instead of laying them off. Last night, speakers questioned the mayor’s rationale: a $40-million school budget deficit and a March 1 deadline by which the School Department must notify teachers if their jobs are in jeopardy.
“This is a quasi-legal power grab,” said Richard Larkin, a teacher at Classical High School. “You want to pick and choose teachers. Well, we will not be bullied.”