Providence Fires All 1,926 of Its Teachers

Sunday, February 27, 2011
Wisconsin is not the only place in the United States seeing clashes between government and public employee unions. Facing a 12% budget shortfall, the school board of Providence, Rhode Island, voted 4-3 this week to send out termination notices to all of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers.
The decision raised such an uproar that newly-elected Democratic Mayor Angel Taveras announced the next day that the “overwhelming majority” of teachers would not lose their jobs. But many teachers were still upset because school officials elected to terminate rather than lay off its instructors, a move that could wipe out seniority for many.
The Providence school board, with an annual budget of $315 million and a possible deficit of $40 million, is planning to close 40 schools.
The school board made its decision now instead of waiting until next school year because state law requires teachers to be notified of possible layoffs or terminations by March 1.
Referring to the controversial labor dispute taking place in Wisconsin, Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith called the move “a back-door Wisconsin” and an “an attack on collective bargaining.” Teachers Union members expressed concern that the word “termination” on their records would hurt their chances of being rehired elsewhere.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Board Votes to Dismiss All Providence Teachers / Video (by Linda Borg, Providence Journal)


Kelly 13 years ago
Most tenure laws allow a teacher to be fired. They just have to be fired justifiably. Before a teach reaches tenure, they can be fired without being given a reason. That teacher can be the best teacher in the United States before they get tenure and if someone's friend's child needs a job (favor politics) that teacher can be fire and not given a reason. But, it they have tenure and you want to fire them you have to have documentation to justify the firing. That is all the tenure law is. It isn't a big deal. I don't understand why everyone wants the tenure law gone. If a teacher that has tenure deserves to be fired...all their employer has to do is keep documentation and they can fire them. It is simple as that.
Mike Benson 13 years ago
Finally! I am less concerned about compensation (while I appreciate its timely signficance) than I am about the ability for school districts to hire, terminate and promote without the ties of the union. School districts throughout the nation maintain workforces unlike any private organziation almost entirely retaining and promoting based on senority without regard to skill. Imagine a professional sports team rejecting new talent in favor of senority-only as the basis for merit.

Leave a comment