Here we go again.
Parents throughout the city were impressed with efforts to make sure that teachers were the right “fit” for their school and for the job they were hired to do. Criterion Based Hiring, though imperfect, held the promise of a collegial, cohesive, and effective teaching team in a Providence Public School building.
And it seemed to be working. Though there have been some glitches and complaints about the implementation and practice, Principals were able to assemble a great team of teachers to work on behalf of our students.
CBH was also the product of an order from RIDE to remove seniority as the sole determinant of teacher placements (when certifications were in place, etc.).
Now we learn that this year, CBH has become a casualty of:
1) A collective bargaining agreement agreed to by the Mayor (which the Providence School Board was effectively excluded from participating in the negotiation or ratification of) which provided for no teacher layoffs or dismissals for three years (except for just and good cause, which as we know currently does not include ineffective teaching).
2) An external hiring freeze imposed because suddenly there were teachers in the system with nowhere to go.
3) The school department had “neither the time nor the money” to fill existing vacancies pursuant to the existing CBH policy.
The school board has now publicly washed their hands of this, ratifying the placement of teachers outside the CBH protocol. At least they had the wherewithal to make the placements for 1 year (as opposed to the positions being awarded as permanent placements). This did also state that the Superintendent had to comply with CBH after the 2011-2012 academic year (unless the Superintendent decides to change the procedure again, which is allowed under Section 2 of the CBH policy).
And what about this new contract?
Site-based management is gone.
In the event of a decrease in the number of teachers in an area of certification, teachers will no longer be transferred according to their “system wide area of certification seniority” but according to their “date of hire”! How is that different than seniority??
The school day is 5 minutes longer this year, and in 3 years’ time it will be 15 minutes longer, and this is touted as a significant improvement in instructional time. Really??
We have also heard that some schools on the West Side have more than 26 kids in a classroom, something the school department promised would not happen as a result of school closings.
We will be working with other parents and parent groups throughout the city to bring a message back to the School Department and Mayor’s office:
We are tired of back room dealing.
We are tired of promises made but not kept.
We are tired of systems and contracts that put the needs of everyone else before those of our students.
We won’t stand for it.
The text of the Providence School Board’s resolution follows:
RESOLUTION RATIFYING AND APPROVING CERTAIN NON-CBH TEACHER ASSIGNMENTS BY THE SUPERINTENDENT
WHEREAS, the City of Providence and the Providence Public School Department (the “PPSD”) are in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis; and
WHEREAS, as a result of this crisis, the Providence School Board (the “PSB”) voted to close several schools and authorized the PPSD to send preliminary dismissal notices to all 1,934 of the teachers employed by the PPSD (the “Dismissal Notices”); and
WHEREAS, on May 2, 2011, the PSB authorized the rescission of the great bulk of the Dismissal Notices and further, approved a plan to recall most of the teachers (the “PSB Recall Plan”), which involved the scheduling of due process hearings to consider the appeals of those teachers whose dismissals were not to be rescinded; and
WHEREAS, in July of 2011, a measure was signed into law by the Governor which purported to transfer the “power and duty to enter into” a CBA with the PTU from the PSB to the Mayor; and
WHEREAS, on or about August 2, 2011, the Mayor and the PTU, without the involvement or agreement of the PSB, tentatively agreed to a successor CBA which provided that there would be no teacher dismissals or layoffs due to economic exigency for the three-year term of the CBA; and
WHEREAS, on or about August 9, 2011, the PSB authorized the rescission of the great bulk of the teacher dismissal notices that had not been rescinded pursuant to its May 2, 2011 resolution; and
WHEREAS, Section 2 of the PPSD CBH Procedure expressly provides that “[t]he Superintendent or his designee has the authority to make changes to this Procedure at any time; material changes will be made in consultation with the PTU and brought to the attention of the PSB;” and
WHEREAS, on or about August 13, 2011, the newly-hired Superintendent informed the PSB that under the changed circumstances, she was assigning some of the teachers who recently had been displaced as a result of, among other things, school closings, into existing vacant teacher positions based upon certification eligibility, seniority and the PPSD’s professional judgment as to student need, so that the schools would be appropriately staffed at the opening of school; and
WHEREAS, as of August 31, 2011, the PPSD, which had been operating under an external hiring freeze, had neither the time nor the money to fill the existing vacancies pursuant to the PPSD’s existing CBH Procedures; and
NOW, THEREFORE, it is hereby
The Superintendent’s decision on or about August 13, 2011 to place some fifty- eight (58) teachers into regular teaching assignments outside of the PPSD CBH Procedures, as reflected in the attached Exhibit A, is hereby in all respects ratified and approved; and
The Superintendent is hereby authorized to fill teacher position vacancies and assign teachers during the 2011-12 academic year as necessary; provided, however, that
The assignments reflected on the attached Exhibit A and those made pursuant to the authorization provided in 2, above, are or will be only for the 2011-12 academic year, unless the involved principal, teacher and the Superintendent all agree at the end of the 2011-12 academic year to make the assignment more permanent; and provided further, that
The Superintendent shall thereafter comply in all respects with applicable PPSD CBH Procedures.
Passed on September 1, 2011
See also the recent Projo article on this subject: