Providence Teacher Termination Letters

This January I froze my feet in Kennedy Plaza as Mayor Taveras was sworn in. Much of his Inaugural speech was devoted to promises to promote public education. From ProJo.com, which published a complete transcript…

Let me be clear: the time for Providence to take control of its
financial future is now.
At the same time, we struggle with the development of our most
precious resource: our children. Many of our public schools are
under-performing. In this era, when even the most basic jobs require
advanced skills, far too many of our children aren’t even graduating
from high school.
More than half of our students are not proficient in reading and more
than three quarters of our students are not proficient in math. It is
unacceptable – and unconscionable – that we provide anything less
than the absolute best: a college ready education for every single child
in this city, regardless of family income, regardless of skin color,
regardless of zip-code.
Let me be clear again: the time for Providence schools to become the
envy of American urban education is now.
In the face of all these challenges, and in the midst of this storm, I
am confident. Confident that together, we will overcome these
challenges, weather this storm and strengthen our city and our state.

Getting through this storm and solving the problems we confront
will not be easy. But have no doubt, this storm shall pass, we will
succeed and we will move our City and our State forward.
To weather this storm we must recognize that our fiscal situation is
unsustainable. We must, once and for all, eliminate the structural
deficit that year after year burdens our budget. Like any family or
business in America, we simply cannot spend what we do not have
and politicians cannot promise what taxpayers cannot afford for us to
deliver.
We must be forthright and transparent in addressing our city’s
financial condition.
• I will ask all of us for shared sacrifice to solve our
financial problems. And it will start right here, in this building
with the executive branch.
• We have already begun to consolidate departments and
we will seek more opportunities to eliminate redundancies, save
on costs and improve services. Every department will be
charged with finding savings in their budget and making
government leaner, more nimble and more efficient. We will
lead by example.
• We will urge our institutions of higher learning and health
care – who bring a vibrancy to our city that cannot be
overstated – to continue to invest in their own future by
investing in our City and helping us weather this storm.
• We will invite the backbone of our city, our city workers
– who day after day serve this city in ways too numerous to
count – to partner with us in addressing our long term financial
obligations.
• We will invite our neighboring cities and towns to work
together to jointly lower our costs by regionalizing services
where we can.
• And we will invite all of you to get involved in our City
by volunteering in our schools and community centers, by
supporting our community development corporations, and by
serving on boards and commissions.
If we commit ourselves to this notion of shared sacrifice, we can
weather this storm and put our city on solid financial footing.

Today all of the Providence public school teachers recieved layoff notices. The Taveras administration is claiming this is a legality to allow maximum flexibility in hiring. It’s hard to imagine anything more discouraging to the many good teachers in the system, who find their jobs in question in a mass action.

What will we be looking at in September?

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Friend Wilma has a link to Meredith who got this on an email– a funny comparison of wages– teachers vs babysitters. If you think teachers are the better deal you guessed right.

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10 responses

  1. I hear labor leaders saying this is unprecedented for them to be sending termination notices, and the school board just voted in favor of it 4-3. I guess we are going to have our own little Wisconsin here in Rhody. Sad for the teachers I know in Providence, and elsewhere.

  2. How much is that great “progressive” Matt Jerzyk raking in as Taveras’ counsel and legislative liaision?Hmmm?
    I foresee some teachers who are deficient in English being rehired because they are tight with Grace Diaz and Juan Pichardo while other more competent teachers who aren’t of the politically correct ethnicity of the moment are terminated.
    Before anyone here dares call me a bigot,blah,blah,blah be advised most of my immediate family is Hispanic-all Americans and all quite proficient in English.
    Matter of fact my daughter was a bilingual Providence teacher for 9 years.
    Taveras’ sanctuary city moves tell me all I need to know about him.

    1. Before we take it as gospel that having a mixed family immediately and totally wipes out all prejudice, I want to confess that it has not worked that way for me.
      I need to set the bar higher and be more skeptical when people claim friends or family prove they never get pulled into the dominant culture, which is racist and pulls us all in if we don’t resist.

      1. Well,speak for yourself Nancy.
        Just precisely what do you mean by set the bar higher?
        We all have biases from our upbringing,and so do minorities,so drop the “dominant culture”nonsense.
        As it happens,I grew up going to mixed schools,living in mixed neighborhoods,socialized across the board(not to prove a point either)and although it may seem strange to you,I became so used to dealing with all kinds of people as an INS agent that I really have no xenopohobic feelings.
        If you think I’m a liar,please say so.
        I’m just comfortable with anyone I like and not with people I don’t.
        Let’s put it this way-you’re with me or aginst me and that is all I care about.
        My whole point above is that being a “minority”doesn’t mean you can’t be full of racial/ethnic hatred.
        By the way,you ALWAYS set the bar higher for me-perhaps I make you uncomfortable,I don’t know.
        You seem to roll over and play dead for such as “klaus”.
        My attitude on immigration is derived from wanting to be ruled by laws in place of emotions-where,after all,does the latter stop?

    2. Matt responded about this issue on Nancy’s facebook page here:
      http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=712891741

      Joe, I am going to edit your comment to take out the name-calling. If it happens again, we will be deleting your comments. Third time you will be banned. We don’t allow name-calling.

      1. I called Jerzyk a fairly common term-it wasn’t obscene or anything that isn’t used in daily conversation.
        Too bad you feel the need to defend him so zealously.
        I realize that no matter how derisive “klaus”is on this blog he’s exempt editing.

      2. That’s nice-I followed the link and can’t find his comment.He could have put it right here.

  3. Well, I don’t think it is the same as Wisconsin since neither give=backs nor the end of collective bargaining is the issue here, but it is a consequence of the war against all pulbic employees. Haven’t spent much of my career training teachrrs I am starting to wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher nowadyas. We’ve added ever more hoops to jump thru (portfolios, assessments, service requirementa, technical button-pushing, special needs, diversity sensitivity…) only to be relentlessly blamed thruout the media for students who don’t want to learn, for economic collapse, for high taxes etc. I would think that anyone with other options would say why bother.

    1. You are so correct.My daughter had special ed students who required IEP’s and their parents couldn’t be bothered to come in so she had to go see tham at home on her own time.
      The teachers we had as kids TAUGHT us and didn’t have to go through all that.
      Great observations.

    2. “I am starting to wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher nowadays”

      I think it has to do with the well above-average job security, automatic raises until you’re making low $70K after ten years, low 15% contribution on health care, decent working hours and schedule, and a defined-benefit pension that’s virtually unheard of outside of the public sector.

      I work in a building with about 100 other folks, mostly with degrees, doing high-tech stuff, and we don’t make as much as top-step Providence grade school teachers, and we pay 25% of our own benefits.

      Being a teacher is tough, and it -should- pay well, it’s an investment. The problem I see is that we’re not properly filtering out the ‘bad’ teachers and rewarding the ‘good’ ones, so we get a poor return-on-investment.

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