Do Providence Teachers Have to Apply to Be Rehired or Not?

It’s understandable that teachers are feeling anxious and afraid in Providence. But let Mayor Taveras reassure you — he is not out to bust the unions, so that solves that question. Whew, glad the Mayor is still the moral, union-supporting person that I thought he was. Still, a lot of other unanswered questions linger about the changes that teachers in Providence face due to the termination notices they received.

The biggest unanswered question in my mind is whether every teacher will need to go through the hiring process in order to have a job. Along with this being a tremendous insult to people who have poured their lives into their jobs, it will also be extremely expensive to carry out all of those interviews. Note to Mayor’s office — Think: interviews = expensive, like money that could be spent to keep teachers. But perhaps we don’t have to worry about that, as according to a Business Week article published today, teachers will not have to reapply and be rehired. From the article:

There are echoes in this week’s move of last year’s decision in nearby Central Falls, where every teacher at the high school was fired. Those firings, however, were the result of the school’s poor performance, not because of money. And unlike Central Falls, where a compromise was struck and all the teachers were rehired, teachers in Providence won’t have to reapply to keep their jobs. [bold mine]

And yet, in today’s Projo,

But David V. Abbott, the state’s deputy education commissioner, said the difference between layoffs and dismissals is this: When a teacher is laid off under state statute, he or she is put on a recall list. Although that teacher is no longer working and no longer paid, that person exists in an employment “limbo.” The teacher hasn’t been actually dismissed.

If a job becomes available for which that teacher is qualified, that person must be rehired based on seniority.

“If you are laid off, you have the right of recall,” Abbott said Friday. “You still have one stick in your bundle. If I’m dismissed, I’m out of work and I need to be rehired.”

In effect, every teacher who is terminated has to re-apply for his or her job as would any new teacher entering the system.

So which is it? You’ll forgive me if I’m still a little confused, and feeling some angst for the teachers in Providence. Yet, perhaps it’s not worth worrying about because it’s just a power play in a political game that is going to take months to play out. As the Business Week article put it, “The decision to send the notices was seen by some as another signal to public sector workers that government officials are ready to play rough to win changes to labor contracts.”

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4 thoughts on “Do Providence Teachers Have to Apply to Be Rehired or Not?

  1. What a miserable attack on the morale of so many good teachers.This will affect their future performance,even if subliminally.
    too bad the new mayor still has available funds to retain the seven hacks Cicilline appointed on the way out and that miserable money grubbing police chief,who was never a real cop a day in his life.
    Taveras also has money to appoint new hacks and hangers on it seems,hmmm?
    I am one of those conservatives who doesn’t like to blame teachers for the ills of society.
    SOME teachers shouldn’t be retained,but that has to be done on a case by case basis-due process anyone?
    I am sure the seniority issue can be resolved without this drastic measure.
    Steve Smith is much more reasonable than Pat Crowley or Bob Walsh.

  2. Yeah, I think a lot of people are going to agree that the “terminating” is a problem. It seems to me the next logical progression will be a group of teachers filing a class action lawsuit for wrongful termination. This may or may not be possible, but how can their due process just be thrown out? I guess everyone’s hoping it won’t come to that, but it would be interesting to know what legal strategies for the AFT is exploring.

  3. The past two years, “criterion based hiring” meant an interview with the principal and teachers fromt the school in question. Most of the openings are going to come from turnarounds, either just the ones announced last year or perhaps also including this year’s.

    Of course, that would mean having a panel of fired teachers bootstrapping the hiring somehow, so presumably there will be some yet unannounced change to the criterion based hiring process.

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