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Students protest at Central Falls High School

December 15, 2010

A group of students staged a walkout this morning in Central Falls, where efforts to improve the city’s only high school appear to be breaking down.

Police say roughly 100 students were involved in the demonstration, though district officials put the number at closer to 20. By 9:30 the cold temperatures had forced most students back inside. Some were sent home by the Superintendent.

The walkout echoed student protests in the Spring against the mass firing of teachers at Central Falls High School. The teachers were later rehired after agreeing to a longer school day and more stringent evaluations. The overhaul is aimed at fixing what state officials call one of the lowest performing schools in the state.

Since September some teachers have raised concerns about progress of the turnaround plan, saying discipline has deteriorated and relations between teachers and administrators are strained. Central Falls school officials say too many teachers are calling in sick, leading to disruptions in academics at the school.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2010 10:34 pm

    If you can’t get the teachers showing up at school, how can you expect the students to do much better? It sounds like there are deeper and more troubling issues happening at higher levels.

    • December 30, 2010 5:11 pm

      Indeed, teachers should come to school provided they are not sick or dealing with the type of personal emergency that might keep any of us from making it to work on a given day. If teachers at Central Falls High are purposefully skipping school to sabotage this reform effort, then that is a real tragedy.

      I do have some questions about the absentee numbers I have been getting. For example, on my last trip to the school, an administrator told me 20 teachers were out sick. I later learned that 8 of those teachers were on long term medical leaves, several were out for previously scheduled reasons such as training, a couple were vacant positions that still need to be filled, and in the end it turned out that just 5 teachers had called in sick.

      It seems like there is a lot of ill will on both sides here, and a lot of finger pointing going on. That certainly suggests some real problems for this turnaround effort.

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