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Providence teachers speed date for jobs

June 13, 2011

Mass teacher firings are a sure way to grab headlines, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’ decision to dismiss every city teacher earlier this year did exactly that.

Now that most of the teachers have been re-hired, the district is making headlines again for an unusual hiring process that district officials have compared to medical residency matching and speed dating, an analogy that caught the attention of the editors at NPR.

The match events were held for roughly 400 teachers, who still have not been re-hired by the district. Most lost their positions due to school closures and reorganizations as part of the district’s attempt to save $28 million.

Most of the teachers I spoke to at the job fairs were not happy about the process. They had just a few minutes to meet with each principal and try to make an impression. Many teachers called it demeaning and said it felt unfair that after being fired through no fault of their own job performance, they did not even get a full interview.

Providence school officials say this is an unusual situation in which a large number of teachers were displaced by school closures, and their aim was to give those teachers a chance to apply for openings without competition from outside candidates. The district expects to have 40-70 fewer full-time teachers on its payroll for the coming school year, but district officials say teachers who do not get placements throught the match events may still have a chance at jobs as they open up over the summer vacation.

The teachers who participated in the match event are scheduled to learn of their placements on Wednesday.

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