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Providence resurrects labor-management ‘compact’

December 5, 2011

Providence school officials are trying again to reach a special agreement with the Providence Teachers’ Union to improve three troubled schools. The schools have been singled out by state officials for a history of poor performance and ordered to design complete overhauls.

The “labor-management compact,” as the turnaround model is known, has not really been tested elsewhere. It requires school district and teachers’ union officials to jointly create a nonprofit that will oversee the school overhauls.

Providence attempted to reach a similar agreement in 2010 for its first group of turnaround schools but never managed to work out the details with the teachers’ union. The city eventually gave up on the plan and selected the “transformation” model, which requires a new principal and a longer school day but does not stipulate the firing of any teachers.

Under the labor-management collaboration, the schools in question would all shut-down and then re-open under new management. The acting superintendent is recommending this model for Carl Lauro Elementary School, Gilbert Stuart Middle School and Alvarez High School.

Two other Providence schools, Mt. Pleasant High  School and Pleasant View Elementary School, will undergo turnarounds following the “transformation” model. Similar interventions are already underway at Central Falls High School and four other Providence schools.

Providence still needs initial approval from State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist for the turnaround plans and must submit a more detailed map of the intended school interventions by March 1, 2012.

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