I just love a good fuss. There’s something truly entertaining about adults frothing at the mouth and blowing an issue all out of proportion.
That seems to be the case in Providence, R.I., where the teachers union is all up in arms over the school system’s decision to send out dismissal notices to all 1,926 teachers in the city.
School officials say the notices make sense. As Superintendent Tom Brady told the Providence Journal, state law requires the district to notify teachers by March 1 if there’s the possibility that their employment status could change.
And, confronted with a potential $40 million budget deficit next year, “a dismissal letter to all teachers was necessary to give the mayor, the school board, and the district maximum flexibility to consider every cost savings option, including reductions in staff.”
That makes sense to me. It would be a tad difficult to balance the budget if you tell only 100 teachers that they might lose their jobsand then you need to lay off 150.
It also makes sense because, if there’s any flexibility in state law and the teachers’ contract, the sweeping dismissal notice allows school officials to avoid the first-hired, first-fired phenomenon that so often surrounds teacher layoffs.
Why lose a promising young talent or hard-to-find science teacher when there are less effective teachers who can go on the chopping block?
I like the idea that teacher layoffs might actually be determined by the educational needs of students.