What’s the price of common sense school reform? If Central Falls is any guide, the answer is sit-ins, protests, and demonstrations, a strongly worded rebuke by the President of the United States (and his Education Secretary), and grandiose rhetorical battles played out on the opinions pages of every major newspaper. The recent consensus reached by superintendent and union head in this small mill town is commendable; the plan, we hear, even strong. To wit, Francis Gallo not only got her original six requested concessions (to provide after-school tutoring, for example), but another half-dozen on top of them. But let’s put this in perspective. A school is failing—chronically. Should it really take three months, national press coverage, and bitter rebukes from national union leaders to add… 30 minutes to the school day? Good grief!
“RI school district agrees to rehire fired teachers,” Associated Press, May 16, 2010