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Nearly 2,000 Teachers Dismissed in Providence, RI

On Wednesday, approximately 1,500 demonstrators gathered at City Hall in Providence, RI to protest the dismissal of Providence’s entire teaching force. Due to a Rhode Island law, which requires that teachers receive notification about potential layoffs or terminations by March 1, the school board sent termination notices to all of Providence’s 1,926, though many will be rehired. Mayor Angel Taveras (D) told the New York Times, “Given that we don’t know the schools yet that we’re going to target,” he said in an interview, the most appropriate thing is to require notices to all the teachers.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teacher stated, “I thought the only insanity was in Wisconsin, not in Rhode Island…Why destroy a school system and undo years of reform and dehumanize every teacher in the school system?”

The teachers union filed a complaint with the state labor relations board for “unfair labor practices.” The Providence school district is the largest in Rhode Island and serves over 23,000 students, approximately 80 percent of whom are Hispanic and black.

Sources:

American Federation of Teachers Statement 3/3/11; NPR 3/3/11; New York Times 2/25/11, 3/2/11