Could the Seeds of Educational Radicalism Spread?

Russell J. Moore of the Warwick Beacon notes that other Rhode Island communities will be closely watching Providence and Central Falls’ “radical” experiments with hiring teachers on a basis other than seniority…

Should a school department hire teachers administrators believe would best educate students? Or should the teacher who has worked for the school department the longest get the job?
That’s the question teachers, administrators and residents from Pawtucket to Westerly are debating since the Providence school district announced that six schools have begun a pilot program that will place merit above seniority with respect to hiring….
Earlier this year, then Department of Education Commissioner Peter McWalters ordered six schools in the Providence School Department to scrap the seniority requirement. Plagued with low test scores and overall student achievement, McWalters thought the seniority based hiring was a deterrent to student achievement. He also approved the practice for Central Falls….
“The commissioner does believe that teacher assignment should be based on teacher effectiveness and student need, but right now the two orders in place only affect Providence and Central Falls,” said Krieger.
Krieger didn’t leave out the possibility of the change spreading to other districts in the future.

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