February 16, 2010 11:07AM

Rhode Island District Fires All Its HS Teachers

Performance, it seems is abysmal. The district’s high school graduation rate is said to be less than 50 percent, and things have been bad for a long time. Charged with turning things around, the superintendent asked teachers (who are making between $70,000 and $78,000 vs. the town’s median income of $22,000) to work an extra 25 minutes a day, provide tutoring on a rotating schedule, and have lunch with the kids once a week. The union said no. So superintendent Frances Gallo went reluctantly to plan B: she fired the school’s entire staff.

Union leaders seem to think that the old rules still apply. Maybe they do, for now. The union plans to challenge the firings and it remains to be seen if they’ll find a way to reverse them.

But America is reaching a tipping point after which the old rules will go out the window. Having more than doubled public school spending per pupil in real terms over the past 40 years and not seen a smidgen of improvement in outcomes at the end of high school in return, having become frustrated that we have choice in virtually every area of life except public education, Americans are starting to chafe. When an education system fails to deliver on its promises for generation after generation, Americans will ultimately throw it on the scrap heap of history, and find something that will fulfill their educational needs and ideals. Yes. We. Can.