Education commissioner will break union contract if needed

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green talks with reporters on her first day on the job, April 29, 2019. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island’s education commissioner says she won’t rule out breaking a collective bargaining agreement with teachers if that’s what it takes to overhaul Providence’s dysfunctional public school system.

State Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green’s proposal, issued Thursday, would give her control over the troubled district’s budget, facilities and personnel. An independent review recently described the capital city’s school district as one of the worst in the country.

Infante-Green tells the Providence Journal she will break the teachers’ contract if necessary, but is willing to collaborate with the union.

She’ll appoint a state turnaround superintendent to develop a reform plan with the community, and says injecting more funding into the struggling schools isn’t enough.

Infante-Green will review comments from city and education leaders at a Sept. 13 hearing.

  • gary fey

    Go ahead and tear the contract apart. Throw it in the garbage and take away all teacher protections. That is not going to solve anything because the root of the problem is the parents and students. Everybody in the loop knows that but it’s politically incorrect to state the truth. State law states that a tenured teacher cannot be dismissed unless there is “good and just cause”, referring to misconduct or negligence. I have no problem with this. However, removing teacher protections may cause principals to fire teachers they simply do not like or to replace the individual with a friend or relative. That is one purpose of a contract, to keep teacher’s jobs safe while working for a vindictive principal. The commissioner better have documentation of the teacher’s misconduct and a lot of money to take it through the court system. Better think twice before firing any teacher without “just cause” and be ready to prove it in court.

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