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AFL-CIO condemns firing of Central Falls teachers

The AFL-CIO, the nation's central labor body, wasted no time in condemning President Barack Obama for his attack on the teachers of Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. The following reports detail the AFL-CIO response:

1. UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL REPORT MARCH 3, 2010.

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I., March 3 (UPI) -- The national AFL-CIO has condemned the firing of all teachers and support staff at the high school in one of Rhode Island's poorest communities.

The labor organization's executive council, in a unanimous resolution, also said it was "appalled" by support from the Obama administration for the Central Falls school board, the Providence Journal reported. Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have backed the firings.

The board voted to terminate the entire staff at Central Falls High School after negotiations on new working conditions, including a longer school day, failed to produce agreement with the union. Teachers received notices last month that they would be fired at the end of the year.

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist identified Central Falls and four Providence schools as the lowest-performing in the state, a requirement for applying for a federal education grant. Gist and the teachers union agreed to "transformation," one of four choices under the Obama administration's rules, but Central Falls Superintendent Frances Gallo and the union were unable to agree on the details.

Removing the entire teaching staff and rehiring no more than half of them is another alternative allowed by federal regulations.



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