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Providence Moves Forward with Site-Based Hiring


Providence, R.I., will implement site-based hiring rather than seniority-based hiring and "bumping" in six schools this year, according to this must-read story in the Providence Journal (see here for background.)

Superintendent Tom Brady says that the city has over 500 applicants for just 75 positions, and many of the applicants come from private or suburban schools, the story notes.

The entire district will move to the site-based hiring system in 2010-2011. Teacher applicants are interviewed by the principal, two teachers chosen by the principal, two chosen by the school improvement team, and a teacher leader.

The New Teacher Project, which has written a number of reports about staffing in urban schools, helped train teachers on the hiring process.

The president of the Providence teachers' union, Steve Smith, has threatened to sue because the new staffing model runs counter to the contract. But that doesn't appear to have happened yet.

Brady and Smith have agreed to review hiring in the next contract.


With all due respect to the newspaper, we don't get enough information to even understand the point of the report.

Typically, the debate is over struggling inner city schools and how do you help the most vulnerable. But I've never heard of a long line of great teachers from the suburbs and high-performing schools trying to break down the doors to teach in hard-core NEIGHBORHOOD schools.

Are these prestigious special schools that just want a leg up in succeeding?If so, this is hardly a case where

"It’s a huge change,” said Tim Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees. “It allows management to put the needs of students as their top priority.”

Its just robbing teachers from some students to help others, and in that case, its "all about control."

In my conversations with principals, centralized hiring practices are often cited as one of the most frustrating aspect of the job. Additionally, this practice only furthers the idea that teachers are "widgets".

Site based hiring looks promising and I am eager to hear more about the results in Providence.

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