Obama Cites RI School Firings as Example of Need for Accountability

Ray Henry
Associated Press

President Barack Obama says a Rhode Island school that recently fired all its educators is an example of how there needs to be accountability.

He made the comments Monday in Washington at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He called for “accountability” if a school continually fails its students without improvement.

He said that is what happened at Central Falls High School, where the school district’s board of trustees voted last week to fire 93 teachers, administrators and other staff. No more than half could be hired back under federal law.

Obama pointed out that just 7 percent of students at the high school have tested proficient in math.

A spokesman for the teachers union said he couldn’t immediately comment on Obama’s remarks. Education Secretary Arne Duncan backed the firings last week.

Also at CNSNews.com:

Obama Proposes $900 Million to States, School Districts for Changing or Closing Down Worst Performing Schools

…”In this kind of knowledge economy, giving up on your education and dropping out of school means not only giving up on your future, but it’s also giving up on your family’s future,” Obama said. “It’s giving up on your country.”

Obama has been using federal money as leverage to push schools to raise standards and get more children ready for college or work. It is a task that former President George W. Bush and Congress, along with many leaders before them, have long taken on, but the challenge is steep.

Obama’s 2011 budget proposal includes $900 million for School Turnaround Grants. That money is in addition to $3.5 billion to help low-performing schools that was included in last year’s economic stimulus bill.

To get a share of the new money, states and school districts must adopt one of four approaches to fix their struggling schools…

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