Monday, February 22, 2010

Students stand up for Central Falls school chief

Speaking of amazing young people, when was the last time you heard of students – yes, STUDENTS! – standing up the unions that, over and over again, throw them under the bus?  Watch the 3-min video at: and check out the message board comments about the article at:

Students stand up for Central Falls school chief

4:09 PM Wed, Feb 17, 2010 | Permalink
Linda Borg

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A student-run group called Young Voices rallied in front of the Rhode Island Department of Education at noontime on Wednesday to support Central Falls Supt. Frances Gallo, who plans on firing all of the city's high school teachers as part of a state-ordered reform initiative.

Some 20 students from Providence gathered to speak on behalf of students in Central Falls, who were not invited to the rally because Young Voices was worried about the possibility of reprisals from the Central Falls' teachers.

According to Karen Feldman, one of the co-directors of Young Voices, Central Falls youth said that teachers have been telling their students that they might lose their houses if they are fired. According to Young Voices, students have said that their teachers are using the classroom as a bully pulpit to express their outrage with Gallo's decision.

Young Voices, which includes students in most of the state's urban districts, held a press conference for several reasons: to support Gallo's efforts to reform the high school; to correct some misinformation about the teacher firings and to represent the concerns of Central Falls' students.

"I am speaking because students are the most important and central part of this issue," said Amanda Perreira, a Classical High School student and member of Young Voices. "I am asking that for once, money, power and ambitions are put aside and that we remember the students and place their needs at the forefront of these decisions."

Perreira said she wants to correct misperceptions that the students at Central Falls High School are not interested in success. This is a systemic problem, she said, that won't be solved by saying that students are lazy.

"Young Voices is a statewide movement," said Amber Johnson, another Classical student. "We recognize our position to be able to speak for other youth, to give youth a voice for those who aren't always heard."

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