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ACTION United: Where's the money... and the teachers?

By Gustavo Martínez on Dec 9, 2010 08:54 PM

About a 100 people gathered Tuesday night to discuss the findings of an ACTION United report that found that "the highest poverty schools have the least experienced teachers."

Youth and adults listened to speakers in the auditorium at Berean Presbyterian Church in North Philadelphia. They also waited for School District officials to show up - something that never happened.

Nonetheless, the group said they would take their report and concerns to the School District and demand a solution that helps them improve the education at their schools. At Wednesday's School Reform Commission meeting, Superintendent Ackerman agreed to a request for a meeting from ACTION United representatives.

UPDATE: We swapped the video with a shorter version. This clip is William Browning of ACTION United discussing the report.

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Comments (4)

Submitted by detorn (not verified) on December 9, 2010 10:51 pm

Experience does not equal better. I am a new teacher who has changed careers to enter the field and I feel like I would be great for the SDP having attended some of the best and worst schools it has to offer. However, I can't even get my resumé looked at because unless you teach math or a language the freeze is still in effect. I want to teach in SDP school, it is the reason I got certified, but I'm interviewing in Delaware and York counties.

The experience issue is a red herring.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 9, 2010 10:55 pm

why is everyone asking to see what each teacher makes?? Do they ask what charter school teachers make, or are they only concerned about public school teachers. Remember Charter schools are public too and they should also show how many teachers they have that are highly qualified and what their salaries are. We don't ask anyone else to tell us their salary but everyone seems to be concerned about what teachers make, what about inner city doctors, nurses or business employees, what about Septa managers. why are teachers the focus of everyones agenda?? Parents need to do their part, they are failing their own children, the children are coming into schools at a major deficit, I have worked at both inner city and school in the surrounding areas. and I will tell you the children in the inner city are coming in at a major deficit, but we are supposed to get them on grade level by grade 3, I will let you know that this is impossible with some of the conditions our children deal with in their home lives. Many of the parents don't and didn't value their own education, aren't reading at even a level 12 grade level, so education is not a priority with them. I know because I experience it every single day, students don't complete home assignments, some are livign from pillar to post, some are in grade 2 and 3 and don't even know letter sounds or how to blend 3 letter words. but we are supposed to get them to perform on a state exam, it is ludicrous

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on December 10, 2010 8:34 am

" it is ludicrous"
It would not be ludicrous, to use your word, if we were allowed to start with each child where they are educationally in a smaller class setting. Then, it would be possible, even with the limited home support you discuss. I would argue that any child without a learning disability in the starting point of not knowing letters or sounds at 8 with a willing teacher and supportive administration is not yet lost. It is possible to support the growth of this child to grade appropriate levels. It is not easy and will require great attendance and strong behavioral support, but it can and has been done. I have done it.
This child is only lost in the current setting of too big class sizes and scripted programs that do not allow for actual teaching. If the teacher can start working with this child at the level the child is sitting on, it can be accomplished.
The children in my second grade setting right now in this situation - still struggling with letters and sounds I am extremely worried about. I am not allowed to provide them with the education I know will be supportive of their needs. I am not allowed to differentiate the program to make their learning possible. THis is a frustrating feeling. These kids are at risk and THERE IS NOTHING I AM ALLOWED TO DO TO HELP THEM, even though I know what they need.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 10, 2010 8:46 am

This is true in the Promise Academy in West Philly, - young, bright, just out of teaching schools or still attending graduate school. They are energetic, idealisting, full of enthusiasm, there is a vibe amongst them. However, the inexperience is in the administration and the support staff. From the principal who seems to hide out in his office, to the vice principals who are unprepared, disorganized. The secretaries who leer at you when asked to do simple tasks. The maintenance head who is no where to be found when simple things need fixing like locks and replacement fluorescent tubes. Two months in, the princpal bought brand new furniture for himself. Teachers are restricted to 10 photocopies at the copier due to a paper shortage. Teacher's laptops were stolen and teachers were told they were liable for it, but when asked to turn on the security tracking software, they were told the software was improperly installed and therefore could not be tracked. At the last parent's night, less than 30 adults showed up, and this was announced as something positive worth mentioning, instead of looking at how abysmal this is and what we need to do as teachers and administrators to get more parents involved. It's not the inexperienced teachers that is the problem. It's the experienced administrators, secretaries, maintenance staff that needs to go to really do a turn around.

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