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District exiles outspoken Audenried teacher

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 17, 2011 11:54 PM

The letter reassigning Audenried teacher Hope Moffett.

For the past week, a group of students, teachers, and community members at Audenried High School have been vocal in their opposition to the District's plans to convert their school into a charter.

Today, say some, the District struck back.

Hope Moffett, a third-year English teacher at Audenried who has been particularly outspoken in her criticism, told the Notebook that she received a letter today from the District informing her that she is "being temporarily assigned to the High School Academic Division (AD-1) located at 3133 Ridge Avenue." 

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan, reached late tonight, confirmed that a second staff member at Audenried was also reassigned today.

The Notebook has obtained a copy of the terse four-sentence letter to Moffett, which is signed by Assistant Superintendent for High Schools Linda Cliatt-Wayman.

It states that Moffett faces further sanction for disclosing the letter's contents.

"You are directed not to discuss this matter. Failure to follow this directive will result in disciplinary action," it reads.

Asked to comment, the District provided a written statement.

"As a standard practice the District does not comment on personnel matters," it said.

"Academic time is intended to be used for just that. ... We believe in creating institutions of greatness.  To do this we believe teachers must be responsible and provide a safe and academically focused environment for all students, especially during classroom time."

Several teachers at the school, all of whom wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, spoke highly of Moffett.

"Everything I've ever seen her do has been about and for those kids," said one colleague.

"She is possibly the most passionate teacher I've ever worked with," said another.

Despite the threat of further discipline, Moffett said she feels compelled to speak out.

"I honestly just am tired of the District coming in and trying to intimidate our teachers, principals, and students," she said.

"I knew exactly what I was getting into. I [am speaking to the press] because I think what I did was right."

PFT President Jordan, who was traveling Thursday, said he would be briefed by his staff on the situation Friday."If there was an attempt to intimidate the teacher, we will not tolerate it - absolutely not," he said. "I will be personally involved in this case."

Over the past nine days, Moffett has on several occasions publicly criticized the District's plans for Audenried under the Renaissance Schools initiative.

This week, Moffett was one of five Audenried teachers to sign a guest blog post on the Notebook's website in which they questioned the District's justification for designating Audenried a Renaissance school.

Moffett also appeared with students who protested at Wednesday's School Reform Commission meeting, and she was vocal in her criticism of District officials during a District-run informational meeting at Audenried last week.

During one of several emotional public statements during that meeting, Moffett chastised Deputy for Secondary Instructional Programs Michael Silverman and Deputy for Process Improvement and Compliance Thomas Darden for the lack of information they provided to those in attendance.

"The fact that you came to this meeting without data is unacceptable," said Moffett.

"I expect my students to come to my class prepared to defend their arguments."

As part of its new "Promise Neighborhood Partnership" with Universal Companies, the District is directly awarding both Audenried and Edwin Vare Middle School to Universal to be run as charters, bypassing the recent practice of soliciting parent and community input into the selection of external managers that has been used at other Renaissance Schools.

Under the District plan, all teachers at the two schools will be let go, then given the opportunity to reapply to Universal for their jobs - minus the union protections they currently enjoy.

Prior to the news, Moffett, 25, taught 11th grade English at Audenried. 

She began her career as a Teach for America corps member at the school in 2008, the same year Audenried was re-opened in its new facility.

"I purposely followed my students from 9th grade to 10th grade to 11th grade so that I would be with them as the first graduating class [in the new building]," said Moffett in an earlier interview.

Moffett stressed that she did not organize the student walkout at Audenried earlier this week, although she said she did "educate the students about the issues."

"The students of Audenried are the ones who are protesting. It is absolutely not the manipulation of teachers or staff," said Moffett.

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Comments (161)

Submitted by mychildrenarenotexperiments (not verified) on February 17, 2011 10:59 pm

this is just sad what does this say to our children, that if u stand for something u will be dealt with

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 5:11 pm

Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a bully - that is her management style. For this she was promoted to her current position. It is about time our Union stood up to her.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 5:30 pm

Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a bully - that is her management style. For this she was promoted to her current position. It is about time our Union stood up to her.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:38 pm

Does the school have a uniform policy. Wear a T-shirt "FREE HOPE MOFFETT" Have Hope for Hope"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:41 pm

Hope is my hero!!! This is outrageous!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:10 pm

WHAT THE HELL? This isn't exactly surprising, but DAMN!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:34 pm

How can people not see through the district's convenient "new" model that is clearly just a way to give schools to an organization the community doesn't support!?! And then punishing teachers for caring about the students and their community!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:29 am

"that is clearly just a way to give schools to an organization the community doesn't support!?!"

More specifically, it's a way to fire a school full of PUBLIC employees and replace them with a school full of PRIVATE employees. Look at Wisconsin. Public employees are under attack. Teachers and nurses, especially.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:56 pm

Wow. This is appalling. They have so many good ideas (from my first-hand experience, the Promise Academies are generally a good thing), but they can't trust that the ideas they have will stand on merit so they resort to intimidation.
Hurray for the teacher for speaking out and taking it public. It's amazing that the District expects these issues to just disappear (South Philly attacks, West Philly disatisfaction, etc.) by pretending that the complaints are just one or two disgruntled people.

Submitted by mychildrenarenotexperiments (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:52 pm

so what will they have her doing at the highschool academic division heck what does that office do

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 18, 2011 6:39 am

 Its the Rubber Room

Submitted by SHAME ON YOU, LINDA CLIATT-WAYMAN (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:07 pm

I call for Linda Cliatt- Wayman to step down. Shame on you.

Hope has a passion for her students and a drive for education that should not be taken away from Philly's aching school system. She always goes beyond what is asked of her position, devoting herself fully to her students' personal and academic development. She is part of the solution this city needs and the assistant superintendent's response to her work is a disgrace. While Linda and company are busy playing administrative games, Hope is making a difference. Please let her keep making this world a better place- she is our future's ONLY HOPE. Do not deprive our children of Hope Moffett!

Further, a tax-dollar funded institution threatening sanctions for public release of official documents? Despicable. Yet another reason to call for a change in leadership.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:14 pm

Remember when Temple University Health System proposed an official Gag Clause for hospital nurses and techs-- one that would allow workers to be fined or sanctioned if they publicly criticized the hospital, even when they did so out of concern for patient safety. The nurses' union (PASNAP) launched a massive strike...and won! Remember that?

The school district is essentially doing what Temple tried to do. When teachers speak out -- even when it's clearly in the best interests of their students-- they are being sanctioned. The school district does not have the right to discipline teachers for publicly criticizing and questioning policy decisions. The PFT needs to stand up for this teacher and do whatever is necessary to stop the district from further intimidating & gagging teachers.

Unfortunately, teachers are not the only who are punished for speaking out. I have heard first hand from students about the harassment, threats and intimidation tactics employed by the district (and certain school principals) to punish students who have walked out or are otherwise organizing inside their schools.

I am glad that Hope Moffett is making all this public. I hope that she gets some protection and support from her union, the Audenried community & Notebook readers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:00 pm

Hope we all support you! Stay strong and don't let Wayman try to intimidate you. She is just an angry old lady. You did nothing wrong. I hope Teach for America backs you up. The kids at Audenreid deserve a caring teacher like you and don't deserve to be sold to Kenny Gamble and his self admitted plot to take over Grays Ferry as his "campus". The district is selling those kids to the highest bidder. Shame shame on Ackerman!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 10:35 am

The rackateers at TFA will throw her under the bus quicker than you van blink. They sent teachers to Wayman for years and never defended them against her insidious and abusive policies. By the way, check out Wayman's PSSA data for when she was at Rhoades. Pretty amusing. It is obvious that sme Principals are not subject to accountability.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:36 pm

Wayman's assistant - Michael Spaglenburg - is TFA alum. He was her "assistant" at Rhodes and now at AD1. I'm sure he had something to do with the letter to Ms. Moffet since his implied "signature" is on almost everything out of AD1.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 2:32 pm

throw her under the bus? TFA will do nothing but stand up for her. How dare you criticize an organization that is promoting education.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 2:29 pm

As with many people connected with this situation, getting involved would put them between a rock and hard place. The cost-benefit analysis makes sense in my situation because I am single, with no children, and I am comfortable living with uncertainty. For others, it might not be that simple. Would you speak out knowing that this is how the District reacts? What happened was a predictable response even though I did not organize the walkout and my advocacy for the school against the District's current plans happened at two open meetings after work hours. This administration does not want to hear student, teacher, or community protest. I wish it would because much of this could have been avoided if they had involved the community earlier. Both sides could have meshed their ideas together to ensure the continued success of the New Audenried.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 5:42 pm

At the risk of sounding defensive, my critique of TFA (the organization, as opposed to teachers, some of who I count as close friends) is rooted in a deep knowledge of the PSD. I attended these schools from grades 1-12, have taught here for close to twenty years, and have a parent who taught in Philly for more than 30 years. It would behoove you to look more closely at the kind of education TFA promotes, as well as their role in advancing this culture of high-stakes testing. It is also uncharitable to say "how dare you" to people who live this work every day.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 10:07 am

Teach For America, as an organization, will not support her. They have a vested interest, namely "maintaining [their] district partnerships" so that they can continue to place teachers in SDP and expand, in keeping quiet. They will not risk damaging the partnerships they have forged with the District, especially in a year when teacher layoffs are almost certainly imminent.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 2:02 pm

I agree that TFA won't probably say much. That is partly due to the atmosphere in Philly. The District has a lukewarm relationship with TFA. Dr. Ackerman keeps TFA in the dark just as much as she keeps everyone else in the dark. Many large district leaders are very vocal about their support of TFA. She's basically silent on the matter, except when she made that comment a few weeks ago about about how the young, stressed TFA teacher should just quit if she didn't like the bureaucracy.

Pro charter?
Then why did most of this year's Renaissance Schools get named Promise Academies? Especially when the district has a giant budget problem and unloading some schools might make some sense.

I'm not taking a position on either TFA or charters. I'm just pointing out that Dr. Ackerman could be a lot more aggressive about supporting both if she wanted to.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2011 11:52 pm

Yes, please check out Rhodes data. The increases that were made in five years were nothing short of a miracle. Compare the data to Rhodes' sister school in the same time frame.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2011 3:08 am

Yes, look at Rhodes scores - they are inconsistent (up and down for high school) until two years ago and then they increased. I wonder why..... It is very easy to play games with the PSSA.

That said, Rhodes is a PSSA test factory - anything high schools have received from the AD1 office is test prep for the PSSA. What do Rhodes students do after Rhodes? Are they prepared for more than the PSSA? I know a number of teachers at Rhodes who do not teach their assigned subject (e.g. science) but are instead doing test prep for reading/math. Wayman has made teaching "the 7 step lesson" as rigid and disengaging as possible. It is a way to drill unconnected skills rather than encouraging students to think, create, etc. Apparently, Ms. Moffett did the latter and that is not allowed in Wayman's very narrow pedagogical repertoire.

Submitted by Anon and anon (not verified) on February 18, 2011 4:13 pm

It is not up to Teach for America to stand up for her. It is up to the Philly Federation of Teachers to stand up for her. I hope that they work swiftly and decisively to ensure that this teacher is back to where she belongs -- with her students -- as soon as possible. Removing her from the classroom for even one day is a travesty.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 4:40 pm

TFA, as you probably know, places teachers in the hardest-to-staff schools. If Hope is an Alum, and Wayman, who hosted many TFA's at Rhoades, is the hatchet person, they certainly should get involved. If they don't then it sends a strong message to all CM's - shut up and give us good data.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 1:01 pm

If the info is correct, she is a third year-- an alum. She has no more requirements to fulfill with TFA; they have no more responsibility for her. You use "CM," so I am guessing you are familiar with the organization-- since when is TFA in the business of advocating for third year teachers on legal issues (no matter how scurrilous the charges)? Or even on keeping tabs on its third, fourth, fifth years?

Moreover, even if I grant you that they should do something, how do you know they are not?

Lastly, in response to the "shut up and give us good data"-- TFA is not in the business of managing your employment. You are. You can be as outspoken as you want, go for it-- that's not what they are in charge of.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 2:00 pm

Here's where I disagree:

TFA's own web-site actively promotes successful alumni. It would seem appropriate, then, for them to publicly support an alum who is being vilified for political reasons. I have seen no such statement, but will happily retract my critique if one emerges.

As for them not being in the "business of managing your employment," I can't imagine what you mean. TFA has their employees in classrooms making sure that TFA teachers are teaching according the prescribed methods. That could be described as "manging employment".

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 2:34 pm

Are/ were you a CM? Are you the same person as above?

TFA does not have "their employees" in schools-- their employees are their staff. In fact, the only thing binding you to TFA once you are in the classroom is to "maintain good standing" in order to keep your Americorps-- and you get that after two years. TFA has very little to say about you teaching "according to the prescribed methods"-- your administrators do, though. In fact, I-- as a TFAer myself-- can attest that yeah, they can suggest things, but as long as I do a good job, they are happy with me. Nothing more, nothing less-- I was an employee of my school, not TFA.

Actively promoting alumni is one thing. That is not the same as taking a political stance. TFA is not a union; a union is a union.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 2:50 pm

I am not a CM, but I know quite a few. More than one has shared stories of staffers redirecting instructional strategies, and these were good teachers who enjoyed the support of students and parents.

That said, I may have made a generalization.

I know that TFA is not a union, but they certainly espouse a highly politicized approach to education. Nothing should preclude them from standing by one of their own, and I certainly wish they would.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 2:27 pm

In Philly things get really complicated. At first glance, the Renaissance initiative would seem a very TFA-friendly program: Use data to make tough decision about schools. The major caveat is the the District isn't actually using any real data in some cases. The District has only gotten to the level of recognizing the value of using data. They haven't yet realized how to actually do it effectively.

So what happens when the reformers (SDP) are worse at their own game than the people being "reformed" (the existing schools)?

Where does TFA side then?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 4:27 pm

The ridiculous and unjustified treatment of an outstanding teacher is the issue here. TFA is not the point. This is not their place or their mission (whatever it may be, however you may disagree with it).

I am a corps member and disagree with a lot of what they do. I don't work for them either. But this is not their place to "side" on one hand or the other. You can criticize so much about TFA rightly, but this isn't about TFA, what they should do, or what they haven't done. This strikes me as people trying to get in some dig at TFA with minimal real working knowledge of the organization-- more than what their website says or experience with their teachers or what some friends say (your friends had their instruction redirected? So have I. So has probably everyone.).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 3:26 am

The Renaissance Initiative IS a very TFA friendly policy initiative. Who do you think will teach in those 18 schools next year once most of the current staff is cleared out? First year TFA and PTF teachers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2011 5:38 pm

It's only a TFA friendly policy if other teachers don't want the jobs. The charters are probably the most TFA friendly part, but this round of Renaissance went very heavily to the Promise Academy side (surprisingly, to me, given the dire budget situation).

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on February 25, 2011 4:51 pm

What is a CM?

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2011 6:34 pm

TFA Corps Member

Submitted by mychildrenarenotexperiments (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:32 pm

what is going on at audenried is a teachable moment for everyone. what should be a positive moment for these children at this school to understand what mlk and others went thru to be heard has turned into a negative moment of if you dont play the game the districts way you have to pay the price. thanks alot SDP

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2011 11:13 pm

You don't have to spend too much time with Ms. Wayman to see what she really is. She needs to resign NOW. She is not fit to be around children, nor is she fit to make decisions about their lives. GO AWAY WAYMAN!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 21, 2011 4:37 pm

Who ever you are, you sure do seem to truly dislike Mrs. Wayman. Fortunately you are one of only a few. I've met her, spoken with her and spent time with her, and I believe in her vision for our students. If you go to Rhodes and talk to some of the students who were there when she was the principal, I'd bet they would say the same. She LOVES Philadelphia's students, she is a former Philadelphia student, and her method of saying excalty what is on her mind, is the reason why people like you don't her. But it's also the reason, why parents of her seniors come up and hug her at gradution. What are YOU doing to make a difference. Get off of her, and start looking at yourself!

Submitted by Philly Parent (not verified) on April 22, 2011 7:27 am

Your experiences are unique. Wayman is a bully and knows little about pedagogy or curriculum. She assume all students have an IEP and we need to "shove" information into their heads for them to regurgitate. I've worked with many students with an IEP who are capable - and deserve - much more. Wayman gets what she wants because she is loud - not because she knows what she is doing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 22, 2011 8:32 am

Your opinion of Mrs. Wayman is ill informed. She does NOT think that all students have or need an IEP. She is well aware of an IEP, and knows their purpose in education. She was first an educator, she knows exactly what she is doing. If you truly knew her, you might say, I don't like her style but I understand her vision. It's completely unfair to make judgements about someone, with whom you've never worked with. I know teachers who have worked under her who may not like her style, but they have always said, that because of her they are better teachers. She requires that teachers teach. She requires that counselors, counsel. She requiers that people do their jobs, the good parts and the bad parts. I'm not speaking as someone who has only read or heard of how she is, I am a person who has worked with her. It was an honor to work with her, and if given the chance I would do it again. Mrs. Wayman gets what she wants because she works! She is the hardest working administrator, I have ever met.

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on April 22, 2011 9:36 am

If you are so proud to have worked under Wayman's bullying tactics and narrow minded approach to teaching, write your name. I have met teachers that had to work in Rhodes - they flee after two years because Wayman does not respect teachers - she threatens, yells and intimidates. I would never want her to teach my child.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:00 am

FREE HOPE MOFFETT. Thank you for standing up for your students. You are an inspiration.

How is it wrong to educate our children about what is happening in their city, about the infrastructure that is crumbling before their very eyes??

I have informed my students that, due to the budget situation and my non-tenured status (I am a 2nd year teacher), I will most likely not be able to teach them next year. Granted, that is largely due to union contract. However, it's at moments like these that the union becomes necessary. How can we as PFT find ways to protect our students from the madness, as well as protect ourselves, instead of engaging in either/or tactics?

Submitted by A Better PFT (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:54 am

Seriously, what does Jerry Jordan do. I want an effective union, not one that kowtows to Ackerman's will and watches things like this happen.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:34 am

I've got to know what she was doing wrong. Unless she was out there with the kids protesting, the union better get their asses into lawyer mode.

I can't believe this is even attempted. This sounds like cinema, not America.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 3:28 am

The fact that the district is removing the school's most prominent 11th grade English teacher a month before their first PSSAs show that they not only do not have the students' best interests in mind, but that they are hoping Audenried fails.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on February 18, 2011 4:27 am

Exactly! Wayman only cares about ONE thing - test scores. She ran Rhodes as a testing factory and has attempted to do the same in the "empowerment" high schools. Everything we get from AD 1 (high school office) is about test prep. Wayman (and her incompetent minions - including Spaglenberg who is also from TFA) is to instill fear and create robots out of students' and teachers' brains.

Thank you, Hope, for standing up to the powers that be. Now, Jerry Jordan, come home from your meeting and do your job!

Submitted by I Teach in Philly Too (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:58 am

You're right: Wayman doesn't care about the education our students get, it's the scores. My students and I haven't done ONE THING relating to my subject since November. Wayman has ordered we teach test prep non-stop since the end of last year.

Is this the way to prepare our students for college and for the future? Not likely! it's all about the scores for Wayman and the rest of the district administration.

I feel sorry for my students. They are being denied a full education by the people who claim they care about them.

Think I'm exaggerating? parents, ask your teen what they've been doing in class lately.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 7:52 am

100% agreed!!!!! It doesn't take a cynic to realize that the worst the students at Audenreid the students perfrom, the better the SDP looks for advocating for a change.....and it makes it easier for Universal to come in and improve the scores next year. Can you imagine how embarassing it would be for the District if Audenreid actually made significant gains this year.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on February 19, 2011 1:19 pm

Of course they are. When this school fails to meat AYP this year it looks like this move was appropriate, which we all know is not true.
I wish I could shake Hope's hand. Good for you, fighting for your children like this.

Submitted by we are annoymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 5:21 am

The District has yet to provide any data to support their decision to make Audenried a Renaissance School. They are wrong, they screwed up, and now they are trying to bully teachers into keeping quiet. It breaks my heart to see the SDP function in such an underhanded way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 6:29 am

I am truly and deeply appalled at this. In this country, we have a constitutional right to free speech. She said nothing which merits a suspension and the threat of further sanctions. "You are directed not to discuss this matter. Failure to follow this directive will result in disciplinary action."

Stand up and support her, teachers,staff and PFT...before we are all silenced by fear of retribution.

Submitted by Daniel Eppihimer (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:12 am

Having worked at Audenried along side of Hope as both an English teacher and English Leader for the previous two years, I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone more passionate about the success of her students and more committed to upholding the district's alleged core beliefs.

1. Children come first.
2. Parents are our partners.
3. Victory is in the classroom and facilitated by a strong instructional leader.
4. Leadership and accountability are the keys to success.
5. It takes the engagement of the entire community to ensure the success of its public schools.

Hope Moffett was one of the major contributing factors in my decision to resign as an English teacher last year. I knew that I could not come anywhere close to the level of commitment, dedication, compassion, and passion that she expressed and continues to express to this very day, and she inspired me to pursue a life based around what I am passionate about.

Both of the people that were reassigned were the two people in Audenried that cared about the success of our students the most. Both worked harder and longer than anyone I have come across in my five years of working in the district. Both are my family.

Hope, if you're reading this, which I know you are, we may have had two years of competition about who was the better teacher - comparing lessons, test scores, benchmark data, and student satisfaction - but it was clear from the beginning and I'll go on record saying it: you are and always have been the better teacher.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 2:25 pm

wow. This is awesome and speaks volumes about the SDP. Consider going to other news outlets with this info.

Submitted by we are annoymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:32 pm

We've reached out to the Inquirer, but they have dropped the ball.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:48 pm

I sent an email to Kristin Graham earlier today calling her out for the Inquirer's complete lack of coverage of the ongoing debacle w/r/t Audenreid.

She has not replied.

Submitted by lovetoteach (not verified) on February 19, 2011 7:53 pm

Kristin Graham often drops the ball on good stories; we need to go national with what is going on with Hope.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 7:41 pm

The Inquirer is really dropping the ball. A suburban teacher calls students "whiny" on a blog and is on national news programs for getting suspended (probably rightfully, or at least with some justification), and paper covers it like a real stroy.

On the other hand, Hope is essentially suspended for teaching her curriculum and making children aware of the broader situation they face? How is this only a news-in-brief item? The lack of tough educational reporting on this is sad. The Lower Merion webcam story was all over the place. The SDP does far worse and much more systematically corrupt things, and all the paper does is print a news-in-brief item, and reference the issue in another article? Even the article they did print made was a he said/she said: PFT: "she is being intimidated"; SDP: "no comment." What is the Inquirer afraid of?

The Notebook is great, but until the mainstream media gets past the District's PR machine and starts putting the same level of investigation into all of the District's dealing that it did into the one contract fiasco, it's not really making much difference. The Notebook is a great source for people seeking education news in Philly. We need to get these issues in venues for people who aren't looking for it.

Submitted by Dina Portnoy (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:39 am

Hurray for Hope and for her students! This is unbelievable. It seems that those in power believe that urban children of color can only learn through top down, dumbed down curriculum. But here, during Black History Month, a teacher (actually, several of them) are engaging their students in real learning, and learning how to take responsibility for their educational opportunities, and she is sanctioned. Many of us know that students learn all the skills that are important, along with how to actually advocate for themselves and their communities, through this. And shame on the District for not being as prepared as Hope expects her students to be with real evidence and analysis to back up their arguments!

Submitted by Stephanie Palmer (not verified) on February 18, 2011 8:53 am

Gee, this doesn't sound like a well thought out reaction to a teacher who voices her opinion. Haven't you been paying attention to what's happening in the middle east? They're getting rid of the despots.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:12 pm

I wish it would happen here too! FREE HOPE MOFFETT
Where can I get a T-Shirt?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 8:55 am

Apparently the School District of Philadlephia is so power hungry that it will sanction union busting (as all these union teachers will be forced to lose their union status in order to keep their jobs) and the loss of highly respected teachers such as Hope Moffett. Will the teacher's union stand up and take them to court?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 9:05 am

Bullies love to be able to silence people. Don't let yourselves be silenced Audenried. Stand up for your students, stand up for Hope Moffett, and stand up for your community!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 9:45 am

Congratulations to Hope and all Audenried students for their courage and their perseverance. Anyone who has taught in the School District or works for them now should realize that THESE moments are what we live for--when our students take the reins of their own education, learn how to analyze and argue, and mobilize in the face of injustice.

SDP, how dare you take away the teachers that mean the most to students, who are standing by their side when you obviously do not? What would you ask yourself if this was happening to the schools you send your children too?

Good luck cleaning up this mess because there's no way the fight is over until you see the hypocrisy in your reform policies.

Submitted by Christina (not verified) on February 18, 2011 10:16 am

About issues of censorship and the silencing of voices, Ernesto Cardenal wrote in his epigramas about the hope that one day the name of the oppressor will be long forgotten while the words of the author will still be read... You go, Teacher Hope! Way to work together, teachers! Way to represent, students! We can not afford to lose consummate educators to capricious decision making. We can not afford to lose students so engaged in learning and democracy.

Cardenal wrote: nuestros poemas no se pueden publicar todavía
círculan de mano en mano, manuscritos,
o copiados en mimeógrafo, pero un día
se olvidarán el nombre del dictador
contra el que fueron escritos
y seguirán siendo leídos

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on February 18, 2011 11:04 am

Extra police presence, 440 Stooges roaming the halls, no, there's no intimidation at Audenried today. The kids are pissed, the staff is pissed, the parents are pissed. The District is Mubarak and just like him and the rest of us are standing in Tahrir Square!

As Bob Marley sang, "Get up, stand up! Stand up for your rights!"

Its time to make the District listen.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 11:22 am

I have learned that today at Audenried, District officials have called in the blue and yellow vests to take over the building. All this despite the peaceful nature of the students protests and no indication that there are any threats of violence. I call on the police to allow the free exercise of student's right to protest peacefully and I hope that the District's blatant attempts to intimidate the students and community will come to naught. When you shine a light on the District, it is depressing to see how so many good things turn into disasters because of heavy-handed implementation.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:22 pm

Ever since South Philly it has been apparent that violence and fear are their main strategy. I wrote an internal school e-mail criticizing the district's walk-through policy. Shortly thereafter they had a flunky in room that issued a completely manufactured observation that led to be being written up. They have eyes everywhere.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:35 pm

I haven't yet had my second official observation this year. 20 "4's" and 6 "3's" on my first one might not be enough to save me. Linda Wayman herself has observed me teach. Where were the criticism's then?

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on February 19, 2011 1:33 pm

Hope - you were teaching then, not rocking the boat. It's the boat rocking that they are creating these other issues over.
Keep rocking - create waves. Your students, co-workers and the teachers throughout the district are behind you.

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:01 pm

It appears as though the "rubber room" can't silence you, huh? The kids want to know when you'll be back and were asking for you in the 11th grade Assembly. Hargett doesn't know what to do and the nice, kind, wonderful, helpful people that 440 N. Broad has sent to us are just standing here or wandering around "checking" on things.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:38 pm

I wonder if the underlings from 440 enjoy playing the Keystone cops...

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:34 pm

The rest of the world might not see it but I hope that the students shine in their talent show. What a great opportunity for the those loitering District representatives to see into the lives of the people whose futures their choices are determining.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:20 pm

As of 1:43 PM, I have received no letter informing me of my official meeting time and I have not been informed of the charges brought against me. In fact, no one seems to know anything as the office here was only notified late last night that I was coming and they were given no indication as to why. I wonder if they will make any claims though because I can see it going very badly for them when it comes out that I have not used instructional time to protest a decision unless you count teaching the English III curriculum, which includes the ideas of Thoreau, King, and Malcolm X. Or maybe it was my required monthly persuasive essay that asked students "Should Charles Y. Audenried High School become a Promise Community School next year." Given that the eligible content was "R11.B.3.2.1 Identify, explain, and/or interpret bias and propaganda techniques in nonfictional text," I am absolutely sure that I have have used academic time as just that, academic time. I taught bell to bell and when the essay was done, I returned to my other directives such as district required weekly PSSA constructed responses, study island, and any lesson I could fit in on the actual curriculum.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 2:48 pm

Hope -

You seem very brave and very smart, but a word of advice: Don't post on a blog on company time. Don't give them ammo to use against you.

Good luck. I hope you prevail.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 2:27 pm

I love your advice. If only they would give me something productive to do because it turns out that I was already on top of my grading and my paperwork. If they decide to fight me with this, please let them explain to the general public how they removed an 11th grade English teacher only weeks before the PSSA, leaving her students without ongoing instruction while she receives a full salary for baking in a basement while in solitary confinement. If I was teaching, I certainly would have very little down time to sit and comment. I could certainly comment anonymously but I have intentionally signed my name because I refuse to fear their persecution.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 18, 2011 4:37 pm

Amen, Amen, Amen!

"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." 4th February 1968 MLK, Jr.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 12:31 pm

Why is this not being reported on TV and other papers in the city.
This is an outrage!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:36 pm

The Inquirer is waiting for the story to be sent from 440. It'll arrive with the data trumpeting Universal's success - the data driven school systems' data that doesn't exist yet but when does it exist it'll prove the universal need for Universal.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:29 pm

Hope--you are an inspiration to your students and to teachers as well. I cannot believe that they are taking you out of the classroom before PSSAs! They clearly do not care about the children and their learning! How can a teacher with (as you said) no 204 write-ups, who is clearly dedicated to their students be summarily reassigned? Whatever happened to "children come first". Apparently, they do not--apparently intimidation and bogus PR moves come first. It is horrible to take a teacher away in February--especially when you do not need to.

Submitted by Hope's dad (not verified) on February 18, 2011 1:26 pm

One of the great gifts of life is to have a teacher who can impart knowledge to your mind and heart and who conveys real love for you. These elements combined together, inspire a child to reach higher in the quest for an abundant life. Anyone who knows Hope, knows she is full of integrity in whatever she does. She posseses both high intelligence and deep compassion. She will impart not only ideas to her students but ideals as well. They will remember her as long as they live. It is a joy to me as her dad to see her stand in the light for what she believes to be right. I hope she will not be standing alone.

Submitted by Daniel Eppihimer (not verified) on February 18, 2011 2:42 pm

Mr. Moffett! I am so glad to hear support from her family, though I am not surprised. From what she says, you have a penchant for unabashedly standing up for the right cause. Don't worry, she is certainly not alone.

Submitted by Frank Murphy on February 18, 2011 3:43 pm

 On Thursday February 17,2011 I posted a commentary in Cityschoolstories.com regarding the recent demonstrations staged by students at West and Audenried High Schools.  Today it was reported that another student demonstration occurred at King High School.

I am impressed by the determined and peaceful manner in which these aggrieved students are seeking to have their concerns addressed.

In the article, I also made reference to the positive abilities and talents of these students’ teachers.  As a former school district principal, I am encouraged and cheered by the presence of these intelligent and courageous educators in our neighborhood schools.

By speaking out concerning the School District’s Renaissance plan, Hope Moffett has voiced her legitimate concerns as an educator.  She has also demonstrated her freedom as a citizen of our democratic society.  This is what is referred to as a First Amendment right.

The people who live in our school communities are clamoring for an authentic seat at the school reform table. In light of this, I think it is worth repeating the concluding paragraph of my recent post.

If Dr. Ackerman, the appointed leader of our district is truly sincere in her concern for the children, then she must address the needs that have been expressed by these students.  Provide them with the challenging and rich instructional programs they deserve.  Show respect for the teachers who they value.  Listen to the wishes of their parents.  Be the leader that we all need in order to make our schools better.  Be a leader who listens to, inspires and leads the people to the places where they need to go, rather then where you want them to go.

The superintendent’s decision to abruptly remove Hope Moffett from her teaching position at Audenried isn’t the action that I would expect from the leader we need.  Indeed it appears to be the action of a vindictive autocrat. 

 

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on February 19, 2011 1:18 pm

Very well said. This action is a temper tantrum being thrown by a child. "Oh. You disagree wtih me? Want to tell others that I am worng? Then I will take away your sandbox and not let you play with my friends." PLEASE. how immature.
Hope's perspective should be adding insite to the issues, intead of being shut down like this. This is a democracy we live in with rules and Hope is following them carefully. I wish the same could be said about our leadership.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on February 18, 2011 3:36 pm

FYI: Jerry Jordan posted to his blog about this topic.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 18, 2011 3:56 pm

 Is it possible we are seeing the beginning of an Egypt moment in our School District?

The courageous actions of students at West, Audenreid, and now King, the outpouring of community opposition to the Universal takeover, and the resistance  of Hope Moffett and her colleagues all point to the emergence of a real fight back against the privatization of our schools, the undemocratic way in which decisions are made and the attacks on unionized teachers.   

We need to find ways to bring together these streams of resistance into a united movement for genuine school reform and the empowerment of the school community.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 11:44 am

I think that is exactly the issue- how do we all organize our anger and frustration in the right direction to make things really begin to give way? I think an earlier poster was correct- it is time for district-wide protests at the way our kids are treated.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 4:19 pm

Hope is the first passenger in the boxcar to the Gulag Ackerman is setting up. How dare she question the Queens's no bid Renaissance school give away.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 5:53 pm

Hope, stand tall next to Heidi. A pair of highly principled women.

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on February 18, 2011 5:43 pm

My kids attended academic high schools with adequate teachers in most classes. I wish they had had one with half of Hope's passion and bravery.

FREE HOPE!

Submitted by Charity Donnelly (not verified) on February 18, 2011 6:56 pm

I see no acceptable reason that a qualified dedicated and concerned teacher who stands up for what she believes is best for her students should be benched for speaking her mind . This is like taking your star player out of the World Series when your team is behind. No wonder they have a budget crisis if this is their modus operandi since they would rather pay her to sit out than to teach. Hope should run for Superintendent of Philadelphia School District. She would do the job better and for less pay AND she actually wants what is best for her students. From what I can tell there is too much politicking and not enough genuine concern for the welfare of these students. We need HOPE!

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 6:11 pm

Disclaimer: That's my sister. :]

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:02 pm

I see a lot of comments are in support of the Hope. I quote the Bill of Rights:

"Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I thought we lived in America.

And I wonder how many "outraged" folk are going over to the region in support of Hope Moffet before of after school? I'm just saying.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 18, 2011 7:56 pm

From my side I can tell you, and I hope it restores your faith in people, no one has left me on my own. I am surprised at the updates I get on how many people have called representatives, written encouraging letters, or educated people about the issue. Even a comment has power because an autocrat's biggest fear is a popular uprising.

Submitted by Kate Sannicks (not verified) on February 18, 2011 8:38 pm

Wear red EVERY FRIDAY! Talk to friends, family and community members! Let's put down this attack on OUR STUDENTS! Up with HOPE! SUPPORT HOPE!

Submitted by A Teacher Elsewhere (not verified) on February 18, 2011 9:10 pm

Until parents and teachers (who can all vote) stand up for the rights of the kids, the kids are the ones losing. All politicians feel it's OK to cut education, play with the broken system until it breaks further. It is the administration and the politicians in the city, states, and federal legislatures that are killing education. The US is pathetically low in the rankings of Educated countries in the world and we shouldn't be. Until Parents let their elected officials know that they won't stand for it, the politicians are going to sell the US down the stream one student at a time. It's people like this "Deputy" that don't have a clue what it means to be an American.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2011 10:36 pm

http://www.thelowell.org/news/33-news/200-superintendent-denies-placing-...

Submitted by SanFranSame (not verified) on February 18, 2011 11:52 pm

I don't know the source, but it looks like San Francisco was the same. The article says Washington DC was the same. The pattern is obvious that Ackerman has silenced and put gag orders in place during all her tenures. Others besides Hope have been 'disciplined'. This has to stop.

Submitted by Phantom Poster (not verified) on February 18, 2011 11:43 pm

Time for Ackerman and the SRC to declare "Mission Accomplished".

Submitted by Brian Moffett (not verified) on February 19, 2011 12:19 am

I am so proud of you Hope for doing what you know is right. You are a shining example of what it really means to be a true American. I know that so many people appreciate the sacrifices that you have made so that the truth will come forth. I can feel the love you have for your students is so amazing and I know they love you to. Again, I am so proud to be your brother, keep up the good fight!

Submitted by mychildrenarenotexperiments (not verified) on February 19, 2011 12:55 am

has anyone in all of this noticed ackermans absence not once has she come forward to face or talk to the children or the communities she sends others in

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on February 19, 2011 4:37 am

This is Ackerman's M.O. or "leadership style." She takes responsibility for nothing, sends her underlings to do the "dirty work," and then takes credit for anything positive. Amazing that she gets any support for anyone. But, those that support Ackerman (e.g. Rep. Waters) are either ignorant of "ways," drugged by her rhetoric or getting paid.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 3:36 am

This is called teacher jail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 7:28 am

If the SDP really cares about its credibility and its mission to educate all students, it would behoove them to explain what the charges are against Hope Moffett promptly. To remove a successful, accomplished, well liked teacher from a school immediately, 3 weeks from the PSSAs, knowing her classes will be taught by subs and covering teachers, makes me think she must have done a really bad, horrible thing to justify this incredibly severe response. I mean, it must have been so bad that they couldn't even let her stay in school why they investigate whatever she might have done. What could have Hope done which has made the SDP justify it's behavior here???? Because if the SDP doesn't provide an explanation, we are forced to inference that our beloved, caring school district is bullying and silencing an effective teacher who just happens not to agree with the SDP policies. I for one am shocked...shocked!!! that the SDP could ever act in a way that doesn't benefit students

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on February 19, 2011 1:04 pm

Hope spoke up. She pointed to the naked leader int he room and told that leader she was naked. This leader is wrong - that is all Hope did.
At least in the fairy tale, the emperor had enough sense to acknowledge his nakedness and get some clothes on.
Thanks for trying, Hope. Keep it up !

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 7:12 am

I think everyone would together in acknowledging Hope's courage and commitment, but it it would be a mistake to look at this as the act of a single teacher, or to let it be framed as such in public. As Hope has previously stated, there is a legacy of of student/teacher activism in Philly. To her credit, she also acknowledges that she can afford to go public, whereas those of us with families cannot run the risk of getting fired. That said, it is worth looking at this incident from a few different angles.

1) Either the PSD made a crucial error, or they plan to sacrifice Hope in order to show how far they will go. It seems unlikely that Ackerman would back down, yet seeking termination will only intensify our anger. If they back down the the PFT should return the favor and go after Wayman's job, particularly if they accuse Hope of inciting riot. This seems to be slander or libel - accusing a teacher of actively promoting violence among children. They are effectively calling Hope a criminal. If Wayman makes this accusation then she is obviously unfit to be an educator. If they pursue termination then the PFT MUST call for teacher walkouts. But here is were it gets complicated:

2) As we know, Ackerman is adept at using race to further her agenda. It is hardly a coincidence that the Notebook published a propaganda piece signed by numbskull Rep. Waters praising Ackerman to high Heaven. But it goes deeper than this. Experience in the PSD has taught me that many veteran teachers will view this incident as a young white woman who is using kids to serve her own agenda. Experienced African-American educators have told be that many African-Americans are torn about Ackerman. They may not like her policies, but can't help but fear that race is a subtext in the criticism against her. Ackerman know this so it does to seem coincidental that a young, white, relatively inexperienced teacher is being targeted.

The fact that Hope is TFA is equally important to this strategy. Wayman knows TFA first hand and they are definitely serving notice. Get your teachers in line.

It is now time to act collectively, to organize protests, and to make our voices heard. The Notebook should consider publishing Anonymous blogs so that informed teachers can help shape the dialog beyond these "comment" sections. Rather than heap praise on Jerry Jordan for merely doing his job, we must demand that the PFT begin proactive action against the ill conceived takeowver of your schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 7:50 am

I meant to "takeover of OUR schools" in the last line.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 10:22 am

Teach For America, as an organization, will not support her. They have a vested interest, namely "maintaining [their] district partnerships" so that they can continue to place teachers in SDP and expand, in keeping quiet. They will not risk damaging the partnerships they have forged with the District, especially in a year when teacher layoffs are almost certainly imminent.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 1:39 pm

Someone tell Hope to get on twitter so she can know that there are thousands of teachers across the country who support her efforts towards letting student voices be heard by those in-charge.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 2:58 pm

We need more charter schools and vouchers for parents who elect to send their children to private and parochial schools. In that way, schools can compete for students. Everyone wins. After we get the union abolished, the inept teachers can be fired and the good ones be given pay raises. All the money going to the union coffers will go right into the teachers' pocket, the students will get a better education, and the whole system will be more efficient.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 3:24 pm

If what you said is true how come is hasn't happen in over a decade of charters running in this city? Inept teachers are snatched up by charter schools once they are fired by public schools because charters are so desperate to keep teachers. The high turnover at charters shows that something is very wrong with your carpetbagging claim, "Everyone wins". You mean charter shils like you win. How does money from union coffers go into teachers' pockets? Explain where you have gotten your data for this claim. Why should the public pay for religious indoctrination and private schools? They are businesses and should pay their own way. Your anti-union stance is a joke. Good teachers will not get anything more than the minimum amount by the carpetbagging CEOs that draw their outrageous salaries and pay shils like yourself to post crap like this on the Notebook. If you want competition then demand that charters, private and parochial schools take ALL STUDENTS just like public schools are having to do now. How come your kind never has the guts to talk about principal unions if you're so anti-union? There are lots of lousy principals in Philly that exist because the administration and their unions protect them. Let's see you go after them for a change you gutless wonder.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on February 19, 2011 3:20 pm

This post has nothing to do with reality. Charters adn vouchers do don operate witht he same rules as the rest of public education. Monies are sent to schools in the fall for the children enrolled -- then charters can clear rolls of kids who do not fit their programs. These kids show up in our public schools, then without benefit of monies to cover the cost of their education. This increases class size int he public schools and changes the feel for those schools, since many of these kids come with a lot of baggage. Newbies to buildins change the feel of the building - there is no way around this fact. They need support settling in, fitting into the program and may need lots of ther issues addressed. Yet - the charters who encouraged them to leave keep the federal money for that child for that year.
How is this fair to anyone?
As for firing inept teachers? I am all for that - but without the union's rules - who gets to say who that is? My paperwork is totally up to date, but out of my 18 currently enrolled children, 7 are at risk of failing second grade. Does that mean I am inept to use your word? NO - it means I am battling major behavior issues, lack of parental support, attendance problems and a very scripted program that does not allow me to back up to where each child is academically. These children all came to me reading below grade level and fell into a program that demands that they be there. I also have two children with IEP's for academics and must keep them included in all the academics of the room. Yes - if you do this math, I have 9 functioning on grade level. Should I be fired for that? Some would say yes - so if I had any sense at all, I would try to get out of my current site, so I can continue to feed my family... But I am good at what I do and will continue to fight for all of my kids.
And apparently contiue to justify this to people like this anonymous poster who has no clue about the reality of what is going on in Philadelphia today.

Submitted by Daniel Eppihimer (not verified) on February 19, 2011 3:17 pm

There are many forums for heated debate over the district's use of charter schools and union representation, but please to not turn this discussion into a flame war over these issues. I ask out of respect for the nature of Hope and what she stands for, that you use this particular thread as a forum for coming together to discuss what we can do to remedy this situation, not arguing and name calling.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 4:46 pm

We should have vouchers because parents who send their children to private and parochial schools are paying taxes for a service they are not utilizing. The money that would have been spent on the public school system should be given to them to help defray the tuition costs. It's simple fairness. Then more people will send their kids to private schools and the public schools will have to get better or perish. It's called competition. It's what made this country. It's what everyone in the private sector deals with every day. Companies thrive and are rewarded. Companies fail and go out of business. The taxpayers, for whom you work, have had enough of the excuses and the resistance of any meaningful reform in the public school system. Once the union is abolished teachers will no longer have to pay union dues so the union leadership can line their pockets. They keep that money. What is happening in Wisconsin will spread across the country. The taxpayers have had enough.

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on February 25, 2011 5:38 pm

I'm not usually in favor of vouchers and charter schools because they gut public education. However, I think that vouchers would be a good idea in Philadelphia. The district is just too inept and has terrible leadership. There are a large number of Catholic parochial and high schools that have a very good track record of educating students and sending them onto college. Catholic schools also educate students for a lot less money than public schools (although lot of this has to do with teacher salaries).

Charter schools are basically private schools that receive public money. Anyone can form a charter school and receive public money, even without a track record of success. However, Catholic schools actually have a track record of success. Two big differences between charter schools and Catholic schools is the tuition and religious foundation. The charter schools have taken away many students from the Catholic schools. If parents want to send their children to a Catholic or other sectarian school, they should be able to do so, as long as vouchers are available for use at schools of all faiths (provided they have accreditation).

Not all students will be accepted to Catholic or private schools, but that's the case with charter schools as well. There is an argument that the school district will be left with the most difficult students as well as special education students. There is validity to this argument. However, some kids may do better in school in a different environment. Socieoeconomic status is one of the most important factors in educational achievement and there are numerous Catholic schools that educate children from low-income families with great success. There are some organizations that provide scholarships for children to attend Catholic schools to make them more affordable. Many of the Catholic schools in Philly have mostly non-catholic students. I think vouchers would give many students opportunities at Catholic and private schools that are better schools than some of the public schools.

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on February 25, 2011 5:07 pm

I'm not usually in favor of vouchers and charter schools because they gut public education. However, I think that vouchers would be a good idea in Philadelphia. The district is just too inept and has terrible leadership. There are a large number of Catholic parochial and high schools that have a very good track record of educating students and sending them onto college. Catholic schools also educate students for a lot less money than public schools (although lot of this has to do with teacher salaries).

Charter schools are basically private schools that receive public money. Anyone can form a charter school and receive public money, even without a track record of success. However, Catholic schools actually have a track record of success. Two big differences between charter schools and Catholic schools is the tuition and religious foundation. The charter schools have taken away many students from the Catholic schools. If parents want to send their children to a Catholic or other sectarian school, they should be able to do so, as long as vouchers are available for use at schools of all faiths (provided they have accreditation).

Not all students will be accepted to Catholic or private schools, but that's the case with charter schools as well. There is an argument that the school district will be left with the most difficult students as well as special education students. There is validity to this argument. However, some kids may do better in school in a different environment. Socieoeconomic status is one of the most important factors in educational achievement and there are numerous Catholic schools that educate children from low-income families with great success. There are some organizations that provide scholarships for children to attend Catholic schools to make them more affordable. Many of the Catholic schools in Philly have mostly non-catholic students. I think vouchers would give many students opportunities at Catholic and private schools that are better schools than some of the public schools.

Submitted by Christina (not verified) on February 19, 2011 4:17 pm

Daniel, there are actually very few forums for this discussion. Meg has some real points and some real lived experience here. Anonymous above Meg had some very valid points about public schools being truly for the public, for everyone. And Anonymous above that is how some people view the voucher thing. Now Hope is doing what she is doing, but remember there are larger issues here... privatization is the issue, students and their families asking for a place at the table (at the real table, not at these phony talk sessions) is another, Wayman's use of scare tactics is yet another.

It might feel bad, D., but this is how it is. I didn't see this conversation as anyway unrelated from this thread. Our city is not getting this story because there are very very very few places to take it out into the open like this.

Submitted by Phantom Poster (not verified) on February 19, 2011 4:24 pm

I guess the district's anti-bullying policy doesn't apply to upper management.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 19, 2011 5:43 pm

THANK GOD there is a UNION. She would have been fired as soon as she opened her mouth anywhere else.

Submitted by I Teach in Philly Too (not verified) on February 19, 2011 8:01 pm

Meg, you are my hero. You'd be surprised how many of your fellow teachers stand with you. Stay strong.

Submitted by Daniel Eppihimer (not verified) on February 19, 2011 8:54 pm

Christina, you make a very valid point about the interconnected of all these issues. And I will retract my comment that there are many forums. I am not out to tell people what they can or can not do on this thread - post as you please. The right to speak your mind is definitely an issue that is at the forefront of this conversation. I encourage an open and frank dialog, but perhaps this would be a better notebook article to have this conversation on:

http://www.thenotebook.org/blog/113360/audenrieds-future-big-topic-src

I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting the preceding conversation between Meg and Anonymous on the page already so that any newcomers will know what is being discussed. Feel free to use it or not. Or feel free to continue the conversation on here. Personally, I would just like to see the energy on this page remain supportive of each other ;) This will be the last thing I say about it.

Submitted by George (not verified) on February 20, 2011 2:09 am

Despite not being a fan of unions and their repeated efforts to prevent the passage of a voucher program...despite being a fan of private schools...despite believing in the concept of charter schools, I cannot support the way this district has treat Hope. I join my voice with many others and demand she be reinstated in her position as the 11th grade English teacher! Being punished for standing for something is absolutely not what should be being taught in our schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 8:00 am

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 3:30 PM at 440
Let's stop talking about supporting Hope and her colleague and actually get out there! I will be there--will you?

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 20, 2011 8:59 am

 Hold your horses a little bit longer.   Plans are being made for an action next week but coordination is important if we are to maximize our numbers and impact.  Expect more on this shortly.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 9:01 am

I'm glad plans are in the works. I've been thinking the same thing. When are we going to mass and show our outrage and support of Hope? Please make sure it is well-publicized.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 20, 2011 11:27 am

I would love to be part of an action, as would many of my colleagues. We need to show 440 out strength NOW!

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 20, 2011 12:26 pm

 Kristen, Let's talk.  email me.

Ron

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 9:15 am

Ron,
Do you mean this coming week or the week of Feb 29? Who is organizing the action? I would like to do this sooner rather than later, but I will be there and call as many of my friends as possible. All PFT members, ESPECIALLY those who have been unfairly 204'd, should come out.
Lisa Haver

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 20, 2011 9:13 am

 Lisa, email me at ronw292@gmail.com

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 10:20 am

Magnet School administrators and teachers - where are you? While you are "immune" to the wrath of Wayman, Ackerman, et al, you should not be silent regarding the plight of neighborhood high schools. Some of you like to blab about a lot of topics (e.g. SLA principal) but you are silent on your blog about students and teacher risking a lot at neighborhood schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 10:46 am

Several of us who do teach at magnet schools are posting analysis and insight, especially because we have experience at the schools that are being taken over. And don't that we are immune. Even schools with good scores are subject to the wrath of 440. Be assured, we are all in this together.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 10:21 am

NOW is the time to rise up. What is happening in Wisconsin is on the table for PA. I am getting sick and tired of being the whipping boy for the mistakes of banks and politicians. We NEED to rise up and FIGHT this propaganda that we have sat back and watched from the Tea Party and other clowns. The public has been hoodwinked!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 12:49 pm

Check out the Facebook site Teachers Union Exposed for how Kochheads and others are ginning up hatred for any teachers that dare to belong to a union.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 1:13 pm

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Free-Hope-Moffett/104071699672569

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 1:16 pm

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Free-Hope-Moffett/104071699672569

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 1:39 pm

Post copies of this on the following sites: District 299 in Chicago; Substance in Chicago; NYCTeachers.com; Susan Ohania Speaks Out; National Association for Prevention of Teacher Abuse NAPTA.; Put it on Young Philly Progressives if it's not there yet.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 2:02 pm

Does no one realize Friday is considered the dumping ground in.terms of the media? Though coverage will happen no one pays attention during the weekend or on Friday night to the news. Poor planning. Perhaps we should also focus on the fact that we all pay taxes to the city and therefore are also concerned taxpayers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 4:47 pm

Maybe you don't realize that teachers, parents, and students dont have the luxury of a super flexible schedule during the week. The media will NOT ignore this important event if people like you and I stand by it. Instead of your negative approach, how about you say "Yeah, I will be there" You obviously care about public education. Can you provide some support in this difficult time?

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on February 20, 2011 11:14 pm

Sorry, I wasn't logged in and was posting from a different computer. To answer your question, no, I can't. Students and myself have a pre-planned trip outside the city both Friday and Saturday.

Again, its not about flexibility if its being done at the end of the day, its about timing. Its not that the media won't cover it, its that no one listens on Fridays and Saturdays. There's a reason governments like to put out bad news on Fridays, its because it gets lost in the weekend.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 7:46 pm

With 440 Broad right next to the Daily News, they don't have far to go.

Submitted by abusedteach (not verified) on February 20, 2011 2:47 pm

Please excuse the spelling errors...this crap from the district just infuriates me!
Lorna Stremcha on FB

Submitted by Christina (not verified) on February 20, 2011 5:46 pm

Were students transferred from Audenried after the walk out? What disciplinary action is pending at West Philly or King? Can someone figure this out?

Submitted by Philadelphia Citizen (not verified) on February 20, 2011 6:42 pm

As a taxpayer, voter and proud parent of 2 School District grads (K-12), I'll be there on Friday at 4:00 to march on 440. This is an important moment in Philadelphia and American public education.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 20, 2011 7:29 pm

Thank you! Parents and taxpayers have a stake in this, too. Be there Friday, I will.

Submitted by Daniel Eppihimer (not verified) on February 20, 2011 7:57 pm

Christina, I'll preface by saying I can only speak for Audenried, but as of Friday, no disciplinary action was taken against the students who walked out and there is no talk of transfers.

Submitted by Eltora Hayes (not verified) on February 20, 2011 9:46 pm

I think it is a shame that teacher have to put up with this outrage. Teacher work their backside off and r always taking the blame for others people problems. Over the years I have been going to school to become a teacher and have to say" I WOULD NEVER WORK FOR THE PHILDEPHIA SCHOOL DISTRICT", THEY DON'T NOW HOW TO TREAT THEIR TEACHERS OR THEIR STUDENTS FOR THAT MATTER. I resifned from the school distrcit for almost the same reason and do not regret the decision I made. It is suppose to be about the children and not the money we receive for them. The school district is full of money hungery people, who have long ago, forgot the importants of the job and that is to insure our children are getting a good education, which by the way, the teachers in this school try to provide. So to all the teachers out there keep ur head up and always stand up for what you believe in.

Sincerely Your, A parent and a use to be school district worker.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 9:55 pm

We should all take lesson from Wisconsin and start protesting as is our right under the Constitution of the United States. We should fight for all we believe in and fight for the right of public education which is due to all students under the American Disabilities Act and continue the fight of Plessy vs Fergurson and Brown vs the Board of Education. It is time the people of Philadelphia, the teachers of Philadelphia and the members of the PFT stand up for what is just.

Submitted by PhillyTeacher (not verified) on February 20, 2011 10:05 pm

Ackerman is a greedy tyrant who cares nothing about education. As if killing the joy of learning with idiotic scripted programs and incessant test prep wasn't enough, now she's gone and censored a public servant in a country founded on freedom and right to express differences in public??? Ackerman thinks she's omnipotent, but she is not God. She, too, is a public servant. Sooner or later there'll be enough pushback at her and down she'll go like the bully in the playground who teases the scrawny kid one time too many. Hope, thank you for your brave stand against this monster machine of a district. Get yourself on the morning news shows and don't stop the fight for what is right!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2011 10:37 pm

Hey Jerry, can you PLEASE organize the teachers to call sick out for this teacher? We can all meet at the district office where she is being "held" and with 10,000 teachers in one place and the schools closed due to it we are sure to get our message out. We can all wear bags on our heads to get the point across we are not allowed to speak. It will certainly have Ackerman think twice trying this again.

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on February 20, 2011 11:36 pm

THIS, THIS, THIS.

Submitted by allpresentandaccountedfor (not verified) on February 21, 2011 1:03 am

Whatever steps are taken must be carefully thought out. It is not strategic thinking to "call out sick" then "meet at the district office" to protest. This course of action could set all participants up to be disciplined for abuse of the sick leave policy. Jerry Jordan is a very keen strategist as evidenced by the many contracts he has negotiated for the PFT. I trust that a plan is in the works. The question is: when the play is called, how many of the PFT members will be present and accounted for? I'll be there. Will you???

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