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The audacity of Hope Moffett

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 20, 2011 11:26 PM
Photo: Benjamin Herold

“I did this because I don’t want my students to be disheartened,” says Audenried teacher Hope Moffett of her decision to go public about her reassignment despite a gag order and threat of further discipline.

Last Friday, Hope Moffett became the most talked-about teacher in Philadelphia.

Though her students at Audenried High School were gearing up for next month’s all-important state PSSA exam, the third-year English teacher spent the day in an overheated basement room in a distant District outpost, isolated but for a few brief visitors and an occasional mouse scurrying across the room.

An outspoken critic of the District’s plan to convert her school into a charter, Moffett, 25, has been temporarily reassigned to so-called “teacher jail.”

Thursday, she received a letter from the District instructing her to report on Friday to the District’s High School Academic Division in Strawberry Mansion instead of to her Audenried classroom. So did another unidentified Audenried teacher.

Despite a written gag order coming with a threat of further disciplinary action, Moffett is continuing to go public with her situation.

During a weekend interview with the Notebook, she says she has still not been informed of any formal charges against her and is expecting to report back to the basement room this week. 

Moffett and her colleagues at Audenried are among more than 1,000 teachers across the District who will be force-transferred later this spring as part of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s Renaissance Schools initiative.  Though all will be given the opportunity to reapply for their jobs, none will be guaranteed positions at their current schools, many will be forced to forego their union representation if they want to stay where they are, and some may be subject to layoffs.

But Moffett says she is not risking her career to take a stand for other teachers or against Ackerman, on behalf of her union or against charter schools.

“I did this because I don’t want my students to be disheartened,” she says.

‘My life is teaching’

Together, Moffett and her students have been working for almost three years to prepare for the 11th grade PSSA exams, the first for the newly reopened school. 

But before they ever took the test, the District last month deemed the school a low performer in need of overhaul

And now, just weeks before the test, the District has removed Moffett, who teaches English to about 80 percent of the school’s 11th graders, from the classroom.

“The District told us that if we implemented all of their interventions, we wouldn’t become a Renaissance School,” she says. “I feel like I’ve lied to my students because I believed something that wasn’t true.” 

That idealism runs deep in Moffett.

After graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in art history, Moffett joined Teach for America and moved to Philadelphia.

That fall, she learned the day before school started that she would be teaching at the “new Audenried.” 

Her first day, she discovered that despite a sparkling new $55 million facility, the school was lacking basic resources, including textbooks. 

Rather than complaining, she says, she threw herself into her work. 

“My life is teaching,” she explains.

One of the big challenges during that first year, says Moffett, was convincing her students that the new building really did represent a chance to start over.

“From day one, we’ve been telling our students, ‘You will define this new school.  This does not have to be the ‘Prison on the Hill,’” she says, referring to the infamous nickname of the old Audenried, which was razed in 2005.

“It’s all been building to this defining moment where [the students] can prove that they are not a failing school” by doing well on the test, she adds. 

Losing that opportunity is crushing because just getting this far has been so difficult, says Moffett.

Audenried is located at 33rd and Tasker Streets in Grays Ferry, one of the poorest, most violence-plagued sections of Philadelphia.

“I’ve bought [students] clothes. I’ve paid their court fees. I paid one of my student’s cellphone bill because [his family] has no house phone and he’s responsible for his sisters,” says Moffett, who chose to follow her students from grade to grade.

But regardless of her personal attachments, Moffett says she would not be against Audenried being taken over or even turned into a charter – if the District can prove that what she and her colleagues are doing is not working.

“If they can show after the data comes out that [the school] is failing and that what we have done has not succeeded, then go ahead, take it over,” says Moffett.

“But by every indication we have, from the District’s own benchmark exams and the state’s own predictive exams, we will make AYP this year,” she predicts confidently.

Not all or nothing

Some have argued that the recent unrest about the District’s Renaissance initiative is primarily being fueled by teachers more worried about protecting their own positions and union benefits than about what’s best for their students and schools.

To underscore her rejection of that claim, Moffett says she has already applied to teach next year for Universal Companies, the group that is slated to turn Audenried into a charter as part of its new “Promise Neighborhood Partnership” with the District.

At the end of the day, she says, “I want to teach these students.”

But that hasn’t stopped her from vocally opposing the District’s plan.

Ackerman has said the District will turn Audenried and Edwin Vare Middle School over to Universal this spring.  Parents and community members have been promised input into what happens in the newly converted schools, but were not included in the decision to turn them into charters or to hand them to Universal.

For the District, the new model is about trying to leverage a prestigious federal planning grant recently awarded to Universal to begin turning the Grays Ferry and Point Breeze neighborhoods of South Philadelphia into a “Promise Neighborhood” modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Although there is no guarantee of more money for the Promise Neighborhood initiative, many think the planning grant presents a unique chance to make a big difference.

“We have the School District, the community, the city, several public agencies, the private sector, businesses, civic organizations, and universities sitting around the table to brainstorm around rebuilding these two communities,” said Universal President and CEO Rahim Islam in an earlier interview.

“That’s not waiting for a grant from the federal government.  The magic is going to come out in the process.”

Counter to what some might expect, Moffett agrees that the Promise Neighborhood initiative as a whole is, well, promising.

But she worries about Universal’s lack of any track record running high schools, as well as critical reports  she’s heard from her students, many of whom attended Vare Middle School when it was previously managed by Universal.

“I think there’s this perception that [the Promise Neighborhood initiative] has to be all or nothing,” argues Moffett. “But not having [Universal] take over the high school doesn’t prevent them from doing all of those [other] things that would make the community a better place.”

Some may question whether someone in Moffett’s shoes can truly represent the interests of Audenried students and families, especially when compared to a group whose community roots run as deep as Universal’s

Moffett acknowledges the concern, but rejects the notion that she is not in a position to speak out on behalf of her students.

“Me being a 25-year old White teacher who’s not from Philadelphia means I am not the best person to stand up. But I graduated from high school where [most of] my siblings did not because teachers advocated for me,” says Moffett, one of seven children.

“I’m not the only person who feels this way" about the plan for Audenried, she adds. “But I might just be the only person who can make this sacrifice.”

‘Not making a stand for teachers’

Over the past few weeks, says Moffett, she has not just been sitting around plotting ways to fight the District.

In addition to her normal teaching load, she says, she has been busy planning Audenried’s first junior prom, hosting fundraising dances, tutoring her students after school, and holding grade conferences.

But she’s clearly been walking a fine line.

A District statement released after Moffett went public with her reassignment insinuated that her classroom was not safe and that she had been using class time in inappropriate ways.

Moffett strenuously denies that, but she acknowledges that she has played a role in the three major public expressions of discontent at Audenried thus far.

Prior to the District-run informational meeting on February 9, she says, she led her students in a discussion about the Renaissance schools plan and how it might impact their school.

At the meeting that evening, Moffett also took several turns at the microphone and got into more than one heated exchange with the District officials present.

After that contentious meeting ended, a small group of community members and students began planning a protest for the following Tuesday. Moffett says she played no direct role in organizing the resulting student walkout, though she did provide a student leader with tokens to distribute to others.

Shortly afterwards, she assigned her students an essay about the Renaissance plan for Audenried.  She excerpted key points from some of those essays and printed them out for students to display during a protest at last Wednesday’s School Reform Commission meeting.

“I have given my input and my opinion, but my class periods have been all about teaching,” said Moffett.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has issued a strongly worded statement warning the District that “we will not be intimidated,” and teacher groups have begun planning protests.

But until the District formally charges Moffett, the situation is at an impasse.

And Moffett herself argues that how she has been treated as a teacher is a secondary issue.

“I think the District really does believe that teachers are manipulating students and the community," says Moffett, and that if teachers are silenced, the protests will end.

But "in the end, I’m not making a stand for teachers,” she explains.

“The students have legitimate concerns. I have been involved in how to make it an effective protest [because] if my students are going to do something, they’re going to do it to win.”

Comments (214)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:45 am

Wow!!!!! What an inspirational article. I am hoping, hoping, hoping the mainstream media in Philly picks up this story. As a fellow SDP teacher, I am 100% behind Hope, and my teacher friends and I look forward to protesting what the SDP is doing sometime this week. Thanks for going public Hope, it was the right thing to do (and a smart strategy also!)

I mentioned in a previous comment on another article on Hope that cynically it could be in the SDP best interest to keep PSSA scores down at Audenreid. Now that this article mentions Hope teachers 80%!!! of the 11th graders, we know for sure this is one of the motivations of the SDP.

SHAME ON THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA!!!!!
SHAME ON ARLENE ACKERMAN!!!!!

Submitted by Acourt (not verified) on February 25, 2011 6:41 am

I agree. That teacher that called her kids names gets on national TV and here is a teacher that is standing up for her students and asking for data driven answers that the district can't give. So, they take her out of her classroom in the critical weeks before high-stakes testing and set her students up to fail! Where is Good Morning America now? Why is it that only when someone does something despicable they are given the limelight and when someone actually stands up in defense on an important right guaranteed by the constitution, like the right to free speech and peaceful protest, that they are pushed to the background?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2011 7:40 pm

I too have been following Hope's story and will continue to do so. However, the approach this district is taking regarding some of its "changes" is beginning to frighten me. I recently learned that one promise academy middle school building school principal has inititiated a policy regarding parent signatures on ieps. Apparently this building has now said that if a signature is not obtained, regardless of the number of attempts made by the teacher (case manager, etc), that teacher can face a five day lose of pay. I cannot imagine this is legal. I have been in public education for almost 20 years. I have raised two special education students (though in another state) so I am very familiar with the process. I had always thought that there was a process that called for 3 attempts fully documented to obtain parental consent at which point the district would sign off on the iep. Given the face that so many of your students come from troubled family backgrounds, I have to questions two things: 1) the legality of making this the responsibility of the classroom teacher to obtain the signature and 2) the sanity of a management team (subordinates also) who would not pick up the phone and stop this insanity. Having a teacher (especially one who rarely gets a prep period due to the ridiculous environment in the building) become the only person responsible for this sounds ludicrious. Can some verify that this is in fact the new "district policy" as spewed by this administraor? I am really curious.

As someone who has worked in public education and might possibly be considering relocating to the Philly area, I want a clarification of this policy.
Thank you. .

Submitted by Acourt (not verified) on February 25, 2011 6:07 am

I agree. That teacher that called her kids names gets on national TV and here is a teacher that is standing up for her students and asking for data driven answers that the district can't give. So, they take her out of her classroom in the critical weeks before high-stakes testing and set her students up to fail! Where is Good Morning America now? Why is it that only when someone does something despicable they are given the limelight and when someone actually stands up in defense on an important right guaranteed by the constitution, like the right to free speech and peaceful protest, that they are pushed to the background?

Submitted by Fellow Teacher (not verified) on March 5, 2011 9:38 am

Or maybe its the district's motivation to punish a teacher who was simply asked to keep quiet about a conference to figure out if she actually did anything wrong. If I'm not mistaken, teachers are hired by the school district to not only teach children, but also to respect their principals and district leaders, and try to do what they ask you to do.

If you work for a business and your boss tells you to do something, you do it. I'm not sure why not many educated teachers can make this comparison.

Submitted by Philly HS teacher (not verified) on March 5, 2011 10:13 am

Where in our contract does it say "respect" principals and district leaders? What if we are asked to do something immoral? Do we blindly follow the "leaders?" There are many historical analogies where people "follow the leader" to their peril and the peril of others. Ms. Moffett "put the clothes" on Empress Ackerman and her Princess Wayman. This one they can't cover up or deny.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on March 5, 2011 10:18 am

The notice I received was not for a conference. It removed me from my classroom without charges. It was not initiated by my principle but by a District official. The wording was such that it did not allow even for contacting the Union or even notifying friends and family of my physical location.

Submitted by Joe Pyne (not verified) on April 19, 2011 10:28 am

Hope, you spelled principal incorrectly; are you really an English teacher?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 19, 2011 2:04 pm

Joe, you forgot to use quotation marks on "principal"; don't worry, nobody's perfect.

Submitted by Joe Pyne (not verified) on April 19, 2011 6:57 pm

Anonymous, I guess it shows that neither Hope nor I are qualified to teach English.

Submitted by Mauricio evlampieff (not verified) on July 26, 2011 4:58 am

Sounds like the teachers there have a great deal of accountabi­lity but the administra­tors and school officials do not have any at all. My guess is the principals rarely look at lesson plans until they need/desir­e reasons to unload some teacher because she had the audacity to speak up in a faculty meeting or worships the wrong god. Teaching well is beside the point. Clearly the success of Hope's school was negated and the parents were deprived of their right to school choice. This sounds more and more like organized crime. Backhand deals, teachers gagged-- intimidate­d. When do EducRAT$ face consequens­es? Profiteers are pirating funds, crying poor while teachers defamed, financiall­y fleeced, also lose civil liberties. What is wrong with this picture?
WE need to hold Hope as an example.
Make sure you talk about her in the teachers' lounges and rubber rooms in the morning.
Music man01, you write like the suits do, so I bet you can tell us what kind of oversight they have, what consequenc­es they face and how do we learn more details about the situation at Hope's school. America needs to know what is happening as corrupt school districts steal our schools out from under us, exploit children and overthrow academic freedom with big money boys clubs like Gates has already installed in LA, the second largest district in the country--i­t just spent 5 billion on a school and has laid off 1000s of teachers and school staff. 5000 more soon

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:44 am

One concern I have though is Hope mentioned a couple of things in this article that I can see the SDP attempting to blow up into a big deal. I am speaking from personal experience here, but as glad as I am that you are going public Hope, be careful what information you reveal. I hope that what you revealed today, the SDP already knows. Do not give them any other ammunition....cause if they want to get you they will look for any minor thing you have not done 100% perfectly to get you.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:45 am

I have thought carefully about the consequences and decided that I will live or die by what I have actually done. I stand behind my decisions because what I see in my classroom are students who have worked impressively hard in part because it is clear that I love them.

Submitted by Kristina (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:47 pm

Hope--
I am sending positive thoughts and support to you. Stand up for what you believe in.
You are making your students and colleagues proud.
Thank you!

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:07 am

How courageous and bold. I try always to be as brave. Know you have many supporters. I, having taught many years, strongly believe we all must speak up for our children. Stay strong!

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on March 19, 2011 11:29 am

You are courageous and keep the children at the forefront of your actions. You are a role model for us all. Congratulations on your awakening a sea of conversation, and on being reentered into your school. You are a good person and it is wonderful to know that young, vibrant, activist thinkers are out there.
Thank you, Hope.

Submitted by window tinting company in beaufort (not verified) on May 10, 2013 10:52 pm
I enjoy reading through an article that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:01 am

It is a shame that universal is taking over this school considering they can't run the ones they have now. I should know I work at one of the newly taken over schools. I had no choice with the district hiring freeze last year. There community roots do not run deep. The people running these schools don't care about anything. It is sad to see how my students suffer because of it. You would think a company that runs schools would have it down but they don't. Good luck to all the teachers who stay at this school. Ackerman really has screwed us all! I love that all these "new" schools are missing basic things such as textbooks. My brand-new building has the same issue!!! I still buy everything for my kids..... So what happened to the money for my books......

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2011 6:35 pm

I agree that Universal should be more concerned with the "schools" they have now. Class lists are too long and classrooms are too small. There are no supplies for teachers or students, including text books and other resources. Just because a school makes AYP doesn't mean that K. Gamble should turn a blind eye. Take inventory of the schools you have now, before looking into taking over others that will have the same crisis (no funds, stressed out teachers).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:43 am

Wow, this is scary. I never thought when I decided to become a teacher that this would be how I spent my days… worrying about getting fired. The SDP appears to be a communist regime under the leadership of Arlene Ackerman.
Hope is a typical teacher in Philly- working under harsh conditions trying to raise student scores. She is not being insubordinate- she is reality based and informing those students about what is occurring.
Hope going to “teacher jail” fits Ackerman’s agenda… punishing those who work directly with the children. The students of Audenreid deserve to have a voice in what is going to happen at their school and Hope gave the real information to them. I cannot say that I would not have done the same thing.

It is a shame that the best interests of the students in this district do not fit Ackerman’s agenda. I think that the real problem in this district is not Hope but Arlene Ackerman. The deflection from the real issues at hand is staggering. Ackerman is padding the pockets of vendors, misappropriating funds, and all the while singing her own praises and plastering her name and picture everywhere for being the best urban superintendent- a title that I which to disagree with.
I will be there to support Hope at whatever rally there is. We all need to stick together. Can you put thousands of teachers in teacher jail?

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:46 pm

The fear is what the leadership at 440 wants. If we are stopped by that, we are stopped. Our children need us to move foreward, as does Hope. We need this. too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:03 am

I am afraid that this will not go well for this young teacher, which is a terrible shame. She seems like just the kind of energetic, bright and idealistic person that the students need as a teacher and role model. And I am sorry, but Universal is a terrible company and the horrible state of affairs in th elementary school they took over this year is proof. Good god, no supplies, nor records. Children just being released to what ever adult shows up at the door. Horrendous. A child will be kidnapped and abused before anything changes, I'm sure. No, this company needs to be run out of Philadelphia, not given more schools.

Submitted by Mike (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:08 am

I am glad that Hope is standing up for her students and it sounds like her heart is in the right place. These are exactly the types of teachers the SDP needs to help it's students succeed. It is unfortunate that many teachers who are just committed as Hope become so frustrated with the district that they eventually leave. The constant changes and the de-professionalization of it's teaching staff are just one of the many problems with the school district. If they would treat their employees with dignity and respect then a whole lot more progress could be made.
Hope, I am sure you will already do this, but I encourage you to stay honest and keep the interests of the children first, that is something the district has not done. I plan to support you in anyway possible and I am sure others have been doing and will do the same.

Submitted by we are anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:57 am

Ths School District has yet to produce any data to support their decision to make Audenried into a Renaissance school. There is a community meeting at 6pm at Audenried on Wednesday the 23rd. I hope it is full with members of the Grays Ferry community.

All the School District had to do was provide evidence that Audenried is a failing school, and much of this would have been avoided. In the absence of this evidence the District has resorted to clumsy and ineffectual intimidation tactics.

I hope the SRC is paying attention, and I hope they block Universal's request for a high school charter. They have an opportunity to stand up for effective teachers, and take the District to task for it's dishonest and cynical treatment of it's students and community.

Submitted by Veteran of WPHS "Renaissance" (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:39 am

Don't rely on the District to provide data that shows Audenreid is a "failing school." First, because they can always gin up data that can be interpreted as such, and second, because the label "failing school" is one that the pro-privatization (anti public school/anti-government) forces created to be able to take schools over. Rather, it is a interconnected system that affects each school and each classroom and each child. There is a failing district, a failing state, a failed federal policy, a failed set of politicians who slash funding for social supports, a failed financial system -- there is a lot of failure to point at. Labeling schools or even districts (as Philadelphia has been labeled) is just an excuse to turning over public institutions to politically or otherwise connected individuals to serve their own private interests. They may pay lip service to their intentions to help their neighborhoods -- but if that were the case, they would be working to build power in their neighborhoods and to challenge government, business, etc. to do what's right. People like Hope are very courageous - whether intentionally or not, she was building power in her students by educating them.

Submitted by Teacher in the trenches (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:20 pm

They cannot produce data that does not exist.

Submitted by Teacher in the trenches (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:31 pm

They cannot produce data that does not exist.

Submitted by teacher in the trenches (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:34 pm

They cannot produce data that does not exist.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:15 am

It sounds as if Hope is doing exactly what a good teacher should do: engage her students in real world learning while teaching them to use higher order thinking skills, all the while teaching them to refine their reading and writing skills. The district pays lip-service to having high expectations, but they really want teachers and students to be compliant and non-thinking. Any good teacher has a hard time refusing to answer his/her students' questions about the hard issues in life. If a student comes to you with an honest question like "why is the district doing this?", you have to do your best to answer. Many people have forgotten that teaching requires establishing trust with students--students rely on teachers for much more than teaching, and we owe them our best. We cannot be running scared from the big, bad bosses all the time. I admire Hope for her stance, and I Hope she comes out OK.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:05 am

Very well said!

Submitted by Fellow Teacher (not verified) on March 5, 2011 9:43 am

I cannot disagree with you more that the district wants both their teachers and students to be "non-thinking." The current superintendent of high-schools got promoted because she improved Rhodes high school to the point of meeting AYP multiple times, and the school continues to approve. She got promoted to try to do this with make this occur with all of the high schools in the district... point being that they don't want their teachers or students to fail. What a foolish statement to make.

You say that students rely on teachers for more than teaching, but trust, and I would add to the the relationships formed are almost, if not as important, to the teaching part of the job. What about the trust between the teacher and the principal, or between the teacher and the leaders of the school district? She was asked to keep quiet about an investigative conference... that it. Her actions after this led her to where she is 5 days a week.

If she did was she is accused of and gave tokens to students so that they could leave school, she is endangering the wellfare of her students... I'd say its pretty important to keep quiet about the whole thing until the truth is uncovered to protect yourself and the district. So many commenters here are ONLY SEEING ONE SIDE OF THE ISSUE. I beg you to please be the educated college graduates that you are and view both sides... see that both parts did not handle the situation the best that they could, and that a liberal media source that bashes the people that we work for is not the way to go about getting to the FACTS about any situation.

Submitted by Philly HS teacher (not verified) on March 5, 2011 10:10 am

So, you're blaming the so-called "liberal media" for Wayman's vindictive, incompetent and ridiculous behavior on behalf of Ackerman? Wayman, with the help of a wimpy Jerry Jordan, has gotten away with threatening, bashing and intimidating teachers into "her way or the highway" - just like Ackerman - for years. Someone finally stood up to Wayman. It has nothing to do with "the children" - it about power and control by Wayman and Ackerman.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 5, 2011 10:26 am

These Wayman defenders are always good for a laugh.

1) "To the point of making AYP" except that she didn't make AYP and Rhodes did NOT make steady progress. Their scores spiked radically.

2) The media (liberal or conservative) has not bashed Wayman at all. The critiques are based on first hand experience, so stop diminishing other people's experiences.

3) The two sides to every story moral relativism argument is played out.

4) If they had a legitimate case against Moffett then they would have rendered a verdict. The problem is, they shot from the hip forgetting that not everyone will be bullied.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on March 5, 2011 1:15 pm

Rhodes is in Corrective Action II - 6th year - http://paayp.emetric.net/School/Overview/c51/126515001/6522 . If it was like most high schools - 9- 12 versus coasting on 7-12 scores - it would be worse.

I also agree with #4 - The SDP has little to stand on so it is stalling. There is legal precedence for academic freedom K-12.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on March 5, 2011 11:50 am

Just as students trust teachers who are fair, teachers trust leadership that is fair and not just self-interested or self-protective. Leadership must earn trust, it is not given for no reason, and is certainly not given to bullies. The district really had no right to ask Ms. Moffett or any other teacher not to speak about something that concerns them. We do have freedom of speech. As long as it does not break confidentiality about students--which Hope's speaking out clearly did not--we have a right to state our opinion. The district does not want people to speak out because then their unethical ways of operating will be exposed. As for Wayman and Rhodes, I have no personal experience of either, but have heard enough from colleagues I trust to wonder about Wayman's management style. As for PSSA scores, Rhodes' scores seem to be on a wild up and down path, not a steady improvement.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:41 am

Such a hard life for poor Hope. I wonder how she will feel when the massive layoffs come and the union throws her under the bus because she doesn't have the "seniority" to stay.

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:49 am

Well, that is why we must ALL be speaking out, isn't it?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:04 am

As someone from a family of teachers, with hopes to also teach one day, I am inspired by the drive and determination with which this teacher takes a firm stand on what she believes is best for the students. I applaud her and her decision to speak and take action on something she holds dear to her heart. She takes the job of teaching seriously, which is lacking in many of our teachers today.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:36 am

Wait a minute there.... I take great offense to your broad statement and I happen to know that many of the teachers today do take their jobs seriously. In a system such as Philadelphia you deal with unimaginable obstacles. Drugs, death, violence, and disrespect run rampant. Have you ever buried an 8th grader shot in the back 8 times? Have you ever been assaulted by a student? Do you know what it is like to not have support from your administration? Have you ever been blamed for the failure of students when they come from homes that do not prepare them for the real world? Before we can even impart knowledge to kids, we have to perform almost miracles to get students to behave. Before you talk about how teachers do not take their job seriously- come do my job.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:45 pm

I am so sorry that you took my statement to mean a majority of teachers don't take their jobs seriously. That was not my intention. I was applauding this individual. But I am glad that it incited you to bring to light the world that teachers face each day. The fact that each day you wake and go in to an inner city school, often risking your safety and that of your students, in order to try and prepare them for life.
I am disgusted by the fact that our country only allocates 3% of its budget to education. I am disgusted that the system often works against our children instead of for them. And I am saddened that you and others who dedicate themselves to making the world better aren't given the respect or compensation you deserve. I wish your comment could be posted on a worldwide forum.
I am grateful for all you do and I wish you much success in your career.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 1:52 pm

I appreciate you writing back and clarifying and for also understanding my plight. Hope Moffett does deserve to be applauded. She is standing up to a system that is going to make an example of her. She stood up to the district and they (SDP) want to make the other teachers in the district fearful of such consequences. The fact of the matter is that the district does not care about Hope; they only care about their own agenda. What the entire staff of the SDP need to do is to gather at the rally to prove a point that we will not accept this type of treatment and that we stand behind Hope. What will this accomplish? I am not sure it will do anything but with media outlets there it could prove a point to the SRC that it is time to cut the crapola with Ackerman and her giving our schools up to private management companies. There is a reason that she San Francisco due to incompatibility. Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer wrote that Ackerman was "marred by charges that she was autocratic and excluded parents and teachers from important decisions". -- My translation- she did the same stuff there and they finally had ENOUGH. I hope that the reign of Queen Arlene ends here soon.

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

While I feel for Hope and generally agree with her premise, she should not be defying our leadership or inciting the students.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:11 am

Since there has been no riot but there has been clear and sustained evidence of student and community concern, I am unsure that I am "inciting" anyone to anything. I defied an administrative directive only when told to keep my reassignment silent, a request that I find ridiculous because I have not been charged with anything and the two times District officials were in my class during the past week, I was teaching relevant content. I can assure you that that is what I have been doing this whole time.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:15 am

The only way change has every come is when groups of people question / defy / challenge leadership. There are plenty of examples throughout U.S. and world history including the present. The SDP curricula for English and Social Studies includes plenty of examples where people challenged authority. By introducing this literature and historical narratives, are we "inciting" students? Students are being exposed to a our ancestors and leaders who did not remain silent.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:51 am

Exactly. The December/January unit in English III (which is what I teach) is a unit entitles "The Dissenters." In a District that recommends teaching Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government," Gandhi's "On Nonviolent Resistance," and MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," students, staff, and community members who peacefully protest are blacklisted. Thoreau coined the term "civil disobedience." To advocate change within a system that has systematically denied participants an equal voice is impossible. The onus is on the District to be transparent and fair when their dealings affect the lives of the individuals that they were hired to serve.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:41 am

Well that is cute, Hope. I would only make one suggestion. When the union cans you in the upcoming layoffs because you don't have seniority, and you havve to go to work in the real world, please keep the dissent language down. You see, in private industry you either produce or you get fired. No excuses.don't you ever wonder why so many teachers started out in private industry and now teach? They couldn't hack it. Take a stroll on the beach during the week in the summer in North Wildwood or Sea Isle and you will find a bunch of 40 something singles who teach and live with their parents and drink like they are college kids.

Submitted by Jenni W. (former SDP teacher) (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:11 am

Maybe you needed amazing english teachers like Hope when you were in school! If you had learned to read for comprehension you would have understood that is actually exactly why Hope is so upset. Her students haven't been given the opportunity to produce their product or results(i.e. PSSAs) and yet they are still pulling the plug. Teaching in the SDP was one of the greatest and yet most difficult things I have ever done. I am incredibly offended by your insinuation that teachers just lounge around during the summer. We spend a significant portion of it planning for the following year. And to make the claim that our teachers teach because they couldn't "hack it" in the "real world" is absolutely ludicrous.

It's kind of funny to me that you seem so confident in your "No excuses" attitude and yet you are such a coward that you remained anonymous. :( Your lack of understanding and empathy truly makes me feel sorry for you. Educating the nation's youth is not just "some business" to the teachers of the SDP or the country for that matter... it's part of our lives, part of who we are.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:18 am

Just a suggestion: Don't bother feeding the trolls on this blog. It's why they post.

Submitted by Jenni W. (former SDP teacher) (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:02 am

That is a wonderful suggestion. :) The moment I clicked save I wished for an undo button or een a remove post.

Submitted by Marvin K Mooney (not verified) on February 22, 2011 5:05 am

Of course the goal of a private corporation is to generate a profit. Schools do not generate profits. The union is not going to "can" Ms. Moffett, the school district is, due to the MISMANAGEMENT of the stimulus funds. How is it that the school district was taken over by the state when it had a deficit of $144 milliion in 2001 and now in 2011, the deficit is $500 million. I think that there needs to be an investigation of where the money went, because it certainly did not go into the classrooms.

Ms. Moffett, I admire the courage of your convictions, you speak for many of us who are in the neighborhood schools experiencing this hostile takeover/turnaround.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 11:14 am

You probably know alot about drinking with all this guilt you seem to be carrying. If you really believe in "produce or you get fired" then how come we are constantly saddled with incompetent leaders. Why aren't you calling for Ackerman to leave if you truly believe in that theory. You never go after them which is why your words are so hollow. Did you major in sucking up to the hierarchy in college? And what exactly is it that you do for a living? Many of us were in the private sector, but left because those fields became obsolete. The jobs aren't there anymore so I guess we were just suppose to disappear with them too? Get yourself to an AA or NA meeting soon. The guilt must be overwhelming at this point.

Submitted by AJG (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:12 pm

Let's drop the "inciting the students" bit. Their decisions to protest were their own, and if the nationally-mandated curriculum they had learned in the last two months had an opportunity to be put to some real-world use, we should be glad for it.

It's easy to whine and moan about "flash mobs" and every other negative thing that students do, but when meaningful, nonviolent demonstrations happen to show that they care about their school and community being taken advantage of, it's labeled as "misconduct." I wish students all over the district "misbehaved" in this sort of way -- what a different place our schools would be.

Submitted by not given a chance (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:06 am

Teacher Action Group calls on teachers, students, parents

and all supporters of Public Education.

Tell Ackerman and the SRC:

"We will NOT be intimidated!"

Rally for Public Education

Friday, February 25th

4:00pm

440 N. Broad St.

We DEMAND that the School District of Philadelphia:

1. Give Students, Parents, Teachers and Community Members a legitimate role in directing School Reform in Philadelphia
Students, Parents, Educators and Communities have first-hand experiences and ideas about what needs to change in our schools. The District consistently offers us only symbolic advisory roles that have no real impact on final decision-making. We DEMAND to be a part of the decisions that will affect our lives and our schools.
2. Stop Intimidating Teachers and Students

We have a Democratic Right to express our opinions and ask questions of our District. These are OUR schools. We DEMAND the District stop threatening and disciplining our teachers and students who speak out.

3. Have a Transparent Process of School Change

The District is targeting our schools by calling them “failures” without showing us adequate data to back up their decisions. The District is continuing to take over schools without proof that the Renaissance Schools process is even working. We DEMAND answers and transparency.

Join us on Friday, February 25th at 4:00pm

440 N. Broad St.

We WILL NOT be intimidated!

We WILL be HEARD!

Even if we have to wear a disguise, we will stand up and speak out.

For more information, contact rally4phillypublicschools@gmail.com

www.tagphilly.org

Submitted by anon (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:17 am

No. No disguises. That is a coward's way. We must stand up to the unemployed taxpayers and demand more money from them. We are government workers, after all, just like the apparatchiks in the old Czarist Russia. We want our entitlements!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:38 am

Disguises are NOT a coward's way. It is a practical for many who cannot afford to lose their job.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:10 am

It is amusing that you would both disparage the use of disguises while also using the anonymity of an internet handle to protect your own identity. You will notice that, even given the tenuous situation I am in, I choose to stand openly for what I believe.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:35 am

I know many people are afraid, and I cannot say I blame them--but I wish we would all use our name on this comment board. The more people who admit who they are and what they believe, the less we will all have to be afraid.

Submitted by taxpayer (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:28 am

Uh, I believe only one of us "disparaged" the use of disguises. Please read again. Comprehension, anyone?

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 21, 2011 2:22 pm

I am only responding to the first comment. The "both" is in reference to disparaging the use of disguises and writing anonymously. I fully agree that given the heavy-handedness of the District, many people must keep their identities private.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:24 pm

Who is demanding more money or any money in this situation? It seems to me that the demands are for transparency and community input.

Obvious troll is obvious.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:27 pm

That is a false dichotomy. We, the public workers, demand what we have earned not from the "unemployed", but from the elites, which keep giving themselves tax breaks, and refuse to pay their fair share. We also stand up for the rights of the children of poor and unemployed. This is a wrong place for you to try to spread your right wing divide-and-conquer ideology.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:18 am

Well Hope will soon be out of work because, even though she may be an outstanding teacher, she won't have the "seniority" to keep her job under the massive layoffs on the way. So what is the planned protest about? Certainly not for Hope. Not for the students, either. It's all about the union apparatchiks with seniority.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:29 am

The rally is about what the announcement says:

Teacher Action Group calls on teachers, students, parents

and all supporters of Public Education.

Tell Ackerman and the SRC:

"We will NOT be intimidated!"

Rally for Public Education

Friday, February 25th

4:00pm

440 N. Broad St.

We DEMAND that the School District of Philadelphia:

1. Give Students, Parents, Teachers and Community Members a legitimate role in directing School Reform in Philadelphia
Students, Parents, Educators and Communities have first-hand experiences and ideas about what needs to change in our schools. The District consistently offers us only symbolic advisory roles that have no real impact on final decision-making. We DEMAND to be a part of the decisions that will affect our lives and our schools.
2. Stop Intimidating Teachers and Students

We have a Democratic Right to express our opinions and ask questions of our District. These are OUR schools. We DEMAND the District stop threatening and disciplining our teachers and students who speak out.

3. Have a Transparent Process of School Change

The District is targeting our schools by calling them “failures” without showing us adequate data to back up their decisions. The District is continuing to take over schools without proof that the Renaissance Schools process is even working. We DEMAND answers and transparency.

Join us on Friday, February 25th at 4:00pm

440 N. Broad St.

We WILL NOT be intimidated!

We WILL be HEARD!

Even if we have to wear a disguise, we will stand up and speak out.

For more information, contact rally4phillypublicschools@gmail.com

www.tagphilly.org

Submitted by teacher in the trenches (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:17 pm

THE RALLY IS ABOUT FAIR TREATMENT. We all have the right to speak - loud and clear, as long as what we say is true. Hope is speaking the truth.

Submitted by Acourt (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:50 pm

No, the rally was about students upset that they were labeled as failing using data from before the school was reopened. If you read these articles, you will see that the students at this school, and their parents and community members, were not given a choice about which company would even be taking over their school. This is in direct contrast to 8? other schools who will get to vote for which company will run them as a charter. The school district has conflict of interest issues and has not been transparent about what will happen to this school.

Submitted by taxpayer (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:37 am

I agree with Anon. I just had my property taxes raised 10%. For what? When the belt tightening comes, teachers like Hope will be let go simply because she doesn't have the seniority to stay? No regard for performance? What kind of system is that? I'm telling my neighbors about this.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2011 9:10 pm

So, taxpayer, how do you propose to evaluate teachers? The Powers that Be want to base evaluations on one test - the PSSA - and won't take into account dozens of factors that very easily might cause students, even good ones, to do poorly on it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:47 am

Wow interesting, I was at a school that was converted to Young Scholars Charter school. The children miss the previous staff, many of the teaching staff is new, right out of college, 3 of the teachers have resigned due to no administrative support. The school has placed all discipline problems on one floor, a total mess! Keep speaking out Hope

Submitted by Scott Blanding (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:49 am

Hope was our best teacher. Easily the most dedicated to the kids.
-Audenried Teacher

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:28 am

Hang in there Hope! You are an inspiration to both your students and colleagues.

Submitted by Christina (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:28 am

There are also a series of lies that are told to the brand new staff at the turnaround schools. There is a push to ingest nonsense about how the teachers who were at the school in previous years both were failures as teachers and did not care about their students or the school. These kind of lies serve to annihilate a school's history in the community and does not encourage new teachers to learn from who came before them...

I understand why Hope referenced the "prison on the hill" but I also think this feeds into stereotypes and denies the past any sense of redemptive powers, allows the old school to be bad and the new one to be good. It is much more nuanced, imo.

I really do not have time to get into it about the Hope as outstanding teacher thing, though I do respect her practices and her stance. There are many outstanding teachers, not all can quote which standard goes with their best practices. Not all have the privilege to spend their money... but I do think they have one thng in common. We know we are not good by ourselves, that we work together, that reform does not happen alone, or by ourselves without our colleagues, our students, parents, community.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 1:47 pm

I agree with your post. To demand "excellence" from every teacher is like demanding from every researcher to be a Nobel Prize laureate. In addition, every school is like a living organism or an ecosystem, each component is essential. It takes a lot of time and hard work from everybody to have it function properly. We all work hard. I dare anyone who claims that there are "bad, uncaring" teachers out there to walk through classrooms and find those teachers they blame for the system's failure. The nature of the job is such that only caring and hard working individuals are in it. All slackers have left long time ago.

Submitted by Jenni W. (former SDP teacher) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 1:31 pm

While I sincerely appreciate the message of your first paragraph... You need to understand that our public schools that aren't in a "turnaround" position are also fed this type of information. In fact, poor school administrations will use crap like this to pit staff against one another by calling out "bad teachers" and warning staff that 'it's a new day'. As though the staff wasn't working hard for their students the day before...

Also, I do not think that the reference to the 'prison on the hill' denied the past "redemptive powers" in any way shape or form. That name came from the community... not the teachers. Instead, in sharing that message with her students, Hope took an opportunity to empower her students to fight against that stereotype and realize that they have the ability to shatter those negative images that were held by the community.

Lastly, it is INCREDIBLY presumptuous of you to assume that Hope has the "privilege to spend her money"! As a former teacher in the SDP (teaching at King and Gratz, both of which are being turned into charters like Audenried) I can tell you right now, that I poured my heart and soul into my job. I spent nearly all of my time and almost every penny I had on those kids! (To the extent that occasionally I went without groceries and ate nothing but noodles) It is all about priorities! NOT privilege! You do not know this young woman's situation. Do not pretend to know so.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:57 pm

Jenni, you left?! It's a big loss for SDP.

Submitted by Jenni W. (former SDP teacher) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 4:07 pm

Thank you for that!!! I miss my students every day!

In August of this year (less than 2 weeks before the start of school) the SDP sent me a letter telling me that "after careful consideration of our records" you are not certified and are "found to be in willful violation of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" and are therefore "separated from employment".

The craziest part of it is that I am certified to teach Physics. It took me 6+ hours of calling around and finally going into 440 just to look at the state website proving my certification. So their "careful consideration" was to overlook something so simple to find... :(

Everything was fixed in terms of records, but only after hours of crying and arguing with people just to look at the site. No one apologized for the mix up... no one even acknowledged it. After that, I just couldn't be a part of this district any longer... so I resigned. However, I still support my students in every way that I can!!! :)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:36 pm

I am sorry for the way the SDP treated you but, unfortunately, you aren't alone. I know a few other teachers whose certification was "questioned" because our inept Human Resources Dept. is clueless and "overlooked" their certification or lost it. Those teachers found employment in more competent school districts in the suburbs.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on February 22, 2011 2:37 pm

This story is truly horrible. I've met you briefly at Gratz (another SDP mess up in assigning and reassigning me to different schools), but could see that you are a great dedicated teacher. I wish you good luck in whatever you do in the future.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 4:44 pm

No working public school teacher should have to be reduced to eating noodles wil the gravy pigs at 440 eating caviar.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:31 pm

Audenried was lucky enough to get back some of the teachers and staff from the old school. The ones who stayed are amazing assets. They waited years to come back while the new building was being built and their leadership is an important part of Audenried's current success. I apologize if my quote was offensive but I was trying to explain how the vision we worked to create with the students and the community, even before the new school opened, is being cut short by a premature takeover.

Submitted by Christina (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:39 pm

Hey. Thanks for the reply. I think it only strengthens us as a community of teachers and learners if we can engage in this kind of dialogue. I was raised by two strong teacher inquiry communities, PhilWP and Teachers' Learning Cooperative, and along with my school communities, these colleagues have been invaluable in sharpening my practices, giving me ways to look at student work, and valuing teaching as an art. I said it before and I will say it again, I respect your work here. There's a whole lotta shaking up needs to happen, that's for sure.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 11:14 am

The district and those who did not vote in the past November elections should be ashamed of themselves. If more people went out and voted 'D' in the November mid-term elections, we wouldn't have so many budget cuts and would still have a significant portion of state and federal funding that was not renewed by the new 'R' governor.

If the district is so short on money how come every meeting is catered with water, snacks, finger-food, soda and other edibles? Ackerman's huge salary and bonuses were never considered to be given back into the budget. The district employs far too many people in schools who do not teach and former educators who walk through schools with clipboards making notes and evaluations to be given to Administration (both locally and at 440) based on posters on walls or how 'behaviorally objectives are written'.

The union will continue to show how weak it is and the district will continue to do what it wants with out regard to those whom serve with high levels of dedication, such as Ms. Moffett. Shame on PFT, for acting in a reactive manner and not a proactive one.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:44 pm

Don't you know Ds who support school privatization and are hostile to the teachers? SB 1 is introduced by Ds. It's time for the union to get involved in primaries and stop its unconditional support for Ds.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:33 pm

What are you talking about?. None of my mtgs are catered, and the "people with clipboards" used to support teachers and build curriculum before they were told to go out and do the walkthroughs and other ridiculous tasks. I hate what is being asked of teachers, but to say that everyone at 440 is responsible for this mess is ridiculous. Each day I do tell my superiors that what we are doing is wrong, yet it never gets passed up the chain or it is ignored. I will not give up, however...

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on February 21, 2011 6:20 pm

The Notebook is interested in getting an unfiltered perspective from staff inside 440 on the recent student walkouts, the reassignment of Hope Moffett, and claims of teacher and student intimidation. We are willing to consider granting full anonymity to any central office staff willing to share an informed perspective, whatever that perspective may be. Those interested should contact me directly: Benjamin Herold. benjaminbherold@gmail.com, 215.901.9774.

Submitted by Philly HS Teacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:56 pm

I think (hope) teachers realize that not everyone at 440 N. Broad is part of the Ackerman regime. This year, at least in high schools, the walk throughs have become more oppressive and less helpful. The "quicky" PDs are pointless. We prepare for walk throughs to "impress" Wayman (or her underlings) with the hope that they don't return. As far as I can tell, Teaching and Learning (formally Curriculum) has been decimated while the "Empowerment" office has expanded. Then there is AD1 - there is nothing good coming out of that office. Wayman, Spaglenburg, et al criticize, micromanage and threaten. I don't know anyone in the AD1 office who actually know what they are doing. They love pointless paperwork but have nothing of substance to give us. Their directives contradict the "Empowerment Office" and school action plans.

That said, there is dead weight at 440 N. Broad just like there is dead weight in some schools. There are some people at 440 N. Broad who have not taught since before the 2001 take over / NCLB. They need to experience teaching under NCLB if they expect teachers to take their suggestions seriously.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:55 pm

One of Wayman's people has been in my room twice - her name is the letterhead sent to Hope Moffett - and wrote two utterly false observations. They were so off base that I'm fairly convinced they were intentional. In one instance she accused me of lecturing on a text I'd taught the year before. Sadly, every student had the text right in front of them. Believe me: when they walk in it is nothing but SHOWTIME!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:19 pm

I trust that this inspirational rally on Friday will be orderly and respectful. The administration will not tolerate any public embarrassment that would tarnish all that we have achieved. We will be watching.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:51 pm

The school district administration that has repeatedly embarassed itself is will be watching the teachers at this rally. Respectful? Putting teachers in solitary confinement for speaking their minds is hardly respectful, Cowardly is more like it. Inspired? Hell yes, we're angry as hell about the actions of this corrupt administration and that will inspire more than you can ever imagine. I'd watch your back for those currently investigating you and your backroom deals.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:31 pm

Amen!

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:33 pm

If you haven't been furlowed!

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:00 pm

Wow! Say your name if you are going to tell us 'we will be watching'--be brave enough to stand up for your beliefs if you believe the district has achieved so much!

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 1:07 pm

Ron, Paul, Erika--what do you think of this comment. Everyone has free speech rights (something the district cannot seem to grasp), but this seems like some kind of veiled threat to me. KL

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 2:01 pm

You will be watching? Like you watched Ackerman mismanage money? please- get someone to come do my job and that of all the other teachers that will be at the rally. You sit in your little office at 440 and do not know what it is like to be in the trenches where it is difficult. The question is: Do you have enough "teacher jail" space for all of us?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:51 pm

My little office, eh? I bust my behind to try and make things better. I don't have all the answers. And I'll tell you a little secret. Neither do you. Neither do the Republicans and neither do the Democrats.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:29 pm

I don't have all of the answers but I do know that what we have in Philly is NOT working. How did we get to the point in the SDP where people were so afraid of losing their jobs that they closed their eyes to the problems? We know who is pulling the string. She has created an atmosphere where the focus on children does not exist. Children first is a joke. How about Ackerman first!
Money is not being allocated to help the children. Schools are in disrepair yet our children have to go there everyday. Heat not working in buildings. Budgets being cut. Yet, we allow her to mishandle funds. We allow her to create an environment where we fear speaking our minds because she will penalize us? I assume you are in the same boat. Is this right? My demands are simple... make sure that the kids are taken care of. If that means that I have to go to a rally and risk her sending me to a "teacher jail", then so be it. I do know that I have the opportunity to go somewhere and get a job. I have stayed in West Philly for 15 years because I love my students. I never had to stay here and sadly- many of my coworkers feel the same way.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:11 pm

I have proudly taught at my site for 22 years. This year, not so much. This is not teaching and there is little pride in it.

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on February 21, 2011 6:20 pm

The Notebook is interested in getting an unfiltered perspective from staff inside 440 on the recent student walkouts, the reassignment of Hope Moffett, and claims of teacher and student intimidation. We are willing to consider granting full anonymity to any central office staff willing to share an informed perspective, whatever that perspective may be. Those interested should contact me directly: Benjamin Herold. benjaminbherold@gmail.com, 215.901.9774.

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:32 am

No, of course not. No one has All the answers. That is why we must ALL speak up, share our experiences, keeping children first. Intimidating comments surely are not the answer, though. Not for any of us who work so hard.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2011 4:36 pm

You never even bother to ask teachers about how to make things better.
You spend so much money on ridiculous programs that are ineffective when really simple things like slightly smaller class size or better discipline or student accountability would make all the difference. These might be answers that you in your little office never consider. Do you really have any idea what it is to teach in these schools? Seriously, for one month (you'll last a week or a day) volunteer to guest teach or co teach. It will give you perspective... I dare you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:45 pm

I am thinking you really aren't admin.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:58 pm

Keep watching... it might be hard for the higher ups (Ackerman, her chief financial officer, deputy superintendent and general counsel) to see over their piles of money...

$338,000 + $65,000 bonus, $226,000, $230,000 and $190,000.

$1,049,000 for the Queen and her Court for just one year... double check the math though... I might not have added correctly being a Philadelphia School District Teacher and all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:48 pm

YO! Watch "this" on Friday! I

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2011 10:25 pm

LOL

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:47 pm

As a teacher in the district and educator at heart, I am so happy to see that the assignments given to the students at Audenreid has taught them to think for themselves, question authority, and take action rather than focusing on whether or not they can answer a multiple choice standardized test. Especially for students who come from a neighborhood so ridden with violence, teaching them the skills they would need to become true leaders in life is essential in breaking the cycle of following the pathway of our state prisons where human beings become legalized slaves. Beyond having Audenreid taken over, beyond having becoming proficient on the PSSAs, congratulations Hope for being a true educator, a teacher the way teaching was meant to be.

Submitted by Mary Beth Hertz (not verified) on February 21, 2011 12:25 pm

Hope, I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in. I think if more of us used our real names and used avenues like The Notebook or our blogs to tell our stories then we could help people understand why teachers are outraged.

I was forced out of my school last year as it was taken over by Universal. I was so worried about the hands that would be receiving my students. A change definitely needed to be made, but apparently I've heard that things are not perfect as Ackerman would like us to believe. I was at that school for 5 years through thick and thin, and I lived my students. I hated leaving them, but was barely given a choice. Universal seemed to have no answers about the jobs they were offering. I hope the PFT supports you. Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 1:17 pm

Unfortunately because of the vindictiveness of the Philadelphia School District and the lack of support by the PFT Philadelphia teachers have to use anonymous postings for the time being. We have a city and state government that has repeatedly failed to do their job, especially protecting those who are brave enough to blow the whistle on the corruption here and punish those who REPEATEDLY ignore laws, rules and common decency. An epidemic of greed has seized our city government and school administration.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 2:47 pm

Speak your minds if you must, but we at the administration have been under tremendous pressure for years to turn things around. We study countless approaches and have to make decisions. I, for one, am tired of busting my behind for ingrates who refuse to provide any meaningful input.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 2:22 pm

Maybe if you tried management without trying to bully or guilt-trip teachers you might have some success. When have you ever asked teachers for their "meaningful input"? Nobody knows better or sooner what works than the teacher actually using the materials or process in the classroom. Why does Ackerman continually hold meetings with the public at times teachers are still working? You want input then you need to start listening.

What have you ever done about the rampant corruption that runs throughout this administration? When entire schools are forced to use scripted programs that are far below many of the students then we will "speak our minds". We have a bloated bureaucracy of who-you-knows instead of hands-on problem-solvers. A common cure for this is forcing everyone from the Queen on down to put in some actual classroom instruction time. Nothing will sort out the parasites quicker than time in the trenches. Enough with all the constant testing and reports.

This is why many teachers are calling for charters where we can be free of administrative ingrates that are too busy playing Cover Your Ass to do their own jobs properly. Stop playing the victim and move out of the way. If you're so put out then move back into the private sector.

Submitted by AJG (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:09 pm

So who exactly are these "ingrates who refuse to provide any meaningful input"? Do "we at the administration" have any idea about how the decisions made at the top affect those who are actually in the trenches (teachers and students)? It looks a lot more like "Here's what you need to do -- shut up and do it, no matter how much time and resources it wastes."

Meaningful input shouldn't be terribly hard to come by if the time is taken to sit down with professional educators, families, and students who know how firsthand how much they are asked to do with the far-too-little they are given. Teachers have no shortage of meaningful input to offer.

If the underlying issue is "tremendous pressure" on the administration, why not turn the tables and pressure those who pressure you? Apparently that's how things start to get done. The state of education around the U.S. is not a pretty picture, but how does that give any district the right to abuse its employees? How petty. "I'm mad that my older brother pulled my hair, so I'm going to break the wheels of my little brother's favorite truck."

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:45 pm

We would love to provide meaningful input. We are not asked. When we speak anyway we are bullied and intimidated. Again, I challenge you to give your name if your beliefs are so passionate and you are so very correct! If you do not like the pressure you are under, try speaking the TRUTH to Arlene and the SRC and create a culture of collaboration and respect that will truly benefit our students. Try standing up for what is right instead of cowering at Arlene's every pronouncement and trying to justify what you know in your heart is wrong (scripted programs that do not challenge or engage our students).

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Submitted by we are anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 3:04 pm

In Audenried's situation the District has failed to provide any evidence that the school is failing. Administrators from 440 came to tell the staff that the school was becoming a Renaissance school completely unprepared, and then either lied or mistakenly gave false information regarding the school's data.

If you are doing your job to the best of your ability these comments are not about you. There are administrator's at 440 that are doing indefensible things that are bad for our students. Make sure you are not one of them. Because a big tree has no chance against a small axe.

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on February 21, 2011 6:11 pm

The Notebook is interested in getting an unfiltered perspective from staff inside 440 on the recent student walkouts, the reassignment of Hope Moffett, and claims of teacher and student intimidation. We are willing to consider granting full anonymity to any central office staff willing to share an informed perspective, whatever that perspective may be. Those interested should contact me directly: Benjamin Herold. benjaminbherold@gmail.com, 215.901.9774.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 8:08 pm

Your language says it all - "ingrates." I'm not going to say what should be said here, but your words affirm one of my core convictions. Most likely, if you're not in a school the you are in the way.

Submitted by Philly teacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 9:39 pm

All we know is that you've been at 440. N. Broad (21st St. I assume) for "years." Since no one from 440 N. Broad is asking teacher for "input," we may seem "ungrateful." When is the last time you sat with a group of teachers and asked for suggestions and actually LISTENED. The "countless approaches" you may have studied aren't coming from teachers - they are coming from publishers wanting to make a "buck." Are you part of the regime that forced Corrective Reading/math on everyone? Are you part of the regime that brought in Read 180 in 2008-9 to get rid of it in 2009-2010 and now, have brought it back half baked into high schools in 2010-2011? If this is how you've studied, your study skills are not working.

Submitted by Young Teacher (not verified) on February 21, 2011 4:11 pm

I think that one thing we can all agree on is that we need more of a democratic system to address serious issues and conditions that exist in the district right now. There is hardly an effective check and balance system, and if there is, it is not being utilized properly and therefore, is not effective.

I am aware of and have participated in roundtable discussion with Dr. Ackerman. Most of that time was spent with Dr. Ackerman deflecting legitimate and often frustrated concerns about the welfare of individual scenarios with promises of personalized emails and lip-service that what we do is hard work, but that good teachers can do it with their heads down and face adversity by gathering "ingredients" like a chef. Faced with one particularly difficult, resounding confrontation, however, Ackerman responded by throwing her hands up and admitting that yes, the core curriculum is confusing and full of discrepancies, but that seeing as it was so expensive, we just have to live with it.

A few things are clear. Educators are counted on very heavily to implement an expensive yet not customizable curriculum in at risk schools, which, if strayed from in the name of student interest, results in penalty and intimidation tactics from administrators. Also, it is evident from our anonymous administrator's perspective that folks at 440 are not inherently evil, and are probably banging their heads against the walls trying to understand why teachers can't get it together. Certainly at least the majority of us wants some version of what is best for our youth.

Realistically, nothing happens in a vacuum. Our students, like the rest of us, are human. As teachers, social justice is close to our hearts but unfortunately we are in a precarious situation. Teachers need the district to implement the strategies we believe might really work, and needless to say the district needs highly qualified teachers to work the front lines. Its hard to compare this dilemma to historical instances of social justice protests and movements because there is a third party present whom we are tug of warring to pieces. Too many of the lives of our students and their parents are slipping through the cracks as we speak.

I call for more of a partnership between teachers and district administration. This teacher witch-hunt business is not productive. If the district truly acts in the spirit of education, why not adopt a professional atmosphere where mandate makers can learn from "highly qualified" teachers about reality, and instead of intimidating them, work together to say "ok, this works here, but over there it's not, so lets fix it and make this better."

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 4:59 pm

Absolutely wonderful, cogent, and on-point post. We need to collaborate and work together to help our students. If administration would have asked teachers in the trenches before they bought the "too-expensive" program, perhaps the limitations of it would have been seen before the money was spent. That is why collaboration is essential.

Submitted by Yes! (not verified) on February 21, 2011 4:25 pm

Teacher Action Group calls on teachers, students, parents

and all supporters of Public Education.

Tell Ackerman and the SRC:

"We will NOT be intimidated!"

Rally for Public Education

Friday, February 25th

4:00pm

440 N. Broad St.

We DEMAND that the School District of Philadelphia:

1. Give Students, Parents, Teachers and Community Members a legitimate role in directing School Reform in Philadelphia
Students, Parents, Educators and Communities have first-hand experiences and ideas about what needs to change in our schools. The District consistently offers us only symbolic advisory roles that have no real impact on final decision-making. We DEMAND to be a part of the decisions that will affect our lives and our schools.
2. Stop Intimidating Teachers and Students

We have a Democratic Right to express our opinions and ask questions of our District. These are OUR schools. We DEMAND the District stop threatening and disciplining our teachers and students who speak out.

3. Have a Transparent Process of School Change

The District is targeting our schools by calling them “failures” without showing us adequate data to back up their decisions. The District is continuing to take over schools without proof that the Renaissance Schools process is even working. We DEMAND answers and transparency.

Join us on Friday, February 25th at 4:00pm

440 N. Broad St.

We WILL NOT be intimidated!

We WILL be HEARD!

Even if we have to wear a disguise, we will stand up and speak out.

For more information, contact rally4phillypublicschools@gmail.com

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 4:35 pm

This is situation is extremely complex, and I hope that the focus on this incident remains on the real problem -- a closed and tyrannical leadership style that alienates important stakeholders in turning around Philadelphia's school system.

It's not about union v. charter. (And, ironically, given that Hope is a 3rd year teacher, there's a slight chance that charterizing Audenried could be the thing that saves her job there).

It's about including all voices in making decisions about how to improve the education for children. That might mean a charter. That might mean a traditional unionized school. That might mean a lot of things. The main problem with the SDP right now is that it's actually just a random assignment, it seems, based on the whimsy of 440 (why were some Promise Academies "Innovation," while others "traditional," while others were chartered?) And if someone complains, instead of listening and engaging, this District just gets defensive and vindictive. Very few successful organizations of any kind operate this way.

The leadership of the SDP needs to realize that the vast majority of teachers, students, and parents share a common sets of goals. A successful organization has the courage to listen to the dissenting voices, learn from them and move forward. True leadership involves genuinely listening to competing ideas and then making difficult decisions. "I hear what you have to say, you make some valid points, but we're going in a different direction" has a much better chance of fostering success than "If you question this plan, you are insubordinate." In the end, the decision can be the same. The first model sets the foundation for working together and has the potential for building a really transformative reform. The second model needlessly divides people who all share the same goal and make long-term success very unlikely.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 21, 2011 6:09 pm

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

Submitted by mychildrenarenotexperiments (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:32 pm

u know what i hate is when the district spends all this money on the lastest craze in curriculums and then by the next year they dump it and pay for another new curriculum and when u walk by the closets u see books that are still in the plastic that never were opened because the school now has a new curriculum they have to use. then at the same time they spend all of this money but still schools go without enough textbooks and supplies to teach the children teachers are sharing materials meanwhile the district gets a new building with a piano to boot mind u i have never seen anyone play it and more rooms that are hardly ever used. and u know what else i hate that so much stock is put into these pssa test its ridiculous. for instance you have a child in the 11th grade reading and comprehending on a say 5th grade reading level and yet u still have to give them this 11th grade test knowing in ur heart that the child will fail it. i think if the teachers could just teach and not have to teach to the test the children could pass and i also think that if u have a child reading on a lower level give them a test that corresponds with their reading level then i believe we could really see if the child is below, basic, or above until then everytime we give a child a test that is not on their comprehension and reading level we have basically failed them. also these kids are tired of being tested never in my life have i seen so many test given its ashame

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 21, 2011 7:06 pm

You are right about many of your comments. There is too much emphasis on testing. This is what turns many students off. We need to truly engage our students with real, meaningful work.

Submitted by Jahneekqua (not verified) on February 21, 2011 10:50 pm

All I have to say is that Ms.moffett is one of the best teachers in Audenried High School.She is helping out with junior prom and raising money for the prom she even put her money up towards the prom because money is not that important to her. When Ms.Moffett is in class teaching us she really be teaching us she dont play with us and she follow the school handbook unlike some other teachers. She is the teacher who helped us prepared for the benchmark and PSSA, she is the reason why we is where we are today cause she pushes us to come to school and learn.When the kids is playing in the hall ways she the one who get them to go to class and do their work to get somewhere in life and achieve their goal.

FREE HOPE MOFFETT WE NEED HER TO COME BACK TO AUDENRIED AND TEACH US........I LOVE YOU MOFFETT....WE MISSSSSSSSS YOUUUUUU!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:27 am

To Hope's Students:
Focus and do AWESOME on the upcoming PSSA. Turn your (justified) anger into focus and determination to rock the exam. This is the best thing that you can do to prove your point and thank your teacher. Study hard for the next couple of weeks, then get good rest before the exam and focus during the exam. They say that the best revenge is a life well-lived. Well, in this case, the best ammunition will be a test well-passed.
Best of luck.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 7:30 am

I am heartened by the insightful and thoughtful postings here. The SDP surely did not expect Hope to reject their silencing tactics, nor that her plight would create such a firestorm amongst her fellow teachers and the community. If she had not spoken out, none of this discussion would be taking place. I admire and respect you Hope, for what you have done and said, and continue to do and say. They should provide data, and transparency should be the order of the day.

To add to the general discussion about turning over schools to outside providers, did not the school district itself publish data proving that SDP schools actually outperformed EMO's? Studies are being done and results have been published proving that they are not the answer.

http://www.friendsofpubliced.org/

I found this next article, which ironically describes Phila. charter providers not being happy with the SDP's method of evaluation, the School Performance Index. The article states that many providers feel the districts attitude towards them is "hostile". Interesting reading.

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/13494-report-cards-for-cha...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 7:57 am

Hostility is the only thing that they seem to do well these days. But what else should we expect in this current political climate of testing, pressure, testing, pressure.....

Submitted by Bobbie Cratchit (not verified) on February 22, 2011 8:03 am

Thanks for the News Works post. Many schools in the district have asked the same questions as the Charter Operators about the flawed and often deceptive formula of the SPI. The district has responded with hostility to those questions as well. Funny, if you stand behind your data, why is that you can't explain your data? That is something Nunery or Weiner should be able to roll off their tongues. Yet, they say they "don't have the numbers" or "look it up on the website". How about YOU the district employees responsible for the creation of the SPI explain how it works to the to the PUBLIC. Oh, that's right, then we would actually know it is contrived.

Another school story involving the SPI is

The School Performance Index: It Doesn’t Add Up @ http://cityschoolstories.com/category/notes-from-the-field/

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 22, 2011 8:04 am

 Bobbie, your account of your career and the state of our profession was very moving.   Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:43 am

It was moving, and I recognized a lot of my own story in yours. Thanks for sharing.

Submitted by Bobbie Cratchit (not verified) on February 22, 2011 11:15 am

Thank you Ron and Anonymous. It came from my heart.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 22, 2011 11:24 am

At the SRC meeting where Audenried students voiced their concerns, a member of the District attempted to explain SPI to the board. His message was that the District uses SPI to identify schools for Renaissance turnaround. Audenried has no SPI score. Answers???

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:30 pm

Click on any school profile on the SDP website, and at the bottom is a SPI score. Good luck deciphering how they arrived at it! No wonder they couldn't explain it. More edu-babble, with some stats so it looks credible. I looked at Audenreid, and it seems that not having teacher and parent surveys completed may have been the nail in the coffin, as those are used to calculate SPI. Also, if you read the article I posted, the charter schools were upset that the district had many errors in terms of the data they used to calculate those SPI's. I wouldn't be too surprising if errors of that ilk are common across the board.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:36 pm

We have no SPI score because we have been in existence for only two and a half years. The District doesn't have any data inputs from the PSSA because students at Audenried have never taken the 11th grade PSSA.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:58 pm

I hear you. They don't have any data to prove why they are converting your school. They are not prepared to defend the decision, which normally wouldn't be a problem as they are not used to being questioned.

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:40 am

How courageous and bold you are, Hope. You have created a dialogue for which you can be proud. We have been so afraid to speak, and yet we MUST speak. I have taught for many years and hope that I can be as strong as you. We advocate for our children, we are their voices, when we must be. No one has all the answers, but any answers will be in the dialogue and actions that we take.
Children must be our guiding force, not money makers, big business, public relations.
I do not believe that classrooms without critical thinking, curiosity and creativity could possibly be beneficial to anyone. Spanking helps squelch a child's misbehavior, but it would not be my chosen consequence. Just because it "works," does not make it the best choice.
Corrective, scripted "teaching" is benefitting someone, but I doubt it is the children. Extremely costly testing as much as we do is definitely not benefitting our children, nor keeping all the teachers accountable.
Intimidation may help keep more accountable, but by degradation and humiliation and fear. Surely, there is a better way. Perhaps not as profitable, for some, as these solutions.
Children must be our guiding force!
You have many supporters, Hope. Stay strong.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:25 am

Well said, Lisa. And, you, as the wonderful "real world learning" practitioner that you are, are well-suited to speak to the kinds of learning and processes that spark our students' interest! We all must speak out and support each other and advocate for the kind of learning that is truly best for our students.

Kristin Luebbert (fellow Need In Deeder)

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:55 am

Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:01 am

Rally this Friday! 4pm at 440 north Broad street. Lets turn out thousands!

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:36 am

Does anyone else find it interesting that we have an unnecessary day off today (the snow is negligible), but that the administration was called in to work? Damage control meetings, perhaps?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:29 am

I think it's really dangerous to start reading every action of the district as a conspiracy. Over the past few years, most snow days have included a late-start for administrative offices. The snow day today was unnecessary, probably, though it's far from the silliest one we've had in the past three years. (And, since the city did nothing about roads, a lot of them are solid ice). Sometimes,
Also, having school (or not) doesn't really impact the flexibility of 440 folks to have meetings. Administrative meetings seem to take precedent over actually being in schools on a regular basis.

I think something that is really important for teachers right now is to stay focused on real, tangible concerns about the way the SDP operates (there's no shortage of those), without spinning every action into a conspiracy. Sometimes a questionable decision about a snow day is just that.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on February 22, 2011 10:41 am

True--it could be just another poor decision.

Submitted by Philly HS teacher (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:22 pm

I also don't like conspiracy theories - the truth is usually more interesting - but this is on the SDP web site -

"Two community meetings scheduled for tonight have been canceled due to inclement weather: Facilities Master Plan community meeting scheduled for Willard Elementary School and the Renaissance Schools forum at King High School. These meetings will be rescheduled."

I don't know why the meetings can't be held tonight - especially at King. This snow is literally "fluff." Why not a 2 hour delay and hold the night meetings? Maybe Ackerman, Wayman, Nixon, Weiner, et al haven't finalized the script for King.

Submitted by Students First (not verified) on February 22, 2011 9:45 am

Hope, Hang in there! The saddest part of this whole ordeal is that your students are being deprived of your presence in the classroom. I suspect they are now spending their time working on "make-up packets", just like Ackerman prefers.

Submitted by Lisa Hantman (not verified) on February 22, 2011 11:01 am

Though it all feels so discouraging, I remain hopeful. I believe in the voice of the citizen to be heard. Horrible things changed in the past because people spoke up. There is power in voice, and we can not remain silent. Our constitution tells us so. Words can make a difference.

Submitted by WPHS teacher (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:56 pm

I hope everyone will be able to make it to the rally at 440 north broad street this Friday at 4pm. We don't often get a chance to turn out in large numbers and let our voices be heard.

Submitted by MS. MATTIE DAVIS (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:27 pm

Down with dope...up with Hope!
Hope springs eternal
The audacity to Hope!
Dear, you are the right person at the perfect time... she gives us Hope to carry on!
(Ella Baker is probably smiling right now)

Submitted by Dr Elizabeth J Cantafio (not verified) on February 23, 2011 2:11 pm

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson

"We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes" ~Ella Baker

Thank you, Hope, for keeping hope alive. Know that there are many who are standing with you and we will not stop fighting for educational access and equity.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:35 pm

Down with dopes, up with Hope!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:17 pm

It is not enough that Ms. Moffett's job be restored. The instigators of this travesty must be disciplined. Wayman is notorious for unfairly maligning good teachers, we must seek justice for all teachers who work under a costant state of fear - whether it is explicit or implied.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2011 12:50 pm

For any teachers being harassed by the district:

http://www.endteacherabuse.org/

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