Paid Advertisement
view counter

List of 89 Pa. schools to be investigated

By thenotebook on Jul 15, 2011 01:05 PM

by Benjamin Herold
for the Notebook/NewsWorks

These are the 89 Pennsylvania schools that are to be investigated for possible cheating on the 2009 state standardized tests under orders from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Statewide, 10 charter schools and 38 other school districts are affected by the order.

The list represents all the schools identified by name in the 44-page Data Forensics Technical Report prepared for PDE by the Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) in July 2009.

That two-year-old study, first uncovered and reported on by the Notebook last week, sought to use statistical analysis to ferret out suspicious test score results on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exam. The statistical analysis does not prove that cheating definitely occurred, but suggests that the listed schools' results are highly improbable and warrant further investigation. 

The results of both the newly ordered District investigations and a forensic analysis of this year's PSSA results are expected in August. PDE announced on Thursday that it is ordering a forensic analysis of 2010 PSSA results. Those results are expected by fall.

Included among the schools to be investigated are seven Philadelphia charter schools and 28 District schools. Twenty-two of the District schools were flagged for multiple statistical irregularities in the primary analysis conducted by DRC, which looked for schools with some combination of:

  • highly improbable gains in schools' test scores across years,
  • unlikely jumps in student performance levels, and
  • suspicious numbers of wrong answers that were erased and changed to the correct answer.

Six additional schools were named in the report and are on the list because they were flagged multiple times in a secondary analysis conducted by DRC that looked for improbable changes in scores and test participation rates of various subgroups of students within the 2008-09 school year.

"Due to the high-stakes nature of statewide assessments, the secretary ordered a complete review of the 2009 report to ensure that the integrity and credibility of the PSSA is maintained," said PDE spokesperson Tim Eller on Thursday. "It is important to assure the citizens and taxpayers of Pennsylvania that their financial investment in education is held to a high standard."

Not included in the list of schools that PDE is ordering the District to investigate are several schools that showed highly suspicious erasure patterns in numerous grades and subjects, but were not flagged on the other statistical analyses conducted by DRC. Philadelphia's Emlen and Forrest elementary schools, for example, were flagged for suspicious erasures in both reading in math for grades 3, 4, 5, and 6, but no investigation has been ordered at these schools.

Eller had previously stated that 90 schools would be investigated. He said Thursday that the earlier incorrect number may have been the result of a miscount. 

The schools named in the report (PDF, XLS):

Abington Heights SD Abington Heights HS
Ambridge Area SD Ambridge Area HS
Belle Vernon Area SD Bellmar MS
Berwick Area SD Nescopeck ES
Bethlehem Area SD Freedom HS
Big Beaver Falls SD Beaver Falls MS
Bristol Borough SD Snyder-Girotti ES
Chambersburg Area SD Chambersburg Area MS
Charter (10) Alliance for Progress CS
  Architecture and Design CHS
  Chester Community CS
  Imhotep Institute CS
  Maritime Academy CS
  Northwood Academy CS
  PA Cyber CS
  Philadelphia Electrical and Technical CHS
  Walter Palmer Leadership Learning Partners CS
  Wissahickon CS
Cheltenham Township SD Cheltenham HS
Connellsville Area SD (4) Bullskin ES
  Clifford N. Pritts ES
  Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center
  South Side ES
Dallastown Area SD Ore Valley ES
Delaware Valley SD Dingman-Delaware MS
Derry Area SD Grandview Intermediate School
Easton Area SD (2) Paxinosa ES
  Shawnee MS
Ephrata Area SD Fulton ES
Gateway SD Moss Side MS
Governor Mifflin SD Governor Mifflin HS
Harrisburg City SD (2) ACTS @ William Penn School
  Melrose School
Hazleton Area SD (6) Freeland ES/MS
  Hazleton ES/MS
  Hazleton Area HS
  Heights-Terrace ES/MS
  Valley ES/MS
  West Hazelton ES/MS
Lancaster SD (3) Hamilton ES
  Lincoln MS
  Wheatland MS
Lebanon SD Lebanon MS
Lincoln IU 12 Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12
Minersville Area SD Minersville Area ES
Monessen City SD Monessen Elementary Center
New Kensington-Arnold SD Fort Crawford School
North Schuykill SD North Schuylkill Junior/Senior HS
Pennsbury SD Pennsbury HS
Philadelphia SD (28) Dr. Ethel Allen School
  Barry, Comm. John School
  Catharine, Joseph School
  Cayuga School
  CEP-Hunting Park
  Disston, Hamilton School
  Douglass, Frederick School
  Edmonds, Franklin S School
  Fels HS
  Fitler Academic Plus
  FitzPatrick, Aloysius
  Frankford HS
  Grover Washington MS
  Lamberton, Robert ES
  John Marshall School
  Thurgood Marshall ES
  McClure, Alexander K. School
  Muñoz-Marin ES
  Northeast HS
  Olney ES
  Penn Treaty MS
  Theodore Roosevelt MS
  Stanton, M Hall School
  Stetson, John B MS
  Strawberry Mansion HS
  Wagner, Gen Louis MS
  Wilson, Woodrow MS
  Ziegler, William HS
Pittsburgh SD Sterrett Classical Academy
Pleasant Valley SD Pleasant Valley HS
Reading SD (2) Northwest MS
  Reading SHS
Scranton SD (2) Northeast Intermediate School
  Scranton HS
South Western SD Markle Intermediate School
Spring-Ford Area SD Spring-Ford HS
Uniontown Area SD Ben Franklin School
Wallingford-Swarthmore SD Strath Haven HS
Wellsboro Area SD Wellsboro Area HS
William Penn SD Penn Wood SHS
Click here
view counter

Comments (134)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 1:05 pm

Well, if these test were not so important to teacher ratings/salaries, school funding, and other status symbols this would not happen.

These kids could care less if they pass these exams. Why must teachers be rated on student results? I see my students choosing any answer just to get done.

PSSA are too long and just really are NOT important to the ones taking them. Only us poor teachers who work out hearts care about the result because it directly affects us, our jobs, and our school AYP.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 5:30 pm

Yes, these testing nuts need to pay attention to this and see that these silly tests are not any indication of anything serious except that most of the kids don't care a rats ass about the test. It's NOT the teachers fault. It's a far, far, far larger issue about society especially among the poor. Hopefully, this madness will be over soon and we can go back to teaching kids instead of teaching the test.

Submitted by Anonymous on July 17, 2011 9:37 am

The state of PA needs to stop all this craziness with testing. If the state wants to continue to have the districts administer these test then they should get teachers who are actively working with students to help revamp the test. Once again children with disabilities have been dropped through the cracks, only so many special education children are permitted to take the PASA, leaving all the others to fend for themselves. I have a child who falls into this catergorie (doesn't make the PASA cut) and performs below basic I am fine with that because I know my child and what he is capable of, this testing is not a reflection of who he really is. This testing is a joke and really doesn't prove anything it only causes stress and meltdowns among many students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 9:03 am

And it makes educators to do crazy things. You are right--The whole test is a farce and I truly believe it was designed to fail so the rich as in charter operators could take public money for charters, further leaving the poor and disenfranchised out in the cold. Plus, does anybody with an ouch of sense really believe these charters are doing right by the kids, PLEASE !

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:36 am

As a teacher, I have always wondered why parents such as yourself--who have kids with IEPs that are FORCED to read and take a grade-level test--have not sued the state for breaking your childrens' IEPs. IEPs MUST be adhered to--for example, if your child is in 8th grade, but has an IEP that requires he be tested on a 6th grade level--the state is BREAKING A FEDERAL LAW by requiring the child to take the 8th grade test! This is a class-action lawsuit waiting to happen. You have a good attitude about it though--you know what your child can do. I do sympathize with my IEP kids who struggle so hard to do the grade-level test, though--some of them get quite discouraged.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 11:41 am

I think I agree with your sentiments but I am NOT a parent of a child with an IEP.
I don't believe the state is breaking federal law though but nothing would surprise me anymore with these hysterical testing fanatics. By the way, Obama is a part of this craziness too as is Arnie Duncan. We're all in trouble plus add in the Tea Party Nuts and we have a circus upon us.

Submitted by Wake Up Philly (not verified) on July 19, 2011 8:00 am

Great Point! Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to parents and perhaps Education Law Center will take this one on!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 9, 2014 5:56 pm

Sorry to tell you this but it is about 2 years later since you wrote this and we are still teaching to the test. And they have begun to outrightly punish teachers who are accused of cheating. It's a bunch of shit though.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 4:28 pm

So if schools that are expected to raise test scores are considered cheaters (and they probably are) then what in the heck is the point of them?

Submitted by LaidOffTeacher (not verified) on July 15, 2011 4:28 pm

Cheating will get worse once the tests are used to evaluate teachers. I'm sure that there are many more schools that cheated; they just didn't get flagged or were more discrete. This investigation will create a whole new line of jobs that watch over teachers and schools even more so. It's just going to get so much worse before it ever gets better, if it gets better. We need an education revolution!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 6:42 pm

I agree--I'm glad you're hanging in there. You'll have a long, rewarding career after this nightmare passes.

Submitted by Inspired_Apple on July 15, 2011 4:39 pm

Cheating *will* get worse: unless we do something. Let's be transparent, let's come up with solutions -- and let's storm Arne Duncan's office with a reconnaissance of information about how to make the public school system better!!!

(I know I sound like Little Miss Peppy cheerleader, but we need to start acting and stop pontificating & pointing fingers) Let's crank this $h!* up to 11 & make a plan.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 4:30 pm

In many of these cases it may not be the teacher that changed the answers. Many schools change the teachers during the testing so that they are not proctoring their own classroom. At the end of the testing session ALL of the test booklets are sent to one place (usually the principal's or guidance counselor's office). It's possible that an administrator could have changed answers once all of the test booklets were returned to the office. It would look better for score increase if it was across the board improvement, and not just one or two classrooms.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 5:22 pm

True! True. It happened at my school . Teachers told on the principal and he was removed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 5:39 pm

The teachers are among the least able to change answers. We have no time to do that as everything is collected in my school right after testing. Where it all goes, I don't know.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 4:55 pm

There are a some people that got promotions based on their ability to move test scores up.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 5:35 pm

I thought Nebinger and Barrett were at or near the top of allegations. Their not on list list. Any explanation??

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on July 15, 2011 5:54 pm

 Like Emlen and Forrest, Nebinger and Barrett were repeatedly flagged for highly suspicious erasure patterns, but not flagged on other indicators.  PDE has determined that only those schools that were flagged three or more times for a single grade's results should be investigated.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 15, 2011 6:30 pm

I thought Nebinger was the worst of the worst along with Imhotep and Barrett was close. I remain confused but thanks for your input,

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on July 15, 2011 9:30 pm

There are different ways to think about "worst" in this situation.

Nebinger was among the schools with the "worst" - ie, most suspicous - results on just one measure: erasure patterns.  Relatively huge numbers of 4th graders at the school had their response sheets flagged for having very high numbers of wrong answers that were erased and changed to the correct answer.  Statistically speaking, it is next to impossible that these erasure patterns occurred by chance or by accident.

But Nebinger was not flagged for suspicious results on other measures, such as jumps in the school's scale scores or in students' proficiency rates.  For every tested grade, a school could be flagged a maximum of 8 times in the primary analysis that was conducted.  Nebinger was never flagged more than twice for a single grade.  But Imhotep, for example, was flagged 7 of a possible 8 times for its 11th grade results - more than any other school in the state for a single grade.  So in that sense, its results were the "worst," even though it had fewer individual students' response sheets flagged for suspicious erasure patterns than did Nebinger's 4th grade.

And this isn't even getting into the secondary anaysis conducted by DRC, which looked at things like unexpected changes in subgroup participation rates within a single year.

So, yes, it is confusing. 

But it might be helpful to think about it this way - the Pa. Department of Education has decided that the 89 schools warranting further investigation are not necessarily those with the most suspicious erasure patterns, but those that were flagged on three or more measures for a single grade.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 8:40 am

Thanks for the clarity.

Submitted by Inspired_Apple on July 16, 2011 2:00 am

Attempting to look at the forensics technical report reminds me of how sheepish I felt watching The Social Network and pretending to vaguely have some kind of understanding of the codes they created to establish facebook. pah-ha.

If only the amount of statisticians & mathematically inclined peeps took all that money we are spending on the creation of the PSSAs and the analysis of PSSAs and put the same energy into finding a formula as to answering questions like:

"why certain inner city students succeed"
"how effective is reading at home for an hour a day"
"determining student performance based on number of miles they have to travel to school"
"commonalities between students that are accepted into 4 year universities"
"what private school practices can be recreated on a larger scale to help public schools with little funding to implement"

I mean -- you guys make up your own....if we had the disposal of people that could do this working for the right reasons, America's educational system can start competing with the rest of the world again.

We've made little comments here and there about "competing in a global economy" but did anyone notice that the "top performing" countries (on tests) at the international levels are the ones that DO NOT have ridiculous state/country government testing holding institutions and professionals accountable but the ones that test use data to drive instruction and NOT attach blame to it?????

Submitted by Inspired_Apple on July 16, 2011 2:54 am

An excellent teacher will pull from their colleagues and mentors & emulate success in the classroom based on what they know works. They will throw away what didn't work one year and ask for help, and make their practices better. Even 35 years into the profession, one can still sharpen their best skills and learn something new.

A weaker teacher will arrogantly think everything they do is the correct thing and refuse to change it. They see that other methods might be more effective but are resistant to change because to change themselves means to admit 'weakness' and they would rather point the finger at the system instead of adapting to new ideas.

Why is America "The Weak Teacher"?!
Why can't we, like an excellent teacher, pull from the countries in the world that are the educational powerhouses? Why can't we acknowledge that yes, 50 years ago, America was at the top of the educational field and blew the other countries away in "preparing for life" (all encompassing)

America is ignorant of reality when it comes to policy to revolutionize education NCLB, "hey, this has never worked before but we're the smart guys so let's come up with something totally new, reinvent the wheel and opps it didn't work so let's point fingers, spend money and still bully the rest of the world and say, 'We're #1!!! Suck it, world. We're the best, ever...."

Travel to another country. They are laughing at us. They laugh at our educational system most of this not true???? Have you guys not experienced the same??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 4:29 pm

Other countries can "laugh at our educational system" all they want...we (the US) are the only country that is considerate enough to educate ALL children. Many of the other countries that are "educational powerhouses" only educate a percentage of their country's some research and you will see the true challenges that our teachers and administrators are up against. Apples and oranges...

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 19, 2011 4:30 pm

Iceland and most western European educate all of their children, as does Japan and Korea. Many of those countries also provide free tuition for those who get into college, or at least offer tuition at a vastly reduced rate. It is true that in some of these countries, many kids who lack academic aptitude by a certain age are shifted to a vocational track (something difficult to agree with on one hand, but more than we offer enough of our kids on the other).

In all of these countries, teachers are treated with respect. Urban teachers aren't paid tens of thousands less a year than their suburban counterparts.

It's not laughable that our children our suffering - it's tragic and scary. But it's much easier to teach children in a nation where there is a dedication to all children being offered an education with enough public support to really see it through.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 7:03 am

A certain elementary school in southwest Philly needs to be checked for cheating.....even the Principal would come into the classroom during testing and tap on the student's desk and say, "that's the wrong answer." then make the student erase the incorrect answer!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 9:32 am

This happened at my Promise Academy.

Submitted by Benjamin Herold on July 16, 2011 10:08 am

The Notebook is interested in hearing more about these kinds of stories.  We are willing to grant anonymity.  Please contact reporter Benjamin Herold at or 215.901.9774.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 10:14 am

Teachers-please beware of what you post. As fellow PFT Members we need to stick together in this time of attack. We are being dragged through the mud by the press and thrown under the bus by the administration. Let's not do it to ourselves.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 9:31 am

This is the same PFT that sent a letter to 175 Promise Academy teachers with less than three years' seniority that their union jobs are on the line based on a law suit which the union brought on. This is a school which the PFT endorsed and had their members "apply". And now, less than one academic year later, are told those who didn't apply, or was told to transfer, are now going to bump you. Why am I paying union dues to fund a lawsuit that will take away my job? Band together and support the PFT? Why?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 9:58 am

That letter didn't come from the PFT. It came from the district.

The PFT was cc'd on it but it was written by the district and sent by the district.

Yes, you should support the PFT because it is YOUR union. Please be clear. Unions do not fight for your job.. Unions fight for your rights and for employers to uphold the contracts they sign.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:31 am

My bad, yes the letter came from Estelle Matthews, Chief Talent and Development Officer and cc'd SDP General council and the PFT. And yes, I will support the union that gave me my job for the past 10 months and created the working conditions of the Promise Academy contract I signed. Good luck to you all, as I have begun well into my job search starting from charters to private educational organizations, to anything else that may be out there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 9:56 am

Because the union is fighting to make sure that layoffs are done according to contract. We can't let the district break our contract. I have some sympathy for those people who were lied to and told their jobs were safe at Promise Academies, but it was the district that lied to you, not the PFT. I am laid off, and the only hope I have is keeping the contract's integrity. The district wants to destroy it. There are important things in the contract that affect ALL of us.

That is the point of the union-- to do what is in the best interest of all of its members. I understand your desire to keep your job, as I wish I could have kept mine. But the union doesn't represent you individually. It represents all of us, and what is best for all of us is to force the district to abide by our contract.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:06 am


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:35 am

Don't let the District fool you by divide and conquer strategies. PFT did not authorize Promise Academy Teachers to be exempt from Seniority. The District did. Be smart-hang tough and PFT will fight for you so that in 20 years, you can give the same advice to a new person. UNIONS protect workers, please don't let them trick you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 8:27 am

The District created the Promise Academy, and the PFT signed on. The details of the relationship are spelled out in the official PFT Handbook for 2010-2011. There are contracts which the staff signed which, after the PFT law suit, are now in conflict. Some of the commentors are saying the district lied. One person's lie is another person's broken legal contract. For the new teachers in the system, the SDP and PFT both show symptoms of schizophrenia. Excuse me if I don't give a vote of confidence to a weak union that turns a blind eye to the incompetence within its own ranks. Right now I'm in a Promise Academy where we are all told to show up everyday for summer school, to empty classrooms, in a school with a weak principal who hides out in his office bullied by the maintenace guy and his nephew who has locked rooms in the building that even the principal is not allowed to go into.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:50 am

Enough with the misinformation, and outright lies about the PFT and the Promise Academies. Under the State TakeOver Act back in 1999, the District has the right to ceate schools like the "Promise Academies"--the PFT has no say in it, again the PFT HAS NO SAY IN THE CREATION OF THE PROMISE ACADEMIES! Alll the PFT CAN do is try to negotiate it so that those teachers WHO CHOOSE to go teach at a Promise Academy remained under the Contract with the District allowing them to maintaine their Due Process rights, and other rights in the work place at the Promise Academies--which the PFT was successful in doing. If you CHOOSE to go to a Promise Academy school, that was YOUR CHOICE, no one forced you. . .stop the complaining and lying about the PFT (which won you the same protections the rest of us have) and "sleep in the bed YOU made"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 10:59 am

This is informative. Yes no one forced me to the P.A. I was slated to start at a magnate school but got caught up in the hiring freeze in the summer of 2010. Promise Academies were created and teachers w/ seniority left, or were forced to leave the converted P.A. with the hiring freeze as a means for the transfer of those with seniority. Now, less than 12 months later, the same PFT which won me the working conditions at the P.A. is now telling me that they will transfer back those laid-off from other SDP schools and bump me again. Please don't chew me out for pointing out how schizoid both the SDP and PFT have been in my 11 month experience.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 20, 2011 10:54 am

It's horrible that you were caught in the middle of this political farce and administrative mismanagement. I'm really sorry for all the stress, distress and frustration you're enduring.

The seniority system was put in place so that there would be a way to treat everyone fairly. It's not perfect, but it's the best objective tool we have at this point. Right now, because of how it's effecting you personally, it seems unjust, but someday it will seem more of a protector to you than it does now. The layoffs occurred in a way that violated the contract. You were mislead by Arlene Ackerman and the school district, not the PFT. If I come up to you and say "John's going to give you $100," when John already owed that money to someone else, I am to blame, not John. I'm not intending to trivialize your situation, but it's sort of the same principle.

I truly believe all teachers will be back in action before mid-September, if not earlier. The chaos that ensues because the district is so far behind in staffing will make this year unbelievably difficult, but we'll all get through it, especially if we stick together.

Submitted by LaidOffTeacher (not verified) on July 20, 2011 10:47 am

You are wise to look outside the SDP at this time. It's not going to get much better. I've been in the System for roughly 7 years now, was laid off (with 3 different certifications), and it just gets worse each year. You are right to be upset with the PFT because they still are not stepping up enough. Why do we not have weekly protests at 440? At City Hall? In Harrisburg? Why didn't the organize a bus for the Save Our Schools March in DC at the end of this month? They don't because they are a very, very weak union with weak leadership.

The entire system from the top down is in turmoil. The most important people in this mess, the students, are the ones suffering the most. It's shameful to them, and it's shameful to the teachers. I've read some comments here that say we'll likely be recalled in September. I don't believe that but for perhaps a few at the top of the list. Maybe more in mid-October when leveling is complete. Then... probably not until January when a lot of folks take a sabbatical or quit. Take care of yourself. I wouldn't advise waiting around because if you are laid off and find out late summer, then you will have missed the many job opportunities that are still out there for teachers. Good luck! Good luck to us all!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 28, 2012 10:58 pm

The PFT wasn't there for me when I needed them as a 1st year teacher. I feel no trust for that organization at all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 3:36 pm

You need to get your facts correct before you start posting. The state took over the PSD in 2001.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 4:19 pm

Law passed in 1999, state didn't enact it until the 2001 school year

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:30 am

You are entitled to your opinion. You are not the only one who feel uneasy about the PFT.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 11:28 am

Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion within reason. What's becoming more and more clear (as underlying forces continue dismantling public education altogether) is teachers are paying far more attention to what has been happening in Philadelphia's public school "reform movement" for well over 10 years.

Regardless of whether you are for or against the union, I am sure we all agree that there are many inequities in traditional public education versus charter schools and private schools. There are also many inequities in how teachers are treated versus other professions. Might this be because teaching has historically been a profession that has been dominated by women?

Unions improve the working conditions of average American workers. Unions also fight unfair labor practice and ensure workers rights are upheld in accordance with negotiated contracts. The contract can't be altered midway to satisfy the needs of those who may not understand its purpose. What would happen if the Supreme Court decided not to honor the Constitution? There would be an uprising throughout this country. You see... there is far more in question here with this case. This is about the fundamental rights of our teachers and all human beings. Teachers expect to be treated with dignity as do other professionals...and all HUMAN BEINGS IN GENERAL.

Some teachers don't appreciate the union until they get an incompetent or power hungry principal. We all know this is commonplace in the SDP. Unfortunately, many have decided not to "show up" in support of the union until things take a turn for the worse.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 11:42 am

Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion within reason. What's becoming more and more clear (as underlying forces continue dismantling public education altogether) is teachers are paying far more attention to what has been happening in Philadelphia's public school "reform movement" for well over 10 years.

Regardless of whether you are for or against the union, I am sure we all agree that there are many inequities in traditional public education versus charter schools and private schools. There are also many inequities in how teachers are treated versus other professions. Might this be because teaching has historically been a profession that has been dominated by women?

Unions improve the working conditions of average American workers. Unions also fight unfair labor practice and ensure workers rights are upheld in accordance with negotiated contracts. The contract can't be altered midway to satisfy the needs of those who may not understand its purpose. What would happen if the Supreme Court decided not to honor the Constitution? There would be an uprising throughout this country. You see... there is far more in question here with this case. This is about the fundamental rights of our teachers and all human beings. Teachers expect to be treated with dignity as do other professionals...and all HUMAN BEINGS IN GENERAL.

Some teachers don't appreciate the union until they get an incompetent or power hungry principal. We all know this is commonplace in the SDP. Unfortunately, many have decided not to "show up" in support of the union until things take a turn for the worse.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 12:38 pm

Some just have a different opinion of the PFT based on their personal experience.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 9:12 am

Well the other scandal is not the changing of test scores, but walk into any SDP high school a week to one day before graduation. There is a scamble by the administration to graduate kids regardless of grades or attendence. Between administrators wanting to keep failing seniors from returning, to parents/guardians/other family members, suddenly showing up with their kid in tow asking why their kid is not graduating, teachers are "asked" to change their failing grades so that the seniors could graduate. Adding insult to injury, there is graduation and "graduation without walk". Yes, you can graduate, but you cannot participate in the graduation ceremony.
You see this for one or two students, and it's a judgement call by Admin in regular or magnate schools. But at this Promise Academy, it got ridiculous, some of the diplomas are really not worth the paper they are printed on.
Also, the OASIS program for kids who have failed high school the first time around, that was even more ridiculous. So much resources were thrown at this program in materials, staff, and it was not working one month into the school year, and now they've gotten rid of it due to "budget cut backs". The graduation rates are horrendous and it's just incompetenece by the administration.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:09 am

WRONG---Bad Parenting, NCLB, AYP, MASSIVE sociological problems, PRESSURE from the testing hysteria faction and yes, also local administrative problems. But to call it incompetence alone is far from accurate. We have our collective hands tied just like you. Hopefully, this nightmare will soon come to an end and common sense will replace it. If not, it will get worse.

The REAL TRUTH is that most of the kids we have would have serious IEPs in suburban districts, very serious ES type IEPs. Again, I am NOT blaming the kids but the whole environment in which they live and learn to survive. Education in the traditional sense is not even close to being a priority for most of them. Consequently, all of the above exists.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 11:45 am

Keep it to yourself. In this climate, no good deed goes unpunished. The truth is virtually every school everywhere in the country "Cheated" because of the hysteria associated with these silly tests. Hopefully, this enormous problem will show the NUTS to stop and reevaluate the whole thing. Or if NCLB and AYP were designed to fail and destroy Public Education, they are doing a great job.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 1:27 pm


Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on July 16, 2011 8:28 am

Just wondering: What is the security on the chain of custody on these tests? When test materials leave the building, where do they go? Cartons are sealed, but is it obvious if one has been repackaged? And at the processing centers?

There are so many steps and so many profit making companies involved, that if this were trial evidence, it would be very difficult to use because of the many ways it can be altered.

Testing seems to be the sub prime mortgage area of education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 10:00 am

Yes, the biggest joke of all is that teachers are changing answers. The teachers are the least able to do that at least at my school. The materials are picked up right after the tests and goes who knows where until the next day. Your points are well made.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 17, 2011 3:17 pm

We turn them in - and there are always two of us monitoring the test. Who would turn to a co-worker and say, "Let's change the answers?"

The materials go to the test co-ordinator, who sticks them in a filing cabinet, presumably locked.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 4:27 pm

I don't get why the assumption some are making is that teachers are sitting in a dark closet, cackling and changing answers.

Some of the more minor erasure patterns may just be a teacher saying "Why don't you try this again?" for a problem and a student fixing it (with "encouragement"). While this is cheating, I'm not sure it is the same scale of cheating as someone going through tests after school changing answers for students.

I don't think the scenario the district is going to try and cook up, wherein hundreds of teachers were all in on a conspiracy to change students' answer en masse without the knowledge of district admins, will play well. They will sacrifice a few principals, sure, but I hope the Notebook and others do not lose sight of the big picture. The teachers are not the problem. The cheating probe should start at the top.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 4:14 pm

The top being NCLB and AYP. Let's be real, without this mas testing hysteria, reasonable people wouldn't be cheating on the tests to begin with. I also know of NO teachers who even have access to the tests other then when they are giving it to the kids. Not any at all.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 17, 2011 7:09 pm

My students erased answers, didn't quite finish erasing, often changed the right one to a wrong one. The only thing I said to them was, "Make sure whichever of those two is the one you don't want is erased more completely."

One or two kids skipped an answer at the top of the page and had to erase everything and start over. There are lots of reasons why things are erased. Sometimes there are erasure marks on all of a question's answers (and no guarantee the final one is correct).

It should also be noted that there are circles inside the first pages of the test book that it is necessary for the teacher to fill out (i.e. special ed status). It would be a nightmare if just being seen writing in the book would make a teacher suspect.

Because I unfortunately disagree and believe they will target teachers - look who's hurting in these lay-offs. The little guy always takes a hit, usually unjustly, I do hope they'll pay attention to the kind of answer changes, rather than random changes. And I hope there will be due process, which does not seem to be the case in Atlanta.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 8:50 pm

PLEASE don't sweat it--you will be fine. Deny you did anything you described as the nuts will use anything they can. Nothing you did is wrong in any traditional way. It is very unlikely that anything will come of it anyway. You'll be fine anyway.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 17, 2011 10:20 pm

I'm not worried about myself at all. Didn't cheat, never would, nor were we pressured to do so. Our school's not on the list.Telling a kid to fully erase whatever mark he didn't want counted is part of our job, not cheating. My point was that every erasure is not cheating.

I am concerned about colleagues at the flagged schools after reading that in Atlanta accused educators were told to quit or be fired. How does that happen without due process?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 7:50 am

It won't and shouldn't. I believe the regular folks need to stand up and say enough is enough. The witch hunt is over.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 4:11 pm

I agree--teachers are the least likely to change answers. At my school, we have no access to the tests other than when they are given. The bottom line is this Testing Mania hysteria needs to stop. They prove NOTHING but count for everything. Just a charade.

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on July 17, 2011 5:03 pm

My experience verifies all your comments on teachers being the least likely to break test protocol. The reports clearly indicate a likely concerted effort on more than once classes or sessions testing. Keep speaking out, so this doesn't become another "blame the teachers" sound bite!

Someone once said, "If you give dumb tests, you will get dumb results."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 17, 2011 5:44 pm

Jefferson once said that some people give freedom of speech a bad name. He had these testing nuts in mind, I am sure.

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on July 17, 2011 11:57 pm

He also said:

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

Keep speaking out/

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 7:04 am

"First They Came." I agree but you have to be careful too. Overall, I agree with you totally.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 18, 2011 7:57 am

I like that one! It is true. The problem right now in the district is the culture of reprisal and retribution against anyone who speaks up about anything. It takes courage.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 7:50 am

He also said, " --------------------The Japanese" No, sorry, that was Truman.

Submitted by Mrs. G (not verified) on July 16, 2011 9:52 am

This just emphasizes the serious need to reform NCLB. Since its inception this law has systematically destroyed our schools. It is ridiculous to expect a student who has been speaking English for one year to take and score proficient on a test when research shows it takes 3 to 7 years to be proficient in a language. Equally ridiculous is expecting our students with special needs to score proficient on grade level. Unfortunately, some of these students will never attain that goal -- they have special needs and are identified as such for a reason. I could go on, but I'm sure everyone knows and understands the problems associated with NCLB. It's time for educators and parents to launch a campaign to change NCLB.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 10:24 am

TOTALLY RIGHT. I seriously think it was designed to fail to let the rich start their own schools--Charters--to make even more money. Show me how I'm wrong. I am also not convinced that Obama and of course, Arnie Duncan are also aware of it though Bush Jr. started it. Actually, he was no more President than I am but the big money people who are always calling the shots wanted it and go it through NCLB. AYP is of that same ilk. Inner city kids with all their massive problems are not going to make AYP ordinarily and that's where cheating comes it Just a very bad situation and I'm not at all convinced it wasn't designed that way and for the purposes above.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 11:38 am

Yes, I agree too. No Program so flawed and obviously so, could have a positive result. Programmed to fail is exactly right and so is your conspiracy theory.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on July 18, 2011 5:31 pm

 NCLB was a broad bi-partisan initiative that was supported by the likes of Ted Kennedy and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party along with Bush and the Republicans.   Like a lot of things it is more complicated then your simple minded conspiracy theories.   Yes, the right wing has a definite agenda which it sought to advance in NCLB, promoting "choice", charters, EMOs, punitive measures like reconstitution etc.  

But it also had progressive features that won the support of many on the Left, most significantly changing the way schools were measured by disaggregating the data.   Before the racial acheivement gap was obscured by aggregating results.   For example a school might have a signifcant African American population that was not achieving but high scores from other groups made the school look like it was doing fine.

And, as other posters have noted, it contains language that is supposed to provide a voice for parents and staff in shaping school improvement plans, a measure that has been pretty effectively subverted by school bureaucracies.  

Undoubtedly some supported NCLB because they thought it would advance their agenda of dismantling public education, but others, including many in the civil rights commuity, saw it as a means of attacking the racial achievement gap.    

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 1:13 pm

I appreciate the very fair-minded assessment of Mr. Whitehorne above. NCLB got such bipartisan support partly because it was clear to basically everyone that schools, especially those serving minority and poor populations, were not serving them particularly well. Yes, those are difficult populations to serve, but before NCLB, there was nobody really holding districts accountable for serving all students, because poor minority parents/families tend to have fairly low social and political capital (i.e. they aren't economically and politically powerful enough to really push School Districts to serve their children). Are standardized tests the the best way? That's debatable, and the current testing systems are generally poorly designed. But in general, the vast right-wing conspiracy doesn't exist. In any case, most big business owners would prefer a great education system, since it would likely increase worker productivity and lower their training costs--so they don't want to "dismantle" education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 10:48 am

Where do I sign up? NCLB is like a monkey on our backs. From it's inception we have known it's faults but nothing has been done to change it or better yet get rid of it.

Submitted by Frank Murphy on July 16, 2011 12:32 pm

 Join the Save Our Schools March on July 30, 2011

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 1:18 pm


This study was done TWO years ago, but the PDE is only investigating it now.


Because the Notebook brought it to the forefront.

You guys are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep up the great work.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 2:49 pm

Yes, I think the politicians wanted to keep this covered up for whatever reason. Gee,I wonder why??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 3:35 pm

how hard would it be for the parents to ask the child to read from a book to them or to spolve a simple math problem or spell a few common words--find a word in the dictionary--READ BEING A GOOD PARENT????????

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 3:10 pm

I was a first time teacher for the pssa this year and what I saw was the students didn't care they would put straight lines of answers and I asked did you read the questions they answered why these test are stupid and they don't count for a grade. Some would just bubble in anything to get done you could see that is what they were doing. I felt the school tried to pump the students to get ready for the testing but the students knew they would still pass anyway because of NCLB and there were no consequences of whether they got the answers right or not. Then you had the ESL student who you can't fail and then they are in the system for two more years so you can't fail them. I failed to understand this.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 4:42 pm

Yes, I agree but the consequences are enormous for us as teachers and that's completely ridiculous and unfair. These kids have massive social issues beyond our reach. All we can do is our best to help but we shouldn't be held responsible for matters FAR beyond our control as though we are being negligent. It's all a farce and I agree with the post that says it's a conspiracy to destroy Public Ed. so the rich-- Charters--can get richer while leaving the poor dead in the water. What else is new??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 4:55 pm

So if a teacher walks around his or her class giving encouragement and reminding students to take their time and review their answers are they cheating? If you see that a student has obviously raced through just to get it finished and you tell them to go back and take their time are you cheating because they change answers? If you pat a nervous child on the back and tell him or her to take their time are you cheating? Children change answers. They look back and realize mistakes. Sometimes a few sometimes more then that. We are testing children for hours and hours day after day. They are tired and frustrated. If a teacher tries to pump them up and they then take a second look is that cheating? The PSSA and I'm sure other state test are long tiresome and convoluted test that children are forced to take in hot stuffy classrooms striped of every ounce of friendliness or comfort. Children who cannot normally sit for more than 10 minutes at a time are forced to do so until each question is answered. Students who are not on grade level in reading, who have been found to have learning disabilities and who have IEPs that show their individual goals are forced to read material that is far above their ability.ESL students are forced to take a test that they barely understand. Where we teach a writing process that takes days students are forced to do that same writing process in just an hour's time and not just once but every day three time a day. They incorporate trick questions that the test producers expect the children to get wrong. There are several different test booklets and stories and questions within each class. Tests must be returned to a secure area and locked up tight. Children cannot even go to the restroom without supervision during testing times.Are you called a cheater if your school took every precaution and your wrong to right answers fit within a certain range? How can a machine determine what happens in a classroom? When you play the lottery the chances of winning are slim but someone ultimately wins.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 16, 2011 5:34 pm

Of course, you're right but it doesn't matter. Actually, now maybe that all this is being exposed, things will change--I HOPE . In my school, I've seen both young and old teachers in tears of frustration with kids not paying attention nor even remotely trying to be attentive. In any case, teachers are the least likely to be able to change answers in the big scheme of things. Just doing what you described is not cheating in my eyes and if it is, every caring teacher everywhere is cheating all day, every day. It's just a giant farce and hopefully, this testing hysteria will be over soon. What are they going to do, fire every educator at all levels in the whole country???? It's a charade, the big secret that everybody's in on on the inside and the Public knows now. By the way, is anybody dumb enough to really think, they just lost these results or forgot to mention them?? PLEASE !!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 5:15 pm

I agree with much that you said. I also think that is it interesting that one of the things schools can be flagged for is a jump in scores. However it is looked at from the 7th grade from one year to the 7th grade of the next which are not the same students. So it seems if you have a smarter group of kids one year, then obviously you cheated?!?!?

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on July 18, 2011 2:35 pm

Now that the Federal government is going broke, I hope the PFT is making progress with the $75 Million in concessions. I count that as only $7,895 per teacher per year based on the 9,500 Philly teachers left after the layoffs. Next year will be a little trickier as the Federal government will have to cut it's massive deficit spending, currently at 40% of every dollar it spends. They will have to make huge cuts across the board, including "Education." Perhaps another $10,000 per teacher per year will be required. We'll see.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 5:17 pm

The boob speaks !! Get a life and you'll feel better.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 6:13 pm

You don't worry. The cuts are coming and nothing can stop it. Come out of your delusional fantasy world where money grows on trees and your union only has to threaten a few politicians to get more. Those days are over. Accept the reality of the situation and you will be much happier.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 6:53 pm

OK Sweet Pants.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 8:54 pm

I am absolutely baffled as to why this offensive, trolly, piece of trash hasn't been permanently banned. Please?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 9:45 pm

I guess you must have access to a computer at your security guard job. Must be hard watching the rest of the world pass you by.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 9:05 pm

I agree.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 18, 2011 10:58 pm

Arlene? I see your French villa offers wireless.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on July 18, 2011 3:01 pm

Don't feed the troll.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 6:41 pm

It is interesting to me that it took so long for this all to start to come out in the open (thank you Atlanta?). I found everyone's comments very interesting also. I do not teach in your district but I do know several good people and a lot of the bullying tactics described by others are spot on. These administrators walk around the building bullying staff and bringing good young teachers up on charges that waste both the teachers' and union's time. It was interesting to me that one principal came from one of the schools under investigation. I have said it before and I will say it again. If this district does not clean up its act and get rid of bullying administrators they will pay dearly. Perhaps a few law suits against this kind of behavior might shake up your fearless leader.

Most young teachers want to be successful - wait I'll go one further, most teachers want to successfully improve the academic life of their students. However, no one should have to come to work every day in the toxic, bullying environment that exists in some buildings. If these bullies were in corporate America, they would be at the least disciplined but most probably fired. Philadelphia should do the same. If it finds cheating, go after the administrators first. And if they don't, then the teachers should bring their stories to the media.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2011 9:24 pm

"It was interesting to me that one principal came from one of the schools under investigation."

You mean William Wade, the new Prinicpal-to-be at King?
Here he's listed as an AP in Atlanta:

He's already violated teacher's rights by not following the proper hiring procedures and been "corrected" by the union.

If it's the same guy, looks like business as usual.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 21, 2011 12:47 am

Lets keep an eye on him, I heard he was really, "different". We will see.

Submitted by Curious (not verified) on August 21, 2011 10:02 am

Can you specify exactly what it was that he did that was improper? (For those of us who may be thinking about interviewing at that PA.) Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 12:34 pm

Don't know the individual that you spoke about. However, I would not be surprised to learn that they share so many similar "people skills". It is really too bad that these individuals are so afraid of their inadequacies that they would chose instead to go after anyone who has a suggestion or alternative idea. What a terrible loss for the students of Philly if these administrators are allowed to continue their bullying practices..

I have said it before, sometimes politics needs to be pushed aside and these people must be made to take responsibility for their behavior. It is not enough for unions to tell their teachers, "it is obvious he/she is after you, we suggest you get out now". It is truly disgraceful. I hope the local media is investigating this cheating scandal. I think they might just find that a lot more is wrong with the district administrators than just fudged scores.

Let's just hope that this investigation does what it is supposed to do, expose the problem and correct it.

Submitted by kenny (not verified) on July 19, 2011 2:40 pm

Reading these comments, it sure is a lot of hand-wringing by the teachers going on.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 4:39 pm

Maybe a little neck-wringing is in order?

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 19, 2011 4:45 pm

This is a very important subject, but can the Notebook please focus on a few other issues as well, like the laid-off school personnel and how it will effect students this September, why the 800 retirements and resignations has not been factored into these lay-offs - and why there has been no information on the 150+ educators and others who had their layoffs rescinded?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 8:06 pm

i agree, layoffs are my main concern right now. I'm also confused as to why I hear that people from 440 who were laid off are being rehired or restored with different job titles.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 8:21 pm

Yes, I agree. I think that this topic has indeed been beleagured. It was in the Daily News that the meeting with the SRC that was scheduled for tommorrow has been cancelled. According to the paper, no word as to when it will be rescheduled. While I have a signed copy of a "Site Selection" form from my principal, I still have not gotten any confirmation from HR at the district.
Does anyone out here have any viable information to share? I would like to start thinking positively about the upcoming school year, and hoping that I have a job. No word from HR is making me extremely nervous.
Any comments or suggestions at this point would be greatly appreciated.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 19, 2011 9:30 pm

Both the Notebook and The Inquirer/Daily news have been derelict in not covering the many inconsistencies in how layoffs have been conducted. There are many vacancies (700? 800?) caused by the retirements and resignations that were never addressed. About 150 teachers and others received callback notices already - no coverage. People at 440 are being re-hired under different titles, which is probably why 400 more teachers were laid off than we were originally told. And I'm sure the PR department still has 20 full-timers.

Where's the journalism here? Are scandals the only thing these publications care about?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 10:23 pm

Everything is on hold until the lay off situation has been resolved. It hasn't. Not to be smart, but you work for the School District of Philadelphia. The School District of Philadelphia is your employer, not Spiro T. Agnew Middle School, not Lizzie Borden Elementary School, and not whatever school you have a site select form for.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 5:21 pm

No kidding? Really? I don't think your comment is necessary. Half the summer is over and there are still no answers. Perhaps you are safe from being laid off---while there are others that are worrying about what is going on everyday.
I am quite aware of the company I work for. Please keep your insensitive comments to yourself. There are people here trying to seek answers---and have no other place to get viable information than to look here.

Just sayin'...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 5:20 pm

OK, I apologize for my tone. It wasn't cool. I was just saying (in not a very good way) that the form you have from the principal that has chosen you is currently about as good as a three dollar bill. It means nothing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 6:17 pm

How do you know that the signed paper is worthless. I was under the impression that everything is on hold temporarily until the decision is made about the layoffs of either the district or promise academy teachers. After that is resolved, the information would go out. Do you know something different? If you do, do state?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:17 pm

I am out of the "loop" with all of this. Were the 174 teachers in question apprised in anyway that they may lose their jobs? Were they given something official?
I have also heard that there have been people that have been called back to their jobs for next year. Is this true also?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2011 8:04 pm

One of the other issues that we need to focus on now is the CASA's tentative agreement to givebacks today. It's probably an easier sell for principals to give back, since they experienced a big salary increase when they went from 10-month employees to 12-month employees.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 19, 2011 9:53 pm

The CASA president stood with Jerry Jordan at the major rally we had during the end-of-the-year SRC meeting. He claimed he was in solidarity with us. Negotiating is not being in solidarity with other unions - feel kind of betrayed. Wonder how CASA membership will respond? This after the Queen's proposed contract comes to light?

Why not just revert back to 10-month status? That would save money without cutting salaries or freezing step increases. The district will use the principal union's concessions against us, especially in the press.

I just pray Jerry will not allow himself to be intimidated. At least the school police and the PFT are standing up for themselves.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 1:49 am

CASA"s union consistently sells them out. They are laying off AP's but simultaneously hiring BRAND NEW ones for the promise academies.. At least Jerry is trying to fight for the seniority of our contract.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 7:36 am

The "layoffs" of administration are a joke. They lay off APs and hire them as principals of new schools. They lay off people in 440 and regional offices and hire them as principals.

Why can't teachers do that?

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 20, 2011 8:28 am

They do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. They follow no rules, take care of their friends and have no sense of ethics or propriety.

The School District of Philadelphia has become an "unhealthy organization." It has an adminisrative culture that is dysfunctional and survives on management by threat and intimidation. Anyone who speaks up is routinely retaliated against.

It has become like a country with no laws, no rules and no justice system. There is little freedom of speech and our basic notions of "due process" are being violated time and time again.

Those of you who work in a 'toxic" school climate know how debilitating that is. The whole district has become toxic. Read the comments over the past few months by our good and caring teachers, administrators, parents and students and you will see the "symptoms" of an unhealthy organization.

The common denominator of all "Great Schools" is that they are "Great School Communities" with a collective vision, common mission and commitment to task. They have a warm and caring atmosphere about them. They are fun places where students like to be and staff enjoys coming to work in the morning. There are still many great schools in our district with effective leadership and a sense of community and collegiality.

I have said this many times and even addressed the SRC on this issue of "culture change": If we are going to Save our Schools and serve our children well, "We need to grow up as a nation and rise above the adversarial processes of an era long gone that destroy the community of our schools."

We once prided ourselves on the notion that schools are like our families. We fostered a sense of caring about our students, their families and each other.

We must all work on community building. A Sense of Community is vital to a healthy school and a healthy school system.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:39 am

well said, Rich. Unfortunately that will never happen under Ackerman and Archie. Neither one of them would survive a month in their jobs under that culture of openess, fairness, creating a family and community atmosphere and "putting kids first". . .and they know it. They need to play "the Race card" and issue threats to keep their jobs. Our only hope is that someone, in authority (Gov, Mayor, City Council etc) finally grows a back bone, listens to the people and does their duty to the people. Nutter and City Council had their chance with that agreement to give the District more money, they should have said, "fine, we will give you the money--as soon as Ackerman steps down;" that would put the ball in Ackerman's court about "putting children first"

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:53 am

It is so sad.... We need a Renaissance in thought about the American school.

Submitted by another anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:26 am

Well said.. Also helpful about this noxious culture: Frank Murphy's blog

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 3:47 pm

Does anyone know anything about the arbitration process re the lay-off of Promise Academy teachers and counselors? I haven't been able to find word of any timetable, progress, or expected announcements. I would like to know more about it: who is the arbitrator, why is it in arbitration, what is the Union willing to arbitrate? It worries me, much like President Obama's endorsement of the Gang of Six last hour proposal worries me. Just as that proposal will cut into Social Security benefits even for those already on SSI, in exchange for leveling out the tax code for corporations, what is there to get by the PFT that would make it ok to give up the contract rules for the P.A. teachers? If anyone could direct me to info on this, I would sure appreciate it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 4:36 pm

The PFT's case was heard by an Arbitrator on Monday afternoon. and now has 30 days to make a ruling. The PFT isn't bargaining anything? The PFT claims that Promise Academy teachers are subject to the layoffs like any other teacher and that the District's attempt to exempt them is a violation of our contract, the District claims they aren't subject to the lay offs and it is not a violation of the contract. Arbitrator will decide who is right

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on July 20, 2011 4:10 pm

I wonder if the arbitrator is being threatened by the PFT. Is the FBI involved?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 4:08 pm

Just WHAT is your problem? seriously, dude, get some mental help

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:47 pm

Bet you never knew you'd have so much time on your hands once the wife walked out on you.

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

In the real world, The PFT wins by knockout. However, in the current climate of bizarro world, anything could happen.

Submitted by Tina (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:02 pm

Would be nice if the PFT kept its members posted. I'm sad beyond words how weak this Union has become. I remember when we were STRONG and didn't have a ballless "leader" named Jerry.

Submitted by imsteena (not verified) on July 20, 2011 11:14 pm

I can't remember the last email I got from PFT....Are they still working over there? Don't bother calling, either...they'll give you attitude and read from a script that they are "working hard to get everyone their job back before September."

What a task....could have fooled me.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 21, 2011 8:22 am

I received a mass mailing yesterday from the PFT summarizing this summer's pertinent issues. You might get yours today. It's disappointing they're not sending a bus down to DC. Other than that, I'm still in "wait and see" mode.

From the "script" you're quoting, it's possible they're already involved in a plan with the district to "miraculously" save everyone's job. Then JJ will make an announcement about how wonderful it is that the district and the PFT could work together.

Whatever. So long as he fights for our contract and our members, including the laid off ones, I don't care how he spins it.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on July 20, 2011 9:56 pm

 The PFT contract and established labor practice calls for arbitration when the parties have a disagreement over what is allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.  In this case the PFT is charging that the District by exempting Promise Academy teachers from lay offs is in violation of the contract and the public school code which dictate that layoffs follow seniority.   The arbitrator is selected by mutual agreement from a list of arbitrators approved by the state labor relations board.   This is not a mediation or negotiation where the parties might make compromises.   It is an adversarial process where each side presents its argument for why its interpretation of the contract and the law is correct.   The arbitrator will then rule, providing both parties with the reasoning for his or her decision.   The decision is legally binding.  

The collective bargaining agreement, the public school code and past practice all favor the union in this case.   The only card the District has is the argument that Act 46, the school takeover law, gives them the right to ignore or overturn provisions in the contract.   Seems to me that an arbitrator would be unlikely to buy that.   Act 46 limits what the District has to bargain over but once bargained the contract is not subject to cherry picking by the District over  which provisions it chooses to follow.   At least that's how the law reads to my layman's eyes.    

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 20, 2011 10:57 pm

Thanks for explaining this. What creates problems is when either the involved parties don't make this clear to reporters or the reporters, apprised of this information, don't pass it on to readers. It's all about communication.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 20, 2011 10:50 pm

I am an attorney, and I read it the same way as Ron. The PFT already negotiated a new contract with the SRC. I see nothing in Act 46 which allows the SRC to break its own contract they themselves negotiated with the PFT. The PFT negotiated that contract in good faith.

Act 46 gave the SRC the power to force renegotiation of contracts already in place at the time of the takeover, and if unions refused to do so, they could then dictate terms. But it says nothing that gives them the authority to break its own contract once a new contract is negotiated.

I expect the arbitrator to decide the case strictly according to the contract language. I tend to think that the district lost its case when the PA Supreme Court refused to buy the district's argument for special jurisdiction. When the case was remanded back to the Court of Common Pleas and Judge Fox, the district sure did agree to arbitrate in a hurry. They wanted no parts of a ruling by her.

Ralph Teti, the PFT attorney, is an excellent labor lawyer with much experience. He thinks he has a strong case. However, there are labor law arguments the district can put forth. So stay tuned. Sometimes you just never can tell.

But I am betting on Ralph.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 7:21 pm

I hope I didn't offend Mr. Whitehorne's tender feelings again. He seems to become personally violated by my posts. Sorry about that !!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 8:14 pm

Thanks for the info re the arbitration. I think I may have misunderstood the concept of arbitration, which led to my worry about what the PFT was willing to give up to win the contract issue on lay-offs. I was thinking that a judge decided who was right and who was wrong, and that sending this to arbitration was to work out a mutually acceptable agreement b/t the PFT and the PSD. Someone involved in law just told me that an arbitration is a panel of 3 (usually lawyers) who decide, just as a judge would; it's not the same as an arbitrator who helps settle divorce disputes.
So let's hope they decide before 30 days go by. As a laid off person, it is hard to know what to do with the rest of my life, until I know where I will be on the seniority list! Give up on the idea of ever working for the school district again, or hang in there in the hopes of getting recalled by 2012?
Anymore info re this arbitration would be welcome!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 20, 2011 9:02 pm

You will be recalled and soon because the numbers of kids will remain the same and they're not going to have 43 kids a class no matter what they claim.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 20, 2011 10:42 pm

This may be why the traditional transfer process hasn't started. There may be fewer forced transfers than expected. Unfortunately, by waiting this long, the district guarantees unprecedented chaos. But that's how the Ackerman administration rolls.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 21, 2011 11:22 am

Thanks for the encouragement about being recalled; no doubt you are right about the need for more teachers. However, I am a counselor, and for some strange reason, the PSD thinks it can do with fewer of us, as well as fewer AP's. I don't know about your schools, but without these two positions in my now former school, chaos is imminent! I have been thinking for two years that the whole solution to our dysfunctional district is to hire more staff: in the classroom, in the halls and cafeterias and yards, and more counselors to, among other things, implement and follow up on real CSAP interventions, not half-assed or on-paper-only ones. Take all the Corrective Reading and Math, or at least half of it, and put it into people, and you will achieve order, and the kind of nurturing refuge from home and neighborhood that many of us remember our school to be. All kids want to belong to something, and school needs to be that something for as many kids as possible; there's not much to want to belong to anymore in many of our schools.

And even tho' some of you are sure there will be major recalls, I don't see how that is possible with the Corbett budget cuts. How does anyone imagine that happening?

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on July 21, 2011 12:39 pm

Remember when Ackerman supposedly saved kindergarten by using Title 1 money? Everyone I knew has spent months asking, "Why doesn't she use Title 1 money?" There's money there. They've been hiring back 440 employees and parent ombudsmen under different titles. It's all sleight of hand. And the state could race in with their $600 million surplus. The problem is they may force an agreement on the district or the unions in return.

I know of a counselor who was just recalled as part of the deal the city made with the SRC (174 people were recalled, I believe, but no one in the press has mentioned this). Only a few counselors were a part of that group, but I am pretty sure more will be brought back.

Best of luck to you. My fingers are crossed for you and everyone else who was treated so abysmally by the real cause of our deficit and hope you're returned your job and your peace of mind very soon.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 31, 2011 9:40 pm

It's pretty shocking that most comments here seem to justify cheating as a reasonable response to the testing program... more upsetting still if most of these comments come from teachers themselves. Reacting this way only hurts teachers' credibility and cause in the long run, really.

Evaluating teachers based on students' test performance may certainly be a poor way to go about it, but clearly some sort of evaluation is necessary to reward the hard-working teachers. What methods have teachers and their unions offered as alternatives to the tests?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On


Philly Ed Feed

Print edition

Recent Comments

Click Here
view counter
Click Here - Paid Ad
view counter
Click Here
view counter
Universal Family of School is Recruiting Talented Teachers
view counter

view counter
Click Here
view counter
Keystone State Education Coalition
view counter
Click Here
view counter
Click here
view counter
Advertise with
view counter
Click Here
view counter
Reserve your ad in the next edition of The Notebook
view counter

Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy