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SRC can't afford to leave democracy behind

By Helen Gym on Jan 21, 2012 12:56 PM

Thursday’s move by the School Reform Commission to hire a Chief Recovery Officer who will be advised by an "outside team of experts" signals a potentially troubling path around both mission and process for the School District as it struggles to keep afloat amid fiscal chaos.

District 1201 union President George Ricchezza, whose 2,700 members have all received layoff notices, said what’s on many people’s minds: “What I see here is a dismantling of the public school system."

To be sure, no one can deny the District’s devastating financial situation. A $715 million budget gap. $61 million to close by June. A projected $300+ million deficit in FY2013.

On top of all that was a ruling that the city and School District had lost a state court appeal around property taxes that could result in $45 million less in tax revenue for the schools.

The current leadership of the SRC needs to take swift fiscal action. No one denies that. It is also a given that schools, school personnel, and classrooms will need to make more compromises on top of the ones they already have made.

But here’s where the SRC leadership needs to act with caution.

When it announced a leadership shake-up and hired former Philadelphia Gas Works Chief Thomas Knudsen in the same night, the SRC enacted what’s called a “walk-on resolution” – a move that is generally shunned by public boards committed to transparency and dialogue. Knudsen assumes the role of both a superintendent and chief financial officer – an unprecedented position without clear limits on his scope of powers. Knudsen made no formal statement at the SRC meeting though he was present, a decision that did not improve public trust or understanding of his role and mission.

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham tweeted from the meeting that Knudsen would be advised by “outside experts with experience in turnaround." The RFQ for this team includes broad powers like development of a five-year financial plan, a dramatic restructuring of the District by FY2013, provision of senior level personnel, and monetization of assets - despite the fact that Knudsen will only serve for six months. 

The SRC should note that the rhetoric around “recovery” has loaded meaning in education circles all too familiar with districts like New Orleans and Detroit whose emergency managers have truly dismantled public education. Neighboring Chester-Upland’s long and slow collapse under a state takeover also weighs heavily on the minds of everyone concerned about public education.

The SRC needs to couple its urgency to act with a public approach of deep humility and sorrow for the lack of action that got us to this place. Instead, Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky said, without a hint of irony, that “circumstances require us to live in a very different world.” It was as if Dworetzky, who sat on the last SRC, was completely oblivious to his own role in allowing the District to get itself into this awful mess.

It's equally baffling to observers why former CFO Michael Masch, who did much to obfuscate the District's financial straits in the previous administration, remains on as financial advisor; or former interim CEO Leroy Nunery remains as an advisor as well. If we're threatening the jobs of maintenance and cafeteria workers due to the failures of leadership, it's hard to understand why the very leaders responsible stay while so many others lose their jobs.

In the aftermath of the 2007 fiscal crisis, the School Reform Commission curtailed then-CEO Paul Vallas’ powers and turned financial control over to Chief Financial Officer James Doosey, who served throughout interim CEO Thomas Brady's tenure. Doosey presented the SRC with options and consequences that were publicly debated and discussed.

Knudsen, because he is acting as both chief financial officer and superintendent, appears to have far fewer checks and balances against his powers despite his lack of familiarity with a fragile school district.

On another front, it was disappointing, amid the announcement of a new fiscal crisis, that two entities that have been loudly opinionated around our schools chose to remain silent – the city and the state. Both could and should have made clear what financial efforts they will make to reassure Philadelphia's students, families and staff.

I’m not out to nitpick with a new SRC leadership that deserves a chance to distinguish itself from its predecessor. But bold action needs to go hand in hand with public dialogue and process before the SRC acts; otherwise it risks being perceived as alienated from and alienating to the public.

Before the SRC took its actions last week, there should have been at least a few meetings about the District's financial state, explanation of the constant shifting of numbers and financial distress, and a broad discussion of what the SRC thinks various sectors need to contribute. That includes key funding entities like the city and state, the business community, charters and the nonprofit sector - not just how local schools, unions, and 440 must cannibalize themselves.

There should have been significant discussion of the need for a Chief Recovery Officer, its role and limitations and who the CRO is accountable to and for. There should have been dialogue about Knudsen, his background, intent, and focus over the next six months.

The fiscal crisis is real. So is the danger of dismantling a fragile public school system whether anyone says they intend to or not.

Making room for public debate and discussion as we embark on uncharted territory does not mean delaying or dallying. It's about recognizing that we're in unfamiliar seas and we need advice and feedback as we test different solutions. It's recognizing that de rigeur solutions like hacking personnel, salaries, and benefits translate into dire consequences when we talk about school safety, teacher efficacy, and improving the college graduation rate. And it’s about valuing public trust and dialogue by an entity, the SRC, which many feel has allowed crises to justify trampling on those very values.

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Comments (42)

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on January 21, 2012 5:01 pm

 Didn't Masch argue that the SDP couldn't do 5 year budgets because that would mean making cuts every single year? While the District's finances are certainly a mess, the last thing we need is Post Office pension-type accountability measure that threaten the very solvency of the SDP going forward.

Submitted by Helen Gym on January 21, 2012 9:20 pm

Hi Tim: This is a really good question. My feeling over the last decade is that the year to year budgeting has been about gaming the numbers - with Masch being one of  the worst offenders. He could make any set of numbers add up in a year to year juggling match. That's impossible to do with a five year plan. One thing to consider against Masch's doomsday scemario of a 5-year plan is the city's experience with PICA. My general and very layman observation of PICA is that they have been fairly generous with the city budget projections, give fair warning about problematic areas of concern, and basically worked to stabilize city finances. What we have had for the past decade is wild swings that have devastated the District. We have short periods of exorbitant wealth which are largely squandered on the reform idea of the moment by short-term Superintendents, to a long decline of budget cuts squeezing and depriving basic education in schools.

Given this trend, I've supported the idea of a five year plan (under PICA) and trying to figure out a way to reign in the crazy spending on short term reform ideas and stabilize funding for schools.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 22, 2012 3:07 am

Thanks Helen, your blog above is excellent. It is so well said and right on the mark.

When democracy is taken out of the schoolhouse, we all are left behind -- especially our children.

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on January 22, 2012 12:54 pm

 I remember when Masch had to admit that a three year grant got added together as part of a one year budget. I'm sure there are more examples of gaming the numbers than we'll ever know. 

A five year budget would curtail the insane spending of the Ackerman regime, (I came on during Brady so can't speak much to Vallas' over-spending). What would also curtail insane spending would be selecting a competent Superintendent, and better yet, getting competent SRC members to approve these budgets. We've made some progress on the latter, not so much on the former.

If we are making projections based on current budget realities, how will planning to fix the things that need fixing happen? If charter growth is constant or accelerating, which the Great Schools Compact seems to ensure, with what money will the SDP do anything other than make payroll and pay debt service? The SDP share of the education funding pie is getting smaller every year. 

I guess the question is, how do we stabilize spending without handcuffing ourselves to do innovative and necessary things down the road?

 

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on January 22, 2012 1:33 pm

Under Vallas, there was also "creative accounting". An audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) determined that nearly $138.4 million in grant funds were either unallowable or inadequately documented. The audit also determined that SDP should return almost $17.7 million in unallowable costs to DOE. The feds, I believe, never made the SDP return the funds. I saw first hand how grant money was used "creatively" - not for its intended purpose via-a-vis the grant - I guess when you're talking millions of dollars a few hundred thousand here or there are not considered a big deal.

So, I'm sure Masch, Nunery, Nixon and Ackerman played games with grant money as well as general operating funds. Maybe Masch took lessons from Enron, Goldman Sachs, etc. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the federal gov't will only bail out corporations - not local school districts. Based on Harrisburg's response to Chester Upland, it will also try to avoid its obligations.

Submitted by Bob Lendzinski (not verified) on January 21, 2012 6:32 pm

Imagine a school with no sports.

Imagine a school with no arts and music program.

Imagine a persistently dangerous school with no school police.

Imagine a school with no gifted/talented program.

Imagine a school with no school nurse.

Imagine a school with few supports for Special Education and ESOL.

Imagine 2014........

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on January 22, 2012 4:37 am

Thanks, Bob. I appreciate your "play" with Ackerman's slogan despite the grim reality to paint. People without children or little connections to in Philly schools may chose to be oblivious to this reality but this will spill outside of the schools.

Submitted by SocialScience (not verified) on January 22, 2012 9:06 am

This is going to go to have a huge impact on the future. It all starts at the top: Barack Obama/Congress for defunding education.....

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on January 22, 2012 6:06 pm

The federal government did not defund education and the Republicans blocked President Obama's jobs bill, which would have helped teachers, counselors and nurses keep their jobs.

Gov. Tom Corbett is responsible for this catastrophe (as well as Ackerman and Masch - and everyone who remains at 440, still paying too many people for doing nothing while stripping away school personnel) and he needs to be sued.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on January 22, 2012 6:20 pm

Imagine a hell of a lot of lawsuits that will make the SRC look back at the current budget crisis with nostalgia.

Sue the governor. Why haven't we already? He's sitting on a $500,000 surplus and the state, having taken it over, is responsible for the SDP.

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on January 21, 2012 7:38 pm

Besides getting rid of Nunery and Masch, Nixon should go. She walked hand in hand with Ackerman and contributed to the mess.

Submitted by Steve V. (not verified) on January 21, 2012 10:08 pm

I could accept the situation if it was only killing off the School District of Philadelphia but what this is doing is killing off a chance of education for anyone who can't afford private school. Philly needs to keep its programs and hire better teachers not the most mediocre in the state (on average). Philly kids have more problems then suburban kids yet less care is taken for them.

Sucks to be poor in America. Luckily, I'm not.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on January 22, 2012 6:40 pm

What makes you think Philly teachers are mediocre? We tend to have more continuing education and more advanced education degrees than suburban teachers and we teach a populace that has more learning challenges than any suburban school. We've got to be better every day, just to get a minimal amount of teaching done; instead we work our damnedest to help these kids catch up.

Since you're not a "poor kid," what do you know about Philly teachers? Only what you've heard from other people who have no idea what they're talking about.

Submitted by Steve V. (not verified) on January 22, 2012 7:42 pm

I know about Philly Teachers because I am one. I am one of those well educated teachers who cares passionately about the success of my students. I'm one of those teachers who will take the extra time from my prep to monitor them during lunch because I've found the conflicts there when they are poorly monitored end up coming back to the classroom. I know that if the School District of Philadelphia consisted of children from well-educated and affluent suburbs instead of poor children from uneducated families then we would be a relatively successful District. You can't educate children starting at a lower level and give the schools tasked with doing it fewer resources and expect a turn around. The majority of the problem is at home followed by a lack of state and local resources. But that doesn't mean that I can't push for cleaning up problems in the District with its own personnel.

I know some great Philadelphia teachers but I also know the ones who have come out of mediocre colleges speaking a level of English not acceptable for middle class professional jobs. I see the teachers who yell at their new immigrant students for not understanding English even though they've just arrived in this country. I see the teachers who pad their student roles to push off students onto their colleagues so they can have more manageable class sizes. I notice when the teachers are texting on their cell phones while walking their students in the halls or even in the streets. I watch principals ask their teachers to pass failing kids to pad the grade books and too many teachers with no back bone do it. I see the teachers who don't take the time to tutor students who need it after school. You can't teach in Philly without realizing far too many of our colleagues are irresponsible.

You and tom-104 might be right in one way, though. What I don't know is suburban teachers. I am the product of very good urban private schools. Maybe most suburban teachers are not of a higher caliber than Philly teachers. But I haven't bought into privatization and I didn't suggest that I had. I want the irresponsible teachers who make my job harder gone from the District and I want better new teachers hired. Just because we have many great, talented, and dedicated teachers doesn't mean we don't have plenty of really bad ones. It's also silly to assume I'm uninformed. I disagree with you, sure, but I am quite informed about the few schools where I've taught over the years and the ones where my acquaintances have taught.

Submitted by jp (not verified) on January 24, 2012 4:37 pm

I am a product of the best suburban schools and private colleges and I am a Guidance Counselor for Philadelphia School District. If you do not work in a Philly School you can not say that the teachers are mediocre. We have some of the most dynamic teachers in the country. We also have some of the best public high schools in the country. I challenge students from the suburban schools to get into any of the special admissions or Citywide High Schools. The problem in Philly is that we have a lack of parent involvement. I am so tired of being blamed for the Parents not doing their job or fulfilling their responsibilities.
Teachers in Philadelphia come into work early and they stay late so that their students have a safe place to be. They feed and clothe some of their students who's parents can not afford to. They supply school supplies and extra support. SO Stop Bashing Philly Teachers!!

Submitted by Helen Gym on January 22, 2012 7:00 pm

Steve: Your last sentence reflects poorly on the rest of your statement. You should keep in mind that Philly public schools serve a range of economic classes, lower, middle and upper middle incomes. The stability of the entire city is at stake if the District collapses.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 7:27 pm

Thank you Helen! Now, what do we do in order to fix this mess!

Submitted by Helen Gym on January 22, 2012 7:50 pm

Steve Honeyman's point number one: Organize! is our best bet right now to protect schools and classrooms. We need to organize to change up the rhetoric as we narrow down what the District is capable of doing. We're in dire straits though so this is going to be tough going.

Submitted by Steve V. (not verified) on January 23, 2012 9:58 am

You're right. Philly does serve a range of economic classes but as the District continues to dismantle it will become a less viable option for students hoping to receive a top class education. My glib "sucks to be poor" is a reflection that the middle class students in the District can move for apply to private schools. The poor children have few options.

My statement was glib. I think most people understand that full privatization of the system is unworkable but I don't think people realize how destructive vouchers and applying different rules to charters are.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 10:56 pm

The whole system could be privatized without any problem. What are you talking about? Why don't you think before your post? ALL of this is by design--ALL of it.

Submitted by tom-104 on January 22, 2012 7:47 am

Steve V,
The teachers in Philadelphia are some of the most idealistic in the state because we chose to teach in a District with some of the lowest pay and the most students who come from the difficult circumstances. The private school teachers you think are so brilliant would have the same struggles we do if they were in our shoes. You probably think we are mediocre because we choose to make a difference in the world rather than just collect a pay check. This country thinks you only count if you are wealthy or trying to get wealthy!

You have bought into the privatizers, and their political enablers,scam that urban teachers are to blame for the social conditions their students are growing up in. Governor Corbett's education budget cut almost one billion dollars from education. The biggest cuts were made to schools with a majority of students from low income families. Did you vote for him? Who is responsible for "less care is taken" of the urban schools. It's not the teachers!

As you stated, you are not poor, so you are only going on the misinformation and prejudice coming from the mainstream media. If you don't investigate the reality for yourself you haven't a clue to what is going on.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on January 22, 2012 9:14 am

tom-104--
As usual, you have said it beautifully. Some of the most dedicated and talented teachers I know work in this district. There are good teachers everywhere, but the problems of the economically disadvantaged student (whether in city, suburbs, or rural areas) make everyone's job more challenging. This is not a complaint, just a fact, and we stay here in these circumstances because we choose to. I am not sure if Steve V. has data that proves we are below average.....I doubt it. I challenge him to do what this piece in the Huffington Post asks: If we are so bad, come do what we do:
http://tinyurl.com/7pqv26j
Stay for more than two years, AND, do it without taping mouths shut as the oh-so-very dedicated Michelle Rhee did: http://tinyurl.com/29xzjzo

Submitted by Steve V. (not verified) on January 22, 2012 7:14 pm

I'm not for privatization by any means. I think a system of vouchers and charters where non-District schools can kick out trouble students but then the District is stuck with them undermines the District. I think that's a way to slowly kill off the District by giving it the most problematic students and then saying "look, they do worse". Everyone should have to compete on the same playing field.

I made assumptions without knowing the caliber of teacher in suburban districts. Maybe if I visited I'd be disappointed with their professionalism and level of education. I know I am disappointed with both among many Philadelphia teachers. As I said in my other response I am a Philadelphia teacher. I think teachers should be paid more to attract better candidates and it should be easier to fire the worst teachers in the District. I don't think that's particularly radical or insulting. I have great respect for Philadelphia teachers in general. Especially since we choose to be paid less and deal with more a difficult environment. That doesn't mean we should get a pass on our failings.

Also, proofreading is important. Saying "more problems then suburban kids" is pretty bad. Pardon my mistake.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 8:16 am

I am just curious or perhaps naive, but if the District which is in such dire straights and who has laid off many employees and who will probably lay off many more including teachers come June, where in the world did the money come from to hire a Chief Recovery/Superindent from at the rate of $150.000 for 6 months? Is it me, but it will take 6 months just to find out where the pencil sharpner is, a pun, to begin to pull the layers of problems out into the open. No real problem solving can be done in 6 months. And no true, lasting solutions will be made, so now we are into the next 6 months and probably during the second 6 months, some minor changes will be made, and now we are at $300.000 and we still won't have a District that is able to stand on it's own two feet. In essence, where did this money come from to pay the new Chief Recovery/Superindent?

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on January 22, 2012 8:44 am

Meanwhile, Nunery will get paid $210,000, Masch $180,000/year and Nixon/ $180,000. So, how is this cost efficient?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 2:51 pm

It isn't cost effective and with a district in so much trouble, money wise, how in the world can they pay these salaries and even more, how can the recipents with accept these salaries?

Submitted by Helen Gym on January 22, 2012 7:08 pm

Excellent point. 7 percent reductions are hardly drastic. As well, it doesn't explain keeping Masch, Nunery, or a host of people in PR and other high level administrative positions. Taking a more serious look at administrative expenses won't solve the deficit but it helps people feel like there's a measure of equity in terms of sharing the burden.

Submitted by Steve Honeyman (not verified) on January 22, 2012 8:54 am

Dear Helen,

Your analysis is right on the mark, as usual! Parents and teachers and others who
are truly concerned about public education for all of our children should act with
swift action(s).

1. Don't agonize, organize!
2. A new organizing campaign to take back the PSD.
3. Demands for public accountability with no leadership hires
taking place without SRC public discussion.
4. A moratorium on all cuts until there is a real plan with public
engagement.
5. All philanthropy contributing to public education should come
together to exert their influence demanding accountability!
6. If necessary, the Mayor and City Council should take over
the PSD as opposed to continuing to bless one political appointment
after another.
7. Activists and community leaders should agree not to support the current
state of affairs until there is radical transparency in all PSD business.
8 All forms of strategies and tactics should be fair game to fight for
public education - lawsuits, work stoppages, civil disobedience, public
actions...

Submitted by Steve Honeyman (not verified) on January 22, 2012 8:24 am

Dear Helen,

Your comments are right on the mark, as usual! Now it's time for you and other
leaders/community folks who care about public education to take swift action(s)
before we experience the destruction of public education in Philadelphia! Here
are my suggestions:

1. Don't agonize, organize! And this includes the Public School Notebook which
was born out of organizing.
2. The announcement of a new organizing campaign to take back the PSD. This should include all people and organizations and institutions that demand public
accountability for the benefit of education for all of our children.
3. All private dollars flowing to the PSD should stop through philanthropy meeting
and also demanding public accountability.
4. There should be a moratorium on all new leadership hires and a freeze on all
cuts until there is a plan in place with public agreement!
5. The Mayor and City Council should consider taking over the PSD as opposed
to blessing another leadership change at the top!
6. All strategies and tactics need to be considered including lawsuits and civil
disobedience and public action.
7. It isn't enough to just write about injustice! Action is the urgent need.

Submitted by Veteran of WPHS "Renaissance" (not verified) on January 23, 2012 11:02 am

Where do I sign up?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 9:33 pm

I have been saying the same thing over and over and over.........ACTION, not talk, not marching in circles, not praying, not singing but real malice is needed to stop this bogarting of the Public School System. It's Shock and Awe 101 and it demands our stepping up and growing a collective pair. These folks don't give a rat's ass about our kids so let's stop deceiving ourselves and get started fighting back. Jerry Jordan, where are you? If you're in their pocket or just burned out, then get out of the way but sitting around and continually being shocked isn't good enough. This is potentially the end of democracy in Philly Schools with corporate types calling all the shots and guess who will be left behind as collateral damage? Unless we fight with hostile intentions up close and personal, Philly will follow Detroit and N.O. into the netherlands of corporate crap.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on January 22, 2012 9:22 am

Democracy can end up in gridlock which is what has been happening. One key thing mentioned in hiring Knudsen was his ability to get concessions from parties. The mayor of Redondo Beach got concessions from everyone by getting them involved in the decision making, but these were things like voluntary cuts in hours which I can't see happening here at the PSD. Knudsen mentions assets PSD has in the community, one of the things which gridlock has been starting to happen around... these are only short term solutions, but can produce much needed cash.

Reading comments here, just connect them: charters operate on less per child because teachers are asked to sacrifice benefits/job security. There aren't Nunery, Masch, Nixon highly paid positions... no Regional offices with all the associated staff...masses of paperwork (even with the digital age, how would we ever get rid of this)... enough to produce profits even. Let's see if Knudsen can get these entrenched "extras" to go away... I doubt it, but that's what has to be done. If he has even the smallest conscience he would see that Safety, Health, Arts are basic to any hope of mass education, and cuts here are not the solution.

Submitted by Phantom Poster (not verified) on January 22, 2012 5:25 pm

Maybe Knudsen knows where the stolen art is....

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on January 22, 2012 7:11 pm

Let's hope he has even the smallest conscience. He'd be the first in a while, with the possible exception of Ms. Cary, who I believe does care. I hope she has the courage to stand alone.

Submitted by Raheem (not verified) on January 22, 2012 12:51 pm

This is my favorite part:

It's equally baffling to observers why former CFO Michael Masch, who did much to obfuscate the District's financial straits in the previous administration, remains on as financial advisor; or former interim CEO Leroy Nunery remains as an advisor as well. If we're threatening the jobs of maintenance and cafeteria workers due to the failures of leadership, it's hard to understand why the very leaders responsible stay while so many others lose their jobs.

I have no idea how to explain this other than it's the SDP and it's been proven that they can do whatever they want with no consequences.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 5:00 pm

Nunnery makes somewhat more sense than Masch.

Masch was in charge of finances, and failed to predict/plan for/etc this whole mess. To me, that means he failed. Why he wouldn't be the first to be dismissed is beyond me.

Nunnery is less directly culpable for the mess. I'm still really not sure what I think about him. The public tone of the District has changed since he took over. And his association with Ackerman is more by coincidence (it appeared to me that he got brought in to his Associate Supt role because he was better at running stuff than she was...).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 5:56 pm

Can someone tell me what to do if I am laid off? I am very frightened about this. This problem did not just "evolve", yet the same people on top are getting paid to "advise".

I am absolutely sick over this. What will we do in June when there aren't any more jobs!

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on January 22, 2012 6:19 pm

It is natural to be frightened, but remember you can apply for unemployment. If you are a teacher, you will also receive the money you've put in reserve all year. And you'll be recalled. Almost every teacher in the district was brought back before September after the 2011 layoffs.

Try to take some more Praxis tests and get as many certifications as you can.

Keep in mind, though, that much of this is talk to scare people into agreeing to whatever the SRC wants. The fact that they can't see how irresponsible and offensive it is to add these highly paid newcomers while again hacking away at the people who actually work with kids is unfortunately a sign that their efforts will fail the kids and cause things to become worse. I wish the people on the ground had some sort of say in this process, but they never have, which is why the system continues to fall apart.

My fear is that there is almost no way the system will stay together between now and when I can retire. I'm afraid I'll have worked hard for decades and then barely be able to survive. Shame on the wealthy politicians and power-mongers who reap benefit at the expense of those who counted on their honest, caring stewardship.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 7:43 pm

I, too am one that is fearful, because I was laid off last June. I was miserable all summer even though I was able to collect unemployment. I was recalled in August and reported to my school in September.
All of the stuff that is going on, I wonder if there is going to be a School District of Philadelphia. There isn't any money, yet money is coming from somewhere to pay people these large salaries, yet the schools don't have the necessary funds to run the schools appropriately.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 22, 2012 8:41 pm

Exactly! Would individual schools allow us to start fund raising of some sort.....SOMETHING to save our schools and not put money in the pockets of the very wealthy!

I am very afraid too. Something has to be done, and now is the time before June rolls around, and I am sitting at home all summer waiting to be called back from a lay-off!

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Submitted by MGM4706 (not verified) on February 20, 2012 12:48 am

Helen:

Just saw your interview on the web about Jeremy Lin and the ESPN headline. What a bunch of malarky!!

In case you did not know, which you apparently don't, the phrase "A chink in the armor" means that someone or something has a weak spot in some area of their performance or in the construction of something!!

So if a castle for instance has a "Chink in it's armor" that would mean the moat around it could be 2 feet deep so you could walk through it. or with Barrack Obama. A "Chink in his armor" could have been his lack of expereince in running for president!! With Lin the "Chink in his armor" is his record setting amount of turnovers he has in his first 7 games. More than any other player in history.

This term has NOTHING to do with being Chinese or Asian!!

Why do people like you insist on sitting around and looking to see where you can play the race card all the time? Why not just act like every other race and quit trying to make everyone be what you THINK is politically correct? That is the only reason ESPN made their stupid decision on a headline that was not racial and was perfectly fine. People like you who want publicity choose to make it a race issue!! You should use your energy on REAL problems!!

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