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State prohibits Philly teachers from administering PSSA to their own students

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 28, 2012 06:43 PM

Update 2/29, 2:40 p.m. PDE has just confirmed that three charter schools, including the Chester Community Charter School and the Hazleton Area School District, have also been required to follow this protocol. The other two charter schools are both in Philadelphia: Philadelphia Electrical and Technical Charter High School and Imhotep Institute Charter High School.

PDE spokesman Tim Eller said that even though hundreds of schools in Philadelphia have not been flagged for any suspected testing irregularities, "The Department believes it is necessary to apply the policy districtwide."

He also confirmed a statewide change: In the past only the building principal had to sign a certification that the testing protocols had been followed. Now multiple signatures are required. The building principal, the district and school assessment coordinator, and the proctor must all sign documents affirming that they have followed protocol and not tampered with the test booklets.

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In the wake of concerns about cheating on state exams, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has prohibited Philadelphia teachers – but apparently not teachers in other districts across the state – from administering the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test to their own students.

The move, which represents a major change in testing protocol, comes just weeks before schools' annual administration of the PSSA is slated to begin. State officials are in the midst of a state inquiry into potential cheating involving as many as 50 District schools

According to several sources, the new mandate comes on the heels of an earlier PDE-issued testing guideline that “recommended” a similar change in procedure statewide. No such modification is reflected on PDE's web page about test security, which still dates to 2011.

A spokesperson for PDE did not immediately respond to a question of whether any charter schools or districts besides Philadelphia have received a similar directive. 

But Christopher McGinley, superintendent in Lower Merion, said that to his knowledge, no other districts in the state, including his own, has been ordered to apply this change in protocol, which he called a "terribly unfair thing to do to kids."

Robert McGrogan, president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators (CASA) in Philadelphia, said that principals were beside themselves as a result of the new directives.

"It's incredibly disruptive," he said.  

A few weeks ago, said McGrogan, the District held an extensive training for principals and testing coordinators that did not include the new requirements. He said that the District had a computerized system for matching students to their test proctors, based largely on who the students' classroom teachers were. Now, that system will have to be rebuilt from scratch, just weeks before the tests are to be administered. 

"This is incredibly frustrating that the training for administrators and the protocols for each school that were developed are no longer valid," said McGrogan. "It all needs to be redone in a short time frame."

The state’s interest in potential test cheating started in July of last year, when the Notebook published a state-commissioned "forensic audit" of 2009 test results conducted by test-maker Data Recognition Corporation.

Based on the statistical irregularities flagged by DRC, PDE ordered 38 school districts and 10 charter organizations to investigate a total of 89 Pennsylvania schools - including 28 District schools - whose results were flagged for potential irregularities. Although an internal District review determined that only 13 schools warranted further scrutiny, state officials recently turned their attention on dozens more District schools, based at least in part on preliminary results from analyses of 2010 and 2011 PSSA results that have not yet been made public.

District officials recently confirmed that they had made changes to procedures around the handling and monitoring of PSSA exams, but did not announce any changes that would prohibit teachers from administering the tests to their own students.

Lower Merion's McGinley said that he was “not aware of any suburban school districts that are following [the] recommendation” from PDE to adopt the test administration procedure that will now be required in Philadelphia. 

“Teachers spend all year developing a positive working relationship with students,” said McGinley. “That’s what we want in the atmosphere of testing, for kids to be encouraged and supported.”

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said that he was "surprised" that city teachers could not proctor the tests of their own students. He said that he thought the cheating investigation in Philadelphia was unwarranted and part of an effort to blame teachers instead of using testing to improve instruction.

Comments (379)

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on February 28, 2012 6:16 pm

This will be a logistical nightmare. It is also patently discriminatory. As a parent, I want my children with teachers they trust and who will encourage them to keep going through a very long, tedious test. As a teacher, I want to reassure my students that they can handle the PSSA and encourage them to keep trying. This is not cheating. I'm sure suburban teachers do the same thing.

Wow - Is the Corbett Administration / PDE this biased against Philadelphia? Meanwhile, Corbett wants private school students to get vouchers. Those students do not have to take the PSSA. The teachers aren't scrutinized.

Wow, oh, wow...

Submitted by Christopher Paslay (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:24 pm

The state’s decision to single Philadelphia public schools out for special rules brings up equity issues. Read more about them here:

http://chalkandtalk.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/administering-standardized-...

Submitted by Mark T. (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:30 pm

Yes, Yes, and Yes and right in our face--no shame, no regret, no caring about us at all and still we take it. WHY??? Jordan, time to man up or man out of the way.

Submitted by Suburban Child (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:30 pm

Wow, Philly. Seriously? You think you can talk to your students during this exam? You think you can encourage students during an exam? No. Here's what you do. You read the instructions and then you don't talk to your students until all papers have been collected. That's what a real school does.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:48 pm

Seriously!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 11:56 pm

What real schools do is follow what is stated from the testing adminstration manual posted on the PA dept website "Sometimes a word of encouragement is all that is needed to help a student continue to work. Encourage students to try all of the tasks and to complete the test."

Real schools don't have to cheat. Real schools have valid test results because they have taught and encouraged students to succeed from day one.

Submitted by AGoodPhiladelphiaParent (not verified) on February 29, 2012 1:23 am

The problem is (as a parent of this horrible and quickly declining Philadelphia School District) that we do not have enough support in this school district. Not from the governmen, not from the city, not from the school district heads, themselves. We watch day after day as our kids who desire to excel are pushed aside and programs removed (they even removed the Saturday PSSA Tutoring Classes) because it was "not in the budget". Educating students is no longer in the budget. This is my daughter's last year in Middle School and then we are out of here. There are either not enough teachers who care or not enough parents who support our teachers, or not enough district support for our struggling, but strong teachers and students. Sad state of affairs. The next news report you will hear is that there will no longer be schools in the city of Philadelphia (highly exxagerated, but you get my point).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Because they are too busy paying all of the administrators and higher ups and keeping their adminstrative offices looking pristine with all of the latest technology and perks from Apple for their administrators along with whatever wasteful spending they do and then try to cover it up and blame the teachers and parents. Philly has it bad, yes but it's America's entire education system. It needs a makeover and fast.

Submitted by AGoodPhiladelphiaParent (not verified) on March 1, 2012 12:02 pm

I completely agree!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2012 7:49 pm

There will be schools and they will all be charter and private. Parents need to realize that once these schools go private it means that the school will not be required to accept every child like the neighborhood school. Behavior issues...they don't want them! Special needs....they don't want them! They only want the best of the best and can pick and chose who they want. Sad but true.

Submitted by tom-104 on February 28, 2012 11:21 pm

Suburban Child,

Do you really think you are immune from the attack on public education. First they are coming for Philadelphia teachers and then they are coming for you!

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:19 am

Yes - we encourage students to keep going. We encourage students to tackle a tough question again instead of skipping it. We encourage students to do all they can, every day in every way. This continues even with a test in front of them. We know our students C A N and that matters.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:14 am

I walk through my several English classes taking the PSSA (in Philly) and pat a shoulder, give an occasional wink and smile. Once in a while, a non-native English speaker will ask if a word is what he thinks it is and I say, "Trust what your gut says." Is that cheating?

Our students like when we walk through the room once in a while and see them working hard or encouraging them when they are tired. The odds are stacked against these children to begin with - and we are real schools. Get a clue before making such obscene comments!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 11:19 am

Really???? Last time I checked Lower Merion was a suburban school district, and they were cited as well. Until you attend or teach in a Philly school, keep your ignorance to yourself. WE work very hard with our students, who unlike you spoiled suburban kids, receive less $ per student than you get.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:16 pm

That's not what has me upset. Its the political agenda and the fact that everyone is so blind to the truth.!!!

Submitted by Mrs. G (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:40 pm

I wonder why you didn't choose to teach in an inner city school? You seem like just what our kids need.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2012 7:18 pm

you should see what they do in special ed classes

Submitted by area rugs (not verified) on November 18, 2012 6:34 am
We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You've done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 6:57 pm

This is terrible...students need to be tested by their own teachers!! Students will get distracted with any teacher other than their own. Also, you will have the issue of misbehavior. This is a push to ensure that the philadelphia schools fail the PSSA's, so they can continue to push charters. Just like now, they are ripping resources and making class sizes larger to make it seem like the teachers cannot handle the students...so that the parents will turn to charters. This is all one big conspiracy if you ask me!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:02 pm

that is exactly what is happening in my school. Class sizes have doubled. Almost 30 students in one class....now mind you, max class size is 33, but these 30 students in one classroom have been expelled from regular ed schools and are now in an Alternative school. What A JOKE......We are being set up to fail....
Thank you Ben Wright!!! Just keep sending the expelled kids and then blame us for not being able to control them.....or tell us to "Deal with it"
This isn't our problem to fix....Penny Nixon come on down and threaten to fire all of us because everyone at my school can't wait until you do....you are ruining education and blaming the wrong people. We have a great staff at my school, please Penny FIRE all of us, you would be doing us a favor, we are sick of getting blamed for your mess up at the top of this district!!!!

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:57 am

That's exactly what my reaction was - here is another way they can promise our students will fail. They need to be in their own environments, safe with teachers they know. Any change like this will increase discomfort and stress levels - as if they are not high enough with the pressure we are putting on them now.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 9:15 am

This is not a big deal. I used to sub at a dozen Philly charter schools thru an agency. Sometimes schools requested us to help them proctor such exams. Kids had their heads down doing the test mostly and could care less who I was.

Submitted by Dennis (not verified) on February 28, 2012 6:37 pm

And who will be paying for these proctors?

Submitted by Corrine (not verified) on February 28, 2012 6:47 pm

From what I have heard so far, the proctors will still be teachers from the school, but will be teachers in different grades or classrooms... I absolutely cannot wait to see this craziness play out...

Submitted by Anonymous on February 28, 2012 6:11 pm

This is complete bullsh!t, will Corbett and Tomalis be cooming here to proctor the tests themselves since these kids teachers aparently can't be trusted to do it?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 6:45 pm

I don't see this as a big deal. If merit pay is in our future, then this move helps test student knowledge. SATs are taken in a sterile environment, why not PSSAs?

Personally with these stringent rules and no more "coaching," which all schools did, I hope scores plummet and a light is shed on the atrociousness that these tests have created in the first place. Unfortunately I see merit pay as a guarantee in my future career and I want these tests to be minimized as much as possible before it happens.

Submitted by Mark T. (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:35 pm

Can you say, boob?

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:47 am

THose tests - the SAT's are given to much older children than we are talking about here. We are talking about 8 year olds who need the stability of their own teachers in their own classes. Covering those tools we teach the kids to use is enough distraction and disruption.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 6:20 pm

Logistically, for high schools, this will be insane. It basically means that no 11th grade teacher can proctor the test!

So, 9th, 10th, and 12th grade teachers will be pulled out of THEIR classes, which I suppose will be covered by the 11th grade teachers, and instead of turning one grade up-side-down, it will disrupt the whole school for the duration of testing.

What crap.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:38 pm

There goes March and April.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:55 pm

You have late arrivals for others to help besides 11th in high schools

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:18 pm

I'm a test coordinator.

The students' primary math and reading teachers cannot proctor those respective sections. At my school, due to the late arrival provisions, it took me about 10 minutes to regroup students so that their current math and English teachers weren't their proctors. For us it was no big deal, but I can see how it could have been much worse.

For elementary students, though, this is completely unfair and ridiculous.

Submitted by anonymous teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:08 pm

I'm an elementary test coordinator. Our kids are comfortable with their classroom teachers. The state is taking away any security the kids feel-and adding to their test-taking anxiety! Not only that-it's gonna be a logistical nightmare-mere days before the test! Has anyone seen the actual documentation from the PDE and/or SDP that this is now mandatory, and not just recommended???

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:01 pm

OFFICE OF ACCOUNTABILITY PSSA REVISED TEST ADMINISTRATION PROTOCOL
On February 22nd, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) was notified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) of modifications to the PSSA Test Administration protocols. The modified protocol states that the individual(s) administering the PSSA test cannot be the student’s primary teacher. Prior to the notice, PDE only “strongly recommended” that the test administrator or proctor be an individual other than the student’s primary teacher. PDE now is requiring that all SDP schools abide by this modified protocol; this is no longer a recommendation.
Schools are asked to revise their test administration plan according to the new directive, which states that the individual(s) administering or proctoring the PSSA test cannot be the student’s primary teacher. The Office of Accountability is interpreting this to mean that students cannot be tested by their teacher of the given subject, e.g. Math sections cannot be administered or proctored by the teacher(s) that provides the student with mathematics instruction. In cases where the primary teacher provides instruction in both Math & Reading, then that teacher cannot be involved in administering or proctoring any component of the test to his/her students.
Contact assessment@philasd.org if you have any questions regarding this matter.

Submitted by anonymous teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:55 pm

thanks!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 6:27 pm

We had children cry today when they heard this news. The policy is OK for 7th-11th grade, but not for our little ones.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on March 1, 2012 6:29 am

My eleventh grade niece is in a total panic. She has been the target of several bullies and is extremely afraid that a teacher she down not know will not support her in any situation like that.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:13 pm

In K-8 schools, this means elementary and middle school teachers will have to switch age groups. That's insane. People usually picked an age group for a reason. I'm just imagining the teachers that might be taking my kids... It will not be good.

It isn't just for a day. This is nearly a month of disruption to the school year. We are, essentially, being forced to become substitute teachers for our colleagues.

Honest teachers who want students to do well create a good test environment. For example, they pat all the students on the back and say they're doing great. They give out mints or nice pencils, give students time to destress after the test. They know which students have low levels and need extra encouragement. This is aside from the classroom management built up over the year.

The PDE is openly discriminating against Philadelphia.

Submitted by Philly Teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:19 pm

I think this is just wrong. Our students are comfortable with their teachers and, for some, only respond to their own teachers. My students act up with any other teacher, but they are fine with me. This is just throwing a wrench into the system and is screwing with kids and their comfort level. You work all year with a group of students, they are comfortable with you and respond to you, but you can't test them.

Honestly, I think we are being set up to fail. They know that students are not going to be at their best with another teacher. You can't just walk into someone else's room and take over. There is no rapport built with the new class. Students are not going to perform like they normally would, so scores will go down, and the state will try to say we were cheating in previous years. When the scores go down they will bring in more charter organizations and try to break the district.

I have never cheated on the PSSA and never will. Honestly, I could care less about the PSSA. It means nothing to me but stress and aggravation. It doesn't measure my students' learning. IT never has. IT measures how well they can take a test on a given day.

I feel like I'm being treated like a child, rather than a professional. We are being singled out and it's disgusting that they can get away with this. This needs to be fought and dealt with.

Let me give the test to my own students.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:53 pm

I agree wholeheartedly! I have never cheated and never will, but I agree that even my 8th graders will not test as well with others as they will with me. I just got done talking with the testing coordinator about one of my 'difficult' students today. I told her not to worry, I had confidence that the kid would test well for me--now that we have to switch proctors, this kid--who can get advanced scores--may be 'off'. I am sick of PA. treating Philadelphia teachers and kids like second class citizens. This is patently unjust, and I believe they are trying to break us. This will be the excuse for more privatization, and the end of real public schools in Philly.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:50 pm

That's their goal and everything they're doing is designed to bring that to fruition. Having said that, this looks illegal since it's so obviously discriminatory. I don't believe any judge will side with them on this. I agree-where is Jerry Jordan??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 11:18 pm

If your 8th graders will test better only with you then something is wrong. You should be able to test well irrespective of proctor. You're not going to be there for their PSATs, SATs, civil service exams, etc.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:04 am

People who take SATs, Civil Service exams, etc.... are taking them of their own volition and to meet a goal--it is their choice. They are not children who feel beaten down by a testing machine that does no one any good and does not help them further their goals. It is a very different situation.

Submitted by Mrs. G (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:40 pm

SATs? Are you kidding?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:57 pm

This is going to be a nightmare for all children but particularly our special education students, some of which have additional diagnoses which impact on their learning. Now also factor in their behavioral issues. This is really unfair to the children who have developed relationships with their teachers, teachers who understand the children's individual needs. Why not just put cameras in the rooms ( I am joking of course since there is no money in the District to do that.). I bet you going to have students who are going to be removed from their classrooms, environments that they are comfortable in, who will refuse to even take the tests. Now who are they going to blame for that? You guessed it, the teachers.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:35 am

You must also remember all those in our rooms that are undiagnosed or misplaced. They will suffer greatly due to these strange new rules.

Submitted by Philly Teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:02 pm

finally, is it legal? can they single us out?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:22 pm

I think this is a great idea! It will give us some real insight as to what these kids know. Also, will also help us to evaluate the teachers teaching in our child's classroom.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:36 pm

Standardized tests are an invalid assessment and even administered under perfect conditions are not a "real insight" into anything.

They are also not a valid measure of a teacher. Teachers in the suburbs WILL have higher test scores than teachers at a 99% free lunch school. The achievement gap is very real, and it is not caused by teachers. PSSA scores would be better used to give more resources to lower-performing schools. They can be a diagnostic tool for need, but they do not prove that a teacher is better or worse than another because no two classrooms in America are the same.

Do we blame the Philadelphia Police Department for Philadelphia having a higher crime rate than Lower Merion? Poverty causes a host of social ills, none of which can be reversed by a single teacher.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:47 pm

Who cares about comparisons to suburban schools? I care about comparisons between the benefits of guided reading and authentic literature vs. corrective reading and the arbitrary desires of walkthrough teams. Improved scores are being used to justify crappy policies and poor leadership and maybe this will shed some light on things.

I'm starting to thing notebook posters just want to complain.

Submitted by I Teach in Philly on February 29, 2012 3:10 pm

I care about comparisons between the benefits of guided reading and authentic literature vs. corrective reading and the arbitrary desires of walkthrough teams. Improved scores are being used to justify crappy policies and poor leadership and maybe this will shed some light on things.

Amen to that! considering teachers' hands have been tied as to what and how we teach our students, all test scores are a reflection of those at the top.

You ready for this Wayman-Cliatt? how about you, Nixon? all fingers will point to you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 4:50 pm

you are absolutely correct!!!!!!! I agree wholeheartedly...I have been an educator for over 35 years..I have worked in expensive private schools, Catholic schools and now the Philadelphia School District. Poverty, uncaring, dope-addicted parents, grandparents raising multiple grandchildren, incarcerated parents, violence in the neighborhoods, etc all impact learning. I am so tired of everyone blaming the teachers. I would love for the "real world" to see what we teachers put up with. Students with social/emotional disabilities disrupting the class for everyone and we have to tolerate it!!!!! Wake up, America!!!!!!! Thank God these dedicated men and women come to school everyday and battle to teach their classes. Students cursing at teachers daily. Soon, there will be no adult willing to do this job!!!!! Time to man-up and demand respect from our children or eventually we will all pay the price!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:32 pm

Clearly you do not know what goes into making a classroom a safe learning environment for students. Instead of worrying about "evaluating teachers" we need to concentrate on making sure our students are going to school in an environment where learning, not testing, is top priority.

This is not a "great idea." On the contrary it throws a wrench in the relationship that teachers and school staff take months to build. It shows students who are already all too familiar with chaos and instability in their environment that they cannot feel secure in their classrooms; their teachers are not to be trusted and they should be treated with the same respect given to students in other districts. Standardized testing is difficult and stressful for all involved, especially the students. Pulling the rug out from under them 2 weeks before the test will only increase the stress and test anxiety that many students feel putting yet another roadblock in their way instead of clearing the way for their success.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:01 pm

yes, this is terrible for the kids but are you saying that the current process is good? Sometimes positive change takes a tough path. High stakes tests are garbage and if there wasn't such a big push for them, there would be no stressful environment.

Submitted by Mrs. G (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:13 pm

Really? Explain how that will work? Do you even know how they measure progress based on this test? Your child's progress is not measures against how the child performed last year, it is based on how a different set of children performed. AYP is based on how well, for example, this year's 8th class scores compared to how last year's 8th grade class performed. Why doesn't the public have this information? Why aren't parents of students with special needs questioning why the state doesn't have to comply with their IEP? Why aren't we all up in arms about having students take a test on grade level that counts for so much when they started speaking English a year ago.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:08 pm

Yes, and that is why every child should be tested every year with a non-threatening diagnostic instrument given in a psychologically safe setting -- so we can measure growth validly.

We should also revert back to assessments that reasonably approximate instructional levels so we can measure growth in some reasonably valid and reliable way.

Only a well educated teacher who works with students daily can accurately assess a student's real reading ability. Even the best standardized tests can only approximate a student's reading level. Informal assessment refines that data in authentic reading situations.

If standardized tests are not administered in a standard and consistent manner across all examinees, the validity of the data is lessened.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:22 pm

remember, you are dealing with very young children...this is not a great idea. I believe that the PSD probably did well on the last round of PSSA's and the state can't believe, so they are accusing us of cheating. Noone can believe our children can do well...that would go against the need for more ridiculous charters. The charter schools diminish the curriculum...teaching to the test all day long is not a quality education. Do you think the rich people have their children learning test prep all day?? I think NOT! Think about it....where are all the charters...in poor, inner city neighborhoods. People in the suburbs go to public schools or they PAY out of pocket for private school. Also, tests should not be used to evaluate teachers...there are a lot of other factors to be accounted for. Or we can all jump on the bandwagon and blame teachers for EVERYTHING that has gone wrong.............................the easiest way out!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:30 pm

The fact that the number one argument opposing this is that students need to feel comfort with their teacher speaks to the invalidity of the tests as a demonstration of progress and knowledge.

I guess I'm confused as to why all of you, my colleagues, want good scores when they continue to use these scores to prove that turnaround schools and charters are outperforming? or to promote cheaters to senior ranking roles.

We are being told this year that it is a violation to do anything but make a general statement to the class. You are not allowed to point out empty answers or even encourage students to add a little extra to an open response. If we all follow these rules, then the room will be virtually silent. What does it matter who is proctoring in that environment? Eliminating an incentive to prove yourself seems to be the only way to ensure a level playing field across all classes/schools.

I understand behavior...I have the same dynamic in my class but should we be encouraging this? Should kids only be able to demonstrate their knowledge (by filling in bubbles) with us in their presence? I understand I'm be idealistic but every reform in education is idealistic and hurts us in the inner city. I might be naive but I hope scores state wide drop and a new discussion on the validity of high stakes tests take place...hopefully leading to less emphasis on them. It is going to be a logistical nightmare and a terrible experience for these kids but a means to an end and lets face it, this generation already lost out on so much as a result of these tests. Maybe, just maybe it can improve for the next generation.

Submitted by MacMaven (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:21 pm

"I might be naive but I hope scores state wide drop and a new discussion on the validity of high stakes tests take place..."

I do believe they want to see our scores drop too, and are setting us up for this to happen; however, I highly doubt this will initiate intelligent discussion on validity - it will be used to accuse all Philly schools with lowered scores (for whatever reason) of having cheated all along.

Submitted by Mrs. G (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:47 pm

Scores won't drop, but you will see a big change on the horizon. This year schools have to make 80% in reading or be labeled failures. I suspect as soon as the suburban schools start earning that failure label, things will change. It's already starting. Last year, schools in Bucks County that typically had good test scores failed to make AYP due to ELL and SPED.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:51 pm

I was told I can encourage students. But I read in the sheet they gave out that I can't review student work. I didn't realize I was never allowed to tell students that they missed an answer until now but the rule was always there..nobody ever told me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:34 pm

Interesting....I was always under the impression that I wasn't permitted to tell a child to go back and look for any missing answers. Now, I am being told that as long as the student does not turn in the booklet to me, as in, I am finished, I can tell them that they missed an answer and to recheck their work.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 9:45 pm

No you can't. You can't review a child's work for completion..or for any reason...read the handbook...they trained us this week on it and I never knew. You can tell the child to check their work, but when you they missed an answer, that means you reviewed the work, which is not allowed. Be careful...this year is different..we need to follow the rules that were there all along...this is not like a regular test where I can look at answer sheet and tell them to complete.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:34 am

Oh, I agree with you a 100%, I was just relying what I was told. I am going to do what I have been doing only stating what the directions in the book tell me to do.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:28 pm

what a wrong move....we have built relationships with these students, and they have learned to trust us. For many students, they will have a very hard time concentrating when their most trusted person is not around. I know my class, and they will act up big time to see what they can get away with around another teacher. Ok...I suppose the charter schools are allowed to have their teachers with them during the test? Can this really be happening?

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:21 pm

That's the expectation they have. Killed by friendly fire--plays right into their agenda. Have as few schools as possible make AYP.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:18 am

Speaking for the one charter I know about - they are n to sure yet who is testing which groups - the kids have been told that they will not be with their own teachers, but they have also been given a short day schedule for the two weeks of testing, They test and go home - which is much better in my opinion for stress levels of all involved.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:34 pm

More mandates from big government telling teachers what to do. Just because politicians cheat doesn't mean the teachers will.

Submitted by Christina Puntel (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:14 pm

What about special education and accommodations? Who will deliver these accommodations if we can not test our students? Inequitable and harsh, which I've come to expect from this anti Philly/anti child/anti teacher administration.

Submitted by anonymous teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:34 pm

Good question!

Submitted by Ed Rendell (not verified) on February 28, 2012 7:45 pm

Vote democrat?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:24 pm

Put all the kids in one big venue and let Nixon, Wayman and Johnson give them the answers!!

Submitted by Mark T. (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:14 pm

OK----TELL ME I"M STILL WRONG !! When are we going to say STOP????? Where's our union and Jerry Jordan?? This is of course illegal and unethical but still the PFT is silent as of now. Are they complicit?? I give up.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:44 pm

F04 …. anyone …. everyone?

You should feel sick!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:14 pm

I feel really sick

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:29 am

I feel sick now, too, but an F04 will just add to everyone's stress. If I was actually sick, it is what it is, but not to so my frustrations now - that is just adding to the unfairness of the situation.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:38 am

show my frustrations - sorry - the computer tried to help and made it worse.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:50 pm

Yes, and it's all by design by Corbett and his privateer buddies. We know the enemy so why is the PFT silent. Guess why??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:17 pm

If this will keep me from worrying about being accused of cheating then fine. I personally don't want to make it any easier for the state to accuse me of cheating when all I might be doing is repeating directions for a student. We had a teacher fired for "cheating" last year and I personally do not want to go through the hassle. If you want me to proctor another teachers class that is ok with me. I understand all the arguments, but right now we need to do what is best for everyone and make the testing as legit as we possibly can.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:04 pm

Anonymous, you have made me feel happy. I completely agree.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:53 pm

This is a good thing.

My school got in trouble for stupid things teachers did with their own students. It wasn't "cheating" it was just "encouraging" and it was against the clearly stated rules and helped students in her class but no others. I am glad that this new policy will make that less likely to happen.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:12 pm

Are you a 3rd grader?? This isn't a good thing for the kids taking the test. Plus, THINK--why is it that only Philly teachers are being blacklisted?? Think beyond yourself if you're able to.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:33 pm

I am college-educated--a necessary distinction for any fully-certified teacher in the School District of Philadelphia. As such I was a 3rd grader but have since progressed.

I do think beyond myself. I think going to schools under the cloud of PSSA cheating is bad for students. I think colleges are less likely to trust SDP graduates because of this. I think students need to learn what to expect from the testing environment. They shouldn't expect "encouragement" or a friendly face when they sit the SAT.

I don't think opinion makes me either self-centered or a 3rd grader. I'd like to think it makes me an educator looking to have her students succeed in life beyond the SDP.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:50 pm

Grow up, get a life and get over yourself. Stop whimpering. There are FAR larger fish to fry and fights to win than your hurt feelings.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:02 pm

As a general supporter of this policy I can assure you this is not a fight I am having. My feelings are not hurt I am merely miffed by the outcry of a rather common-sense policy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:56 pm

I can't be bothered commenting further to you. Either you're just playing or you're beyond help. Curl up in a ball and go to sleep.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:07 pm

Ah, one of the esteemed walkthrough team slinks in to tell us all how to do a job they can't.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 11:01 pm

I am a classroom teacher at an elementary school. I dislike walkthrough teams which give no valid feedback as much as the next teacher. I fail to understand how this is or I am connected to walkthrough teams. You just disagree with me and would rather think I'm part of The Cabal than address my differing viewpoint.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:20 am

I hope you feel better. I have no idea what you're talking about but it seems serious. Cabal????????

Submitted by Stefanie Paul (not verified) on February 28, 2012 8:53 pm

Has any of this ever been about what is best for the kids? My juniors have been beaten down by this testing since they were seven years old. I remember walking by bar graphs of student's benchmark scores posted in the hall. One of my students said, "I don't ever want to see my score displayed like that". This kind bullying and humiliation has no part in education. Will this ever stop?

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:24 pm

No, unless WE FORCE it to stop and it may well get ugly. In any case, it's our only hope.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:22 pm

If this is what it takes to finally get them off our back and stop accusing teachers then I will gladly swap classes...it's not like the kids don't know me anyways.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:01 pm

Yes, but will they swap out principals? Time and time again, we hear that admin at schools are the cause of cheating... but only teachers get the blame.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 4:30 pm

I agree. All accounts that I've heard about potential cheating point to administrators as culprits, not teachers. So why the edict against teachers? As a teacher, I'm sick and tired of fingers being pointed at me and my co-workers for ALL of the ills of education. In fact, I'm fighting mad! If only I had a union which was as mad as I am!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:11 pm

The ACLU needs to get involved. How disgusting to single out Philadelphia teachers because of the work of some egomaniac administrators that ignored reality. This has to be stopped or have every teacher in the state follow this new protocol. I am so disgusted that the state is labeling me like this. Disgrace.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:18 pm

I agree with you. It is NOT fair to blame the teachers. Teachers are doing a great job working with so much less and under such inhumane conditions. Let's be fair: Put the blame on the "few" building administrators who caused the problem in the first place. Why should they get a "free pass" out of the situation? Teachers are NOT the problem!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:20 pm

State would love to see every teacher not give the test to their own students but can't force it...the fact that a few cheating teachers and administrators have done this is the reason why we have to do it now...do other districts that were named have to donthis. Has state said who else. Lower M. bad example and what don they know?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:54 pm

Everyone who cares be at 440 N. Broad for the Save Our Schools rally on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Jerry Jordan will be one of the speakers.

Submitted by Raheem (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:44 pm

The e-mail I received from them states that the rally begins at 3:30 - 20 minutes after I dismiss my students across town. Does anyone REALLY believe that the PFT or politicians care about the children? We're in the USSR in 1980.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:54 pm

That was a mistake in the PFT mailing. The rally is at 4:00.

This is actually part of a national event being staged by Occupy groups all over the country in support of public education. Occupy Penn and Occupy Temple are having rallies on their campus at 1:00 p.m. against Corbett's cuts to higher education. They are then marching from each of their campuses to Governor Corbett's office at 200 S. Broad for a joint rally at 3:00 p.m. At 3:30 they are marching to 440 N. Broad for a rally against the attacks on public education at 4:00 p.m.

The public school nurses will have there 10th rally at 440 N. Broad on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. against the layoff of 47 nurses, cuts to nursing in the schools, and against the attacks on public education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:26 pm

Raheem--you are my comrade ?? I agree with you totally, this is all orchestrated and paid for by the corporations and pols, Nutter included. Unless we fight BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, it's over for the kids in the inner cities. Even now, they have 2.5 strikes against them for no fault of their own but with Corbett and his minions, the end for them--the kids--is near but keep building those prisons, 2 of the 3 private as in corporate money. Actually, I would say, USSR circa 1955.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:01 pm

Everyone who cares be at 440 N. Broad for the Save Our Schools rally on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Jerry Jordan will be one of the speakers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:16 pm

If it rains, he won't be there.

Submitted by linda (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:14 pm

okay here is what we do....
Since all that matters is what is on the paperall the teachers get NEW ROSTERS that have them "listed" as teaching section "X" so then they can test section "Y"

.......but really there is no physical change at all since the kids aremain in in their regular rooms with the regular teachers .

Just show the powers that be the "paperwork..."and keep on smiling

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:54 pm

So when they investigate my school and interview my students on who tested them, what then? I don't want to break the rules...why not just actually move X kids to Y classrooms? Why are we wasting energy thwarting rules instead of prepping kids...we should do our mock tests using new teacher rules to get ready....

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:59 pm

Think BEYOND YOURSELF and your precious feelings. They are discriminating against US as citizens, all of us.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:44 pm

Discriminating as citizens? I just don't want get fired because somebody wanted to play cat -and-mouse games with rules.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:38 am

That's the problem. They're in the wrong, not us. This isn't Red China, at least not yet.

Submitted by linda (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:15 pm

"Sorry, no talking during the test"......

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:56 pm

Why are Philadelphia teachers being punished for the crimes of the Philadelphia School District's principals? Who is more likely to change answer a teacher stuck inside a room full of 20-30 witnesses or the principal that has the keys to the rooms the tests are stored in which they can leisurely browse after hours? Unless a school has had a sudden increase in its scores there should be no such nonsense at any school. Just further proof of Corbett's war on Philadelphia public schools. How come he doesn't require his boss, Vahan, to do the same at his charter down in Chester? I seem to recall that they were under investigation too. Oh, that's right, Vahan contributes so much money to Corbett's campaigns that all he has to say is "jump!" and Corbett replies, "How high, Bossman!"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 9:57 pm

The State has just prohibited Philadelphia teachers from proctoring the PSSA.

And our Chief Academic Officer was the Principal at one of the main Fraud factories.

How bad is that going to look in a couple of months??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:54 pm

This idea has its pros and cons, but it's discrimination to apply it only to Philly teachers and the district needs to go to court to demand our district is treated with the same respect as all others. This is part of an ongoing pattern of unending disrespect that Harrisburg has directed at Philadelphia with impunity.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 10:45 pm

The district also needs to sue the state, like Camden did, for adequate funding on the basis that denying funding inequitably to low-income schools is discriminatory. They won.

That's assuming the district wants to get adequate funding and wants to be treated fairly.

All signs point to a district that is systematically being destroyed from within by those put in charge.

Submitted by Milton (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:37 pm

Bingo--Their bean counters know exactly what they're doing and exactly what Ackerman was doing etc.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 11:58 pm

I agree that this is not the teachers fault. Any form of cheating points to those that are higher up. They are the ones that are worried about their reputation. While teachers care about their students performance on the PSSA, we also know that it is not a true indiciator of how well we have taught our students.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on February 28, 2012 11:39 pm

The irrational outrage is very telling...then again, if I were tampering with test results to secure government (taxpayer) funds, I would be upset as well.

Submitted by tom-104 on February 28, 2012 11:04 pm

Why public shaming of teachers is exactly what the corporate reformers want -- with nationwide implications for our public schools

http://tinyurl.com/7nvnwvf

Submitted by tom-104 on February 28, 2012 11:25 pm

This is what the attack on public education looks like!

"The True Story of Pascale Mauclair"

http://www.edwize.org/the-true-story-of-pascale-mauclair

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2012 11:08 pm

Penny Nixon = Fraud Factory

Submitted by Jonathan (not verified) on February 29, 2012 12:10 am

I personally know several people who left Cayuga Elementary School because the principal (Cortez) was very directly pressuring them to cheat on the PSSA. Some of these people were left with no option but to leave their district jobs. Cortez was featured on the front page of the Sunday edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer ( 2/19/2012). The article relied on teacher testimony, and the truly unbelievable jump in that schools test scores in 2009 as evidence of her cheating.

Despite the fact that most principals and teachers are honest professionals and do not (want to) cheat, a culture of cheating has grown in Philadelphia and likely other cities with similar challenges. After more than a decade of school reform and No Child Left Behind, why is the goal of student achievement still so hard to achieve? Why does cheating seems like a necessary option for many?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 12:36 am

Yes, I read the same article about Principal Cortez. How sad...Does anyone know what happened with this incident? Is the principal still there? So because of this incident, teachers are being punished. Let the principal get away and blame the teachers! Sad!!!

Submitted by Milton (not verified) on February 29, 2012 9:40 pm

Because the goals are ridiculous.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 5:31 am

Has the SDP / PDE released the names of the 50 schools under investigation? There is evidence of obvious cheating at some schools - apparently orchestrated by the principals (e.g. Roosevelt, Cayuga, Wagner, etc.) Why not penalize the principals rather than the teachers? Don't let the principals near the schools during the testing window.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 6:26 am

We can't have it both ways folks. We hate the tests, hate the administration, hate the pressure, hate the walkthroughs, hate the corrective. The increased results of the tests over the last years have been used to justify the programs and policies we all hate. Now we have a movement to uncover the inflation of the scores and we hate that too. To top it off some of us can't even acknowledge an opposing viewpoint and attack teachers when we hate that teachers are blamed for everything. Easy now. We know the behaviors of the parents of our worst kids make them who we are. Some of us are behaving the exact same way. Everyone has an opinion. Disagree productivity and argue harder if you want. We are adding to this terrible culture of not respecting ourselves.

This move sucks for the kids this year but I do feel as if it is a move in favor of teachers. This eliminates teachers from the cheating equation and places blame square on the laps of administrators who are changing answers after the fact. I imagine administrators will not do those things this year and scores will plummet exposing that all of Queen Arlene's gains were manipulated numbers.

As caring teachers, we know these tests don't measure us so why are we all of a sudden in uproar that our scores might drop? Did we forget that they are trying their hardest to make these scores measure us. Do you want to inherit a group of 6th graders who came from a culture of cheating and then have to decide as a dedicated 6th grade teacher if you will violate your morals and cheat so their scores stay up or stick to your guns and lose money or your job because you don't show progress?

I know many are or will be angry when they hear the rules that coaching is not even allowed. The only words spoken in the testing environment are general statements of encouragement to the whole class. Speaking to an individual student is a violation. Pointing to empty bubbles and reminding them to guess rather then leave blank is a violation. Skimming through a book and then returning to a student is a violation. And guess what? This isn't new. Its always been the rules but we didn't know it because our testing coordinators were never told in their training because the District loved that they could get better scores and have a scapegoat for this coaching. A few sour apples went too far and we are were we are today.

This is a logical move. This is hard but if done right, where in future years, we mock this environment for predictive, it shouldn't be a big deal. The only bad part I see here is that THIS SHOULD BE MANDATORY state wide. I read the article and am waiting to hear that is is because I read with an open mind, not with blind rage. "the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has prohibited Philadelphia teachers – but apparently not teachers in other districts across the state " To me apparently means not quite so sure yet. We don't have any definitive news yet.

I would hope that this is the start of the end of these tests and that kids can learn again but I know that is not the agenda of the politicians. I do think however that this move does not help them (as long as it's done state wide) because it will erase most of the gains in the past and the mass public will see that education is in an abysmal state. Yes, I think they will push forward with union busting and merit pay, but it will be harder to do so without tooting bull crap blue ribbon reports showing all the gains made by unethical people.

Ok, now that I productively expressed my individual opinion on the matter, please proceed to behave just as ignorantly as many of our students and tell me I'm stupid, or childish. Heck don't stop there...tell me I"m drawin or saudy and we can start a you fight.

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:40 am

These tests do not measure us - they do not measure the kids either, but that is how they are used - to make us all look bad - stupid and lost. Since that is how they are used - comparing apples to bathtubs all day long - that is the game we need to p[lay, too.
We know that these tests are useless - but they provide excuses for the powers that be and that is the scary issue.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:03 am

I agree... being told clearly what the rules are is a good thing and being protected from blame is good too...I think all of PA needs to do this...I also agree that this hurts younger students with testing stress.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 9:33 pm

Bravo! It's about time to read an intelligent comment on this page. Thank you for being a voice of reason!

Submitted by meg (not verified) on February 29, 2012 7:55 am

This is not going to turn out well. Kids instinctively do better - focus more intently for teachers they like and trust. It is the nature of the beast. I cannot see how any child - no matter what age would put in any extra effort for some teacher they only see in the halls. I know that we are under the microscope for cheating, but it seems that is the wrong focus. Since no one in Philadelphia has been allowed to actually teach the skills lately - only teach test prep - we are in trouble before switching around in the classes. Now - we do not even get to sink or swim with our own students? THis is punishment - one poster here said we must have done too well last time - that might be a very strong observation... somehow I truly doubt this is planned to make the kids do better.
These are young children - they are under unbelievable pressure now and this move will increase it dramatically.
We have to say no. We have to protect our children - no one else will, obviously. Please note - I am not in a testing grade and I see the issues - this is a set up to catch us again... it is not for our children.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:39 am

The arguments condemning these new policies are flimsy at best and otherwise justify the public's skepticism of the profession. It shouldn't matter who administers a test. If a child knows the material and values his education, he will test well regardless.

Educators reap what they sow. The struggles you face in prepping students for these examinations are impacted by socio-economics. However, they are also the product of a system that has for decades turned a blind eye to failing youths.

Maybe it's unfair to lose your job because the lazy moron, who "taught" before you didn't do his. Again, though, the solution with teachers is never to address the irresponsibility or ineffectiveness of the few. It's to "protect jobs and funding at all costs." Many of the comments on this topic clearly illustrate that.

Submitted by tom-104 on February 29, 2012 9:52 am

And you ignore the corporate "reformers" who are salivating at another place to reap huge profits by privatizing schools like they did wrecking banking and Wall Street with a ten year orgy of gambling with the savings of municipalities and workers. Take a look at "Inside Job" at http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/inside_job_2010/ if you want to know what's really going on.

The look at "Still Separate, Still Unequal: Racism, Class and the Attack on Public Education, with Brian Jones" at:

http://vimeo.com/36905750

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on February 29, 2012 10:15 am

I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania -- one largely comprised of non-union factory larborers. My parents were also divorced, and my mother (of two) never earned close to a six-figure income. By all accounts, I should have been a casualty of the system, dismissed as a product of less than ideal socio-economic status. I managed just fine, though, and it had nothing to do with private schooling or the non-union educators who "taught" me. So yes, I will concede that far too much emphasis is placed on the quality of teachers.

That said, educators -- particularly those in failing inner-city schools who earn far more than their private sector counter-parts -- shouldn't be given a free pass. The U.S. spends more per child on education than any other nation in the world. There's no excuse for a child "graduating" high school without basic reading proficiency or an adequate knowledge of math and science. Ironically, that's what our nation produces year-after-year. In part, that is the result of educators who are far too comfortable "passing" children through a system that focused more on educator salaries and job security than the learning of the children with whom they are entrusted.

So villify Wall Street or whatever conservative scapegoat floats your collective boat (vouchers, charter schools, politicians, parents, etc.). At the end of the day, you're paid to educate. To the extent that you are unwilling or unable to do so, is your problem. If you're not happy with it, move to a wealthy suburb and teach some privileged brats.

On a completely unrelated note, the President of the United States sends his children to a private school, when he could easily place them at a public school in Washington D.C. Your own cheerleaders don't believe in you, why should the rest of us?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 4:09 pm

We as a country do not spend more then other countries per capita. I do agree with some of your statements. Teachers who do not like what they are doing or can't teach need to leave the profession.
However there is currently a war against public education in this state and country and you should be able to see that. Look at all the cuts not only to basic education but to higher education as well.
Students have no business graduating if they cannot read, however the last decade has been focused on being able to take a test, not on educating children. Everything comes down to the test.
And Philadelphia teachers make far less then our counterparts in the suburbs and private sector.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on February 29, 2012 6:23 pm

There should be a war on public education. It has been failing students -- particularly those in impoverished inner-cities -- for decades, and if you pay income tax in Pennsylvania or property tax in Philadelphia County, your money is funding these failed institutions. Note: that completely ignores the added social costs of sending poorly-educated students into society, with absolutely no hopes of competing or self sufficiency.

As far as teaching to the tests is concerned, again, who is to blame? The taxpayer demanding a return on their investment or the BAD teachers and administrators that foster institutionalized failure and focus on standardized tests explicitly to protect union jobs and wages?

Educators as a whole make far more than the private sector taxpayers that support them -- particularly when you factor in the number of required workdays/hours and the almost non-existent contributions educators make towards their employee benefits.

The fact that you happen to be stuck in a poor school district doesn't negate the fact that teachers overall, fair far better than the non-union schmucks who page their wages.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 29, 2012 8:08 pm

Really, PA is the only state in the union that cut funding for education and is building 3 new prisons. We are not going to be sending these kids out into the world they are going to be going to jail.
The test has destroyed education, having a child read a passage and answering questions is not the same as a child being able to read, comprehend and apply higher order thinking skills to what they read.
Educators my friend do not make more then people in the private sector, we make far less, thats why education cannot attack the best and brightest, those people go into the private sector. Stop drinking the cool aid and believing everything you hear.
Also please explain to me how standardized test protect union jobs and wages, the teachers have been trying to get rid of them since they began.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on February 29, 2012 9:44 pm

The test destroyed education or the system that prompted the test's necessity destroyed education? I would put my wager on the latter personally.

Submitted by Mrs. G (not verified) on March 1, 2012 4:15 pm

You do realize the test has been around for 50 years, right? It's amazing that you know all the sound bites, but in reality you know nothing.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on March 1, 2012 7:09 pm

Well I know the difference between "resent" and "recent" -- that's more than I can say for some 2nd-grade, public school teachers...

Submitted by meg (not verified) on March 2, 2012 6:45 am

I am proud of you for knowing that at least. Take a bow.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2012 9:32 am

That's right...let's have a "war" on public education because some politicians and riled-up portions of the electorate are angry that college-educated professionals make a livable wage and receive benefits. Do you know who the casualties of this war you support are? CHILDREN.

P.S.: Anyone who complains about teachers' "required workdays/hours" in relation to teachers' salaries has no idea what the profession requires. Spent some time with some of the quality teachers in SDP (or any district) and then you can talk about teachers' workloads.

P.P.S.: Please, PLEASE don't criticize teachers if you can't even distinguish homonyms. It's "fare" not "fair."

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on March 1, 2012 7:48 pm

I wouldn't care about your "livable wage," if I weren't the one footing the bill. I would care less about it if i knew the money was well spent and children were actually learning. It's quite obvious from the responses on this site that teachers are doing little more than prepping students for a standardized test, not for the sake of education but for the purpose of securing government funding. Whine all you want about livable wages, but don't expect taxpayers to give you increasingly large shares of their incomes with no expectations.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on March 1, 2012 9:04 pm

How much of your bill are we footing? How much do we pay for your day care workers' healthcare and foodstamps?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2012 9:46 pm

LOL-----Just a product of the system. Keep collecting that welfare check bleat.....I'm impressed.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on March 2, 2012 8:23 am

I have more respect for those on welfare than I do for those teaching in public schools. With the former it's simply, "I don't have money to live; you should give me some of yours." With teachers, it's always a deception. It's always a sob story about working conditions or some plea for the children. But the children never see the money; the schools are never updated. Any additional funding goes directly to the unions to keep their employed. It's a giant scam.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2012 8:36 am

Noooooooo, any additional money goes down town to 440. How does the money go to the unions? Please, get a clue, you have no idea what you are talking about. Please watch something other then fox news and get your talking points correct. Stupid is as stupid does, get informed and get a clue.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on March 8, 2012 9:26 am

Government agencies fund the schools...the schools pay their teachers...the teachers pay union dues. It's really not that complicated. Are you sure I'm the one that needs a "clue?"

Submitted by meg (not verified) on March 2, 2012 8:14 am

You are complaining about the system we work under - not the teachers. I supply my classroom with all the basics and have to include paper, crayons and pencils in those supplies. We cannot get paper towels or tissues even for the direct use of the students.
I know the district has wasted money - lots of money - but that is not in the control of the teachers. You do not know what you are talking about.,

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on March 2, 2012 9:25 am

You think too much of yourself, if you think that anyone here is interested in your respect.

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on March 8, 2012 9:50 am

95% of the people commenting on this site are preoccupied with:

1. finding a way to fudge test results;
2. covering up fraud;
3. coming up with a new narrative to con taxpayers into giving them and their unions more money.

So you're right, no one is interested in my respect. There are quite a few people (yourself included) in silencing my opinion, though. Strange...

Submitted by bleat_on (not verified) on March 2, 2012 9:58 am

Considering my tax dollars pay for your salary, healthcare and fully-funded pension, you are contributing nothing my bills. If anything, I'm paying for myself twice -- once through my out-of-pocket expenses and once through taxes you pay (which is really my money, taxed through your bi-weekly withholding). Of course this assumes that I'm government assistance, which I'm not.

Submitted by One of the Good Ones (not verified) on March 4, 2012 10:02 am

Stop saying fully-funded pension. Teachers pay into their pension every paycheck. I bet you don't even pay taxes.

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