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Many speak out about charters, closings at SRC on Thursday

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 15, 2012 09:09 PM

[Updated Friday with video] At Thursday's School Reform Commission monthly action meeting, more than 40 speakers were on the agenda, with school closings and charter renewals and expansions among the hot topics. 

As at other recent SRC meetings, contingents turned out again from two elementary schools targeted for closing, E.M. Stanton and Sheppard. The SRC heard passionate testimony from both schools. Notebook news partner PlanPhilly compiled video testimony on the topic of school closings from those who came because of the issue.

This was the final public SRC meeting before the commission votes on the school closing recommendations on March 29. Charter school renewals come before the SRC on April 19.

The auditorium was nearly full as the meeting opened. Supporters of charter schools up for renewal – including Hope and Arise Academy – and a number of charters hoping to expand came out to make their case.

Parents questioning the decision to make Creighton a Renaissance charter also presented their arguments.

The meeting was scheduled to include a presentation on Renaissance Schools, but that was cancelled.

A draft list of resolutions and agenda are available; a new development this month is that the resolution list includes the total cost of items to be voted on (it's $9.2 million, including capital expenditures). For this type of meeting, speakers have to register in advance. The speaker list is not available online.

SRC meetings are streamed online and broadcast on PSTV.

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Comments (71)

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on March 15, 2012 7:14 pm

I am watching channel 52 and it is not coming through clearly. I can see the pixels and the speaking is choppy. Is anyone else having these problems?

Also, can someone tell me why they can't just build a new building for the Isaac Sheppard School? They've built new buildings for West Philadelphia High, John Barry, Penn Alexander, and others. Why can't they have a capital plan for Sheppard?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2012 8:57 pm

Pan American Charter School, which is run by Congress (which is represented by Ramos law firm) is building a large, new school in the general area of Shepperd. I don't know, but I assume the expansion of this charter might have something to do with it.

Submitted by Jim H. (not verified) on March 15, 2012 8:07 pm

Of course, it does and that stinks. Can we all say, Conflict of Interest??

Submitted by Aaron (not verified) on March 15, 2012 10:02 pm

Conflict of Interest

Submitted by Sheppard Supporter (not verified) on March 15, 2012 10:03 pm

Pan American has actually come to the doorstep of Sheppard to hand out flyers to parents claiming that the closure of Sheppard is a certainty and that all of them should apply to the charter school right away. This caused a lot of anger and resentment among Sheppard parents and staff.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2012 5:40 am

Pan American is run by Congresso. Again, this shows the tenacity of some charter schools to assume they offer more than a SDP school. Pan American benefits from additional funding through Congresso and its political connection. (Yes, Mr. Ramos.) Pan American also will kick out students who do not meet its standards. So, what happens to the Sheppard students who don't fit into Pan American's plan?

Submitted by Mark J. (not verified) on March 16, 2012 9:39 am

As Shakespear said, "The difference between Lawyers and Rats, is that even Rats have limits to how far they will go." Ramos has turned into a piece of work. Charters are a bunch of crap and people are beginning to catch on to the overt corruption.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 3:44 pm

Gee, I would think so too but Ramos shows up and acts impartial while having conflict of interest written on his face.

Submitted by Sheppard Supporter (not verified) on March 15, 2012 10:16 pm

Thanks for your positive words about Sheppard, Michelle. We would rather our kids go to a new Sheppard building than another school, but the current facility is actually in excellent shape and architecturally and historically rich. We love it and hope it stays open.

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on March 16, 2012 11:35 pm

I love the older buildings as well. Sometimes, it's necessary to start anew. However, often times, they work quite well. I am very familiar with the Belmont Charter School (formerly Belmont Public School). The building, although clearly neglected for many years and in need of some work, has a lot of character. At first when I went there, I was like, this school is so outdated. But I have come to appreciate the character of the hardwood floors, wood trim and doors, and the beautiful brick. Each classroom has coat rooms as well, which is really cool. Yes, the wood floors need some work, but there's a lot to like. There's a 1960s addition to Belmont and it looks and feels like a prison! The original building is much better.

I looked at Google maps to see the school and the neighborhood around Sheppard. Let the SDP buy up a couple neighboring row houses. Then, demolish them for a larger playground and add on to the existing building so that the school can add 5th grade. Houses in the neighborhood probably aren't that expensive. I don't get why the district needs to close the school. From what I've heard, the families are happy with it. And it serves mostly economically disadvantaged, Latino/a students. The district and the powers that be struggle to do a good job serving low-income children of color, so when there is a school that is a success story, it should be a model. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Submitted by Sheppard Teacher (not verified) on March 18, 2012 6:42 pm

I like your thinking!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 15, 2012 9:37 pm

Where is the money coming from for all these expansions??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2012 5:07 am

Why is Cecilia Cannon, a retried SDP administrator (head of curriculum under Vallas) receiving $48,000 for her services? What is her hourly rate? What is she doing? What justifies paying "consultants" - especially retired SDP high paid personnel (e.g. Ed Williams and now Cannon) - to do work that should be done by staff at 440 N. Broad? (Cannon, by the way, has experience K-3. She knows nothing about high schools.)

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on March 16, 2012 8:15 pm

I noticed that, too.
She was in charge of curriculum adoption, & while she was clearly limited (I remember a conversation on a calculus adoption where there were concerns expressed that there were not enough "real world" problems or pictures), she did make sure that content questions were addressed promptly. There does not seem to have been any curriculum work since her time.
Perhaps this is an indication that someone remembered that schools need to teach something. More likely, though, is that HS texts need replacing: they are WAY out of print, and thus receive almost no publisher support.

Submitted by retired teacher (not verified) on March 16, 2012 8:08 pm

Williams and Cannon have been a team since the Vallas days, causing ill will with their peremptory treatment of teachers and schools. Like a bad dream that keeps recurring.

Submitted by retired North Phila. teacher (not verified) on March 18, 2012 10:57 am

Ed Williams and Ceil Cannon, a destructive team since the 1990s.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 1:51 pm

Cannon is getting $48,000 as a consultant - for 1/2 a year? Williams gets $850/day which potential $110,500 for a 1/2 year. Why SRC? Why?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2012 8:39 pm

Ed Williams was a "Consultant" for Foundations while at King High School. He milked hours by listening to Senior Projects when that could have been done by Staff, he was often "stirring the pot," and, he conveniently disappeared when the pot boiled over. He is a snake.

Submitted by 440 Staffer (not verified) on March 17, 2012 12:14 am

From a source in the Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Development office:

Ce-Ce has been brought back as a "consultant" because the school district, like all the others across the state have to transition to the Common Core standards, which means aligning the district's mandated curriculum to those standards.

The newly-appointed Executive Director for Curriculum Development and Design, LaTanya R. Miller, although she has experience as an Instructional Support Officer in the AD9 office, doesn't have a strong background in curriculum.

Because Miller is the official "leader" of this since initiative since Linda Chen was reassigned to the AD6 office (which she left a little while after), then Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon had to get Miller some help to make sure she doesn't mess it up and call any more attention to her incompetence and down right crude behavior. You should see Miller as she struts into 440 in her club attire every morning looking like she just smoked something.

It's absolutely pathetic! I've known Ce-Ce for many years and what a darling she is. I'm of the opinion that instead of paying her as a "consultant", take and just give her the job on an interim basis for how every many hours won't mess up pension. Then, lots of peoples prayers at our office can be answered because that mean and condescending Miller would be out.

Like the one Johnstone sister who had never been a Principal before this year and is now at Hill School because she doesn't work down here out of 440 anymore, give Miller a school to **** up too. I must be clear that Johnstone isn't messing it up though, she's making it better, something Miller won't do.

It's just so sad to see the school district continue to go down, down, way to the ground. I can't wait to retire.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 10:43 pm

Yikes--you are so right. Miller, Nixon, Donahue, Wayman and Johnson are a waste of money. Actually, they are an embarrassment to all of us, being represented by such semi literate types. Johnson will be forced out in June and Donahue, may be forced to follow. She's really scary and I say that with all the charity I can muster. She looks crazy and behaves that way. She seriously seems to have something wrong, very wrong with her.The other 3 are just loud mouth no nothings with have political hook ups, Wayman especially--no class, no shame, no hope.

Ed Williams must be 200 years old.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2012 6:45 pm

The community does not need a charter school. Clearly, the people are happy with Sheppard. What makes the charter school think that they are so qualified to do a better job? Do parents want recent college grads to be the teachers or do they want the experienced teachers the children know and love. Makes absolutely no sense. Keep Sheppard open and let Pan American find some other place to sell their business nonsense.

Submitted by EducationAdvocate (not verified) on March 16, 2012 10:15 pm

I wish there was a 'like' button here. This school sounds like something to brag about, not shut down.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 3:06 pm

Money, easy and huge for the crooks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2012 10:49 pm

Is Ed Williams still "CONSULTING" for the district for the transition of Darden to whatever??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 16, 2012 11:27 pm

What makes the Charter Schools think they are qualified to do a better job? How about their test scores, their management, their security for teachers,staff and children and the fact that children by the thousands are on waiting list to enter into charter schools.It looks like they want the recent college graduates to teach their children, they want innovation instead of someone in search of the almighty buck.

Submitted by tom-104 on March 17, 2012 12:08 am

How do you know that? There is no transparency with charters. Their data is secret. Why is that?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 10:32 pm

Tom 104---Many of these people just don't get it because they were raised with blinders on. Charters will fall but not soon because the crooked pols and corporations are supporting them. Guess which kids will be left behind and set up for jail even more so than now. Obama has been a big disappointment for the poor and the unions. Now that he needs us, he's pandering 24/7 for votes---a disgrace but light years better than the alternatives who may or may not be human beings.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 10:04 am

I don't understand why people think that teachers in public schools are just after the "almighty buck"....teachers have to make money, it is a career. Don't you think recent college grads are after money too? Why else would someone get a job? What is the staying power of teachers in charters? How does paying a teacher less money help create a better school? Teachers that work in some of the most challenging schools in Philadelphia are not in it just for the money. If a school is public, there should not be a waiting list. Public education is a right!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 12:04 pm

Nothing reveals the charters' agenda more than the fact that they snatch up teachers who get fired from public schools. It's not how good you are, but how cheaply you are willing to work and how much crap you will put up with from the administration.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 12:45 pm

If that's how charter schools out perform ,provide a safer environment and our preferred by parents and students alike, So Be It!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 1:33 pm

How would you feel if you worked at your job for many years and all of the sudden a new company buys the one you work for. The new company tells you that if you want to keep your job, you will be hired back at an entry level salary.
I honestly think your So Be It attitude might be very different.

Submitted by tom-104 on March 17, 2012 2:35 pm

Why are you so indifferent to the children left behind? (Remember No Child Left Behind? What a scam that was!)

If the privitizers are successful, we will return to segregation based on class. Children who are born into and grow up in low income families will receive an inferior education in what is left of the public schools. It is already clear they are being prepared for menial labor and slave labor in for profit prisons.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 3:20 pm

The Big 3--Charters, Vouchers and Prisons go hand in hand and these people of color in Philly like Gamble, Williams, Porter and Evans know it too but just don't care about their own people. The biggest sin of all is that they will throw the race card out to cover their tracks but scamming their own people. Father Divine 101. Oh, and by then way, Obama has been much less than helpful too.

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 17, 2012 4:21 pm

You are so right....the children left in the public school are perceived to have parents who don't care. They are perceived to be children who have terrible behavior and have no interest in learning. They are screamed at by teachers, expected to be quiet and not fidget even at the age of 5 or they will be yelled at. They are not allowed to go to the bathroom when they request to the point where they urinate on themselves. Some teachers do not follow the curriculum or even teach the students. They spend 70% of instruction time on discipline. They march the children through the hallway expecting the children to not fidget or speak, and if they do, the whole line of kids is stopped and yelled at.

There is no flexibility with parent teacher conferences, they are at the teacher's convenience only. It breaks my heart to watch these kids be treated so poorly, and also know that their parents have no idea of the abuse they are sending their children to if they go to a public non charter school.

Submitted by Brody (not verified) on March 17, 2012 6:07 pm

I'm a dedicated teacher, with 4 certifications in addition to a Masters, and I resent the broad brush that you are using to paint all non-charter Philadelphia schools. Where do you get your information from?!!

I think that I speak for most, if not all, of the teachers in my school when I say that we don't look at the students and pass judgement on them that their parents don't care, or that they have "no interest in learning," although sadly that may be the case.

Do students sometimes urinate on themselves in school? Unfortunately, they do, but if a student is given the opportunity to use the bathroom when the whole class takes a bathroom break, and s/he chooses to wait until everyone is back in the classroom to decide that s/he is ready to 'go,' teachers are put in a position of risk, sending the child to the bathroom with a partner, knowing that they might play around and get hurt, or get harassed by the older kids. Our staff has been decimated, and we don't have the personnel available, to accompany individual children to the bathroom.

As for "70 % of instruction time on discipline," if that's true, it may be because, unlike the suburban schools, we don't have the resources or the supports to handle students who have severe social and emotional issues. We're not psychologists or social workers, and most of us are not special ed. teachers. Trust me, there are NO teacher training programs that can prepare us for the types of situations that we encounter on a regular basis.

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 18, 2012 12:56 am

I have spent the past year volunteering in an elementary school a minimum of 15 hrs a week, plus I spend additional hours in many different schools obtaining field observation hours for my master's degree in education.

So my information is derived from what I see first hand in the classroom every day.

I do not think it is appropriate to make a small child wait for bathroom break where at the school I volunteer at is at 12:45 during recess and that's included my child. If he ask to go earlier, he is told NO. My friend's son urinated on himself in class because his teacher yelled at him and wanted him to wait until breaktime after lunch. Boy's do not have kegel muscles to stop the flow of urine when their bladder is full and once it's in the urethra, they have to go.

I watched schools in Chester County allow 1st and 2nd graders take a buddy, a hall pass and sign out with time, and go to the bathroom as needed. They were not accompanied by a teacher, nor were the bathrooms staffed with attendents.

One of my classmates said that teachers spend 70% of their time on discipline because elementary kids were lazy and were bad. How a five year old can be considered lazy is beyond me. Additionally, poverty brings unique and some unpleasant issues, if you are going to teach in that area, there is a ton of research on various issues and the best practices associated with those issues, google them...All kids deserve a decent education and to be treated with respect.

Again my classmate complain all the time about parents of their students. I have 15 credits under my belt so far this year...I hear all the time how the parents don't care, that they are young, on welfare etc. I have listened to teachers say there is not point in trying to even bother to contact parents, yell at a parent to learn English, refuse to provide proof of how an individual child received a grade (turns out the teacher for years gave grades based on who knows what?)

The only reason a young elementary age child has NO INTEREST in learning is because he's not being taught. You put a good teacher in there, willing to learn who the children are,understands child development, assesment, ways that different children learn, a teacher willing to keep learning about teaching different populations and ways of learning (thanks to inclusion) and always trying to engage all students, every single kid will be interested in learning.

I have seen a few really excellent teachers in action in the classroomfor the Phila School District and they are a joy to watch. They are able to handle a classroom and get the kids engaged in learning as well as the good teachers I observed in Chester county. Unfortunately there do not seem to be many teachers in the Philadelphia School district. When I see teachers belittle, yell, humiliate and degrade little kids every day, what's a parent to think?? These are good teachers who value our kids?? When I have to call the district to request that my child doesn't have to walk in the doorway to school in the morning because the reading and literacy teacher is smoking on school property in the front of the door and has told me when I first complained to the principal that she would quit if she had to go across the street to smoke, why should I not think that teachers in the public school have no respect for the parents??

Submitted by Brody (not verified) on March 18, 2012 9:25 am

I'll say it again- I resent the broad brush that you are using to paint all non-charter Philadelphia schools. The word 'stereotyping' comes to mind. Have a good day!

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 18, 2012 5:56 pm

Tell me about the good teachers and what they do that are in the district. Explain to me why when teachers from the district try to talk me out of teaching in the district and tell me to only look at charter school. Define why a 12 grade honors class at a mid tier school had students tell me not to become a teacher, 'that kids are bad in school".

It's interesting that you have no comeback on the inappropriateness of requiring young children to hold their urine, or that teachers don't scream or use food to discipline young children. Are those behaviors stereotypes?? I only know what I actually witness.

You actually wrote " or that they have "no interest in learning," although sadly that may be the case. " about small children may have no interest in learning. Really? Why would you say that? What is it that makes a small child have no interest in learning a single thing??

The only time I see children lose interest in a teacher's lesson is when it is not age appropriate, where a teacher is talking at a child for protracted periods of time, is not able to differientiate or has not prepare a lesson and is making up lessons as the day moves on with gaps of time where kids are supposed to sit there and wait silently until the teacher is ready, etc...

I have not yet heard a teacher from a charter school in my classes bad mouth parents or kids. They seem to be excited and invested in the children learning. They take the population they serve as they get without complaining that they are not trained in undergraduate school for the issues. Some of these teachers work in the alternative school with the high school kids who have behavior issues. I never ever hear these teachers insult the kids or the parents.

I really am indifferent to your resent. Because the only person who would resent me telling the truth and advocating for some kids is a person embarrassed by it.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 18, 2012 10:25 am

I spent two years volunteering at my neighborhood SDP elementary, and yes, I have observed what you've observed. I also observed a team of excellent teachers who successfully taught these same kids, in this same school. This even showed in the stats for their class (8th grade) which fell when they left.

So there were some good and some mediocre teachers in the same school. The deciding factor in this school came down to the leadership (principal), and how he allowed bureaucratic politics to override, what he should have known was in the best interest of the children... thus he was unable to discern the good work from the mediocre, the harmful and superficial from the beneficial; and what happened was the school fell into the hands of bullies, at all levels, from the admin on down to the parents, and the children.

On parent involvement in charters vs traditional public: yes, it's different, and ultimately the segregation that some are afraid of is based on how involved the parents want to be, not necessarily their socioeconomic status... in having to select a school, whether it be special admission or charter, the caregivers ultimately need to make an investment, in time and effort.

I am curious as to whether making all schools special admission in some way would make a difference. If it is mandated that a certain percentage must be "the bad kids" so that these difficult kids are not all lumped together, would that help?

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 18, 2012 9:47 pm

Thanks and you ask an interesting question. Navigating the whole charter school lottery vs the neighborhood school is very daunting, especially as I am new to this city.

But what really breaks my heart is how the teachers and admin in the SDP don't understand what a difference they could make in a child's life by something as simple as positive discipline and respect. Nor do they understand the power they hold as providers of an opportunity for a better life for our most vunerable population in this city.

To be angry about parents treating you with respect and thinking disrespect means it is ok to be abusive to a child breaks my heart. These kids need at least one place to be safe. The city is noisy, dirty and loud, which can be very stressful for young children. They spend most of their waking hours at school, could you please not yell at them and call them names??

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 19, 2012 7:22 am

I believe most teachers and admin do understand the difference between discipline and disrespect. The way it should work is that if a caregiver (or anyone really) observes verbal abuse, he/she should report this to the principal who then should correct the situation; If the principal fails in this, then the Regional Supervisor should be notified, and on up the "chain of command". I have tried this route, but found that in the PSD that it failed miserably. The principal would not hold the teachers who were not doing their jobs properly accountable, and at the same time he would not help/back those who were. The Regional Sup, told me, "the school's losing enrollment isn't it?"... and indeed it was.

It is hard to find "the right" school for a child if you have so many choices. I, like a majority of caregivers, did not want my children to endure a long commute to and from school; and opted to try the neighborhood school. As I stated before, there were some excellent teachers there alongside the ones who weren't so good. It was the management and bureacratic structure that failed this school. If you can find the right other caregivers to work with (some are indeed "involved" just to bully the teachers, staff and other caregivers), and you have the support of the principal, you can make a huge difference in any school (evidence Cook Wissahickon, E.M. Stanton, Lea), but it will take your time.

The Notebook does an excellent job reporting and writing on events one would not hear about otherwise; however this blog is heavily weighted towards teachers who (very understandably) need a place to vent.

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 19, 2012 10:17 am

Thanks. I have also gone up the chain of command and even present at an SRC meeting. Luckily my neighborhood school has a new principal who supports teachers and parents, with the interest of the kids at heart and is slowing making things different. But I can see how hard it is to change a culture that is ingrained.

I just can shake this feeling but I really do think that the public school district looks down on the kids in this city especially in the rougher neighborhoods. Why would a teacher feel I need to provide a different solution to disciplining kids with food? Especially a free lunch program?? I can google a ton of articles on classroom management in early child hood education. I never ever heard of such a thing and was shocked to watch it.

I really just want the SPD to start to value these little kids. They matter! Nothing is more exhausting than teaching, I compare it to my 80 hours a week career. But the impact you can have on a child is unbelievable, Positive or Negative. One negative act affected 90 7 year olds that day. How many of those 90 will remember it later in life what that felt like?

I will have to visit Cook, Stanton and Lea. I really would love to see positive examples, I think the negative ones just bother me so much and worry constantly that there will be a bunch of my childs classmate who give up on school and learning because of how they are being treated so early in their educational careers.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 19, 2012 10:42 am

Ultimately I agree with you. You should definitely stick to your principles here. Some of the reaction you're getting is from teachers who feel blamed and harrassed, and who do not necessarily agree with inhumane discipline.The one teacher I observed using verbal abuse to keep her (2nd grade) kids "in line", was close to retirement. Verbal abuse is very destructive, and the harm to self esteem lasts a lifetime (and more when carried on through generations). The solution however is that along with greater awareness teachers need better support. They shouldn't feel "at the end of their rope".

The teachers that succeeded against the formidable and relentless assaults that their (8th grade) students levelled at them (and all the teachers there), worked as a tight knit team. Each covered the other's back. They eventually left because the principal didn't support them, deciding to break them up instead.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 6:24 pm

Teachers "belittle, yell, humilitate and degrade". Do you think it might have something to do with the way they get treated by stduents, parents and administrators ? Your simplistic stereotyping of teachers indicates that YOU HAVE NOT RESPECT FOR TEACHERS. The greatest teacher in the world will be nullified by a district that insists on soul-killing scripted programs like Corrective Reading and administrators who refuse to do their job so it looks like their suspension rate is down. Of course those things wouldn't interest someone like you. Inclusion is just a way for the district to clear space in the special ed. classes by dumping these kids on regular ed. teachers who lack in both the training and supplies for this population. Bathroom policies are mandated by principals, not teachers. You really need to stop trying to pin everything wrong in this district on the teachers.

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 18, 2012 8:08 pm

You are absolutley right! I have NO RESPECT for any teacher or person who EVER thinks it is ok to yell, humilate or degrade a young child in elementary school for ANY REASON! That is considered abuse.

These kids and parents are placing their babies in your care! One of them is my child! And you think because some parents are mean, or the school district doesn't support teachers, it's ok to abuse the kids you teach??

I held an 7 year old girl who was sobbing because her whole class wasn't quiet to her teachers satisfaction and was denied her free lunch for 30 minutes, she was finally allowed to get up and get a lunch after that 30 minutes but she was crying so hard it broke my heart. That's the one nutritious meal she's was guarenteed to get that day. And to watch her be humiliated was just awful..

I watch the kids faces when the teachers yell at them. You should see how awful and hurt their faces are. Then they start to tune the abusive teacher out. Cause they are powerless to get the teacher to not yell "shut up, or sit down or no you can't go to the bathroom or you are not special, I have to train you because you clearly aren't getting it at home".... I had to drag my own child to go to our neughborhood school in the morning as early as first grade he hated going to school and I couldn't understand why.

My dad grew up dirt poor, child of an illiterate mom, who had 4 kids all living in and out with her or relatives, in the segregated south, Jackson Mississipi. Teachers were his life saviours, because even though segregated schools lacked supplies etc, the teachers cared about the kids they taught. They weren't looking to be honored or respected by parents. They got that the life situations that occured with grandchildren of slaves who barely were able to exist as sharecroppers or maids. But because these teachers were invested in teaching my dad, he was able to go to college and grad school in the North and he married a teacher (my mom taught 1st grade and still works with children in an urban city) and provided me with an upper middle class background.

I talk with both him, my mom, my professors and teachers that I meet about what I see every day. I would love to be wrong.

After all it isn't about us, it's about the kids and aren't they entitled to be educated without being verbally abused?

Submitted by Philly Teach (not verified) on March 19, 2012 2:39 am

I agree that teachers should not belittle or yell at students. I also think teachers should have the same standards for themselves as their students (e.g. no cell phone in class, no food in front of their students, no saying "shut up," etc.) That said, you make sweeping accusations against everyone based on your visits to one school. You include an anecdote and try to extrapolate it to represent everyone.

Schools, like neighborhoods, aren't perfect. Administrators should treat teachers respectfully, teachers should treat student respectfully AND students and families should treat administrators and teachers respectfully. If you do not agree with discipline (e.g. loss of lunch time), then what do you recommend? If you don't like the bathroom policy, what do you recommend? (I teach high school. If I let everyone go to the bathroom that asked, it would be grand central station. My students know they aren't in class to leave so they take care of the bathroom before class. In the rare instance where it is an emergency, I let them go. I know many K-8 schools where teachers are given "bathroom" time slots so there is a limit on students leaving for the bathroom.)

You'd probably get a better response if you provide solutions rather than anecdotal accusations. Why are you leaving the business world for the classroom? Do you have the temperament to work with students who struggle with many issues unrelated to classroom learning? What will you do when a student cusses you out? Will you invest your evenings and weekends planning suitable lessons? Will you purchase whatever is necessary to meet the needs of your students? If you won't, you are not suited for a neighborhood public, urban school.

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 19, 2012 9:59 am

I actually wasn't looking for a response, but having done the summer play street and lunch program last year, volunteering at an after school progrm in North Philly for 2 years tutoring in Math, and spending each day in a class room in an elementary school this year, some days are full days also for me, I have the temperment and having worked up to 80 hours a week, flying to various countries, cities, and managing a staff and a family before my divorce and loss of employment, and also watched my mom teach first grade, I know what I am in for.

I have solutions and with the support of a good principal, those are being implemented and modeled by me for the staff already. Kids in the lunch room are less stressed, and parents have talked to me about it, happy that there was a remedy.

I am going to be a teacher because of what my child went through his first two years at school here in the city. I stupidly expected schools here were no different than what I experienced in elementary school, growing up in Chester County. His first year he had an awesome kindergarten teacher and he loved going to school. The school and principal had some serious issues, they lost my child his second week of school and the principal reprimanded me for not training my child on where he was supposed to be for his afterschool program even though the afterschool program notified me he was missing, ran to the school and located him on the property in their after school program. (He was 5 and we had just moved to the city). The principal also gave him a detention by his second month for school for being late 4 times, 8:31 and 8:32 etc. When I questioned the policy, she was so hostile and unprofessional to me, I went to the superintendent Ackerman. I was told that the pricipal would be able to discuss it with me and to expect another call, but when she did call, OMG, I couldn't believe how she spoke to me!! It was so rude and patronizing, I actually had to hang up. I later learned she viewed parents as drug addicted gangsters from some imagined ghetto and treated us accordingly. The AD CEO was able to resolve the issue and I was given an apology and a plan of action for engaging parents, but the next year my child had a horrible teacher and he asked me to run his school so he would like going to it otherwise he didn't want to go anymore and wanted me to teach him at home.

So my child asked me to make school a place where he would want to go and that's what I am trying to learn to do. So I do all the things you mentioned even though we are living off my savings and student loans plus I give my free time to different organizations, religious and public schools etc as a view each experience an opportunity to learn, I am in school full time and I visit a lot of elementary schools around the city in a addition to the one I volunteer in. I believe that all children have the right to a good public education, regardless of where they come from. And that's why we are going to grad school and switching professions because these kids, in our neighborhoods, and our playgrounds deserve a school system with teachers and admins who care and value their learning experience. I don't want my child to hate going to school because he's disciplined with food (actually that's not legal to do) or humiliated over bathroom requests. I want him to experience a normal non hostile elementary school that doesn't think it's ok to yell at little kids and call them names or blow smoke in front of them in the morning , or 'suspend" them without issuing paperwork etc.

Submitted by Education Grad Student in West Philly (not verified) on March 30, 2012 6:25 pm

Hi MBS to M'ed mom,

I want to comment on some of your comments. I'll preface by sharing my own background. I am studying for a master's degree in education. I live in West Philadelphia and do field work at a neighborhood charter school in West Philly. The charter school is in a low-income neighborhood. I think that your characterization of the public school where you observe/volunteer can apply to some of the charter schools as well. It certainly applies to this particular charter school. Particularly for the charter schools that serve neighborhood children, these schools must serve all of the children of certain ages (and their parents) in the catchment area.

In response to your point:
"Additionally, poverty brings unique and some unpleasant issues, if you are going to teach in that area, there is a ton of research on various issues and the best practices associated with those issues, google them...All kids deserve a decent education and to be treated with respect."

All kids do deserve a decent education and respect. However, I don't think that looking up information is always the best information to learn. It can help, but often times, you need first-hand experience and guidance from those who have experience working with the children inside and outside of the school. I have run into this problem myself, relying too much on statistics. I think it's important to find a good balance between research and practice.

Also, it's critical to spend time in the neighborhoods in which the children live in order to gain some sort of understanding of their environment. If you are going to teach in a school where the students come from low-income families, spend time in the neighborhood. Spend time on public transportation, at the grocery store, observing (covertly, I might add) how people interact, how they talk, how they treat their children. This is key to gaining insight into the culture that the students bring to the classroom.

You also wrote,
"Again my classmate complain all the time about parents of their students. I have 15 credits under my belt so far this year...I hear all the time how the parents don't care, that they are young, on welfare etc. I have listened to teachers say there is not point in trying to even bother to contact parents, yell at a parent to learn English, refuse to provide proof of how an individual child received a grade (turns out the teacher for years gave grades based on who knows what?)"

The characterization of the parents that you include above is very applicable to some of the parents whose children attend the neighborhood charter school at which I do my field work. I have done most of the field work in a first grade class and a third grade class. The particular first grade class has an excellent teacher - she's engaging, prepared, enthusiastic, and organized. Her read-alouds and phonics instruction are excellent. She has excellent classroom management skills in spite of having a number of students who can be disruptive. She has a boy who transferred into her class from another class in the building. His case worker came in and complimented the teacher on how well she managed her class, saying that some of the other classrooms were chaotic. Basically, she's a great teacher.

However, this teacher has yet to have a day this school year where every one of her students came to school and came on time. Even on days when all of her students are there, at least one of her students is late. There are 2 little girls in particular who are frequently late/truant. And this is IN THE FIRST GRADE!!! At that age, this is a parenting issue. I remember waiting for the bus and as I was about to board it, one of the little girls who is chronically late got off the bus (with her mom, probably), and it was 9:15 or 9:30 in the morning. School starts at 8 am. I mentioned that I saw the little girl in an email I sent to the teacher. The little girl was not late because of an appointment or some valid reason; the little girl was just late.

Some of the parents may have mistrust of schools in general due to their own bad experiences. They may be poor or chronically unemployed, and as a result, be hopeless or helpless. They may feel powerless. Some of the parents are very young and do not have the proper skills or demeanor to be a parents. In my experience and from talking to people and reading, a feeling of powerlessness can be an issue for some residents in predominately Black neighborhoods. This is due to the institutional and historical racism in the form of segregation, poor schools, a lack of jobs/employment opportunities (See http://www.news.cornell.edu/chronicle/96/10.24.96/Wilson_lecture.html, and More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson). There is also a distrust of authority among some residents due to misconduct on the part of police and the disproportionate impact of the War on Drugs on Black communities in the form of disproportionate numbers of arrests and jail/prison sentences. You may find the article "Going Straight: The Story of a Young Inner-City Ex-Convict" by Elijah Anderson from Punishment & Society (2001) to be an interesting read. These institutional and historical issues don't excuse parents who don't make their child's education a priority, but in some cases, they provide a context for the attitudes/behavior.

Finally, in response to:
"The only reason a young elementary age child has NO INTEREST in learning is because he's not being taught. You put a good teacher in there, willing to learn who the children are,understands child development, assesment, ways that different children learn, a teacher willing to keep learning about teaching different populations and ways of learning (thanks to inclusion) and always trying to engage all students, every single kid will be interested in learning."

Your characterization teaching is a bit idealistic. First of all, at schools in the SDP, teachers have to follow a Planning and Scheduling Timeline (See http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/c/curriculum/documents/k-8-core-co...). Some teachers have more flexibility than others, depending on whether or not the school is an Empowerment school, the principal, etc. Prior to doing field work at this charter school, I did field work at a public school in Overbrook and the teachers there uses these time lines. Teachers also had to use certain textbooks (e.g. Harcourt Trophies). Also, I know a teacher who teaches at a public school in Overbrook/Wynnefield area. She buys all of her own paper because she doesn't even receive the formerly standard one ream per month since the school is so strapped for cash. I don't think you realize how bare bones the budget is. Some teachers, like the first grade teacher I observe at the charter school, is able to choose the books she uses for read-alouds and has a lot of input into the curriculum she uses. However, many teachers do not have this choice.

Most teachers in the SDP are hard-working teachers and many of them are excellent. However, you have to keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to fire ineffective teachers in the School District of Philadelphia and most other districts with union representation. These teachers may change schools, but they have first priority for being hired because of tenure and the union. I believe that the union is vital in order to ensure fair pay, benefits, and working conditions! Teachers at KIPP have to work 10 hour days, have a pager on until 9 pm, and receive pay that is about the same or not much more than teachers in the SDP. However, tenure basically guarantees permanent job security, which can create complacency among some teachers. Also, innovative teacher evaluation systems are expensive to implement, and the SDP doesn't have the money to implement a state-of-the-art evaluation system that could serve as a way to help teachers improve.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on March 30, 2012 8:10 pm

I would like to thank you so much for your comments!! If I could I would hug you too...lol, because I appreciate the links and the information you shared!

I am a bit idealistic about education, and plan to stay that way. : )

Because of my corporate work experience in Finance and Accounting, I have been studying this school district to get a handle on how it functions and that includes it's organizational structure, how resource (human and dollars) are allocated and managed. As I learn more, I will probably be commenting, but still in the learning mode right now. I actually bring in supplies for kids using my own money, and I am an unemployed single mom. But I value education.

As a mom who struggled to get her child to even leave the house on time so that I could get to work when I had a corporate job and get to school on time, because my child had a really mean teacher is a bully, likes to scream and humiliate (I watched her in action for a half an hour today with her class) I had to drag him to school and he was late several times a few minutes.

A new professional teacher after I switched him once I realized how horrible his first teacher was, who wasn't a sadistic bully that disliked us urban poor black folk, and I no longer was fighting to get my child to school.

Parenting is really hard, and I remember looking askwew at parents whose toddlers were screaming in public before I had kids. Now I am
happy it's just not my kid : ). I say that because just because a parent is late, doesn't mean you don't value education. When you can't afford a full time nanny and have to rely on babysitters, family neighbors etc to watch your kid because lower paying jobs are less flexible with schedules, (ask any production planner at a manufacturing plant how they schedule employees) or retail, people fall thru, babysitters don't show up, jobs don't let you off work without firing you etc. I used to have to work late and my kid would wait until I got home to see me and then be exhausted in the morning...or a babysitter would feed him sugar and he wouldn't sleep because of his sugar high etc...

Sometimes you just gotta ask and not judge...Very few employers are flexible with working mothers, it would be nice if there were discrimination laws that protected care giver status in this state, but there is only protection during pregnancy and birth, not during elementary school age. The employer doesn't have to let you take off from work to pick your child up for school. I had a boss, give me a lists of nannies to hire because she didn't like me leaving work at 5 to pick up my child at afterschool program and she even once told me she would fire me for insubordination if I left work before she gave me permission (she also had other issues...) Anyway, be gentle to parents, not many people are in our corner and when you are poor, things are pretty hard. If my child was late, it wasn't because i didn't care, it was because of some of the things I mentioned.

Yes, there are parents who are negligant. And you have a duty to report them for child abuse. Also there are procedures that have to be followed for protracted lateness. But my kid was getting lates for being a minute past in kindergarten, despite the fact that the child was not allowed into the school before 8:30 and in bad weather, I drive him, I have to queue up and wait on a small local road with every other parent before the doors of the school were open. (This was with the previous unprofessional principal, luckily things have changed.)

You have to remember that kids love their parents even the worst parents, and if a kid is aware you don't respect their parents, what message are you saying to the child about their worth. Think of divorced parents and the reasons why you shouldn't put down the other parent in front of the kids? I consistently hear teachers discipline students by slamming their parents for not teaching them appropriate behavior. You know how kids act out in a divorce when one parent slams the other, it's the same thing in school when a teacher slams even generally their students parents.

OK, of my soap box, thank you for your comments. I agree with everything you said and will be reading up on all that you mentioned.

I really think that teachers don't realize how important they really are in a students life and if they reached out to parents like me, instead of insulting me or mistreating my kid, but just asked for support, mentioned where their issues were, and tell me how my child is being harmed by this issue, I would be all over the principal, school district, state, whatever was needed to be done because of my child and his right to a decent public education.

I had some really horrific experiences as a parent with my child's school and if I had the money, I would have just sold my house and moved to a better school district because now kid deserved to be mistreated, especially as early as kindergarten and first grade. You should have seen how much my kid hated school for awhile. I had to tell him it was the law for him to go to school, and then dragged him down the street....didn't matter that his teacher was mean,
etc.

But again thanks for being part of the solution and for not slamming me in your comment. : )

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on March 18, 2012 6:25 pm

I don't know where you get your information, but you have no idea what the inside of a public school is like. There may be a handful of situations as you describe them, but you're way off base. Fortunately, the people who read this blog know better; hopefully, you haven't confused those who don't know better with this ridiculous propaganda.

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 18, 2012 7:23 pm

Like I said before, I get my information from teachers in my master's in education classes as I am switching careers to become a teacher and my field hours that I spend in classrooms observing teachers and also the additional 15 hours a week I spend volunteering in a public school in Philadelphia. I have not volunteered in a charter school, but I visit and observe in one at least once a week also. My fellow classmates who like me are leaving the corporate sector for education are horrified by what we see when we visit the public schools.

I hope it's not pervasive throughout the school district, especially as I have a child in this district but I see what I see. If it's not pervasive and isolated to my child's school, good, but why do most of my friends not even send their kids to public school in the city? Private school or charter schools are what all my friends have their kids in. Why do former teachers and current teachers advise me to teach in charter schools or the suburbs?

Do you really think teachers in the SDP are telling me to join their ranks???

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2012 9:34 pm

Not all of the children who are in public schools are behavioral problems, but a large percent do have behavioral problems. Some of the behavior problems are a direct result of the children having mental health issues and who are not receiving the necessary services to assist them in school. That is not a perception. Many of the children, sadly, have parents, who had children extremely young, who don't have a clue about parenting because they themselves were not parented. Children, don't come with an owner's manual. Quite often children are parented as the parent was parented. Many of the public school children have issues that could be addressed at school if, their parents and caregivers did their jobs as parents and supported the teachers at school when the teacher calls the home and discusses a problem behavior. Often times, phone numbers are changed, disconnected and teachers and staff are unable to get in touch with parents. God forbid that something serious happens to their child.
Sadly, we live in a society where everyone wants to do what they want to do. Yes and the place where many of the children learn that they can't do what they want to do, is in school. This is a society where there are rules and regulations. Learning the rules and regulations is apart of the learning experience in a child's life at school. If there are no rules at home, of course the child is going to have difficulty following them at school, but they can learn to follow the rules and as quiet as it is kept, children want to follow the rules, they expect rules, expectations, and routines.
You speak of children suffering abuse in the public schools...may of these same children are living in abusive home situations, some of which are fending for themselves on a daily basis.
I myself, wish you the very best and hope that you do become a teacher. Observing a classroom of students, volunteering at school, is not enough experience for you. You need to walk in the shoes of teachers who really care about their students. Teachers who are teaching and shaping young minds. Teachers who go into their pockets and purchase supplies and materials for their students on a regular basis because the students don't have the necessary materials and the schools don't have the money to see that every child has what he or she needs.
Me, I want every child to have a good family, a family who promotes education as my parents did when my two brothers and I were going to school. I want every child to come from parents who taught their children that they were to come to school, learn and come home and do their homework. I want every child to have parents who taught their children that we were not sent to school to be a behavior problem and that if we cut up in school we would be disciplined when we got home. I want every child to embrace this one fact....They are children who are not adults, who have no business cursing at teachers and staff, hitting teachers and staff, being disrespectful toward teachers and staff, talking back. I want students to understand that they have one mission and one mission alone, to get an education, to get the necessary support that they need from their parents/caregivers and become productive members of society, with jobs and being able to take care of themselves and any children that they might have.
I know I want alot....It doesn't hurt to dream does it?

Submitted by MBA to M'ed mom (not verified) on March 19, 2012 10:15 pm

What did you do to prepare to become a teacher. Right now in addition to my observation hours, I work as an unpaid teacher's aid, I substitute teach, I am my child's MG chemistry teacher as I wrote his GIEP plan this year for his school and prepare and submit to the school a lesson plan and conduct each of his gifted chemistry class again unpaid. I also passed 3 praxis and I am enrolled in graduate school full time. But if there is more that you did to prepare before you became a teacher, please do share.

I really wish you had been my son's first grade teacher. I begged her for a meeting, brought her cupcakes at the beginning of the school year, gave her my business card with 2 working phone numbers on it and saw her every morning when I brought my child to school. And you know what, she never called me, refused to meet with me and when my child starting complaining for more work because he was bored, I again asked her to meet with me so she could show me what extra things I could do (education was her speciality and her degree) to keep him engaged in school.

But wow, was I in for a shock. His teacher refused to meet with me, she was too busy, said she wouldn't give my child extra work unless he tested gifted and then tried to block his testing wrote a report that he was average or below and was so hostile and condensing to me, you would have thought I was a 20 year old parent of a 6 year old, not having a graduate level degree and an upper middle class lifestyle. I guess his teacher didn't realize I do have internet and I have a mother who is certified to teach in PA along with other states who is a resource for me thank God.

So my child was tested and came back highly gifted. But could his teacher get any nastier to me and my child.

Anyway, you may wish for perfect parents with lots of time and resources, so I don't get why you would teach in an poor urban area where that is not the family situation for most of us? Don't you know that isn't available in this type of environment? You work in an impoverish area, where unemployment, crime, drugs, lack of college education affect the population you teach in.

Why do you assume there are no rules at home? Shouldn't you report those parents to CPS? Or could it be that you only see a reflection of who you are in the classroom. Isn't what my professor said about classroom management, the kids are a reflection of their teacher.

My dad grew up in one of those families you described. In Mississippi in the 1950's. But his teachers didn't make the derogatory comments about his parents like you did. They didn't insult him for not being taught appropriate behavior (not sure what you mean) but just showed him the way AND always treated him with respect. Didn't matter that his mom and dad weren't married or living together, didn't matter that his mom was young, didn't matter that he was dirt poor and if you have ever been a sharecropper, you know what poverty is.

I do realize though that the teachers who get what I mean, don't comment, they see it everyday. They are the ones learning how to teach in this city and engage parents, engage children, lobby the governor and constantly reflecting and trying something different the next day and make things better. But the ones who clearly look down on the population of kids and parents in this school district are the ones who complain about kids and their lack of parental care or investment in their education, complain about the parents age, complain about a child's behavior and seem to think it's ok to play with a kid's free lunch, or impose bizarre discipline rules, and call our kids bad are the same type of teacher as my child's 1st grade teacher who stereotyped me as some young black single mom with no education and didn't teach my child rules or respect, on welfare, and what ever other stereotypes that I probably haven't caught on to yet and really need to be ashamed. You are so important in the kids you teach possibility of liking school and getting a decent education. How you can throw away a childs opportunity because of what you believe to be true about them and their families, breaks my heart. You have no idea of the good you could do someone, no idea....

Submitted by tom-104 on March 19, 2012 11:21 pm

Thank you for this post. It is truly heartfelt and the attitudes you describe are unforgivable. Hopefully, people reading it will think about how they can develop a community spirit which respects everyone; student, parent and teacher. We must get through all the stereotypes and see that we all have the same basic hopes and fears and meet at our common humanity. I just fear for the next generation because this generation is really messing things up!

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on March 18, 2012 6:45 pm

But they don't do any of those things. only 17 percent of charters out-perform public schools. Parents have been conned into believing their children are getting a better education in them and that they therefore don't have to worry about working with their kids. And if charters had to take in discipline problems, neither the kids nor their parents would be happy. What do you think will happen if public schools vanish? Charters will have to take in everybody. Good luck when that happens.

Take a look at the article in today's Inquirer. There is more violence in that Chester charter school than most of our worst public schools.

Submitted by Education Grad Student in West Philly (not verified) on March 30, 2012 6:49 pm

The charter schools perform on average no better than public schools in Philadelphia. Here is a report about this:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR550.html

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 12:30 pm

I agree, there should not be a waiting list for public charter schools. Let's open that baby up.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 1:26 pm

Great point....if it's a public school, then Charters should accept all children in the neighborhood where the school is located. OH, I forgot, that will start to happen down the road when all the traditional public schools are closed down. The political agenda isn't quite complete yet....Greedy monsters!!!

Submitted by Veteran of WPHS "Renaissance" (not verified) on March 17, 2012 1:01 pm

See this very sensible op-ed piece from the NY Times with the title, "How Charter Schools can Hurt." Seems a very simple, very important message.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/opinion/how-charter-schools-can-hurt.h...

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 5:18 pm

Sheppard Elementary parents could write a similar story about Pan American Charter school. While the socioeconomic stats don't fit, Sheppard is a successful schools. Pam American is moving into the neighborhood and has already started "recruiting" students outside the school. Tacky and unethical. Who are the powers that be that benefit from NYC's "Success Academies" and Philly's charter operators like Mastery, Congresso, Aspira, etc.?

Submitted by Veteran of WPHS "Renaissance" (not verified) on March 17, 2012 8:27 pm

Success Academies run by Eva Moskowitz. See this article for an interesting take on her motivations, controversy surrounding her growing empire: http://nymag.com/news/features/65614/

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 2:36 pm

I prefer the one that say "See How Charter Schools Improve"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 2:33 pm

Two can play that game, check out the article: www.calcharters.org/understanding/successes/. How do you like them apples!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 9:21 am

Placing a link in support of charter schools from a charter school support page is a disingenuous way to prove your point. You should cite a non-biased page to show true and accurate support of chart schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 2:18 pm

LOL...california charter school association? Of course, they have fantastic things to say!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2012 9:08 pm

NY Times? Of course, they have fantastic things to say!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 3:59 pm

If the mission is to replace 50,000 underperorming seats, then why would they pull the proficent and advanced students? The public school system is working out for them. Why not take 50,000 below basic and basic students? Since the recent college grads are better teachers than those that have experience, why not let them teach the below basic and basic students? Let them take the PSSA, and we can all watch in amazement as their test scores rise.

Submitted by tom-104 on March 18, 2012 3:00 pm

Educate yourself about ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) to understand what is behind this "reform" of our educational system.

http://www.thenation.com/article/161978/alec-exposed

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/14-12

View this recent video of a Wisconsin state legislator talking about ALEC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOBsoUZFae8&feature=player_embedded

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2012 9:26 pm

Yes, I saw that too. Great Clip. I really do think the Repubs have overstepped and will be rejected come November in a big way.

Submitted by Joseph.P on March 22, 2012 4:48 am

Wow, there seems to be much controversy surrounding the school issues here. It does seems that there should be this much happening but I guess when there are money issues with schools there will always be unhappy people.

  •  

    It seems funny that schools in Eagle Pass close, teachers get fired, and yet there are new schools built within the same district and this has many people upset.

Submitted by DavidM (not verified) on April 24, 2012 4:17 pm

Let's just wait for the updates and resolutions to come out from this meeting. Hope everything will turn out for the better.

  • Investing merchandise, such as metals, petroleum, and normal fuel signify great properties to deal binary option, which happens to be presently a extremely common form of deal within the money globe.

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