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Vibrant debate over District blueprint continues

By the Notebook on May 4, 2012 01:21 PM

by Oscar Wang
 

Local higher education institutions met Wednesday to discuss the District’s transformation blueprint and what role universities might  play.

The same day, the District hosted the first of five neighborhood-based budget hearings, while community groups continued organizing their own responses to the reorganization plan.

James M. “Torch” Lytle, professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, organized the meeting of academics, higher education administrators, and community members. In reference to the transformation blueprint’s plan to turn over networks of schools to outside operators, Lytle said he “wouldn’t do it that way.” But he said that he wanted to keep the door open for Penn and other universities to be involved in any reorganization effort.

Rather than a plan that would rely on outside providers, Lytle, a former Philadelphia School District administrator and former superintendent in Trenton, helped Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon develop another blueprint that would create networks of principals to lead groups of schools. Both plans calls for more school-based autonomy, but there are still many unanswered questions about how that will be implemented, how big the central office will be, and how to maintain instructional quality and accountability.

Knudsen has called Nixon’s plan “transitional” for next year, while SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos disputes outright the idea that there are two plans separate from one another.

Lytle stressed that universities and other city institutions have a “moral imperative” to participate in the process.

“We don't want to do this without the help of a lot of other people," Lytle said, including other universities. 

Taking the plan to the community

The first community-based meeting convened by the District took place Wednesday at Kensington CAPA. It drew upwards of 50 people, according to one participant. Knudsen and SRC member Wendell Pritchett answered concerns that the restructuring plan blindsided the public, was developed without community input, and hasn’t been completely thought out.

While acknowledging the concern, Knudsen reiterated the urgency of taking action because the District is facing a $218 million shortfall next year – perhaps larger if City Council delays or modifies a property reassessment plan that would bring $94 million to the District next year.

Meanwhile, community groups are planning rallies and actions, and gathering petition responses to the transformation plan.  

On Tuesday evening, May 8, Enon Tabernacle Church in Cedarbrook will hold a town hall meeting, where organizers expect to draw up to 1,000 people. Also next week, Youth United for Change and Parent Power will convene two meetings for parents to learn about and discuss the plan.

After a meeting on Sunday organized by the faith-based community group Philadelphia Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild, the POWER congregations plan continued advocacy to increase parent and community involvement.

The One Voice Movement is circulating a petition for “educator-led turnaround” in Philadelphia, and other groups like the Occupy Philly Labor Work Group are circulating statements in response to the plan.

The SRC has said that it will not move on the plan until at least the end of May, once the community hearings conclude. As community and higher education leaders continue to raise concerns, Lytle predicted that the final reorganization blueprint will likely be a hybrid of the plans under consideration now.

He conceded, though, that neither plan was ideal. "It isn't that the SRC doesn't want this to work," he said. "They would like schools to be better. But they're desperate for a workable model given the conditions they confront right now."

Oscar Wang, a student at Haverford College, has been a Notebook intern during the spring semester. This summer he will work as a Samuel S. Fels Fellow for the School Reform Commission.

Additional reporting was provided by Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa.

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Comments (78)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2012 2:33 pm

So, is the Nixon plan her dissertation? That said, why it is only "transitional?" If the multiple managers/ privatization approach from Knudson/Boston are "revenue neutral," why not let play out for more than a year? We are tired of annual "changes" that cause a lot of disruption in schools.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:55 pm

Have you ever had a conversation with Nixon?? Apparently not or you'd know, she is clueless, just another political appointee with "Da hook up."

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on May 4, 2012 2:39 pm

Torch, is the "moral imperative" similar to the "democratic imperative?"

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on May 4, 2012 3:58 pm

 Without any discussion of teaching and learning and without confronting a budget that does not provide the bare bones of an educational program, this discussion is largely a diversion.

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on May 4, 2012 5:35 pm

 I completly agree on the lack of teaching and learning and advocacy around fair funding. But I guess I'm diverted. I have to concur with Amara Rockar's points that Penny Nixon's plan is moving the District toward the right direction. Putting the decsion making power into the hands of those most responsible for our students is both what those "on the ground" want and a better use of resources. For too long teachers, principals, and all school employees have been able to blame Central or Regional Office for not begin able to give children the education they need. This is not to say that the blame was unfounded, but that you could point a finger outward and a say it's their fault. It is time to walk out and walk on from letting those above us dictate how we should deliver a quality education to the students in our classrooms.

To me, the Principal Learning Teams, (which would be better named School Communities Learning Networks) is part of the "for" we are fighting for. Giving control to the school communities will push the needle forward for children, and not on numbers but on what our children can say and make and write. If the achievement zones will only be revenue neutral, than clearly letting individuals already on payroll lead would be a cost saver for the District. Even if the PLTs were revenue neutral, I would imagine that the lion's share of the funds would go toward school and classroom initiatives, not office costs like achievement zone dollars would.

The charter-ization and outsourcing of school support is backed up by neither common sense nor research. It should be clear that Philadelphia does not have as much a "living within our means" problem as a "means allocation" problem. If the movement from a School District toward a system of schools means less neighborehood schools, outsourced leadership, and an increase of medicore at best school choice, than no thank you. 

I believe this situation is dire and that terrible choices could be made. But nuance doesn't have to be complexity. We need to be able to tell anyone willing to listen what we want and need and want we don't want and will be tragic for our students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2012 8:55 pm

"Willing to listen" is the problem. The SRC is not even remotely interested in what's best for the kids. The M.O. is what's best for the corporations and the crooked politicians. We need to stop blathering on and start fighting this by any means necessary.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on May 6, 2012 8:21 am

School Community Learning Networks versus Principal is key. While there are some competent principals, many are clueless about teaching/learning. Far too many either have little teaching experience or they haven't taught in years. They know how to bully and dictate but now how to lead. Some principals main claim to fame is being able to write a 204 (disciplinary notice for teachers). Those of us around long enough all have horror stories with principals who are incompetent but connected.

This doesn't mean there aren't teachers that need to get over the 8 - 3:04 routine and invest in teaching and learning. Unfortunately, some of those teachers are in the pocket of a principal while others play the system. The PFT has to move beyond promoting inadequate and inept teachers and advocate for the majority who want to turn around neighborhood schools. (There are plenty of inadequate teachers in magnet schools - students shelter their inadequacy and incompetence. Some would never survive in a neighborhood school and others are tied with the principal so protected.)

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 4, 2012 8:44 pm

Of course, you are right !!!! This "Plan" accepts the Corbett budget which we can accept. The whole thing needs to be fought at every angle. The churches are taking the lead which, I guess, is good to see as they will energize the people who pray there into some action. I still say, keep an eye on Wisconsin. If Walker can slither past the recall, Corbett and his black helicopters will be on the way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 7:18 am

Meant to say, we CAN'T accept, of course--sorry.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on May 5, 2012 8:43 am

Schools are in the process of writing their "School Improvement Plan" (SIP). While I have no idea what is occurring at other schools, our neighborhood high school staff has been discussing options since the word "autonomy" was announced a few months ago. We have a couple of initiatives we began at the PD on April 24 that will continue into next year. It would be helpful to have a forum for school based staff to hear what they/we are planning with the promised autonomy. There is next to no money in the school based budgets but not all change requires a lot of funding. (The high ticket items are the scripted "packages" we had under Ackerman/Nixon/Driver/Wayman administrations.) What the autonomy does require is time for teachers to collaborate, reflect/revise, and communicate with teachers outside of Philadelphia. (Yes, the money spent on the Boston Consulting Group could have been used to "jump start" school based initiatives but...)

Maybe the Notebook could start a forum on the blog for schools to post plans under autonomy so there are more opportunities for collaboration across the SDP. This is particularly important for neighborhood high schools who have lived under the heavy hand of the "Empowerment" label and control by Ackerman/Nixon/Driver/Wayman. This is also important with the switch to "Common Core Standards" and the "Keystone Exams." The curriculum office at 440 is doing a short PD for school based teacher leaders on the Common Core Standards. (Everything they are presenting can be found through google searches). The Planning and Scheduling Timelines were rewritten for Language Arts/English and Math. Nothing is being done for Social Studies and Science. To date, there will be a Keystone Exam in Biology, Reading and Alg. 1. Since I assume - or hope - most of the current curriculum staff will be put back in the classroom, this is an opportunity for teacher teams to examine the changes and create teaching/learning suitable for our schools.

There should be funding found, just like it was found for Boston Consulting, for teacher teams to meet during the summer to plan for the upcoming changes. We also need time to plan new implementation of our autonomy teaching/learning initiatives based on the needs of our schools. Is the SRC going to approach the William Penn Foundation for funding that is much more cost effective and needed to "transition" to the autonomy model?

Submitted by citizen (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:46 am

A good use of money, to pay for teacher teams to meet and plan.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 7, 2012 10:37 am

Planning time/funding is in fact an accepted part of good grant budget creating.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2012 5:09 pm

OK, so New Visions in New York has no plans to come here and the non-profit requirement rules out Edison, thank God. Penn "wouldn't do it that way" but is giving the impression it *might* be enticed if it means being able to apply to "manage" big $$$ grants which is all they really care about. Boys' Latin wants to leech off a Penn/Drexel provider if they'll allow it. String Theory is "interested" but is *just* getting its second school so that's a huge reach. Chris Lehman at SLA seems to have thrown his hat into the ring and the Center City schools are rejoicing. The educator-led turnaround will probably be given the shortest straw of all the networks so they can say such things don't work. This is really shaping up to be a fantastic little plan, Knudsen!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2012 7:18 pm

The SRC should be in Harrisburg right now along with the PFT.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2012 11:01 pm

The PFT (leadership and representatives) IS, and has been, in Harrisburg fighting. The PFT membership,however, is another story. Members like to bitch (and blog), but not put their money and manpower behind those words, just ask the few nurses that show up at 440 every Wednesday or the puny little 1,800 (out of over 10,000 members) that bothered to show up to vote on the last contract. Whine and blog, whine and blog, but never back it up. WE are the PFT, the leadersip is only as effective as the number of members willing to "lay it on the line" and back them up.

Submitted by J. Taylor (not verified) on May 5, 2012 10:24 am

I don't think your comment is fair. I am having trouble seeing exactly how the PFT is leading here...I wish they were! I read with great anxiety Jerry Jordan's thoughts as described in the Philadelphia Tribune: "Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said he doubts the teacher’s union can mount a legal defense to either the reorganization plan in general, or the particular element that calls for a $159 million reduction in personnel, including a restructured benefit and wage scale." If the PFT can't defend us against reductions in personnel, benefits, and wages, what is it doing?

This situation is the most crucial test of leadership: the ability to stand alone. The nurses at least--and it does not matter how few of them there are--are at least willing to take the disdain and ridicule and condescension that sometimes comes with taking the moral high ground. I wish the PFT leadership would start doing the same.

Don't blame the membership until Jerry Jordan and his team have stood outside 440 day after day after day in wind and rain and snow. The entire PFT leadership team is a sad disappointment...I could name one person after another...but I find it hard to hear about the membership when the leadership can't step up.

Submitted by tom-104 on May 5, 2012 2:02 pm

Jerry Jordan's statement In the Tribune that the PFT can do nothing about this attack on public education or "$159 million in reorganization cuts, including layoffs and cuts in wages and benefits, means he is preparing a sellout. I believe this sellout is being done at the direction of the national leadership of the AFT. Here is my evidence:

If you do a search on Goggle under “Randi Weingarten and Foundation” you will get numerous links about the topic, more than I can cover in these notes. Some highlights I have found so far.

*********************************************************************
If you go to http://www.broadacademy.org/meetthepress.html you will see videos of Weingarten, on the Broad Foundation website, collaborating with members of Broad Foundation at a press conference for the Broad Foundation sponsored NBC program Education Nation. Note in the introduction it identifies Arne Duncan as a former board member of the Broad Foundation.
***********************************************************************

From the Broad Foundation Mission Statement of 2009 (you can find it with a Google search)

Page 11
 Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public
education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in
smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more
than a decade and now president of the American Federation
of Teachers (AFT). We partnered with Weingarten to fund two
union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York
City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools,
as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously
helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and
Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York
City embrace the plan.

Page 22
Caption to a picture of “Randi Weingarten getting a hug from Joel Klein, then Chancellor of New York City Schools
Left to right in picture: Eli Broad, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten celebrate at the announcement of the winner of the 2007 Broad Prize.”

Page 16
The Broad Foundation invests $2 million in the
Teachers Union Reform Network (TURN), a network of
National Education Association and American Federation
of Teachers locals.

Page 20 
In 2005 the Broad Foundation makes a $1 million grant to
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City to open
two union-run charter schools in Brooklyn, the first such
schools in the country.

Page 23
With the support of the United Federation of
Teachers, the New York City Department of Education implements
a school-wide bonus program in 200 of its most
challenged schools. The Broad Foundation invests $5 million
to help fund the bonuses.

****************************************************************************

from A Parent Guide to the Broad Foundation’s training programs and education policies published by Parents Across America
http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/a-guide-to-the-broad-foundations...

in the section “A closer look at the Broad Foundation’s “investment  in education”

“Along with Bill Gates, Broad contributed millions of dollars to the campaign to extend mayoral control of the public schools in New York City under Michael Bloomberg. Among the leaders he is close to and has personally advised behind the scenes are former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.”

**************************************************************

From Substance News (http://www.substancenews.net/index.php)

The article is at http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2941

Randi Weingarten, pick of the Oligarchs... Randi was part of the Broad Academy back in 2002
George N. Schmidt - December

Additional information from 2002 press releases:

“Participants in the academy will not need to leave their current jobs immediately. They will attend trainings for a number of weekends over a ten-month period in locations across the country. Fellowships, including tuition, travel and all program-related expenses, will be fully covered by The Broad Center. At the end of the training, The Broad Center will help place participants in urban school districts as administrators and superintendents.
The Fellows received guidance from leaders in business, education and the non-profit sectors. Faculty at the Academy included:
Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education
* Henry Cisneros, CEO, American CityVista
* William Cox, Managing Director, School Evaluation Services
* Chris Cross, Senior Fellow, Center on Education Policy
* Chester E. Finn, Jr., President, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
* Frances Hesselbein, Chairman, The Drucker Foundation
* Don McAdams, Founder, Center for Reform of School Systems
* Donald Nielsen, President, Hazelton Corporation; Chairman, 2WAY Corporation Hugh B. Price, President and CEO, National Urban League
* Paul Ruiz, Principal Partner, Education Trust
* Adam Urbanski, Director, Teacher Union Reform Network
Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers”
###########
Substance News continues:
Perhaps that is why she would do something like this.
Everyone who has followed Weingarten's ascendancy to her position as AFT President knew that she had been the pick of the Oligarchs. Her earlier sweet talk about gutting the teaching profession with pay per score plans had earned her the Business Roundtable's seal of approval, and now she is returning the favor by shifting her tepid endorsement of weakening ethical teaching into a full-blown advocacy for busting her own union. Randi Weingarten should be recalled by the AFT membership, and she should be put out to pasture with the other nags.
At a time when the greed merchants and uncharged felons of Wall Street burrow into the system once more to plan another financial catastrophe a few years hence, Obama's man in charge of deciding how many millions the CEO criminals should get has just been subcontracted out by Weingarten to create a plan to fire teachers for their "misconduct." The scourge of the nation--teacher misconduct!! Misconduct will surely include refusing to go along with educational genocide that is occurring in urban schools, where cognitive decapitation in segregated environments is the order of the day for the poor and the brown.
******************************************************************
From a teacher blog in NYC, Ed Notes (http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/)
a disturbing article about the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC
This had been rejected by the New York state Comptroller last summer, but was revived after Bill Gates put up $76.5 million to fund it. It is a computer system which will track and store the private records of all students and teachers in New York state. It will be managed by Joel Klein, former NYC schools’ Chancellor, who is now with Rubert Murdoch’s Newcorp in charge of damage control over the phone hacking scandal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Klein#News_Corporation) The Huffington Post article below says:
“According to an earlier NYT story,  $44 million of this funding will go straight into the pockets of Wireless Generation, owned by Murdoch's News Corp and run by Joel Klein.”
The Ed Notes link for the article “Will UFT Renounce This Deal? Randi on the Board: Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch” is here: http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2011/12/will-uft-renouncs-this-deal-ra...

Much of the Ed Notes article is from the article “Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch” on Huffington Post. The link for that is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/confidential-student-and-_b...

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 5, 2012 5:46 pm

So what do we do now?? and how about Jerry Oleksiak?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 7:53 pm

SORRY FOLKS BUT JORDAN DID NOT SELL OUT OR THROW IN THE TOWEL!!!!!PLEASE READ THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE ARTICLE THAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!! NOWHERE DOES IT SHOW HE IS SELLING OUT!!! IF ANYTHING HE STICKS UP FOR THE UNION AND SAID THE SRC PLAN WILL FAIL READ!!! READ!!! READ!!! BEFORE POSTING NEGATIVE ON JERRY JORDAN:

Jordan’s referred to the recently publicized Blueprint for Transforming Philadelphia’s Public Schools, an aggressive plan that calls for $156 million to be shaved from the district’s personnel department, by means of a restructured benefit and pay scale.

“At that time last year, [the SRC] said, ‘this is what we need in order to balance our budget.’ So to come back in December and say, ‘oh, it’s not balanced.’ But you told us this is what [The SRC] needed,” Jordan explained. “There were serious negotiations around this, and they gave numbers and explained to us that this is why they need the unions to make these concessions, and we did. So then in December, we hear ‘well, no, we still have to lay off people because we have a huge deficit’. How can we trust the numbers?”

While Jordan contents that his union recently cut more than $50 million from its operational budget, his problems with the blueprint go much deeper than just what it means for his membership.

“Looking at this plan that the SRC is proposing, it is absolutely silent on restoring to our children, the programs that existed when I was in high school,” Jordan said. “When I went to West, there was a band, orchestra, school newspaper and all the sports … that is missing from the schools. When you look at research of what happens to children during those after-school hours, more kids get into trouble because they are not supervised.

“Those programs were taken out of the schools by the school district administration,” Jordan continued. “I question how is it that we talk about improving schools, and we’re not saying and doing what it is that needs to be done to make schools a much better environment for students.”
The school district has made several cuts to its staff, programming and after-school/weekend hours, in an effort to whittle down the budget for the current academic school year. The district faced a budget deficit of around $69 million; the cuts, although painful, has left the district with a fiscal year 2012 budget gap of little under $30 million. Currently, the SRC forecasts a budget deficit of $218 million — which has the potential to increase to $312 million. Thomas Knudsen, the district’s Chief Recovery Officer, fanned the flames of a coming disaster, warning of a distinct possibility that the district wouldn’t open its school doors in September if the district didn’t receive the $94 million from city council via the controversial Asset Valuation Index; Jordan dismissed it as little more than a threat, saying the commonwealth is obligated to providing free and equal-access education to all Pennsylvanian children.

From Jordan’s perspective, the mismanagement of district finances – either by the current board or previous incarnations – shouldn’t be balanced on the backs of the PFT or of its students; Jordan doesn’t fully dispute that the district is leaking, but believes with a series of tweaks, the district can restore most of the programs it has cut. After all, it has done so in the past.

“I’ve been in the system for a while, and there’s always been a deficit and problem financially,” Jordan said. “But I harken back to the ‘80s, when Connie Clayton assumed a budget deficit of over $200 million at that time, and those programs existed for children,” Jordan said. “Connie Clayton never eliminated one nurse. She said that there weren’t enough nurses for every school, so there was never a layoff. We had libraries, but now we’re down to about 47 librarians for 249 schools, and every school doesn’t have a music and an art teacher.

“The reason I draw that parallel is that we did not have the amount of money during the Clayton era that existed after she left, the amount of money that came in during the Hornbeck era from foundations and others were much greater, and after the state took over and especially during the [Governor Ed] Rendell years, a lot more money went to the public schools.

“So it becomes a question of management; how is the money being managed? Is that money going into the schools for the kids, or is that money being spent elsewhere? That is the issue, and I will say that during the Clayton years, the money went into the schools and it was a real focus on what the kids received as far as a quality education.”

School district spokesman Fernando Gallard said SRC members do hear and take to heart the negative vibes and general angst the blueprint has created amongst parents, students and stakeholders. Still, in order to balance not only this year’s budget, but to reorganize in a way that leads to solvency in five years — the estimated time frame for all of the positive effects of the blueprint to be realized — there was simply no way around the cuts, but agrees that more money needs to be circulated back to the classroom.

“The frustration I hear in people’s voice is, ‘How can this be? Is there something else we can do besides restructuring the district and closing schools, besides the hard decisions we have to make? And the answer is no,” Gallard said. “People ask why do we have to close schools, but the answer is pretty straight-forward. We are spending a lot of money on half-empty schools, and we can’t afford to do that.

“We should be realigning money to the classroom.”

Emblematic of the district’s organizational disarray, Jordan contends that neither the district nor members of the SRC bothered to contact the PFT for input on the draft’s blueprint; not only that, Jordan said, but the PFT wasn’t invited to the public release of the blueprint, and so far, the SRC hasn’t extended an invite for a formal sit-down with the union. Jordan personally doesn’t believe the plan will survive, and indeed, Gallard labeled it a draft that can and probably will change, Jordan believes the district missed a golden opportunity to band with the union.

“When the blueprint was introduced, that’s when we became aware of it,” Jordan said, noting that he and his staff were putting together a response and counter-proposal. “There just needs to be a lot more focus on the quality of education being offered to children in the Philadelphia school district.

“This is just a management budget document; it’s a financial plan.”Jordan’s referred to the recently publicized Blueprint for Transforming Philadelphia’s Public Schools, an aggressive plan that calls for $156 million to be shaved from the district’s personnel department, by means of a restructured benefit and pay scale.

“At that time last year, [the SRC] said, ‘this is what we need in order to balance our budget.’ So to come back in December and say, ‘oh, it’s not balanced.’ But you told us this is what [The SRC] needed,” Jordan explained. “There were serious negotiations around this, and they gave numbers and explained to us that this is why they need the unions to make these concessions, and we did. So then in December, we hear ‘well, no, we still have to lay off people because we have a huge deficit’. How can we trust the numbers?”

While Jordan contents that his union recently cut more than $50 million from its operational budget, his problems with the blueprint go much deeper than just what it means for his membership.

“Looking at this plan that the SRC is proposing, it is absolutely silent on restoring to our children, the programs that existed when I was in high school,” Jordan said. “When I went to West, there was a band, orchestra, school newspaper and all the sports … that is missing from the schools. When you look at research of what happens to children during those after-school hours, more kids get into trouble because they are not supervised.

“Those programs were taken out of the schools by the school district administration,” Jordan continued. “I question how is it that we talk about improving schools, and we’re not saying and doing what it is that needs to be done to make schools a much better environment for students.”
The school district has made several cuts to its staff, programming and after-school/weekend hours, in an effort to whittle down the budget for the current academic school year. The district faced a budget deficit of around $69 million; the cuts, although painful, has left the district with a fiscal year 2012 budget gap of little under $30 million. Currently, the SRC forecasts a budget deficit of $218 million — which has the potential to increase to $312 million. Thomas Knudsen, the district’s Chief Recovery Officer, fanned the flames of a coming disaster, warning of a distinct possibility that the district wouldn’t open its school doors in September if the district didn’t receive the $94 million from city council via the controversial Asset Valuation Index; Jordan dismissed it as little more than a threat, saying the commonwealth is obligated to providing free and equal-access education to all Pennsylvanian children.

From Jordan’s perspective, the mismanagement of district finances – either by the current board or previous incarnations – shouldn’t be balanced on the backs of the PFT or of its students; Jordan doesn’t fully dispute that the district is leaking, but believes with a series of tweaks, the district can restore most of the programs it has cut. After all, it has done so in the past.

“I’ve been in the system for a while, and there’s always been a deficit and problem financially,” Jordan said. “But I harken back to the ‘80s, when Connie Clayton assumed a budget deficit of over $200 million at that time, and those programs existed for children,” Jordan said. “Connie Clayton never eliminated one nurse. She said that there weren’t enough nurses for every school, so there was never a layoff. We had libraries, but now we’re down to about 47 librarians for 249 schools, and every school doesn’t have a music and an art teacher.

“The reason I draw that parallel is that we did not have the amount of money during the Clayton era that existed after she left, the amount of money that came in during the Hornbeck era from foundations and others were much greater, and after the state took over and especially during the [Governor Ed] Rendell years, a lot more money went to the public schools.

“So it becomes a question of management; how is the money being managed? Is that money going into the schools for the kids, or is that money being spent elsewhere? That is the issue, and I will say that during the Clayton years, the money went into the schools and it was a real focus on what the kids received as far as a quality education.”

School district spokesman Fernando Gallard said SRC members do hear and take to heart the negative vibes and general angst the blueprint has created amongst parents, students and stakeholders. Still, in order to balance not only this year’s budget, but to reorganize in a way that leads to solvency in five years — the estimated time frame for all of the positive effects of the blueprint to be realized — there was simply no way around the cuts, but agrees that more money needs to be circulated back to the classroom.

“The frustration I hear in people’s voice is, ‘How can this be? Is there something else we can do besides restructuring the district and closing schools, besides the hard decisions we have to make? And the answer is no,” Gallard said. “People ask why do we have to close schools, but the answer is pretty straight-forward. We are spending a lot of money on half-empty schools, and we can’t afford to do that.

“We should be realigning money to the classroom.”

Emblematic of the district’s organizational disarray, Jordan contends that neither the district nor members of the SRC bothered to contact the PFT for input on the draft’s blueprint; not only that, Jordan said, but the PFT wasn’t invited to the public release of the blueprint, and so far, the SRC hasn’t extended an invite for a formal sit-down with the union. Jordan personally doesn’t believe the plan will survive, and indeed, Gallard labeled it a draft that can and probably will change, Jordan believes the district missed a golden opportunity to band with the union.

“When the blueprint was introduced, that’s when we became aware of it,” Jordan said, noting that he and his staff were putting together a response and counter-proposal. “There just needs to be a lot more focus on the quality of education being offered to children in the Philadelphia school district.

“This is just a management budget document; it’s a financial plan.”

Submitted by J. Taylor (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:07 pm

Doesn't the fact that you have to defend him with such vigor suggest that there is at least a public relations disaster in the making here? It all points to one thing: the PFT needs to lead the charge, not join it from the rear after figuring out which way the wind blows...which is how it appears to many of its members.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 10:33 pm

Not really. Listen, if you know Jordan you know he isn't the biggest "in your face" person. He is calm and cool and is very good strategically. I simply said read the Philadelphia Tribune article, read the Philadelphia Inquirer article with Kristen Graham, watch FOX 29 news, read his full page editorials in the Philadelphia Inquirer (he has had many). He just doesn't sit around and do nothing--he is involved and that proves it. The best thing that he could do is reach out to the media (which he has constantly). You want the PFT message to be heard and he has done that.
Our contract is extended until August 2013. If the SRC cancels the contract then teachers can strike. Once the contract is cancelled all hell can break loose.

Submitted by J. Taylor (not verified) on May 7, 2012 6:09 am

I'm willing to believe that he is a calm and strategic thinker. I'm not trying to dis the guy, who seems likeable. I am trying to get the PFT leadership to put some shoe leather into the task of rallying the troops. I attended the last poorly attended contract talk...as well as the pitiful PFT rally outside 440 several weeks back...and those events suggest that the leadership has to connect more personally with its membership. In contrast, the one SRC meeting I attended was packed with the maintenance workers. It's the union leadership's job to get its members motivated to show up the same way other unions get their members to show up. Perhaps our leadership will show up at Enon...I didn't see any of them at Mother Bethel...along with the other no shows (Nutter, Knudsen, Nixon...).

Submitted by Anon, anon, we must go anon.... (not verified) on May 7, 2012 7:02 am

A PFT weekly initiative at schools will be announced today. The question is will the PFT MEMBERS care enough to show up early at school to do what the Leadership is asking? Ask your Building Rep tomorrow what we are going to be doing and see how you can help get members motivated!

Submitted by J. Taylor (not verified) on May 7, 2012 11:20 am

I think you should identify yourself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 11:38 am

Some people prefer not to be identified. Anyone on this blog has that right. Some people like privacy---that is anyone's right.

Submitted by Anon, anon, we must go anon.... (not verified) on May 7, 2012 12:50 pm

J. Taylor is hardly a definitive identification. First name? School or other organization?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 12:13 pm

Why so uptight over someone not giving a name? What is there to gain from it? To each his own. Please respect others who blog on this website and choose to remain anonymous. Case closed....

Submitted by J. Taylor (not verified) on May 7, 2012 1:13 pm

Of course people are free to be anonymous. They are also free to be curious. When writers seems to have inside info, it's nice to have some sense of their authenticity. My name is Joan Taylor. I teach at MYA, Middle Years Alternative School. I'm an 8th grade Literacy teacher. I've been with the SDP since 1987, first at Stoddart, then at Elverson, now at MYA.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 1:20 pm

With all respect....it's called being nosey and too curious. Welcome aboard though....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 12:54 pm

Listen, I am anonymous and that's the way I want it. Other people choose to be anonymous too so leave the other anonymous alone and drop it already!

Signed,
Mr. Anonymous

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 7:23 pm

What happened to your manners?

Submitted by tom-104 on May 7, 2012 12:06 pm

The article you quoted is not the one we are referring to. We are referring to the article in the same Tribune "School's Chief: Put up or shut down"

http://www.phillytrib.com/newsarticles/item/3954-schools-chief-put-up-or...

It says:

"Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said he doubts the teacher’s union can mount a legal defense to either the reorganization plan in general, or the particular element that calls for a $159 million reduction in personnel, including a restructured benefit and wage scale. But Jordan defended the union, noting the district’s history of mismanagement, and the prior givebacks by the PFT."

So what is he proposing except a lot of hand wringing?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 12:41 pm

I see where you are coming from, however, Jordan has long been known to take a wait and see approach to issues facing teachers in this District. He is good strategizer. In the end, I feel he will help and the PFT will move forward.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 6:45 pm

I totally agree with you 100%. PFT teachers need to step up and speak up and band together. Members need to get together and get a petition going and send it directly to Jerry Jordan's office letting him know what we expect of him as our leader. WE need to let him know that we expect him to FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!
On the other hand, everytime people cry about Jordan at the last minute he pulls off an upset against the District. ACT 46 needs to be challenged again and again. Furthermore, I BELIEVE HIS GAME PLAN IS TO LET THE SRC TRY AND CANCEL THE CONTRACT THEN ITS NO HOLD BARRED AND WE CAN GO OUT AND STRIKE IF THEY CANCEL THE CONTRACT. There is no way they can replace thousands of teachers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 7:54 pm

Just like they couldn't replace the air traffic controllers. There will be always be people to take other people's jobs. Don't think you are irreplaceable.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:51 pm

Actually, no I don't think all of the teachers are replaceable. There are 10,000 teachers!!! And take into account that no one is jumping to teach here!!! Look at the lines for the teacher job fairs----ALMOST ALL ARE IN LINE FOR THE SUBURBAN TEACHING POSTIONS NOT THE PHILLY TEACHING POSITIONS!!! Wake up already!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:21 am

They don't want to work for philly but they are working for the charters. When all the philly schools are turned over to charters and the PFT is busted, they will have people to fill those positions. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN LINING UP TO TEACH IN THE SUBURBS FOREVER! THERE IS NOTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THAT

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 12:47 pm

Get your facts straight please!!
The PFT will never be busted. You can assume that but it won't happen. If someone wants to teach in a Charter School then so be it!! When that Charter School teacher has no due process rights (ex: look at the principal the wrong way and fired with no help) and sees the high turnover rates that exist in Charter Schools, then so be it!!!
GO TO THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE AND READ THE ARTICLE ON WHAT JERRY JORDAN HAS SAID. READ UP ON DIANE RAVITCH AND HER STAND FOR THE RIGHTS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS!!! READ READ AND KEEP READING.......

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:28 pm

What happens when every Philadelphia school is a charter? They are selling our schools to the highest bidders.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:29 pm

What happens when every Philadelphia school is a charter? They are selling our schools to the highest bidders.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:18 pm

Please go to The Philadelphia Tribune website and read the article on what Jerry Jordan has said. Every school will not become Charter!!! There is already a huge movement with all churches, members of the Black Clergy, and PFT will be involved in stopping this.
Also, Jordan already said in a different interview with Philadelphia Inquire's Kristen Graham that the PFT will not negotiate on anything until their contract expires (which I believe is August 2013). It is noted that IF the SRC tries and succeeds in cancelling your contract, THEN ALL TEACHERS can strike!!! If the contract is cancelled then there is no contract hence then you can do whatever you want ---STRIKE!!!
Notice that the SRC keeps avoiding that??? They aren't stupid either but you do have the upper hand when it comes to this--a little leverage on the SRC. ACT 46 needs to keep being challenged.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:02 pm

According to the SRC - the group with the power - 40% of Philadelphia students will be in charters. Today, it is 25%. So, that leaves 60% of students in SDP schools. I assume, at the high school level, that will primarily be special admission schools / magnets and high schools in the Northeast (Northeast HS, Washington, maybe Lincoln). While I'd like to think the SDP will not turn over more new buildings to charters, they gave Audenreid to Universal (along with all the computer equipment) so I assume all schools are up for grabs. It also means many elementary schools will be closed or turned over to charters. As a union member, I hope the PFT fights for seniority so those of us with 20 plus in but not enough time to retire are not let go because we have chosen to stay in neighborhood schools and work with the most challenging students. We have not taken an easier way out and gone to special admission schools. (I realize some teachers were cut last year and a magnet school might have been the only option.) I have problem apply for a position - I've applied for the last 3 schools I've worked at - I don't want to be told "too bad" you're not in a magnet school with a secure job. It would be nice to be respected for my experience and accomplishments with students - yes, even those who require much more on the part of the teacher versus places like Masterman, Central, Girls, Palumbo, SLA, etc., etc.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 10:58 pm

It depends where you're school is. Seems like they keep turning over schools in North Philly, West Philly, and South Philly to Charters. That is where there is a big uproar because it is showing that the SRC is targeting black neighborhoods. Believe me, a court case is brewing with the Members of the Black Clergy and the PFT heading the way to fight the SRC and Charter Schools. Hang in there!!! Justice will be served.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 11:54 pm

These are some of the most impoverished areas of the city along with Kensington. So, the School District will dump its most impoverished students???

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 12:05 am

Yes. But if the charter school is any good the impoverished students won't get admitted to it. They'll just be pushed back to a lousy charter like Universal.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 7, 2012 10:57 pm

Yes, the more people of color, the less resistance the carpetbaggers will receive. Poverty and disarray are so insidious and pervasive in those areas, the scum bags will have it easier and yes, the SRC and here it comes, NUTTER are complicit.

Submitted by A Touch of Sense (not verified) on May 8, 2012 7:21 am

Lori Shorr, Mayor Nutter's Chief Education Officer, is the one pushing the privatization agenda the hardest. I will never forget the look of consternation on her face last Tuesday when the speakers blasted Knudsen's privatization plan. She looked like she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 8, 2012 9:05 am

Check her background and connections. You WON'T be surprised.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:57 pm

Brainiac---Air Traffic Controllers were Federal employees! Teachers in the PFT are not!! Know your facts before taking you're position on an issue.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:42 pm

Yes, the facts are pesky little critters. I'm still holding out hope that Jordan has a plan that works for us and not against us. Keep both eyes glued on Walker in Wisconsin. He's a bought and paid for drone who recently signed into law an anti woman law. How bold and cold was that??? Besides all that, he's under investigation for corruption. YET, HE'S STILL GETTING ABOUT HALF THE VOTE THERE!!! How ?? What's wrong with those people, too much cheese??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:05 am

What does being federal employees have to do with anything?? I will put my IQ against yours any day of the week. Teachers are public employees. You can and will be replaced.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 12:33 pm

If you want to challenge IQ fine.....then before you blog know you're facts first....for example.....THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS WERE REPLACED---YES---HOWEVER---THEY WERE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND AS IS RONALD REAGAN WAS PRESIDENT OF THE US AND HE WENT AHEAD AND MADE THE CALL TO REPLACE THEM BECAUSE THEY WALKED OFF THE JOB. PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS, IF CONTRACT IS BROKEN BY THE SRC CAN THEN STRIKE. FOR FEDERAL WORKERS THEY CANNOT STRIKE PERIOD!!
Furthermore, no parent on this earth will allow any teacher who is not certified to teach their child. Their is an uproar over this and the PFT and members of the Black Clergy are moving full force forward to protect public education.
You definitely are not a teacher in the PFT. You sound like another ACKERMAN lackey!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:51 pm

Parents already send their children to schools where teachers are not certified. It's called charter schools. They are not required to have certified teachers. Did you ever hear of Act 46? Teachers in Philadelphia are not allowed to strike. Also, I am a PFT teacher and I couldn't wait for Ackerman to go. I was one of the few teachers that showed up at the ratification meeting. The union membership does not stand together when it matters. I go to every rally the PFT organizes. If we strike they can and will replace us. I am not foolish enough to think otherwise.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 2:48 pm

you're comments seem so extreme and personal. you feel that strongly against union teachers???? Wow.......

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:02 pm

I am a union teacher! And I am on building committee and support the union completely. I am just telling you that we can and will be replaced unless we stand together and get the parents to stand with us.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:46 pm

Where would they find 10,000 teachers??? From the sky???

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:35 am

You are foolish to keep believing that you are irreplaceable. They replaced every teacher in every school that they have taken over so far. They can put whomever they want in those positions, regardless of certification or teaching degree.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:54 am

Wealthy organizations like Teach for America - part of the conservative privatization movement in education along with their friends at the Gates, Broad and Walton Foundations - are ready and willing to give our students and children warm bodies with no experience who they can "mold" with scripted lesson plans. (Teach for America is another proponent of 7 step, drill and kill lessons and creators of Excel spread sheets). They will replace all of us with cheap, unprepared and non-certified labor. If TFA still has a contract with the SDP, we know the SRC is about no more than dismantling public education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 9:38 am

Yawn. I guess I shouldn't have taken my "warm body" to rally for public education then. As a corporate pawn I should rescind my letters to the SRC telling them that they need accountability in public education not outsourcing. Maybe I should throw out my lesson plans and just use the SRA drivel that put my students to sleep?

If you want labor unity, don't denigrate your coworkers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 11:25 am

There is a great chasm between newbies that replace teachers with experience and newbies that can outlast teachers with experience. The power that be are building a house of cards for when teachers with experience are gone there will be a great collapse. Half of the new hires will be gone within a few years and eventually even the charter propaganda machine will not be able to suppress all the horror stories that will appear. Nobody is rushing into Philly to teach. The amount of work that charters expect for the pittance they want to pay will deter newbies from even considering teaching. Unfortunately teachers with experience will have a few rough years to ride out before America finally appreciates them enough to offer a fair wage. That is when it's time to negotiate.

Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on May 6, 2012 10:48 pm

I agree with everything but the last three lines.
"A few rough years?"
Once they succeed with dismantling the public school system, it seems naive to suggest that very system can be resurrected in a few short years.
A generation of children's lives may be lost to this folly.
A separate and unequal system is being codified with no acknowledgment that there will be clear losers in this "portfolio of schools."
Our democracy is in peril.
It seems very cavalier to me to just sit back and watch this unfold, let the truth reveal itself, and then expect it to fix itself with no one worse for the wear.
Is that what you were suggesting or did I misunderstand you completely?
I believe the time to pull out all the stops and fight back is NOW!
Please reply so I may understand you better.
Thanks.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 7, 2012 10:51 pm

I agree this is WAR.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 12:28 pm

Obviously, you are not a teacher, let alone a union teacher. Be real here--No one is jumping up and down to teach in Philadelphia period!!!!
And those choosing Charter schools to teach in better beware because ti is well known that there is very high turnover rates amonst those teachers and no due process rights to go along with it. Loof at your Principal the wrong way and you are chopped liver!!! Choke on that!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2012 9:48 pm

Shows how much you know, I have been teaching with the district for two decades. I am a realist. I've seen the district close many schools and make them charter schools. Everything has been put into place for over ten years now to make a perfect storm to bust the PFT. It's all about making money. The powers that be do not want to keep teachers for a career, that costs too much money. They would rather it be a revolving door.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2012 8:52 pm

The farce of all this is the acceptance of Corbett's budget. He's a disgrace and means our children no good. We all know it including the SRC. They should be screaming at Corbett not kowtowing to him and his carpet bombing budget directed like a laser at our kids. The PFT lead by Jordan should also be screaming. The Churches are carrying the torch not the people in the trenches.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:54 pm

Read my post above with the WHOLE Philadelphia Tribune article. Jerry Jordan stands up for the PFT and it's members. People keep posting on here that Jerry "sold out" or will "sell out" and if you read the ENTIRE article it doesn't show selling out, just a union leader who is ready to battle.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:57 pm

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry-----Battle already---Just Do It !!

Submitted by SOS 60 on May 5, 2012 4:35 pm

@ Tim Boyle, as usual, your thoughts, comments and plans are straight to the point and constructive. It matters and I think as long as we keep talking, they will listen. We and they even trading places.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 5:31 pm

I just read Patrick Kerkstra's article about schools and his ability to say nothing over and over and over is stunning. Laying off workers shouldn't be anybody's goal. Just mindless nonsense !!
Nutter is so in the pocket of the 1% ers that he should be ashamed for himself, his family and the people who elected him, most of whom were poor, lower middle class, people of color. He sold them and us all out. Instead of "grow up and deal with it," he should be in Harrisburg screaming at Corbett. Gee, I wonder why he chose the route he has. Mr. Sellout.
Word on the street has it that 2 SRC members will quit out of frustration and disgust. I hope the rumors are true.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 5, 2012 7:15 pm

There is no serious debate among clear thinking people. This Good vs. Bad and the good will prevail especially now that the churches are leading the way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:00 pm

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Submitted by Arnold (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:43 pm

Clint Eastwood, Spaghetti Western 1968.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2012 9:18 pm

PFT!!! PFT!!! PFT!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on May 7, 2012 5:35 pm

The School District had a $218 million budget gap before the Restructuring Plan was announced and continues to have one after. Regardless of where you stand on the Restructuring Plan, the proposal to raise additional funds by changing the way Philadelphia assesses taxes (the Actual Value Initiative) is worthy of your support.

So far, the discussion about changing Philly's property tax system has been governed by fear, misinformation and a measure of greed. You owe it to yourself to take a look at PCCY's web site --
https://www.pccy.org/?page=CityBudgetAdvocacy__178 -- for an overview of the AVI, FAQs, etc.

PCCY supports the AVI with the following conditions:

*the City needs to step up efforts to collect property taxes from deadbeats;
*the City should begin a 2-year freeze on tax abatements for new construction;
*the new system should include a $15,000 Homestead Exemption for those who live in owner-occupied homes; and
*the system should include "circuit breakers" to ensure that low-income homeowners in neighborhoods that have appreciated significantly don't pay more than they can afford.

(and yes, there are already protections in place for low-income seniors, and yes, we need to continue to press state and federal government for more school funding...)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 7, 2012 10:49 pm

They laid off the nurses violating the contract and got away with it. If things continue the way they are they will lay off teachers too. Is anyone paying attention. The answer is very simple. They don't care, they don't give a damm. They don't care about the kids, the teachers or the union. They are funny, though. They want the union to give more concessions so they can give our money and benefit to their " Friends " so they can open more Charters. Ja, Ja, Ja. LOL.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 9, 2012 12:39 am

Stop fighting with each other! The bottom line is that one of the mainstays of a democratic society is public education. Obviously the SRC gets its orders from Corbett, the Gates Foundation, Nutter and the Broad Academy....none of whom supports/believes in public ed. It's up to each of us to fight the idea of privatizing any aspect (including achievement management networks) of public ed. Notice, this isn't happening in the suburbs. Stand up and support the PFT, because right now, they're the only game in town that's fighting for public ed. for all students in Phila.

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

So true, Upper Darby parents, teachers and students came out with great strength to oppose the cuts proposed in their district. We need to do the same. Do you know my students get a grade for Art and Music, but PARENTS,.....they are NOT being taught art and music. Please wake up to the fact that you and your children are being deceived. It is a farce.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 9, 2012 9:44 am

So true, Upper Darby parents, teachers and students came out with great strength to oppose the cuts proposed in their district. We need to do the same. Do you know my students get a grade for Art and Music, but PARENTS,.....they are NOT being taught art and music. Please wake up to the fact that you and your children are being deceived. It is a farce.

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