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District rejects Creighton teachers’ proposal

By Benjamin Herold on May 30, 2012 12:06 PM

by Benjamin Herold
for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks
 

District officials have shot down an effort by teachers at Creighton Elementary to stave off charter conversion and lead their own school turnaround effort.

A teacher-led proposal calling for a council of teachers and community members to assume control of the school “does not provide sufficient evidence of the…ability to implement, manage, and sustain a large-scale school turnaround at Creighton,” wrote Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon in a memo dated May 29.

The School Reform Commission will vote on Creighton’s future on Friday, June 1. 

Although Nixon rejected the teachers’ proposal, she expressed openness to the idea of teacher-led turnarounds. The District has apparently not yet made a formal recommendation on who should manage Creighton next year, although Universal Companies, the second choice of Creighton’s School Advisory Council, would appear to have the inside track.

Officials from the District and Universal were not immediately available for comment.

Regina Feighan-Drach, the primary architect of the Creighton teachers’ proposal, expressed disappointment.

“It’s a sad situation if they’re going to privatize another public school,” said Feighan-Drach, a longtime art teacher at Creighton.

“I just keep thinking that you need to trust your employees.”

In February, Creighton was one of four elementary schools targeted for conversion to charters as part of the District’s Renaissance Schools Initiative. In April, however, Creighton’s School Advisory Council voted in favor of the teacher-led proposal over five charter operators vying to manage the school. The School Reform Commission delayed a vote on Creighton’s future until the teacher-led plan could be more fully vetted.

Feighan-Drach said she felt the Chief Academic Office gave thorough consideration to the teachers’ proposal, but she said she is frustrated that she and her colleagues were given only a short window to put their plan together.

“We should have been given the same opportunities that the charters got, and we weren’t,” said Feighan-Drach. “It was written in less than four weeks, so it’s not going to be perfect. We were more than willing to amend it and work with the School District.”

In making her recommendaton, Nixon cited a “lack of literature on the necessary infrastructure for preparedness to implement a teacher-led model” and a lack of data on teacher-led turnarounds, as opposed to newly created schools. 

She also offered a laundry list of reasons why the teachers’ proposal failed to align with the goals of the Renaissance Initiative, including a lack of “detailed evidence of leadership experience with implementing and/or managing whole school turnaround efforts” and a lack of “discussion of how … data will inform teaching practice for teachers to personalize instruction and implement interventions to increase student achievement.”

Despite rejecting the Creighton teachers' plan, Nixon expressed support for the notion of teacher-led turnarounds.

"The CAO recommends that the District and the SRC explore research-based models and opportunities for teacher-led teams to participate in the RFP Renaissance Schools Initiative process," she wrote.

"In addition, the District should provide professional development opportunities to support teacher-led turnarounds."

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Comments (159)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 12:02 pm

Nixon needs to resign. She is an Ackerman leftover. Giving another school to Universal gives into their dirty politics. This is another example of the ineptitude of Nixon and the SRC.

Submitted by James Tmail (not verified) on May 30, 2012 2:37 pm

Nutter is behind it and it's NOT ineptitude--it's dishonesty and disrespect right in our face.

Submitted by A Touch of Sense (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:14 pm

What a disgrace. What a lack of honesty and integrity of everyone involved with the leadership of the district.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:23 pm

I keep saying it over and over---Jerry Jordan needs to call a "WALK OUT"!!!! Meetings and rallies aren't doing sh*t!!! Seriously, the SRC needs to feel the UNION TIDAL WAVE before more schools keep getting Charterized.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 12:57 pm

Creighton only had four weeks to put a plan together. The SRC still can not figure out a restructuring plan. they are a joke.

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

Universal has never run a multicultural school. It is being rewarded for its political connections. Universal owe the SDP millions. If the teachers need more time, than let Creighton stay in the SDP and let the teachers have another year. Nixon - then, you can resign.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:44 pm

Universal Daroff and Bluford did not "turn around." Neither made AYP. Universal paid staff went to the SRC - in a public meeting and in private - to lobby for Universal. In other words, Universal has paid lobbyists.

Universal has been given Audenreid and Vare. They are paying NO rent. Why is the SRC giving money to Universal?

Submitted by James Tmail (not verified) on May 30, 2012 2:02 pm

This decision tells you ALL you need to know about the public outcry to halt or even measure the charter conversions. Kenny Gamble has NO business working in any field where honesty is involved. Of course, he and Nutter are longtime buddies and that's all that counts. Well, not all.................money counts plenty too. If the teachers there turn the school around, there's no easy money made in that. This is all a disgrace and here it comes-----------Obama has been a big disappointment towards the working people in general. Look at his lack of involvement in Wisconsin where an appearance by him, would seal the deal and Walker would be gone. Obama knows he has all of us in his pocket so he doesn't have to extend himself.
Getting back to Philly, Universal is even more ridiculous and worthless than Foundations and Mosaica IF that's possible. None of them even pass the giggle test. They're an embarrassment for all to see. As they say in South Philly, they're all warts on the ass of life.

Submitted by James Tmail (not verified) on May 30, 2012 2:18 pm

Nutter, Nutter, Nutter, Nutter !!!

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

Daroff missed AYP by less then 1% (in attendance, but made the required growth in te academics) in 2010-2011...and this past year, did make AYP---just an FYI

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 3:28 pm

Considering Universal's ties to NOI, I am surprised they want to run anything we might consider "multicultural." It probably won't be for long.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:37 pm

SRC whatever you do dont automatically give Creighton to Universal please. Let the SAC vote again.

Submitted by joe (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:38 pm

Why is it the teacher's responsibility to find the research? Why can't the district do it, or at least work together with the school? There's always been the guise that the teacher-led turnaround is an option, but every time it's been attempted, it's never been given a fair shot. Don't pretend to support it when you don't actually do anything to back up that claim. Charters have full time people who's job it is to write proposals and find research to back it up. How are bunch of full-time teachers and parents expected to do that same work without the same resources or support.

This is one of the main problems of "school choice." If one option is given all of the resources and support, and the other is given none, then it's only the appearance of choice. Really, it's predetermined.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:22 pm

I came from King HS last year. The decision to close our school was PRE DETERMINED. Universal WILL get the school. It's a done deal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:21 pm

Nixon tries to talk like she's educated?!?!? Please, she and her bestie, Ms. Weyman couldn't produce a grammatically correct sentence if they BOTH tried!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 2:09 pm

Nixon and Weyman wouldn't recognize a subject, verb connection if they stepped on it with their 30 inch heels. With all due respect, they are embarrassing but no more than Katherine Donahue and crazy people like that. They make terrible impressions for the S.D.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:47 pm

Just for the record and to allay your far too sensitive feelings, I also used the same metaphor about John Runyan of the Eagles when he was running for office in New Jersey. I said he wouldn't recognize a subject, verb connection if it ran around him on the way to McNabb. Keep race out of things and you'll be better off.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:15 pm

I don't understand what race has to do with that comment.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 7:28 pm

Nixon and its "Ms. Wayman" have always worked for our children...not for the adults who have no passion for urban students, but are simply in our school district to collect the paycheck, increase their "steps" in pay and attain the health benefits for their families (while living outside of the city)..Say what you will about grammar, but they know what it takes to educate our students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:50 pm

I have no interest in Wayman and Nixon's grammar. Nevertheless, Ms. Wayman knows nothing about instruction nor curriculum. She is a paper pusher, a bully and unprepared to lead principals no less teachers. Ms. Nixon, who led a school to a cheating scandal, also knows little about instruction or curriculum.

I happen to live in the city, send my children to Philly schools (no, not Masterman nor Central like the SRC members) and spend a lot of time improving my practice to support my students. Those of us who think anyone connected with Ackerman and "her agenda" - which includes Wayman, Nixon, Driver, LaTonya Miller, etc. - need to go are not self serving.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:27 pm

I have no idea what your last sentence means plus Nixon, Weyman etc. are School District LEADERS. They should be able to speak The King's English properly.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:13 pm

I'll try again. Nixon, Driver, LaTonya Miller, Wayman, Nunnery, Nancy Bratton, etc. - everyone who worked with Ackerman - needs to resign. Ackerman's poison permeated her staff. They need to resign. They may be "Leaders" but they are capable of providing "leadership."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:12 pm

You did it again---the last sentence---did you mean to say incapable??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 9:28 am

Ms. Wayman and Ms. Nixon were here well before Ackerman's reign serving our students. It is a tumultuous task to lead people that are self-serving. Whoever leads this district with children first in mind, will always receive criticism and back lash. However, someone has to take the charge and clean house: top to bottom, bottom to top. The malpractice and disservice to our children needs to end.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 9:16 am

Either you're kidding or you're bleat.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 11:43 am

Not kidding about the miseducated students and the continual oppression of minority children in this city.

Not kidding about getting rid of those ineffective educators that perpetuate the problem with constant outward finger pointing and have no interest in serving children.

A bleat (whatever that means) I am...
Reform.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 12:13 pm

Troll------------I have no idea what you're talking about.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 1, 2012 3:01 pm

There is a great need for an auditing and "watchdog" body that can work directly with the SRC. I would suggest that we take the good work that the Notebook provides one step further and create an entity made of membership of representatives from Parents United, the PFT, youth and student organizations, and others who can provide the much needed detective work/testimony. Then we need to offer this as an alternate solution to splitting the District up. It would address the political corruption issue directly, and be far more effective at directing public funds to where they are truly needed. This would raise the level of all "seats" without simply shuffling "high performing" students, or losing the tremendous advantages of pooling resources. Having taken the time to look at school budgets and see how some of the money translates to what actually happens for the kids, I believe it would make a big difference, and be a real way to save our neighborhood schools, which still represent the ideals that public education is founded on.

Btw, "bleat" was the pen name of a commenter who would not be convinced that Philadelphia teachers were interested in anything other than their pay and benefits, and that they were entirely responsible for poor standardized test scores. Yes there are some, but not all are that way. Predictably, there was a lot of reaction to those comments :)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:09 pm

Surely you jest !!

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:56 pm

This is an offensive comment regarding Penny Nixon. You may not like her, but to make judgements about her ability to produce a grammatically correct sentence has racial overtones. I may not agree with everything in the CAO memo, but it was well-written and easy to understand. As the Chief Academic Officer, she probably went over the final draft. The personal attack isn't necessary.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:17 pm

Me thinks you protest too much--NOTHING racial was even remotely intended. She's a boob, a connected boob, but a boob none the less. Obviously, you don't know her and Weyman and Donahue are even worse.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:02 pm

My bad, I obviously read too much into/misconstrued your comment.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:03 pm

Yes, she went over the final draft, that someone who deserved their job wrote. She happened to be in the right sorority. I had no idea what Penny Nixon looked like until recently, and I always thought she was an idiot.

I was shocked by how young she is. I guess that makes me agist, to you.

Submitted by Chalkboard Charlie (not verified) on May 30, 2012 10:47 pm

I actually like and approve of Penny, but didn't see racial overtones in the comment. Teachers are understandably picky about grammar and can use it as a weapon when they're so inclined. When the accusation of racism is used without cause, it greatly harms the thousands of people who experience true racism on a daily basis in this country. People become skeptical rather than empathetic.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 10:47 pm

Racial??? Please.....are you serious??? Nothing racial was ever mentioned by the blogger----okay Al Sharpton???

Submitted by Ken Derstine on May 30, 2012 11:34 pm

I agree. It is not helpful to turn criticism of someones job performance into a personal attack. Ms. Nixon may be naive, opportunistic, doing her bosses bidding, etc. To attack her for grammar, etc. just makes you have questions about the person making the attack. If you can cite an example of poor grammar, it is a failure of the school system, not the individual. Isn't it possible to criticize someone's performance without demeaning their intelligence or worth as a human being?

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:17 pm

Isn't it possible to criticize someone's performance without demeaning their intelligence or worth as a human being?
--
Exactly, Ken, exactly.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:15 pm

The language in the memo is directly from the "School Improvement Grant" under "Race to the Top." It is language from the so-called "turn around" model options for federal funding. Nixon used the "Race to the Top" rhetoric, apparently, as a "check off" for the teachers' proposal.

While I don't agree with Nixon, I also don't agree with "Race to the Top." If Obama is re-elected, he has to get rid of Duncan (a protegee of Vallas in Chicago) and change a regressive education policy into a progressive policy. Obama's education policies are just as negative as Bush's policies.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:56 pm

Did we ever find out just exactly what the turnaround plan was? It might be helpful to see what the proposal was and see a "line by line" comparison with what the other alternatives offer. Research numbers aside, what were/are the real changes proposed?

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:45 pm

Ms. Cheng, in one of my posts, I asked if there was a way that Benjamin Herold could obtain the original Teacher-Led Proposal as well as Universal's plan for Creighton. Since these are public schools, isn't it logical to allow the public, i.e. the TAXPAYERS, access to these documents. People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing!

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 31, 2012 7:36 am

I agree. Also, if the teachers and parents/caregivers were involved as they should be, then ALL, not just some, should know what was proposed; And those who have commented here should be able to tell us. It would only help them, those who are sincere, if it could be seen what the real choices are for Creighton.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:36 pm

Are all the charter proposals out there for all? My understanding is that only SAC members have them.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:46 pm

If not, they should be. Why should the SAC members be the only ones to be informed? Would it not be the SAC's responsibility to inform the caregivers/other stakeholders if the principal did not? Do you think that the other caregivers aren't capable of making an informed decision?

Do not forget that the SACs were the creation of Ms. Ackerman, who disregarded the School Councils and the Home and School Council when she created them. That is, she did not recognize or integrate these existing bodies into her new entity. What if the School Council or the Home and School disagree with the SAC? Not likely, because they are often made of the same members, and more likely than not, do not represent all the caregivers there at the school... was there time to run a fair election, and what was the voter turnout? Present these facts to the members of a SAC and the reaction you will get is anger and affront... so generally, you walk away...

Submitted by LS Teach (not verified) on May 30, 2012 1:26 pm

Does Penny Nixon "provide sufficient evidence of the…ability to implement, manage, and sustain a large-scale school turnaround at Creighton?"

Submitted by joe (not verified) on May 30, 2012 5:51 pm

exactly. what data does universal have that it's been successful? they have a terrible track record.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 2:37 pm

Charters are brilliant. When schools in the District fail it's the fault of the School District. When charters fail it's just the fault of that one operator so we can eventually after a decade turn it over to another charter operator who will then have their 10 years to fail.

Teaching the poorest students requires more resources not fewer.

Submitted by Ken Derstine on May 30, 2012 3:47 pm

So you are ready to let an entire generation get inferior education in this "experiment" and then "ten years later" let someone else do another ten year experiment?

You are right about: "Teaching the poorest students requires more resources not fewer." When School District schools fails, this and the social conditions of poverty, are the main reasons. This has always been true. In the last few decades urban schools have been inequitably funded. Turning them over to private companies is not the solution to this funding inequity. Recognizing "poorest students requires more resources not fewer" is.

Governor Corbet in this years budget made the most severe cuts to low income schools. See this article on Pennlive.com http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/08/poor_schools_hit_hard...
They are establishing a segregated educational system where parents can flee the consequences of this underfunding and put their children in a charter school which has a few more advantages and can expel any student having problems due to the social conditions they are living in. These students will be sent back to greatly underfunded public schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 3:32 pm

It's a brilliant business model not a brilliant educational model. I should have made that clear.

All in all I don't think charters or the district are inherently better. I think both need the proper resources to truly transform the lives of poor students. I think that since charter's don't show any signs of being better on average we should not support a massive transfer of students into charters. I don't advocate closing some of the better charters. I do also support some expansion of really good charters (Read: Not Universal) but more charters should be closing than are opening in Philadelphia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 3:23 pm

Students can't flee underfunded public schools by going into charters. As per student payments go down in the District, charter payments will begin decreasing. The only way to flee bad education is to flee to a rich area--which those who need the most educational support can't afford.

Submitted by Joan Taylor on May 30, 2012 10:17 pm

Thank you, Ken. Right on! There is a cost to doing business that no one likes to acknowledge...it is more expensive to teach kids who come with less. They need more than the kids in Lower Merion, not less.

I don't know Penny Nixon, but I do know that Wagner was flagged for PSSA cheating on her watch. Perhaps that accusation is unfair...but she should be expected to address this now that she has a position that requires public trust.

Submitted by Dina (not verified) on May 30, 2012 3:41 pm

Well this says it all. And exposes the district. I'm beyond disgusted by the rejection of teachers who want to be responsible for building good education for their students. I guess, in the end, these aren't the kind of teachers the district wants.

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on May 30, 2012 4:02 pm

outrageous! no question the fix was in. universal wining and dining the parents. private meetings with the SRC behind closed doors. no reporters allowed. this would be embarrassing if they had any ethics whatsoever. shame on you powers that be.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 4:52 pm

Anon----When you don't care, you have nothing to lose. ALL they care about is money and it starts with NUTTER.

Submitted by mrsaltz (not verified) on May 30, 2012 4:28 pm

How much did Universal, Mastery, and others give to Corbett?

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on June 1, 2012 4:05 pm

I don't know the answer to that but Gov. Corbett toured Universal Audenried on March 7th of this year with CEO Islam and Kenny Gamble and he sure isn't touring District schools.

Submitted by mrsaltz (not verified) on May 30, 2012 4:32 pm

How much did Universal, Mastery, and others give to Corbett?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 5:40 pm

Terrible! Terrible! Terrible! Shame on Ms. Nixon & the SRC for the lies. The teachers and community leaders at Creighton “does not provide sufficient evidence of the…ability to implement, manage, and sustain a large-scale school turnaround." However, you shuffle poor principals from school to school. I guess when a school's data is in the toilet its the teachers fault and not poor leadership. 5 out of 7 Mastery operated schools did not make adequate yearly progress; 2 out of 3 of the schools operated by Universal didn't make adequate yearly progress - but we continue to turn over our schools to Mastery and Universal. Congratulations to the parents, community leaders and staff of Creighton for fighting back - don't give it up.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:26 pm

In terms of the School Performance Index, Creighton is an 8. There are schools worse than it which are not a part of the Renaissance Initiative. See the SPI page at http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/a/accountability/school-performanc.... Click on Elementary & Middle Schools. Schools with a same or worse SPI than Creighton include Bryant in Cobbs Creek (8), Alcorn (10), Clemente (9), Fairhill (10), Harrison (9), and Hill (10). I'm not saying that the SPI is a great measurement tool, but based strictly on the SPI, there are lower-performing schools. Maybe these schools have new principals and are receiving another change. Who knows. But it just appears that something besides purely the SPI is influencing which schools become Renaissance schools.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:54 pm

another chance*

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:53 pm

Alcorn is right next to Audenreid so it is in Universal Co. territory. So, why not "renaissance" Alcorn? It was to become a "promise" academy last year.

Hill's principal is a good friend of Penny Nixon - she put the principal, Kayla Johnstone, at the school. Johnstone's sister replaced Nixon when Nixon left Wagner. (Wagner is still under the cloud of a cheating allegations under Nixon).

Clemente has had problems for years. Fairhill had a good principal but when the principal left, so did a lot of staff. Bryant and Harrison have had problems for years as well.

In other words, there is no reason for the particular schools selected this year other than a vendetta by 440.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:12 pm

That's right, Alcorn is right near Audenried. I forgot about that. Regarding your information about the people at the other schools, could you verify your source or identify how you know the information? Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 4:15 am

Johnstone sisters - now principals at Wagner and Hill - worked under Nixon at Wagner. Kayla Johnstone spent one year under Wayman in the High School Region (AD1) - a disaster - and then was "given" Hill. In the SDP, personal connections often matter much more than merit/experience/expertise. Nixon has kept this tradition alive of awarding those she is connected to whether through her sorority, church, etc.

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:17 pm

At the SRC meeting on Friday, Nixon seemed to say that Creighton was selected not because it had the worst SPI (it didn't) but because it had a large "Achievement Gap" for African-American students and American-American male students in particular. And so Universal is being brought in to address this even though ~55% of its students are not African-American.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:21 pm

What. I missed that. So, the solution is to bring in Universal? Well, the achievement gap will go away because all of the non-African-American students will leave. I guess that's one way to do it.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:53 pm

If indeed Ms. Nixon cited the African American achievement gap as the reason for choosing Universal, that reason doesn't make much sense. Here's what the memo says on p. 7:

- According to results from the 2011 PSSA, 38% of students enrolled at Creighton scored Below Basic in Math (another 18% scored Basic) and 41% scored Below Basic in Reading (another 19% scored Basic).
- 80% of students with an IEP scored Below Basic in Math (another 9% scored Basic) and 74% scored Below Basic in Reading (another 11% scored Basic).
- 51% of ELL students scored Below Basic in Math (another 21% scored Basic) and 62% scored Below Basic in Reading (another 21% scored Basic).
- 51% of Latino/Hispanic students scored Below Basic in Math (another 18% scored Basic) and 54% scored Below Basic in Reading (another 20% scored Basic).
- 43% of Black students scored Below Basic in Math (another 20% scored Basic).

According to this data, THERE IS AN EVEN GREATER ACHIEVEMENT GAP FOR LATINO/A STUDENTS THAN FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS.

According to the SDP, Creighton's population is:
African American - 45.8%
Latino/a - 25.9%
Asian - 19.3%
Other - 5.6%
White - 3.4%
(https://webapps.philasd.org/school_profile/view/7240). 20.1% of Creighton's students are ELLs.

Based on 2010 annual reports,
located at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/annual_reports_..., Universal's Universal Institute CS had the following demographics:
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1%
Black (Non-Hispanic): 99%
Hispanic: 1%
White (Non-Hispanic): 0
Multicultural: 1%

Universal Bluford CS's annual report doesn't have demographic data or anything else substantive for that matter. However, this is also the case for other new Renaissance schools for 2010-2011, so I can't single out Universal. However, there isn't an annual report for Universal Daroff CS available. Unless there were large numbers of African-immigrant or West Indian students at Daroff and Bluford, these schools likely serve few ELLs because both schools are in heavily Black neighborhoods. Unless there were large numbers of African-immigrant or West Indian students attending UICS, there probably aren't many ELLs there either. So, based on the data, HOW IS UNIVERSAL QUALIFIED TO SERVE ELLs? They don't appear to have much experience with this population.

In addition, most special education students are not passing the PSSAs at Creighton. How good is Universal at serving special education students? If, as Anon reported, Penny Nixon said that Universal was chosen to help close the African American achievement gap at Creighton, this selection disregards English language learners, Latino/a students, and special education students. So, how then is Universal a good choice to turn around the school? The evidence does not appear support Ms. Nixon's reason, so other reasons, e.g. political reasons, must be influencing the SRC's selection of Universal to take over Creighton.

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:17 pm

They don't have the live stream from the Friday meeting up but they should soon: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/c/communications2/broadcast-operat...

It was towards the end because parents were testifying in opposition to the Creighton charterization saying that their kids were honor students and doing very well. Someone on the SRC (Houstoun, IIRC) asked about the discrepancy. That's when Nixon piped up but to be clear she was providing the rationale for Creighton to be included in the Renaissance process, not necessarily that Universal be the provider instead of String Theory or the teacher proposal.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:59 pm

Anon,

I see that the latest one is from May 16th. However, the one for May 16th really contains footage from the March 29th meeting. This must be a mishap. I plan on contacting the Communications Office about this, but I encourage others to do this as well.

EGS

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on June 1, 2012 4:42 pm

To my knowledge (at least until last year when I checked) Universal has not had an IEP subgroup at their flagship charter UICS. A former teacher there recounted being told not to test a student for learning disabilities because they were too close to passing the thresh-hold for the subgroup. This was also a point I made in the case for Audenried: how does an organization with at most a 6% special education population effectively structure services in a school where at least 25% of students have an IEP?

Submitted by Creighton Parent (not verified) on May 30, 2012 5:15 pm

message for all the bloggers, that are posting the messages, it is great to see that we are united against the corporate takeover of our schools. As a parent of a student from Creighton Elementary, I am asking all of you to come down to the school district headquarters on Broad Street, or contact the SRC and voice your support for the teachers proposal. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 5:51 pm

I do not understand what their criteria are.

Organizations that have been proven to fail, have never run a similar school, and owe the district millions of dollars are more qualified than a team of REAL EDUCATORS who want to run their own school community?

What kind of backwards logic is this?

Just keep proving that it really isn't about schools, kids, or education. If that's the intent, you're doing a great job!

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:10 pm

Universal has not proven it can turn around a school, either! Bluford and Daroff have not made AYP. Charters in general have not proven to do any better than SDP schools. Also, Universal owes the SDP lots and lots of money for the rent of Audenried--if we are so poor as a district, how can it be fiscally responsible to NOT charge rent to charters for SDP buildings? Why all the backdoor meetings with the SRC and parents from South Philly (Universal plants) trying to speak about (at SRC meetings) what should happen across town? This definitely feels like the fix was in once again!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:46 pm

Plain and simple----enough talk and rallies--Jordan needs to call a Walk OUT!!!! Maybe then the SRC will see the tidal wave headed their way!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:52 pm

I really wouldn't put it past these inept jackasses to try and take away all of our certifications.

That is what Act 46 allows them to do as punishment if we strike.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:18 pm

Do you really think the school district could come up with enough teachers to fill the gaps. And how long would they last before the SRC's house of cards began to collapse. Look at the turnover rate for teachers in Philly and keep in mind that it is WITH the structure of experienced teachers. Take away that structure and you'll have nothing, but newbies depending on newbies. It didn't take me long when I started teaching to know that if I wanted to know something it was usually a good idea to ask one of the teachers that had been there for some time.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:14 pm

This begs the question of if the district wants to fill in the gaps. Maybe they'll just take away all of our careers and use the fact that they can't find any teachers to convert the whole thing to charters.

We just don't know how crazy they are, or how much they hate us. It might really be that deep.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 10:41 pm

CORRECTION---If the SRC cancels the contract, then there is no more contract. No more contract equals you can then do whatever you want--strike, walk out, sick out, etc.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:39 pm

Ms. Nixon: Here is an article on teacher-led turn-arounds. There are some promising results, and some mixed results--it is at least worth a try if the SRC and SDP is truly serious about looking at different models, but I fear they really are not.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2010/0901/School-teachers-in-char...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:02 pm

Nixon wouldn't understand the graphs anyway. Unless we do something MUCH more radical than walking around 440, this will continue unabated.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 10:27 am

Time for non-violent civil disobedience. Lots of it! Otherwise they are going to win this struggle. And we citizens will all lose.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 10:20 am

Time for non-violent civil disobedience. Lots of it! Otherwise they are going to win this struggle. And we citizens will all lose.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:09 pm

It's past time for plenty of something----PLENTY and NOW !! Jerry, it isn't raining. Where art thou??

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 3:35 pm

Waiting for Jerry is precisely our mistake. He is not today and will never be that kind of leader. I would like to have a dollar for every time I read, "Where is Jerry?" in the Notebook.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:41 pm

Why do you attack her race like that?!?!?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 4:11 pm

Get a life, bleat !!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:47 pm

A lot of the leaders and teachers at Creighton are not doing their job and not preparing the kids for the next stage in their education. If someone else thinks they can do it, by all means give them a chance.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:18 pm

....And there are many dedicated teachers at Creighton who are doing a wonderful job educating the students. As Darden said, "The District failed - not the school".

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

I am a parent of children that currently attend Creighton and I agree with you. The leadership was horrible and most of the teachers could care less. I was fortunate that my childen were able to be taught by some teachers who actually cared. I know of a lot of parents who have had some pretty bad experiences with the staff. Most parents that you talk to want the change. I mean how come no one tried to fight before it got to this point? Do we really want more of the same? I feel really bad for some of the teachers but let's get real the staff at Creighton is not all what they seem. Its a story behind the Creighton and its not all cookies and cream. People need to talk what they know and you are the only person on here who told it like it really is.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:41 pm

There should be criticism on all sides. Awarding Creighton to Universal, even though Universal only has administering schools with predominately Black populations raises eyebrows regarding their selection for Creighton. Also, Universal has yet to pay on the lease at Audenried. It's absolutely outrageous that they will have another Renaissance school in spite of owing the District money.

That said, the PFT and other teacher's unions need to amend their practices as well. Using seniority as the only criteria for promotion is outdated. There should be protections to ensure the SDP doesn't lay off veteran teachers because they are more expensive than newer teachers. However, this is the 21st Century. There's enough research out there to design up-to-date teacher and principal evaluation systems. The current teacher evaluation tool dates to the 1970s, and isn't even the most up-to-date version (Royal & Tossman, 2009, pp.4-5). The combination of tenure and union protection for teachers (and principals) leads to ineptitude and allows people to become too comfortable in their jobs. Allowing ineffective teachers with tenure and seniority to stay hurts students. It also hurts the reputation of the teaching profession and teachers who are effective. The union is necessary for pay and benefits, as well as protecting class size and working conditions. But there needs to be major updates of teacher evaluation.

C. Royal, M. Tossman (Oct, 2009). Philadelphia's Teacher Appraisal System: Needs Improvement. Philadelphia: Research For Action. Retrieved from http://www.researchforaction.org/publication-listing/?id=222.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:17 pm

Correction:
Awarding Creighton to Universal, even though Universal only has experience* administering schools with predominately Black populations raises eyebrows regarding their selection for Creighton.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:21 pm

Universal was given Audenreid and Vare because of geography. Supposedly, Universal Company has been given the west side of South Philly to "transform." (Universal's transformation has led to extensive gentrification - which puts money in the pocket of Universal Co. but does not necessarily benefit the neighborhood). So, why is Universal now in the lower Northeast?

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:19 pm

So, why is Universal now in the lower Northeast?
----
I am wondering this very same thing!

Submitted by Joan Taylor on May 30, 2012 10:18 pm

I'd be delighted with a system that evaluated principals with at least as much rigor as teachers are evaluated. In 25 years, I have worked with the gamut when it comes to administrators. Some terrific principals have gotten shipped downtown (what a waste!), and some extremely inept souls have triumphed above their records of incompetence...what a treat it was last year to read the salaries of the downtowners. Among those I knew personally, there was no accounting for the discrepancies among their salaries. I guess political connections can't be overrated.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:10 pm

And I also mentioned principal evaluations. To my knowledge, there's not as much research about evaluating principals. Certainly, the media focuses more on evaluating teachers than administrators. I would love to see how the SDP/SRC evaluates the superintendent and other higher-ups, as well as how they evaluate charter school CEOs and principals.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on May 31, 2012 7:42 am

How principals are chosen, evaluated and removed is a major issue that needs to be addressed.

Leadership Matters! So does, "How a principal is chosen" Matter! It matters so very much to the well functioning of a school community.

There is no viable process for evaluating principals or for removing them. Principals are almost never removed unless their schools are totally out of control, and then they are removed only when the turmoil hits the newspaper.

Leadership is a festering issue within our system. I have written much about that issue and the need for reform. What we have now is a system which follows no rules and has no morality. Those in power do whatever they want, whenever they want, for whatever reason they want.

The "Whose friend are we putting in today?" disease is an institutional illness that needs to be addressed.

I have written much about the need to choose our leaders through a democratic process. I have also written much about the issue of whether principals should only be given a short term of office before they are reevaluated using input from the school community.

I grew up so to speak during the age of shared decision-making when principals went through a site selection process where the local school community chose its own principals from a "pool of eligibles."

The best way to choose effective leaders is through democracy. And the best way to remove them is also through democracy. It is part and parcel of the "democratic imperative" for our schools.

The common element of all Great schools is that they are Great school communities. They need to be led and governed as communities. The best way to govern them is to allow them to choose their own leaders.

We need to come into the 21st century when it comes to our notions of school governance and leadership and come out of the feudalism of the past.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 10:18 pm

It's an easy scapegoat to just come out and say most teachers could care less!!! Did you interview all of the teachers there at Creighton during your investigation??? Do you know them personally?? Do you know what they are thinking--each teacher at the school???? Didn't think so. Please do not bash teachers--they have a difficult just and by all means if you are up to the challenge, feel free to get certified and become a Philadelphia Public School Teacher!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:09 pm

I am a concerned parent and a taxpayer and I have just as much right to voice my opinion just like everyone else!! Yes I talked to most of the teachers and parents about this whole process and for your information most of the teachers had already began looking for other options because they had no real idea of what the teachers proposal had to offer them, all they knew was that it was council led, and some even said that they would have given more support for the teachers proposal if there were different leaders involved, and for your information my husband worked for the SDP for almost 30 years befofe he passed away so I am quite familiar with what a teacher goes through!! I am certified, a certified parent and I educate my children on honesty and to be the best that they can be, like I said before and I will say it again, most of the teachers from Thomas Creighton could care less!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:31 pm

I am a concerned parent and a taxpayer and I have just as much right to voice my opinion just like everyone else!! Yes I talked to most of the teachers and parents about this whole process and for your information most of the teachers had already began looking for other options because they had no real idea of what the teachers proposal had to offer them, all they knew was that it was council led, and some even said that they would have given more support for the teachers proposal if there were different leaders involved, and for your information my husband worked for the SDP for almost 30 years befofe he passed away so I am quite familiar with what a teacher goes through!! I am certified, a certified parent and I educate my children on honesty and to be the best that they can be, like I said before and I will say it again, most of the teachers from Thomas Creighton could care less!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:26 am

yeah that's right--use the teachers as scapegoats. You have no clue what you are talking about. By the way, how would a child know what is to be taught on a PSSA Test? You missed my whole argument!!! A lot of public school children do not have a family figure to go to for homework, etc. The end result is they do not know the material!!! Straight up!! Go PFT!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:53 am

Well I guess I touched a nerve. If you are so confident in your ability as a teacher, why would you even worry about my comments if I don't know what I'm talking about?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:38 am

Well I guess I touched a nerve. If you are so confident in your ability as a teacher, why would you even worry about my comments if I don't know what I'm talking about?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:38 am

Plain and simple. You have no clue what you are talking about!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:46 am

Clueless? I don't think so, but I can be adult enough to agree to disagree.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 9:08 am

Honestly--you are stereotyping and saying most teachers are to blame. That is not logical. There may be a few bad apples but to group most teachers as the blame is totally ignorant!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:58 pm

Ignorant is a strong word!! I am well educated!! I did not say that most teachers from Creighton were bad but I did say that most teachers from Creighton don't care about the situation at Creighton!! I'm not blind I see it everyday!! I have been an active parent for quite sometime and we can go back and forth for days and its not gonna change my opinion!! There were only a few teachers who participated with the teachers proposal and most of the parents the work!! Who do you think got that reprieve? Either your in denial or don't know what your talking about!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:17 pm

Ignorant is a strong word!! I am well educated!! I did not say that most teachers from Creighton were bad but I did say that most teachers from Creighton don't care about the situation at Creighton!! I'm not blind I see it everyday!! I have been an active parent for quite sometime and we can go back and forth for days and its not gonna change my opinion!! There were only a few teachers who participated with the teachers proposal and most of the parents the work!! Who do you think got that reprieve? Either your in denial or don't know what your talking about!!

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 31, 2012 7:14 am

That was also my experience at my neighborhood school. It was a mixed staff. I would lay the blame at the leadership/principal level, because the burden fell to him to discern who was sincerely putting the needs of the children first, and who was putting their own career interest first. He was also responsible for asserting control and building teamwork, both which, because he was essentially absent, he was unable to do.

So did this self appointed leadership team at Creighton involve all the parents/caregivers? Do you know what exactly they proposed to do differently if they were given control? I would also be skeptical if for all these years they were staff there, became lead staff there, and they did not push for their ideas then; and now they say that they can do things differently.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:29 pm

Ms. Cheng,

Regarding your words "the burden fell to him to discern who was sincerely putting the needs of the children first, and who was putting their own career interest first," let me play devil's advocate. Recognizing that there are good principals and not-so-good principals, aren't some principals also in a bind when it comes to the teachers they manage? My understanding is that in some cases (e.g., schools without full site selection), seniority rules and force-transfer rules make hiring/placement of some teachers out of the principal's control. This isn't to say that site selection is a perfect process either. I can see how full site selection could involve favoritism and other flaws. However, how much could a principal realistically do to improve the performance of a teacher who is clearly unqualified or ineffective, but has tenure and/or a lot of seniority? If someone has permanent job security, it can be easy for some people to become complacent. Sometimes, it's necessary to put a fire under someone's butt to make them change or make them improve.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 31, 2012 10:26 pm

The principal can do a lot. First he/she must recognize who is or is not, an effective teacher. If the teacher is complacent, and "waiting for retirement" so to speak, the principal can give more decision making weight to the teachers who are not so complacent: such things as whose idea will get supported or developed and worked on as a team, etc. He can work to get that complacent teacher interested; and if not succesful he can award his attention to those teachers who are, again, not so complacent. There are persuasive methods less severe than "cooking" someone :) Then of course we assume that the principal him/herself has the interests of the children first and not his/her own career advancement, in which case he/she would not be looking at his/her staff as much/closely as the administration above him/her.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:40 pm

First, You can't fight what you don't know about!!
Second, how do you know people didn't fight?
Third, if you were so unhappy why didn't you fight?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:58 pm

Actually I'm getting tired of fighting with you. If you read my comments
close enough than you would know exactly who I am and what I stand for!! I don't have to prove to you or anyone else what I fought for or choose to fight for!! Once again your talking out the side your neck and now I have to stop responding to you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:29 pm

Actually I am done fighting with you. If you read my comments close enough you would know exactly who I am. First I don 't have to prove to you or anyone esle what I fought for or choose to fight for. Second your still in denial and third reponding to you ever again would be a waste of time.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:19 am

When Universal gets in there you are in trouble---your child will see a different teacher all the time due to the revolving door at Charters. Be careful what you wish for!!!! Also, what does Kenny Gamble know about education??? Wasn't he a big record executive????

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 31, 2012 10:12 pm

Also, what does Kenny Gamble know about education??? Wasn't he a big record executive????
---
I think the SAME thing!

Submitted by anon (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:50 pm

is it too much to ask that the leadership of philadelphia public schools believes in the concept and validity of public schools? lead, follow, or get out of the way!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 6:14 pm

Attention Jerry Jordan: Yeah you have that phone Town Hall meeting tonight and yeah you have the big rally tomorrow but seriously....enough talking and time to walk!!!! They are going to "Charterize" yet another Philadelphia School. Get it together, contact your old pal Ted Kirsch AFT PA. President, Randi Weinberg and get a solid game plan to try and stop the SRC from going any further with this nonsense. Please for your membership call the vote to WALK OUT!!! Without 10,000 teachers in the classroom they may realize you mean business!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:36 pm

Hope it doesn't rain tonight or tomorrow or Jerry won't be there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:34 pm

ATTENTION ALL PFT TEACHERS ---SHOW YOUR SUPPORT TOMORROW AT 4PM FOR THE MOBILIZTATION RALLY. JERRY JORDAN WILL ADDRESS THE SRC AT 530PM. RALLY WILL START BEFORE THE SRC MEETING DOWN AT DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:21 pm

I went and looked at the references available online. The address for Croft et al. (2010) is incorrect. It should be:
http://www.tqsource.org/publications/JEPD%20Issue%20Brief.pdf. (The version in the memo excludes the percent signs.)

I would encourage everyone to read the memo before commenting. It takes maybe 15 to 20 minutes and it's pretty easy to understand.

To Benjamin Herold:
Is it possible for the Notebook to obtain copies of the Thomas Creighton Teacher-Led Proposal which the school community submitted to the SRC as well as Universal's turn-around plan? Since these are publicly-funded schools, is it not fair for the public to view these documents?

Now, regarding the memo. The Chief Academic Office (CAO) makes fair and important points about the Teacher-Led Proposal's content. These include, but are not limited to:
- concerns about the decision-making process (Governance, Table 3, p. 4),
- a lack of detail regarding the school-wide behavior plan (Behavior and Discipline, Table 3, p. 5), and
- a lack of detail regarding teacher evaluation (Teacher Evaluation, Table 3, p. 6).

On page 5, the CAO raises concerns about the Behavior and Discipline plan's relationships to the SDP Code of Conduct (Behavior and Discipline, Table 3). That said, Does the District actually enforce the Code of Conduct for students? Was it enforcing it at Creighton prior to designating Creighton as a Renaissance school?

Could not the District work with the Creighton team to do a teacher-led turn-around? Could a Promise Academy model work? I've heard that the SDP doesn't have the money for Promise Academies because these are "too expensive," but how are these more expensive than turning a school over to a charter?
HOW ABOUT ASKING THE CITY TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE IN COLLECTING THE $472 MILLION IN UNPAID PROPERTY TAXES, starting with those who owe the most money. If the City had a higher property tax collection rate, then the SDP might be able to fund Promise Academies.

The process of turning over Renaissance schools to charters is supposed to be a public process. Why not allow each parent/legal guardian for each child at Creighton have one vote? Why not use this same process at other Renaissance schools?

As for Universal, HOW ABOUT MAKING THEM START PAYING ON THEIR LEASE AT AUDENRIED BEFORE AWARDING THEM WITH ANOTHER RENAISSANCE SCHOOL!!! In addition, how about making parent advocates for Universal indicate if they are on Universal's payroll? This is the ethical thing to do, that is, to declare conflicts of interest.

After looking at the research for the memo, not one of the references is an actual peer-reviewed research article from a peer-reviewed journal. The memo's sources cite peer-reviewed research. I understand that the CAO may have wanted the public to be able to view all of the documents. Often, peer-reviewed research is only available with an institutional subscription. Still, why no references to actual journal articles? However, the memo does not cite any peer-reviewed articles from peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, Why are there no retrieval addresses for all of the sources? I was able to find copies for all of the documents which the memo references. Why are these addresses not included? Did the Office of School Innovation and Best Practices have all of these other documents on file?

Here are the addresses for the references from the memo:
Davis et al. (2005):
http://seli.stanford.edu/research/documents/ucea_papers/sls_ucea_leaders...

Leithwood, Louis, and Anderson (2004):
http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/key-...

Leithwood and Riehl (2003):
http://www.leadersdesktop.sa.edu.au/leadership/files/links/School_leader...

Vandell, Reisner, and Pierce (2007):
http://www.policystudies.com/studies/?id=32

Waters, Marzano, and McNulty (2003):
http://www.mcrel.org/pdf/LeadershipOrganizationDevelopment/5031RR_Balanc...

Now to another point. What about the peer-reviewed evidence for charter schools. The research shows that the results of charters are mixed. Here are some studies, either from peer-reviewed journals, organizations, or the federal government:

Braun, H., Jenkins, F., & Grigg, W. (2006). A closer look at charter
schools using hierarchical linear modeling (NCES No.
2006-460). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Lubienski, C. (2003). Innovation in education markets: Theory
and evidence on the impact of competition and choice in
charter schools. American Educational Research Journal,
40, 395-443.

Lubienski, S. T., & Lubienski, C. (2006). School sector and
academic achievement: A multilevel analysis of NAEP
mathematics data. American Educational Research Journal,
43, 651-698.

Belfield, C. R., & Levin, H. M. The Effects of Competition between Schools on Educational Outcomes: A Review for the
United States. Review of Educational Research, 72(2), 279-341.

Betts, et al. (2012, January 13). Better Research Needed on the Impact of Charter Schools. Science, 171-172.DOI:10.1126/science.1205418

Betts, J., & Tang, Y. E. (October 2011). The Effect of Charter Schools on Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Literature. Retrieved from http://www.crpe.org/cs/crpe/view/csr_pubs/467.

Gleason et al. (June 2010). The Evaluation of Charter School Impacts: Final Report. Retrieved from
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20104029/index.asp

The research shows that charter schools struggle to serve students with disabilities and often times, practice selective admission of students to the exclusion of students with disabilities. See the following:

Estes, B. (2004). Choice for all? Charter schools and students with
special needs. Journal of Special Education, 37(4), 257-267.

Fiore, T. A., Harwell, L. A., Blackorby, J., & Finnigan, L. A.
(2000). Charter schools and students with disabilities: A
national study. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

Wolf, N. L. (2011). A comparison of charter and traditional schools in New Orleans Recovery School District: Selection criteria and service provision for students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 32(5), 382-392.

NOLA Public Schools. (2007). Distribution of special education
students in New Orleans 2006-2007 school year. Retrieved
September 14, 2007, from http://www.rsdla.net/Home.aspx.

This process is just not public enough. It behooves the SDP to provide all relevant documents to the public--the taxpayers who fund the District--via its website, to show the plans of the Teacher-Led group and Universal. Let the public be informed and then let the Creighton parents vote! Transparency promotes the common good for everyone involved and creates more "buy-in" from families and employees in the District because they feel that they have a voice. We are supposed to live in a DEMOCRACY! One purpose of public schools is to model the democratic process for our youngest citizens. The turn-around process for Renaissance schools must be democratic, especially since Philadelphia does not have an elected school board!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:22 pm

Boy, you went a long way to come to the wrong result. It WOULDN'T behoove the District to make anything more public. They're getting away with everything now anyway so how would transparency help them?? My point is, in the best of all worlds, your point is right but from their frame of reference, why change something that is working?

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:55 pm

What is the something that is working? The District is slowly committing suicide. Charters have a place, but there are so many that they are costing the District money. As students go to charters, this leaves excess capacity in buildings. Most of the charters don't use existing District buildings. Also, the charters draw students from private, namely parochial schools. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it costs the SDP money because now they have to pay for more students attending charter schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:26 pm

I understand and you are right IF they care. They don't, not in the traditional sense of caring about kids. They care about fast, abundant money for themselves and the quid pro quo arrangement. Yes, the system will be even more uneven and segregated than now, but the kids left behind will be collateral damage from their perspective. They just don't care about those kids. They have prisons waiting for them. There's an old Irish saying, "When you don't care, you have nothing to lose."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:36 pm

In general, you seem to give "them" more integrity than they deserve. Giving Creighton to Kenny Gamble is hard to believe and speaks volumes about how little respect the SRC has for those kids and the process of transparency.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 7:07 pm

If the teachers jobs weren't in jeopardy I think they could care less what happens. Why were they not rallying before for the education of our children? I think they're actions now say a whole lot.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:09 pm

Many of us have been rallying for more than a year.

Many of the people at the rallies have enough years in that the district could close half the schools and they would still have jobs.

We need everyone to realize that the teachers and other school-based staff are the only ones who care at all about the students. We, the teachers, realize that things in the district are not perfect for the students. We do not have enough. There are a few bad teachers tarnishing us all. Some of our administrations are toxic and foster poor relationships with families.

However, most teachers are here for the right reasons. That is hard to say about these for-profit know-nothings coming in from Boston or whereever else to try and make a dime as the ship goes down.

We, the PFT members, the parents, the students will be the ones left to pick up their mess. Again.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:32 pm

They're picking up your mess. If most of you were doing your job and teaching these kids we wouldn't be in this situation. If I don't perform my job duties I get fired, not stay on the job and continue to underperform.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 10:32 pm

Who is underperforming??? Actually, if you knew anything about parenting, it ALL starts at home. Most of these children come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Some don't have a father figure in their lives. Some don't have parents who actually take the time out at home to help their child with their homework---End result---The child doesn't know the material taught in class. You can try and teach someone till their blue in the face but if they don't practice what is taught then forget it. Philadelphia teachers don't have an easy job by any means. Your comments are ignorant and you sound like a fool---seriously!!! Stop blaming the teachers!! Know your facts before you post!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 11:34 pm

The fact is when my child tells me that some material they received on the standardized test was not taught to them, THAT means someone NOT me wasn't doing their job.

Submitted by Creighton Parent (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:10 am

Maybe your child wasn't paying attention in class. Both of my children received advanced PSSA scores, that means the teachers were doing their job.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:53 am

With the same parenting, my children did very differently on the PSSAs. My oldest tested advanced, and my youngest did not. The oldest is verbally quicker and better at English than my youngest (this ability is key in doing well on written exams, though my youngest has achieved more academically than the oldest). My youngest's scores improved only when I used a different curriculum than offered by the District which targeted vocabulary.

With the same kids (of varying ability, parenting, poor socio economic background) I have seen what a big difference good teaching can make. One only has to look at the history of the PSSA scores with my neighborhood school, and see what happened when these particular outstanding teachers left (an immediate drop below District average) to see that good teaching can compensate (if not completely) for lack of support at home.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 2:59 am

You have to realize though, the district mandates minute by minute what needs to be taught each day. It's highly unlikely the teacher deviated from the districts' mandated curicculum. That's not to say that your child is lying. It is possible the teacher didn't teach certain content due to those mandates. Some eligible content, especially in math and science, isn't even touched upon until April and May.
Or perhaps, this teacher doesn't believe it is her "job" to teach to tests.

Submitted by ConcernedRoxParent (not verified) on May 30, 2012 8:37 pm

Why did the SRC even put off this vote? This proposal never had a chance. All it did was get everyones hopes up.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 9:54 pm

Teacher protection does not "lead to" ineptitude. Teacher protection is there for the same reason all union protection is: to make sure that management--in this the School District and the SRC--respect the rights of their employees. Yes, even in the 21st century!

The ineptitude we are dealing with now, unfortunately, is that of the district's. Hiring egomaniac superintendents and CEOs, mismanaging funds, enforcing scripted curricula, shutting teachers and parents out of the decision-making process, etc.

The teachers are, as always, cleaning up administrators' messes. They deserve a decent salary, benefits, and job security. At the very least.

Lisa Haver

Submitted by Joan Taylor on May 30, 2012 11:11 pm

Exactly. The soon-to-be-laid-off bus drivers and maintenance workers deserve our consideration. How sad that health benefits and a pension are regarded as unnecessary and undeserved by politicians who are protected from worries about either. And "the public" shouldn't be let off the hook either. How easy it is to deny our brothers their daily bread!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 30, 2012 10:44 pm

I keep saying it over and over---Jerry Jordan needs to call a "WALK OUT"!!!! Meetings and rallies aren't doing sh*t!!! Seriously, the SRC needs to feel the UNION TIDAL WAVE before more schools keep getting Charterized.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:43 am

Attention Jerry Jordan: Yeah you have that phone Town Hall meeting tonight and yeah you have the big rally tomorrow but seriously....enough talking and time to walk!!!! They are going to "Charterize" yet another Philadelphia School. Get it together, contact your old pal Ted Kirsch AFT PA. President, Randi Weinberg and get a solid game plan to try and stop the SRC from going any further with this nonsense. Please for your membership call the vote to WALK OUT!!! Without 10,000 teachers in the classroom they may realize you mean business!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:59 am

ATTENTION ALL PFT TEACHERS ---SHOW YOUR SUPPORT TOMORROW AT 4PM FOR THE MOBILIZTATION RALLY. JERRY JORDAN WILL ADDRESS THE SRC AT 530PM. RALLY WILL START BEFORE THE SRC MEETING DOWN AT DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 10:48 am

I find it interesting that no-one is asking the question: What does a high quality 21st century education look like?

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on June 1, 2012 12:52 pm

That really is an easy answer - small group targeted lessons designed and monitored by individualized data - use of technology and a huge variety of teaching strategies - lots of child centered and child driven investigations, discussions, projects and artifacts - classrooms full of literature, child created artifacts, comfy small group and large group areas that host gentle conversations, stimulating question and answer sessions with more higher order thinking discussions than the "burp back" type - all built around the multicultural population of the group. With high goals set and the focus on making a full year's worth of growth in all major areas, the children are busy, active and supportive of each other. The teacher monitors and guides all of this with the support and encouragement of the administration and the parents. The doors are open, the room clean, well-supplied and safe, with appropriate health issues all addressed. The children experience art, music, language, computer. writing, reading, math, science, health, history and drama, theater, physical education or dance instruction daily. There is conversation - everywhere.
We used to have a lot of this, once upon a time....

Submitted by Sir Frederick Mercury (not verified) on May 31, 2012 11:03 am

Chief Penelope presses her innercon.

Penelope: Butler! Are there any calls?

Nunnery: As it happens, Madame Chief, The Queen is on the line.

Penelope: Good gads! Put her through.

Nunnery: Yes, Madame Chief.

Penelope: Greeting, Queen. How is life in New Zealand?

Queen: It is New Mexico, girl. What makes you think I would live in some trifling-ass third world habitat like New Zealand? I received the gratuity form the Imam. I trust that the plans for Creighton are going forward.

Penelope: Of course. By the way, I can't wait to show you my new Jimmy Choos.

Queen: I saw the Imam on TV with Mittens. That gave me quite a chuckle. The minute we install him in The Whit House our plan shall be complete. That scoundrel, Nutter, was speaking so boldly to "The Man." He barely knows what is really happening. Have you ever noticed his resemblance to that Jewish fellow, Groucho Marx?

Penelope: We handled that with great aplomb, if I don't say so myself. The pretense of standing up to "The Man" while doing his bidding. Marvelous. You taught us well, fair Queen.

Queen: Indeed I did. My heart nearly burst with pride when I read the account of your agonizing choices in that fish-wrap, The Inquirer. The portrait they painted was smashing. Little did they know that the pained look on you face was from swollen feet in a petite shoe.

Penelope: It was actually bad escargot from Le-Bec Fin.

Queen: I acquired my love of all thing French while at Harvard.

Penelope: Yes, Ma'am.

Queen: Fare thee well. As they say, I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Send my love. Ta Ta.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 12:37 pm

Giving Creighton to Universal is a big mistake, but that is what happened to Creighton from the beginning.
It started out:
1. Tom Darden stating - "The district failed Creighton"
2. Tom Darden stating - "You can write a proposal"
3. A proposal is written and many people supported the Teacher's proposal - It's the SAC’s first vote.
4. Universal brings speakers to support Universal even though they are not Creighton parents.
5. Universal takes the SAC to dinner at Gallo's - Is this part of the Turnaround plan?
6. Universal sends a bus to Creighton to pick up families for a closed door meeting with the SRC – I thought if 3 SRC members were at a meeting; the meeting must be open to everyone, but it was closed – reporters were turned away too.
7. Penny Nixon reviews the teacher's proposal, but does she review Universal's proposal or the other turnaround teams - She also visited Creighton once for a quick drive by and said she would come back but that didn't happen.
8. Darden continues to state untrue information to the SRC during a SRC meeting.
9. Universal doesn't have to pay for using the School District School buildings for their previous charter schools, so I guess they don't pay for the use of Creighton’s School District building either.
And it goes on and on.

It's a win for Universal and I want to know who will help the little people.
I just want to know when does the little man/people ever win. To me, it is all about money. Will the SRC do the right thing or will they treat the Creighton community the same? Families put much effort into keeping their school a "Public School", teachers spend time and effort to write a proposal that will support the students at Creighton and many people and organizations support the plan. Hopefully, someone will help the little people.
SRC I hope you see the light and vote to keep Creighton a public school and help to support the Teacher-Led School!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:50 pm

It is time that the SRC realizes that the Teachers Proposal is a step in a new direction for the city of Philadelphia, but I can understand why they don't want it. Loss of power is the only reason I can think of. If they can accept that then yes the Teachers Proposal would have been approved 3 weeks ago. Another thought would be that they want quick turnaround, well guess what, when Microsoft released windows 1.0 it was a great thing but still had bugs in it, they are still working out the bugs in it today with the current operating system, result is it was something new, it was accepted by the world, and they are constantly trying to fix it to be better and better, just like the Teachers Proposal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 8:57 pm

Give the Creighton Proposal a chance. The staff, parents and community members know the children and will put practices in place that will serve the needs of the children, as well as, the needs of the community. Universal is only concerned with money - oh - and the African Americans - sorry rest of the Creighton Community - Universal doesn't feel they need to respect you, your needs or your culture. Check their proposal...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 12:40 pm

yeah I dodn't want to bring race into this but thank you to the poster that said Universal only cares for the African American students, spoken words have not been more true....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 12:34 pm

Very much agreed, did the SAC of Creighton ask me what I thought of Universal, as I have a son in Audendried, no they did not. The SAC members should be ashamed of themselves for making Universal their second choice, I a member of the African American race, shouldn't be forced to learn about the African American culture, I should teach my kids about African American history not the schools. I feel very bad for the Asian, white, latino communities for the idea of Universal forcing them to learn about the African American history. It is time to stop this hatred and unite for a better education for your kids. STOP Universal now. The only reason I won't post my name is because I don't want my son to be involved in this.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on June 1, 2012 1:53 pm

Can I tell you a story? Ten years ago, I was teaching at a site with an amazing team, lead by a data driven principal who knew his staff, parents and students. We had meetings discussing plans, how to monitor growth and what the next steps had to be for every child. We created study teams that focused on areas of need identified by the staff and students for educational growth. We met on Saturdays when needed for our children. We took our prep times to visit each others' classrooms and leave comments and questions for each other. The doors were all open and the principal considered himself part of the instructional team of the building. The children all knew and respected him. Second graders ran to him at the end of the day - not to tattle on anything they were wronged in... no. They ran to him to share a story they read, to explain how the math lesson went or to share predictions about an area of inquiry they just began in the classes.
As part of the formal observation, we got "I wonder..." notes from this man. He tried and succeeded in seeing what you really need more eyes in the classroom to see all at once and asked for thoughtful answers about what he saw. Every observation included future goals for you and him.
When I heard what this school was attempting, I got flooded with these memories - being a teacher-lead school was an amazing experience, even if we still had to constantly bow to the changing tides of the PSD. Doing all of this with the blessings of the powers that be was tooooo much like right - roo much like what we should all be doing for our children.
It is a shame that no one saw our work, dedication and drive for the amazing work it was - it is so hard to read from a script after all of that growth and teaching. It is so hard to see the boredom and frustration that came back into the eyes of my children so quickly.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 1:40 pm

As stated above by others, it's time for the Union to ACT like a Union. When do we walk out???

Submitted by HS-Mathematician (not verified) on May 31, 2012 2:55 pm

As nice as it would be, we can't walk out...if we do, then we can be stripped of our teaching certificates. We're really stuck in between a rock and a hard place; stay and be blamed for any and everything that goes wrong, then have your school acquired through the Renaissance process - walk out, be terminated, and have your certification taken away. Both are indeed difficult, but the thing about the former, we still have a job. This is bigger than any of us know or believe at the immediate moment. This is all driven by Harrisburg, in collaboration with Nutter.

Did anyone check out the vacancy list for next year??? It's an atrocity! Thing about it, no one seems to get that they're being smart about how their going to clean house of teachers as they close schools...it's called if you're not dually-certified, then your out. I'm a science teacher, but I'm not certified in math, so I will soon be in jeopardy of remaining in my position...tenured or not. There are many vacancies where the SDP now wants "Math/BIO" or "Math/CHEM" or "ENG/SOC ST" positions, not just one or the other. That's how they're going to bust our union. It's already in motion.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 31, 2012 3:30 pm

That's the problem---KNOW the contract and laws. If the SRC CANCELS your contract--then there is no more contract and therefore you can STRIKE!!! Jerry Jordan has said this repeatedly!! yOU CAN WALK---

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 5:08 pm

Act 46 prohibits strikes.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 1, 2012 6:33 pm

This has never been tested in court and there is some chance we would win.

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