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9 schools to undergo Renaissance overhaul

Photo: C. Shonda Woods

Strawberry Mansion High School, recently removed from the District's recommended closure list, will become a Renaissance school this fall.

Nine struggling schools in Philadelphia will be remodeled as Renaissance Schools this year, the District has announced, with three of them facing conversion to charter status.  

Two high schools and seven elementary schools will be transformed under the now three-year-old initiative, a signature program of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman that seeks to turn around the District's worst-performing schools. 

Alcorn, Kenderton, and Pastorius elementary schools will become Renaissance charter schools to be run by outside managers as neighborhood charters.

Slated to become Promise Academies are Barry, Bryant, Cayuga, and McMichael elementaries, as well as two high schools, Edison and Strawberry Mansion. McMichael and Mansion just came off the school closings list this week. 

"When examining schools that continually fall short on a variety of performance measures, it was clear that these nine schools needed interventions and additional support," said Superintendent William Hite in a statement.

In its announcement, the District describes the Promise Academy model as including "an extended school day, intensive supports for struggling students, as well as increased professional development opportunities," with hiring of teachers via site-based selection. 

One new element in the Promise Academy model this year is an "incubation period" for the high schools, giving them a full year to build support for the approach and to hire staff. 

The District earlier this month invited charter operators interested in running a Renaissance school to apply. The deadline for submitting a proposal is March 5.

The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on which operators will be matched with which schools sometime in late April or early May.

This year, the District focused on K-8 schools with the logic that targeting students at an earlier stage has a more lasting impact on student outcomes. The schools selected for Renaissance remodeling were chosen, according to the District, because they were persistent underperformers for years on top of being among the lowest performers last year. 

Venard Johnson, an educational consultant and activist who has worked with Alcorn, said he was pleased by the decision to convert the school to a charter.

 "Over the past two years, the District hasn't shown the ability to turn around the school on its own," he said.

At an SRC meeting Thursday, the commission voted to approve $66,000 that the school would use for teacher training. Johnson complained about the school's existing faculty. "Hopefully they will get teachers who want to be there," he said.

Johnson says he thinks that Universal Companies, which operates nearby Audenried High, has the "inside track" to take over the school.

 

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Comments (112)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 4:42 pm
Cayuga is vanguard and was one of 5 schools in last years blue ribbon reports on safety. How are they promise?
Submitted by Jane (not verified) on February 22, 2013 4:56 pm
Cayuga was on the top of the cheating list. Any word on Wagner - they were not only on the top of the cheating list but also were flagged for 2011-2012. Why not updates? Is this being "swept" under the rug because of the higher ups who will be implicated? (Yes, again I'm referring to Wagner).
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on February 22, 2013 4:34 pm
promise academies don't work. hite also said, at a closure community meeting, that they are expensive. no surprise there. so why add to the district deficit with promise academies when charters are cheaper. we can see progress in charters, unlike promise academies.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:21 pm
Please explain and give provide examples of the improvements you have seen from a charter school. More specifically, universal. The only evidence I find clearly explains that universal is failing. These links are parent reviews and test schools of Philadelphia Universal schools: http://www.greatschools.org/pennsylvania/philadelphia/5136-Universal-Ins... or how great(sarcasm) they did in Texas: http://www.tfn.org/site/DocServer/Charter_Schools_Report-FINAL.pdf Failing test scores:http://www.schooldigger.com/go/PA/schools/0082707366/school.aspx The list goes on :http://dianeravitch.net/2012/08/12/the-charter-school-threat/ Bad move!
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:27 pm
I read all of the comments on the GreatSchools site of UICS. Why is it that most of the comments with 4 or 5 star ratings are vague and have grammatical errors? I almost think someone planted those good ratings on the website. I couldn't help but chuckle at a couple of them.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 5:29 pm
How can the district give another school to universal??????
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 5:29 pm
It is amazing that someone can say they plan on turning around the school like they did to Audenreid! That school is no better. And Mr. V Johnson who is slandering the teachers and staff at Alcorn.....works for UNIVERSAL! What a crock! He just slams the school cause he has an underlying motive to get Universal in. This is the best year Alcorn has had in a long time and now they are ruining it! The school was slated to get a HUGE grant and just lost it due to the charter take over! The parents should be outraged!
Submitted by tom-104 on February 22, 2013 7:13 pm
Are you referring to the Center for Leadership in Education, Inc. grant for Alcorn of $66,470 to provide “provide in-depth data analysis and professional development services” over the next 4 months? If you are, that grant was approved by the SRC Thursday night. Alcorn parents vehemently questioned the SRC Thursday night as to why the school has been struggling all year having been put on starvation rations for resources, so why are they now suddenly getting this grant in the second half of the year. To appease them Commissioner Pritchett did an act of contrition telling the parents that the District had failed their school and the SRC would have to do better. He knew full well that today it would be announced that Alcorn is going to become a Renaissance School. It is continual deception and lack of transparency such as this that makes people not trust this whole process. Alcorn is a microcosm of the whole privatization process, starve the public schools so desperate parents will put their children in charters which claim to be rescuing them. By the way, Center for Leadership in Education, Inc. is based in Rexford, New York. http://www.leadered.com/index.html Its Chief Executive Officer, Willard Dagget has “assisted a number of states and hundreds of school districts with their school improvement initiatives, many in response to No Child Left Behind and its demanding adequate yearly progress (AYP) provisions. Dr. Daggett has also collaborated with education ministries in several countries and with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Governors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many other national organizations.” http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?p...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 7:10 pm
no, i am referring to a $600,000 grant to be distributed over a 3 year period and another grant for $400,000 for James Alcorn school as long as it remained a public school so we are talking about A MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANT MONEY that THE DISTRICT IS AWARE OF but still they are going to make it a charter school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:07 pm
Charters are public school. Unless the grant stipulates it must be a public district school, the money is fine.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:52 pm
i know that but the money is being pulled because it will become a charter
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:40 pm
The grant was issued from CLI http://www.cliontheweb.org/ which will only fund public schools. The grant has already been recanted because Alcorn will now be a charter.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 7:37 am
You got this directly from the grantor or this is your suspicion. Again, charters are public schools unless you believe the dribble force fed by those who just want to protect their investment. BTW, the investment is not really in teachers or students.
Submitted by save public ed (not verified) on February 23, 2013 1:49 pm
Directly from the grantor. It's off. So what are they donating the money too? This one was for teacher training, desks and chair for students, books and other literacy materials. I take that as an investment in students and teachers.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on February 23, 2013 2:32 pm
Whether a charter school is a public school is not such a simple issue. I had promised Tom I would research and explain for our readers the legal difference between a "true charter school" and a school run by a "charter operator." In my legal research I have found some very concerning precedents which I will explain in detail with citations when I do write the article. There is a U.S. Supreme Court initiated "legal test" which is being used by appellate courts and the National Labor Relations Board for determining whether a charter school is a public school or not. The Supreme Court test and related decisions are falling along the lines that whether a school is a public school or not is determined by how the "board of trustees" is selected. According to those decisions it does not matter whether the state's legislative body said that they intended the charter school to be a "public school." The "test" handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court supersedes any state intent. Under those rulings the test for a public school is whether its board of trustees (or board of school directors) is "elected by the General Electorate or "directly appointed by a public official who has been elected by the General Electorate." Then, and only then, does it constitute a public school. None of our charter schools would qualify as public schools under that test. Certainly Universal would not qualify as a public organization under that test. From a legal perspective, we are witnessing the beginning of a whole lot of litigation on the public vs. private issue. It is a fascinating area of the law to study and follow. It is all about the rights of students, parents, teachers and administrators in our schools and that body of law is now emerging. Our General Assembly intended charter schools to be public schools. But the lines of demarcation are being blurred every day, and that issue has not been fully litigated. We are all learners in this process.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 24, 2013 6:01 pm
Rich, The following point you make is very interesting: "Under those rulings the test for a public school is whether its board of trustees (or board of school directors) is "elected by the General Electorate or "directly appointed by a public official who has been elected by the General Electorate." Then, and only then, does it constitute a public school." The ambiguity in the status of charter school indicates that there seems to be some sort of determination at the state or federal level about what exactly constitutes a public school. Is it public funding, public governance, or both? Even if a private organization operates the school, is there public governance in the sense of direct public oversight of the charter school? These are important issues that the legislature and/or courts need to determine. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on February 24, 2013 9:05 pm
Yes, there is no clear delineation in Pennsylvania or the 3rd Circuit of the federal District Courts which govern PA. It gets a bit complex in its legal analysis. The federal cases turn more on "how a school is operated" rather than "how it is funded." The federal courts in their analysis have looked at the "charter" as being a "contract" and have applied that test I mentioned above. There are no state decisions which have dealt directly with that issue of whether charter schools are public schools or not. However, in one state case, Foreman v. Chester Upland, Commonwealth Court ruled that the granting of a charter for a charter school is not contractual but regulatory. The Charter School Law of PA states that the board of trustees of a charter school are "public officials." So that complicates the issue. From reading the Charter School Law, it seems clear the intent of the General Assembly was to create public schools. The law requires charter schools to be formed as "public nonprofits." The issue under federal law is quite important as to the civil rights of all stakeholders in charter schools. That is because the issue is whether the 14th Amendment and Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act applies to charter schools. The issue involved is whether charter schools are "state actors" under the US Constitution or private actors. It is kind of humorous to watch unfold because charter schools throughout America want to be public schools when it benefits the operators and want to be private schools when it benefits the operators. They want to be able to change colors like chameleons. The issue of whether schools operated by "charter operators" are "contractual in nature" or are the "granting of Local Educational Agencies" is going to get litigated at some point in time. Almost every charter school in Philadelphia was"'granted" a charter under state law. The "renaissance charter" model is more contractual in nature. For a primer you may want to read these: http://10thperiod.blogspot.com/2013/01/does-14th-amendment-apply-to-char... http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-charter-school-subject-private-sector-l...
Submitted by tom-104 on February 22, 2013 8:32 pm
OK wrong grant, but the information in my comment still is significant. As to the comments below, isn't it interesting how charters are "public" or "private" based on what is convenient to justify them? They are "public" to get tax payer money, they are "private" so you lose the grant.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 7:01 am
The only people I hear calling charters private are anti-charter groups. The law is clear and the operation of charters is clear.
Submitted by tom-104 on February 23, 2013 7:35 am
The only people I hear calling charter schools public are charter management companies. They are public when they take tax payer money, they are private when it comes to any kind of regulations or admission policies that public schools must follow by law. Which designation is used by CMC's depends on what is being disputed and is convenient for their argument.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 9:11 pm
Actually, as Rich stated, charter schools also call themselves private when it suits them. For example, see the link below for an article about a Chicago charter school that tried to argue that is was private so that it could evade an Illinois law that stated that all public school employees had the right to negotiate contracts. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-22/news/ct-met-charter-school...
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on February 26, 2013 7:38 am
I have been thinking more about the "test" which is being used by the NLRB which was sanctioned by the US Supreme Court to determine the private vs public dichotomy. What it means is the issue of whether a charter school is a public school or a private school turns purely on "how a school is being operated" and not "what the state says it is." The NLRB looked at how the board of trustees was chosen. If the "board of trustees" is elected by the "General Electorate" or appointed by a "public official" who is "elected by the General Electorate." Then it is a public school. If the board of trustees is chosen by a founder or chosen by the board of trustees itself, then it is a private school. The NLRB stated that in their analysis they are the only two factors necessary and other factors do not matter. But the bottom line is that they are saying that in the public/private analysis -- a charter school is what it is and not what the state, or the SRC, or the charter school says it is. That makes perfectly good sense.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 5:46 pm
If they gave Alcorn an incubation year they would be saved!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:07 pm
@the notebook..........please revise "Venard Johnson, an educational consultant and activist who has worked with Alcorn, said he was pleased by the decision to convert the school to a charter." He has not worked with Alcorn! He came to one parent/teacher meeting all year! He has never even visited the school while classes are being conducted! He does not work at Alcorn.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 22, 2013 10:23 pm
Venard Johnson has always been very creative with the truth. A talking parrot who will say damn near anything as long as you pay him. One of Gamble's snake oil salesmen, Yes, slandering teachers en masse tells you all you need to know about this wart.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 5:48 pm
And Cayuga is anything but safe from my experience.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 5:30 pm
What time was this story posted?
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 22, 2013 6:10 pm
Barry ES was supposed to become a Promise Academy 2 years ago, but the funding was pulled for that. Where is the funding coming now to make in a Promise Academy? Why wasn't this funding available 2 years ago? If the District is so broke, who is providing the funding for the Renaissance Schools initiative? I am asking this more for disclosure purposes. I am happy that the District has opted to make 6 of the 9 schools into Promise Academies and only 3 of them charters as opposed to turning over more of them to charters. One pattern I am seeing is that the District seems more likely to turn over Renaissance elementary schools to charters than the Renaissance high schools. All of the schools that will become charters this year are elementary schools. However, only 2 of the Renaissance high schools have been relinquished to charters, Gratz and Audenried. All of the other Renaissance high schools are Promise Academies---University City, West Philly, Germantown, and now Strawberry Mansion and Edison. David says in the article that the District is targeting K-8 schools because the District believes that targeting students when they are younger will have better outcomes. However, I also wonder if the District is having a hard time finding charter operators which are willing to take on a high school. Could it also be that that Mastery and Universal are struggling to create substantial change at Gratz and Audenried? I imagine that due to the size of the high schools as well as the characteristics of high school students that a charter would find it easier to take over a neighborhood elementary than a neighborhood/comprehensive high school. I'd be interested in the perspectives of others related to my questions, especially regarding my questions in the preceding paragraph. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Jane (not verified) on February 22, 2013 10:32 pm
High Schools are more expensive to operate - extra curricular, sports, etc. cost money. It is much harder to "turn around" students in high school.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 22, 2013 11:31 pm

I agree with you.  High Schools present the greatest challenges.   Better to take the low hanging fruit.

Submitted by Jane (not verified) on February 23, 2013 10:49 am
The District also has to have enough neighborhood high schools - I assume one per region - in order to have places to assign students who do not "fit" with charters and magnet/special admit schools requirements and expectations. Just look at the percentage of students with an IEP in neighborhood schools. Obviously, not all students with an IEP do not "fit" with magnet/special admits or charters but students who have mental / emotional issues, anti-social behavior, etc. are sent to neighborhood schools. Neighborhood schools also have no test score requirements, no attendance requirements, no English proficiency requirements, etc. So, Edison is not "charterized" to ensure there is a school to send students who Mastery Gratz does not keep.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 24, 2013 12:42 am
There also have to be schools for students with severe disabilities and/or who require a lot of services, and thus are expensive. It is common for charters to not serve students with severe disabilities, unless there is really strong activism. Kids with more severe disabilities often require small class sizes, functional academics, and a variety of related services (e.g., occupational therapy), making them expensive to educate. Here are stories and one research study about how some charters are not serving special ed students: http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2011/12/14/no-choice-florida-charter-... http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2010/04/charter_schools_face_uni... http://rse.sagepub.com/content/32/5/382.short http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230337920457747700389383673...
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 23, 2013 1:46 am
Jane and Ron, Thanks for your input. EGS
Submitted by Oh Please! (not verified) on February 23, 2013 5:17 am
I suggest doing some research - if you are an Ed grad student, that shouldn't be difficult. Maybe start by thinking about what makes a good school and how one would measure whether or not a school is succeeding in educating students. You could look at violent incidents, standardized test scores, college acceptance rates, you could talk with students in the actual schools you reference or with parents who have children trapped in terrible schools that have been terrible for decades. All the information is publicly available, look at what the facts say, and maybe stop getting information from the comments section of the notebook.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 24, 2013 7:03 pm
Oh Please!, I obtain information information from all the sources you cite: Parents, students, and data. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 6:19 pm
Yes, giving Kenny Gamble another school is a great idea. Kenny will learn em good. What a sham !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:53 pm
Agree!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 7:47 pm
Promise Academies don't work. Test scores are comparable to other lower achieving schools. If the District has no money why funnel extra resources into Promise Academies. Yes, I would like to know about Wagner too.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:21 pm
The Math that the PFT does not get 27 schools closed and 9 new Renaissance/Promise Academies. Soon there will be no Public schools yet we still pay the PFT dues. Why???
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:59 pm
I have to agree, Philadelphia Public Schools are not going to be around much longer. And the sign at 440 is coming down soon. Watch what I say.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 8:00 pm
universal sweeps things under the rug to make it look like they are doing good. they refuse to discipline and the kids can get away with anything. no detentions or suspensions. the schools are just as bad as before with behavior, however it appears they are doing better because of the lack of discipline. and therefore kids are running the school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 9:59 pm
Edison High Schools has had SIX different Principals and administrative teams over the past SIX years! How the heck can the District to expect Edison student and staff to function, never mind at a high standard, when dealing with SIX totally different administrative teams and philosophies over a SIX year period!
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on February 23, 2013 6:19 am
six chances and it didn't work. close it.
Submitted by save public ed (not verified) on February 23, 2013 1:50 pm
How about giving it one good principal for three years! The turnover rate with principals is horrible
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 1:07 pm
six years, six different Principals, six different managing styles, six different educational philosophies, six different visions for the school, six different sets of codes of conduct for students,six different ways of doing every little thing. Is there any wonder why Edison's scores are low?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 11:07 am
Same thing at Alcorn. 5 principals in 6 years.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:54 pm
And Barry.. 6 principals in 6 years. It's horrible. It's time for those students to get a fair chance.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 22, 2013 10:17 pm
King has been a Promise Academy for some time now. What does the data show compared to when it was school district managed?
Submitted by tom-104 on February 22, 2013 11:33 pm
Same script, different city. Disaster Capitalism, Chicago-style from Jacobin http://jacobinmag.com/2013/02/disaster-capitalism-in-the-chicago-public-...
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on February 23, 2013 6:37 am
vaux is a promise academy that was featured on pbs. anyone think that was money well spent. it's better to close a bad school than to prop it up, delaying the inevitable at a premium cost. the jury is still out on the rens. some have shown substantive improvements. clearly universal has had mixed results. the way it's supposed to work is that you should have to demonstrate results before getting more schools. if universal, or any other management group, can't show positive trending, they should have to wait for more schools. the last thing the city needs is another dysfunctional school system.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 7:57 am
More complaints. Any solutions other than give us more money and blame charter schools? The truth is that many district schools have been failing for decades. They were failing before No Child Left Behind and after. They were failing before charter schools and after. They were failing when the economy was great and money was flowing and are failing in this poor economy too. Think of the thousands of children who have been sacrificed while the arguments over adult issues and whether to keep a failing institution in play continue. This is not why I became a teacher.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 23, 2013 11:52 am
I agree, too many complaints, not enough solutions. What about exploring combining technology to split a class into a smaller size (e.g. 30 to two with 15; 20 to two with 10). You could keep the one teacher with 2 days with one group, 2 days with another, and technology for both groups for that last day ( technology supervised by SSA/teaching assistant or equivalent, and teacher gets prep time that day)? Or even some variation of this time sharing. This would explore this option should the District need to downsize further. It could be an intermediate, preserving the building use as long as possible, by sharing teachers. How about trying this with administrators for smaller schools? Pioneering technology in a "blended" curriculum would be another way to move forward in the same direction.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 1:32 pm
Well said. A very large percentage of schools in Philly are simply not working. When I taught high school there, nearly every standout student I had shared one common trait: most of their pre-high school education took place outside of Philly--often in another urban district. Arguing about traditional public/charter is a waste of time. Those opposing closing/conversions typically share one thing: they lose power/money when fewer schools fall under the PFT. Frankly, the PFT had decades to be a proactive contributor to improving education. Now that the District/parents have had enough and have been closing SDP schools and/or leaving them for charters, the PFT still doesn't get it. They hold rallies, complain about funding, and talk about solidarity. Where are the serious proposals to fix the schools? You can point fingers, complain about poverty, etc., but at the end of the day, the schools are not doing their basic educational duties. Why is the conversation not about fixing that? That's all that actually matters.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 2:52 pm
The PFT should have gone after corrupt administrators in the school district hierarchy instead of lettting them slip away into the night. They are still afraid to stand up to principals through this city that routinely violate the contract that they agreed to follow. The PFT needs to go after principals who try to bully their staffs into silence when the administration does illegal things. As it currently stand the PFT says it's coming from the higher ups and the principal is just a pawn in the game. By going after these renegade principals the PFT will send a message to 440 the games are over.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 23, 2013 2:31 pm
You seem to have just landed here from Mars. The PFT under Jordan is weaker now then ever. Jordan knows where his bread is buttered and he's just fine with all this corruption. Like Uncle Mike, Jordan will be fine after the PFT is dissolved and isn't that what matters anyway? I agree---EXTREME measures should have been taken 3 years ago and even now, the state isn't going to fire 10,000 teachers but Jordan remains Jordan so here we are.........continuing to be pistol whipped from all directions.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 3:02 pm
Which is why the quack election that put Jordan back into power needs to be challenged. How is it his secretary can vote him in while the teacher didn't even know the election was being held? I said the PFT needs to do this, that doesn't mean we need to Jerry Jordan's services any longer.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 23, 2013 4:35 pm
I agree, comrade.
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on February 24, 2013 8:27 am
what is the solution? end the PFT? get someone to replace Jordan?...I would like to know what you would do or what you think I should do as a teacher with the PFT......seriously, I am open to suggestions for moving forward Linda K Art teacher
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 23, 2013 5:20 pm

The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) which includes the PFT and many community partners, issued a forty page plan for excellent schools and has sought to make this plan a focus of public discussion.   You can check it out on www.wearePCAPS

 

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 23, 2013 10:11 pm
That may be so but Jordan's "style" is very unproductive. Jordan acts as if he's just a guy not the President of The PFT. Look at the Chicago Teacher Union Leaders and tell me you see similarities between them and Jordan.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 24, 2013 9:27 am

Joe, No doubt that the CTU and Karen Lewis represent the gold standard for teacher unionism.   My view is that we organize for that kind of militant, democratic and progressive unionism here, not by focusing on personalities but on issues.    In this period of crisis we have to go with the leadership we have, not the leadership we might like.   We need unity to win this fight.   Jerry Jordan and the PFT leadership have taken some positive steps, particularly joining with community allies in creating PCAPS.   Let's recognize these steps, push for more and be ready to join in and help move the union forward.  

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 24, 2013 9:19 am
I'm sure you're right, actually, I hope you're right. I have some not so good feelings about Jordan's motives. I truly hope I'm wrong.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 2:15 pm
Go after bad Principals, bad teachers, bad charters, bad superintendents, bad custodians, bad bus drivers, etc... Everywhere you look in public education, you can find people/institutions that are just plain bad. Here's the problem. Most of us actually are trying to do the best we can. We follow the rules and work hard, sometimes we're working twice as hard to make up for the slugs who don't carry their weight. What we need is true accountability at all levels. Bad district schools should be stopped. Bad charters should be stopped. Schools shouldn't be handed over because of politics or the buddy system. This can be pure and simple. Kids should be at the heart of what we do.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 3:04 pm
They are constantly going after the teachers, good and bad, for the school district's problems. Where have you been!?!? As for principals they are always allowed to slink away when caught, allowed to resign silently or go on "medical leave". Bad superintendents? You mean we are suppose to give all these creeps nealry a million to leave? Why hasn't the City of Philadelphia gone after Vallas for the missing artwork he took from our schools. Let him account for that. Then he can explain why he told us he would punish Gregory Thornton for taking that bribe. Vallas actually went to Seattle when Thornton was applying for a job and bragged that he told the rubes in Philly he'd punish Greg, but then did nothing! Thornton is now working his magic in Milwaukee the same way he did down in Chester. Does it sound like the powers that be EVER go after administrators? As for charters they take forever to close them down even when the evidence is clear that they were doing wrong. A public school is under suspicion - zip bam it's gone.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 6:29 am
So again with the victim routine, lack of taking responsibility and refusal to look to real solutions.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 24, 2013 8:50 am
I'm with you Anonymous. I looked at PCAPS' "glossy full colored" brochure (produced with the help of a foundation), and well... it's just full of the same "ignore realities, re-package the same dream we've always had..." No objections to the dream, but the very little concern with reality. I am not affiliated with any "union busting" organization, and I definitely support a "living working wage and benefits". I am a lower middle class family (mixed "white trash" and second generation immigrant) that had a good public education (in another State... that included math btw). I am also firsthand witness to unabashed hypocrisy that wants an "equitable funding policy" and that states "the children are more important than the bottom line", while choosing $$ over children when they have the chance. Jobs and pensions take first place, when we have a choice. NOT ONCE did I see our school's Title I funds go to purchasing "educational items" to be sent home with our poor children (even though this was put forward by the Budget Office as a recommendation) INSTEAD it went to keeping a teacher on NO MATTER WHAT so that she would NOT LOSE HER PENSION (or perhaps so she could maximize this pension, she had been there A LONG time). Four years (ten for Title I), over 100k each year in an Administrative Assistant position titled variously, Team Literacy Leader, then Instructional Reform Facilitator (the school not making AYP specifically for Literacy, specifically African American subgroup each year she had this title)... What would that have purchased for these children?!! (How might you ask did I have occasion to come across these facts? Start with trying to give the school good press so that the other parents would stop leaving; next keep looking up material while you are underhandedly attacked by this "senior" teacher...) There are real solutions. One is hinted at in the article on community schools in Cincinnati (ironically included in PCAPS' dream). The key word would be "leveraging". Another solution is simply to wake up to the demographic shift that is happening in Philly, which will continue for quite a while because the government of Philly has the same compartmentalized, victim mentality as the rest of its big power wielders (including the PFT). USE the resources you have. I want to take this opportunity to thank EGS for pointing me to the "Costing out study" commissioned by the State (fulfilled by an "incorporated entity" btw) in 2006, upon which ACT 61 of 2008 (a move to equitable funding) was based. The State continues to this day to honor the "weighted funding", giving Philly more than its wealthy neighbors per child, and providing almost 50% of its funding. My final comment regarding this is: the dollar amount that the study cites is not "sacred"; only the needed services. Another hard (and controversial) reality in the U.S. is the escalated disparity in wealth between the rich and poor, but one of the new players that this has created is: foundations. So I believe again the key word in a solution would be: "leveraging". You can get the needed services, but you must find the resources you can leverage. Politically the SDP's structure is less trustworthy in the end, than a smaller entity. How's this for a "sunday sermon"?
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 24, 2013 2:59 pm

You are sorely misinformed about the state honoring weighted funding.   While the Rendell formula remains on the books, the equitable funding it sought to creatre was eviscerated by the Corbett budget which ended up making huge cuts to high poverty districts while barely touching affluent ones.   Here is the Education Law Center's analysis: 

"The final education budget includes at least five separate funding formulas, with most of the calculations designed to manipulate things so that only selected school districts will “qualify” for state dollars. One formula is even designed solely to give $1 million to a single school district.

This kind of arbitrary budget calculation method was often used by the state for 30 years before 2008, resulting in one of the worst education funding systems in the country."

page2image23080

2011-12 Cuts in Education Funding (compared to 2010-11 levels)

Cut per student

Number of Districts

Percent of Students in Poverty

Over $700

29 districts

58.97%

$500 to $700

130 districts

46.99%

$300 to $500

187 districts

34.87%

$150 to $300

103 districts

22.82%

Under $150

51 districts

11.78%

Data from PA Dept. of Education. For more details see www.elc-pa.org.

These attacks are part of a systematic political effort to undermine public institutions, break the power of unions and rolling back working class living standards.   They will not be appeased by "right sizing" but have to be fought as PCAPS and others who are organizing against austerity and privatization are doing.

 

 

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 24, 2013 5:07 pm
Thank you Mr. Whitehorne. I appreciate the data. I would like to know what the five funding formulas are - does the Education Law Center have this, or a reference to this? Regardless of what appears to be inequitable weighting of the cuts, the resulting budget per child from the State still gives significantly more per child (as it should of course) to Philadelphia than it does to its wealthy neighbors. I must remind you again, I am not against unions. My disagreement is the belief that "rightsizing" is a strategy to "bust unions". If it were, then 30,000 families taking their 44,000 school age children out of Philly in a 10 year span would also be part of this conspiracy. That they would do this because they were coerced/enticed by private corporations at the beck and call of such as the Gates Foundation, I find hard to believe. I am also for equal standards for charters. I would like to see the charter funding formula amended so that the per child payment from the home district be equal to either the per child basic education revenue from the State and Local governments or the per child basic education expenditure of the home district, whichever is LESS in a given fiscal year, rather than being equal to the per child expenditure of the home district. You do realize that asking the SDP to wait for a year and need to borrow another 300 million plus pay an additional year's 22 million debt service on the first 300 million also supports for another year the overinflated charter reimbursement that currently exists, don't you? This will not strengthen the negotiating position of the PFT at all. It is true, the SDP might try and use future closures as a negotiating "card"; however, the fact that they will have already gone ahead with the ones they've proposed so far, in my opinion, would weaken that "card".
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 24, 2013 6:09 pm

Ms. Cheung   

The fundamental issue is should the District leadership be pressing for full and equitable funding as a foundation for what our children need, or should it tailor its policies to what the likes of Corbett and the corporate interests he represents say it can afford.   Of course the District shouldn't be borrowing money and selling bonds to meet it's operating costs.   If it was forced to cut after making a real fight for funding, that would be one thing, but the fact is there has been no serious and concerted effort to secure more funding at either the state or the city level.  

The 5 year budget the District has adopted cannot and will not produce positive educational outcomes.   School closings are a relatively small part. The big savings are to come from school employees, particularly teachers.   This budget calls for cutting salaries by 17% next year.   I have no difficulty, and I hope you won't, in saying that competitive salaries, benefits and decent  working conditions for teachers are in the interests of students and the public.  In the name of right sizing all these things are going to go away if the SRC has its way.  

The exodus of families from the School District to the suburbs or to charter schools is, in my view, aided and abetted by an agressive corporate reform lobby that includes large foundations.   I have never characterized this as a conspiracy, but it is a deliberate and concerted policy.   The mismangement and under funding of the District has certainly played a part.   This lobby targets unions as the greatest obstacle to school reform and has worked to pass legislation to gut tenure and seniority.  

I agree with what you say about how charter school's should be reimbursed but, honestly, I think that is really a marginal issue in the current context.

I don't know all the mechanisms the legislature used to get around the costing out formula.   The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center as well as the Ed. Law Center are good sources. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 9:51 pm
The starving of the district argument in favor of charter schools just doesn't fly. If you understand the flawed funding formula, you know that charter funding is determined by what the district gets. When the district gets and spends less, charters get less also. Considering that charters receive 75% of district funds (per Jack Wagner), starving the district starves charters. The popular argument that foundation and corporate funding augments charter budgets is only true for a small minority of charters in Philly. Better funding for public education helps all public schools (district and charter). However, the issue is that even with more funds if the funds are mismanaged, we get the problems we now have.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 24, 2013 9:06 pm

Anonymous...Yes, charters get what the District gets and not all of them benefit from additional private funding.   They benefit financially from spending less on their largely non-union, relatively inexperienced teaching staff.   But this is not the primary source of their advantage in competing with traditional public schools.   Because they have considerable control over admissions and retention they are able to exclude more challenging students and thus, at least to some extent, successfully market themselves as safer, more orderly and better achieving in comparison to traditional public schools.  And, as businesses, they are free to spend on advertising and promotion.   

And yes, funding by itself is no guarantee good things will happen.   It is necessary but not sufficient.    Malfeasance and waste exist in both privately and publically managed schools.   Transparency and accountability are what is needed.   With all its faults the District run schools and administration is better in this respect than charters that get little oversight and have private governance.  

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 25, 2013 8:03 am
I vehemently disagree with your last statement that District run schools and administration have better transparency and accountability than privately managed schools. Try going to the District Title I Office (after your principal chuckled and gave you the brushoff) with the issue that there is nothing to address the failure of the African American subgroup in Literacy in your School Improvement Plan (the reason why your school did not make AYP). You are told, "Yes you are right. There are other problems with the SIP too..." O.k., so the next year you read the SIP (as by law as a parent you are allowed to do), and you see that not only is there still nothing to address the same problem, and there is some outright co-opting responsibility for community involvement initiatives that were not theirs at all, i.e. lies. You have escalated your issue in good faith, but as a parent, you are IGNORED. That is NOT accountability; Transparency - how come the parents of the poor kids (the African American ones who should have cared the MOST) NEVER knew. If there is a charter, you can WALK. There is more than half a billion being given to the District in Title I each year (multiply that by at least 10 years) which dwarfs anything a private foundation could give. The stipulations on using this money are quite simply: "It must support the school's School Improvement Plan (which must address deficiencies/weaknesses identified by State standard tests (PSSAs))"; and "It must not take the place of core curriculum funding." Other than that the school team has a great deal of freedom and creativity with its use. The fundamental idea behind this grant was that it would be used to "level the playing field" for the poor/economically disadvantaged. The key word being, "enrichment". Accountability these past 10 years in the SDP?!! There was even a Federal audit that identified the SDP as a district "at risk" (for inadequate accountability, and improper use of Title I money) to the State. The State has not acted on this report at all.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 25, 2013 7:13 am
Anonymous your overall point is correct; however the charters get what home districts spend, not get, per child in basic education. This means that when a home district is spending inefficiently for basic education, the charters profit from this "higher than necessary" per child amount. The 75% (of State funding) is an estimate as the State funds things such as capital expenditures for which the charters do not get paid. Charters are paid 100% of what the home district spends for basic education per child.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on February 24, 2013 9:56 pm
The "deliberate and concerted" policy of privatization / profit driven so called "school reforms" are not only coming from foundations like Broad, Gates, and Walton but also organizations like Teach for America. Steering all of this is Pres. Obama and head of the Dept. of Ed. Duncan. This might have started under Reagan (1983 "National at Risk")/Bush 1/ Clinton / Bush 2, but Obama/Duncan have accelerated the privatization of education and drama of "competition" aka Race to the Top / rating teachers based on test scores, giving teachers "incentives" (which end up being trinkets) to "improve student achievement," etc. All of the organizations (Broad, TFA, Gates, Walton/Walmart, etc.) are also openly anti-union because they have become unions are one institution which might challenge their hegemony.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 24, 2013 9:07 pm

Exactly right.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:16 pm
Excellent post. This is class warfare in the truest sense. Ending unions will destroy the rights of the 99%ers and turn the clock back 120 years. Don't think it can't happen. Look at the facts and get engaged in supporting the civil and worker rights of the citizens. Otherwise, the corporations will have us completely under their thumb again. Unions are good for ALL WORKERS. Without them, there's no balance of power and no recourse.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 25, 2013 12:15 am
Mr. Whitehorne, I disagree that the SRC or anyone for that matter can make a justified/concerted effort to ask for more funding until the District can be shown to be operating responsibly in its spending. When you are maintaining a structure, whether a physical building or extremely small student to teacher or high administrator to student ratios, whose extra expense does not produce extra academic achievement, it is hard/impossible to ask for more money. By extra expense I mean compared to when there was greater "utilization"/less per student expense. I understand that savings may not be what is hoped for, but the grounds for asking for more funding will be stronger if the District makes an effort to "right size". I do support good wages and benefits for teachers. I have a lot to thank my public school teachers for, not least of which is the ability to make sense of numbers (when I feel pushed to). The PFT should use the school closures to stand their ground and not budge on wage concessions: Here is where they can ask the SDP to lobby for more funds, saying, " O.k. you've closed schools, you've increased our workload, now go to Harrisburg instead of us, and ask for more money." The bad management of the SDP I think is a separate problem than the latest fashion in school reform, School Based Administration. I don't think the bad management needed any "aiding and abetting" by any corporation or large foundation. For reform all families (and good teachers and administrators) really need is some third party watchdog entity, perhaps like the BBB, to which complaints can be lodged, investigated, and disclosed to the public with protection guaranteed for whistleblowers. This is a much more straightforward way of improving accountability in my opinion. Charter reimbursement keyed to spending is not trivial. Here's the explanation of why what the SDP is spending per child right now is inflated, and will go down as it downsizes. Right now it costs the District about $7000 per child that transfers to a charter in unused capacity. If we use unused teacher capacity for illustration purposes (omitting building and other capacities for simplicity), and an average teacher salary of 90k (with benefits, from school budgets several years ago), and work backwards, we would get a class size of about 13 or 14 (remember this is for illustration purposes only, I'm not saying class sizes are actually this small). If the class size were 20 or 21, the cost would drop to about $4500 per child lost. This is over 30% difference. Even if the District were able to "rightsize" to spending 20% less per child in basic education (includes administrator capacity as well) than it does now, it would mean a savings of $1620 (using the $8100 per child from Notebook article) per child in charter payment. Multiply this by 40000 charter students, and you get $64.8 million. Not a trivial number. I have to withdraw what I had thought was a solution because Local funding is a block amount, not designated by purpose, as in basic ed, special ed, facilities, etc. as State is, so one has to look at spending in order to identify an appropriate amount for charters for basic education. Remember that "right sizing" to spending less per child is not the same as "withholding" in order to spend less per child. It is rather finding the best use of available resources/minimizing wasteful use. I will check out the PA Budget Policy Center and send an inquiry in to the ELC - thanks for these. Would it not be better for those advocating for our children to help in finding alternate ways to "right size" rather than simply blocking closures. Is it possible to share administrators, teachers for example? Which schools might be able to get facilities to enable not only blended cyber instruction but also 21st century CTE that can be offered to the public as well for affordable tuition? Etc. etc.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 25, 2013 7:33 am

"Would it not be better for those advocating for our children to help in
finding alternate ways to "right size" rather than simply blocking closures".

PCAPS call for a one year moratorium is because we recognize some schools need to close but not on this massive scale and not without careful planning and serious community engagement.   Time would allow for looking at alternatives including but not limited to community schools.  Given the likelihood the the savings from closures are grossly exaggerated and the hidden costs to neighborhoods are considerable, I think the moratorium demand is consistent with good management and stewardship of our schools.   

The people in Harrisburg who demand right sizing are unlikely to be moved to give more money by school closures.   The task is to fashion a state wide  coalition committed to full funding and reordered prioirites that can elect a legislative majority that can reverse the Corbett budget.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 25, 2013 8:39 am
Mr. Whitehorne, thank you for taking the time to "debate" the moratorium with me. I believe we differ fundamentally in how we see a solution. I am oriented to pragmatic, "on the ground" realities; and you are focused on large ideals. I only want to leave you with one last thought (from my pragmatic perspective). A year's time will cost the SDP more borrowing on top of what they already have (no idealistic argument will prevent this); whereas the community still has time to work on alternatives (the SDP has committed to community input in the determination of the prospective sale of closed buildings) even if the SDP moves ahead with the proposed closures. In my opinion, moving ahead, acknowledging the risks and possible downsides is the better option. From my own personal experience with financial disaster, you must act, and the quicker the better.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on February 25, 2013 8:32 am

Ms Cheug, My pleasure to spar with you on these important questions.   We do disagree but there is important common ground as well in that we care about the outcomes for students, families and communities.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 9:36 pm
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING published 02/15/2013 Ron---FYI--Very important for union members: The PFT's next General Membership Meeting has been scheduled. We will be meeting once again at the Philadelphia High School for Girls. Please plan on attending - we must show up in force! Don't think that the district isn't watching to see the participation. Will we show strong numbers!! Attached is the flyer - PLEASE POST. Please remind your members to bring a copy of their pay stub. The Agenda will consist of a discussion of the School District's Proposals - YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS!!!! Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Time: Door open at 4:00 p.m. - Meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. Location: Philadelphia High School for Girls 1400 West Olney Avenue, 19141 (Broad Street and Olney Avenue)
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on February 24, 2013 8:26 am
I think the persons to ask about the art would be from that area....Creedon or Varthas at 440....what was the Creative and Performing arts dept. now encompasses Sp Ed and a host of other areas......they may not even know what happened to the art but I think it was sold.... Linda K Art teacher
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on February 23, 2013 4:48 pm
well said.
Submitted by matt (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:43 am
Show us the "good" that are waiting in the wings to replace the "bad." The only reason we have a "waiting list" of teachers right now is because of a poor economy. During years of wealth, we don't ever have enough people to fill our staff positions. A better idea than "going after the bad" is "encouraging the good." The only thing that kept me going for my first few years as a teacher was encouragement from more veteran staff AND administration. I am blessed to have entered the district during an economic boom (for the nation) when there were about FIFTY VACANCIES for my particular area of instruction IN DECEMBER of the school year. I felt like I was doing a terrible job for my first two years - but still received constant encouragement because the veterans saw potential in me (and also knew that regardless of how bad I was, they weren't going to get someone "better" if I left). That encouragement has paid off, because I've steadily improved in my ability to teach and manage students. Parents, students, other staff, and administration recognize me as "one of the best." Now, I'm trying to give the same encouragement that I got to first and second year teachers who are struggling - but seem to have potential. But they're not getting that encouragement from many sources. So, I've watched those who would probably grow into "one of the best" leave for other districts or careers because they're hit day after day with the message, "you're not good enough.... there's a body waiting to replace you." (At some low performing schools, that message is broadcast to the entire staff as a group in "professional development" after "professional development".... even though 1/2 of the teachers in the room are new to the building and/or district BECAUSE negativity causes a high turnover rate in those places). Our schools and our district will improve when we put our focus, words, and efforts into attracting and retaining "the good" rather than trying to drive out "the bath water."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 11:49 am
So very very true! How about having the veteran teachers teach more of those PD's?? There would be no money spent on hiring an outside agency plus the content coming from a veteran teacher is most likely more "usable" in the classroom.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 24, 2013 7:02 pm
Matt, Your points about attracting "the good" teachers is interesting to me. About 5 months ago, I read an article called "Teaching, Rather Than Teachers, As a Path Toward Improving Classroom Instruction" by James Hiebert and Anne K. Morris. This article caused me to make a paradigm shift in how I think about teaching. The abstract is as follows: For several historical and cultural reasons, the United States has long pursued a strategy of improving teaching by improving teachers. The rarely questioned logic underlying this choice says that by improving the right characteristics of teachers, they will teach more effectively. The authors expose the assumptions on which this logic is built, propose an alternative approach to improving teaching that engages teachers (and researchers) directly in the work of improving teaching, present some indirect evidence to support this approach, and examine the cultural traditions and beliefs that have kept the conventional approach in place for so long. http://jte.sagepub.com/content/63/2/92.abstract An advantage to focusing more on teaching instead of teachers is that it's easier to study how teaching practices influence student learning than how teacher qualities influence student learning. Also, the focus on teaching rather than teachers means that teaching has to reflect best practices. Good teaching today and good teaching 50 years ago look very different. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 23, 2013 8:04 pm
The staff and families of Beeber just found out this week that their school is NOW on the closing list. In the letter sent to the parents , Dr. Hite writes" As an educator and parent, I understand that school closings are difficult and painful. These recommendations were developed with the hope of giving your child and every child the best chance for success in SAFE, GOOD, and MODERNIZED school. I am so disappointed to think that he thinks that sending my child, my baby who will be going to the seventh grade to Overbrook High School is in alignment in what he says he wants for every child. Sending my child to a k-8 school was not an option given to us. Help Beeber, by writing to our elected officials and contacting the district. We will be working hard to stop this insanity of thinking that this is safe and acceptable!!! If you agree, please Help us... I am not against Overbrook High School ... It is about sending 7th and 8th graders around young adults and the possible influences...
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 23, 2013 10:21 pm
I totally agree with you, sending 12 year olds to Overbrook is something HITE WOULDN'T ALLOW HIS OWN KIDS TO DO AND WE ALL KNOW IT. The truth is more real thought needs to be done before any schools close. If the real goal, underline if, is saving money and closing schools doesn't really do much in that area, then spend a year looking over real options and include citizens of Phila. ALL ALONG THE WAY and not just for show. Of course, the "reformers" want no part of this as it will adversely effect their profit margin and we can't have that. Just throw kids anywhere and be done with it. P.S. Allow Vernard Johnson 20 seconds to spew his hate speech and then drop the hook on him like in The Gong Show back in the day. What a waste of protoplasm !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:27 am
I am outraged that anyone would consider Venard Johnson an "educational consultant." What qualifications does he have to earn this title and the power and influence he seems to hold over our schools?? This man has never stepped foot into a classroom at Alcorn. He has never seen the time, effort, blood, sweat, tears and money that teachers pour into their classrooms at Alcorn. He has never watched one teacher TEACH. He has never walked into a classroom while a teacher sits there EVERYDAY during her lunch period and works with students to boost their reading levels. He has never come in after school to see them there working extended days with students not to mention Saturday mornings when they are there for Saturday school. These teachers aren't going above and beyond because they have to, it's happening because they WANT to. Who is he to decide that Alcorn has teachers who "don't want to be there?" I think Venard Johnson and his connections with Universal need to be fully disclosed. Venard Johnson will do and say whatever necessary for his own benefit. He is not here for the children. Alcorn teachers certainly are.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:38 am
Vernard "I know nothing and I'm proud of it" Johnson has no self respect. Gamble's words come out of Vernard's big mouth. A trained parrot who will say anything you pay him to say. Yes, that comment defaming all those teachers, was outrageously irresponsible but remember the source. There needs to be no school closings until a transparent and thoughtful program takes place not the dog and pony show currently going on. There must be force, real and consistent, making this charade close down. The latest proposal sending Beeber 12 year olds to Overbrook High School is a disaster in the making, a potentially colossal and dangerous mess. Nobody on the SRC would even remotely put their own children in danger like that but it's ok for inner city, poor kids.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:52 am
That is exactly why you and others from Alcorn have to summon the courage to go to the next SRC meeting and speak up. You also need to challenge the way the SAC team was chosen. You should also demand that your PFT step up to the plate and represent you as they are your paid representatives.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 24, 2013 11:16 am
I agree about Alcorn, Beeber and all the rest, pitting school communities against one another, is irresponsible, unprofessional and, of course, hateful. The SRC needs to be disbanded on those grounds alone and we all know Nutter is approving this song and dance. If some schools must close due to numbers then let there be a democratic, sensitive process for doing it and that takes time. This knee jerk "you're open, now you're closed" plan is no plan at all. Again, I stress that these folks wouldn't subject or allow their own families to be subjected to this careless, shell game but it's OK for the poor. The smug look on their faces tells you all you need to know about their concern for our kids and us.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 1:10 pm
Once again Beeber was lead to believe that my child's school would become a K-8 school and expand. To receive a letter last week letting me know as a parent and I am sure the dedicated staff was like a shock !!!! Parents make choices based on KNOWN information. This was Never on the table as a possibility. All the hearings that are taking place now do not include BEEBER!!! We are having a community meeting with the District the day before they will make there final decision. Not Fair to parents. I want Beeber to remain open and I want the District to understand that throwing our children into Overbrook is not a plan that I am comfortable with. Our children deserve better and I am sadden that this is the only alternative on the table. My child asked me why do I have to leave my school and go to Overbrook High School. A good question that I can't answer!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 9:17 pm
Beeber vote will not happen until after the March 7th vote.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 24, 2013 10:04 pm
The whole Beeber debacle is a microcosm of this corrupt, knee jerk process. By all accounts, parents were assured Beeber would remain open and expand, not close down. Sending younger kids to a high school environment is clearly not in their best interests and all clear thinking people know it. Then again, these are inner city, generally poor kids so their rights and needs can be marginalized in a flash. Another farcical piece to the Beeber issue is that Beeber is on the dangerous school list---WHAT A JOKE !! The principal reports every single incident and hides nothing unlike many, many other administrators who would rather cut off an arm than report the truth. I agree with others that a moratorium needs to be called and a much more thoughtful process needs to be investigated. The SRC has begun to take a very glib stance about closing schools as though they're playing with monopoly pieces not the lives of kids. Hey, but then again, Corbett is building 3 new prisons to house those same kids when they're a little older.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 8:34 am
As a current midle school principal, I am very concerned about the idea of sending middle school students to Overbrook or any other high school for that matter. Middle school is a very difficult time for students. Their bodies and their minds are developing in ways that can be overwhelming and confusing for them. Middle school age children need a level of attention to social/emotional concern that is likely not realistic in a large, under-resourced high school environment. If I were a Beeber parent and I would be fighting this decision tooth and nail. Our children are already growing up too fast, and childhood seems to be a luxury not afforded to so many children who see too much, too soon, and experience a loss of innocence far to early in life. While I am sure the majority of students at Overbrook are caring young people, there is really no scenario where I think it makes sense to have 11 and 12 year old students intermingling with 17 and 18 year olds. How can anyone think this is what's best for the children from Beeber?
Submitted by Darnel Charles Tanksley (not verified) on February 25, 2013 8:37 am
Since the creation of "New Math" we create an endless stream of pretty words "Motivation, Magnet, Extended, Support, Increased, Renaissance, and charter...with a small >C< ", detracting from the fact that it will take hard work to save our PUBLIC Education.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 12:38 pm
SDP logic at work. 1. Close Strawberry Mansion to save $..... then 2. Keep Strawberry Mansion open ...... then 3. Strawberry Mansion is a bad school, so we need to invest extra millions to fix it. It makes sense to close Strawberry Mansion and send the students to better performing schools. You save money and fix the problem.
Submitted by Ms Cheng (not verified) on February 25, 2013 8:33 pm
Anyone heard about union negotiations? A rep said that the district is expecting insane concessions. I hate wondering...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 9:44 pm
13% pay cut for all teachers, all health benefits paid by employee, and adding a spouse would cost an extra $70 per pay. That's what has been suggested by the SRC to date. It will be a war come August 30th. The SRC will not bend and neither will the PFT. It will be interesting.....
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 11:28 pm
It's interesting how there has been no talk of less work that has increased every year. Why are we still having to do report cards four times a year when this school district doesn't even have the paper they use to print the cards on? Why not go back to three times a years like we did just a few years ago? It's not that the parents want it. I barely had a fourth of my parents even bother to show up for conferences this last time. It takes a long time to log in the grades each time. The only up side was that I was able to do some of district mandated busy work in my room while waiting around for the few parents that did show up on the three afternoons set aside for conferences. Is the SRC going to start paying for all the supplies that we pay for now? I'll be damn if I'm going to foot the bill for the greedy 440 posse so they can give themselves more raises. Hite really comes off like a handpuppet for the SRC. He needs to start talking to his teachers.. We walk off the job he'll be looking for a new one (if he hasn't started already).
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 26, 2013 7:57 am
So I'm not sure why anyone would want to forge my name tag. I certainly haven't been wondering about union negotiations. My estimation of teachers has been progressively working its way down (thank you poster)- this sounds like the post of a "union teacher". Well then onward - Trulia needs more time. I was here to post some stats to use from the State's website (http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/summaries_of_an... ): 2010/11 FY Administration $165,973,239.74 ; Instructional Staff $81,477,475.49 2001/02 FY Administration $126,880,307.57 ; Instructional Staff $53,598,405.86 Yes, Administration expenditures equal roughly 10% of Total Instruction expenditures; however they are more than twice the expenditures on Instructional Staff. My last contribution in support of union teachers. You all are just proving yourself lacking ethics btw, and respect. Your post using my name is proof positive. Ethics are tied to education - seems you are lacking here. Yes, bullies you are. I'm not shedding any tears if you have to make concessions.
Submitted by Ms. Cheng (not verified) on February 26, 2013 8:27 am
Sorry. Just kidding. I am 100% Union. Thank you, SDP teachers, for all you do. xoxoxoxoxoxo
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on February 26, 2013 2:35 pm
ha ha love a good joke. These big cities with seriously declining neighborhoods had teachers' unions way before they had Bill & Melinda Gates. They are the same as each other after all.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 9:18 pm
If you have not read the district's Five Year Fiscal Plan, please do. There are some items that are going to FINANCIALLY RUIN PFT households. We can no longer sit idle. We should be up in arms, SCREAMING from the rafters. It is rumored that SDP wants a 13% pay cut and we pay for our health care. Adding a spouse, to our insurance, will cost an additional $70 per pay. There is a general membership meeting on March 20 at 4:30 - Girl's High. Every union member must be at this meeting. Wear your PFT red. SILENCE IS YOUR SIGNATURE OF AGREEMENT!!
Submitted by Tower (not verified) on February 25, 2013 10:35 pm
I will attend the meetings with the phony weakling Jerry Jordan lying to us because I want to support my other teachers. However, these rumored propositions are extreme and shocking. How much would health insurance be for a single person? There is no way I can tolerate this. I will have to apply to district in NJ and the suburbs. No way this can work. No way.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 25, 2013 10:43 pm
Have faith. Jerry Jordan is not a weakling. He was on the picket lines many years ago fighting as others teachers did during a long strike back in the 80's. He is a good strategist. This battle will be won in the courts. This is what the SRC is saying, but I can't see it become reality.
Submitted by Tower (not verified) on February 26, 2013 7:51 am
I would LOVE to have faith. But have you watched what has happened to the Philadelphia schools since he began his tenure? Strategy means nothing without action.
Submitted by Tower (not verified) on February 25, 2013 10:11 pm
I will attend the meetings with the phony weakling Jerry Jordan lying to us because I want to support my other teachers. However, these rumored propositions are extreme and shocking. How much would health insurance be for a single person? There is no way I can tolerate this. I will have to apply to district in NJ and the suburbs. No way this can work. No way.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 26, 2013 1:59 pm
I will accept this concession if the district starts paying for all the materials I pay for in my classroom. ALL supplies....it is ridiculous how much we spend. Pencils, paper, erasers, dry erase markers, glue sticks, tissues, paper towels, science materials, crayons....everything except workbooks. It probably equals at least one percent of my salary.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 26, 2013 7:49 pm
With 3 schools becoming charter schools technically the district is closing 32 public schools. This is really getting serious the good ol boys are still running the show with the brothas and sistas in the front to take the blame.
Submitted by Besi Baja (not verified) on October 29, 2014 11:15 pm

Harga Besi WF per Tahun 2014 – Jika anda membutuhkan informasi harga besi WF di tahun 2014 ini untuk menghitung rencana anggaran biaya anda untuk projek yang akan anda kerjakan, maka anda tengah berada di tempat yang tepat!

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