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Hite: Contract proposals are not anti-teacher

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 28, 2013 06:12 PM
Photo: Harvey Finkle

Superintendent William Hite wants to make it clear: He is an educator, a former teacher, and principal himself. "I have the greatest respect for teachers and the teaching profession because we know the incredible impact teachers have on student outcomes," he said.

So the details of the District's opening position in its contract talks with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers -- leaked out over the last few days -- have caused a lot of "misconceptions" of his and the District's intentions, he said.

Some of the proposals -- that the District wants to take away teachers' access to water fountains and desks and stop supplying sufficient books, for example -- have dropped jaws inside and outside of Philadelphia, getting attention in such places as Diane Ravitch's blog.

In an hourlong interview Thursday, Hite sought to "reset the tone."

Taking out these details is a way of professionalizing and streamlining the contract, he said. 

"This notion that I'm disrespectful to teachers couldn't be further from the point."

"Just because we’re eliminating a provision in the contract doesn’t mean we are eliminating the thing that is being provided," he said. "In a professional contract, those kinds of things don't belong there. "

Hite said that he wants to put teachers on a par with other professions like architects, engineers, doctors, and lawyers. "Other professions don't approach things the same way," he said. "A doctor doesn’t look at his contract to provide beds for patients. Water fountains, copy machines, desks, books. ... We will absolutely continue to provide them."

But, he added, "the contract doesn’t guarantee those things. The fact that we have a responsibility to educate children guarantees those things."

Other provisions, like asking teachers to work a longer day, are also about professionalization, he said, based on "a vision" so they can be more effective.

"Most of our teachers already work eight-hour days," he said. "Most work weekends, holidays and into the evening. ... I applaud the teachers for putting in whatever time it takes to make sure students are successful."

But, he added, "The [teacher] workday is defined as not just standing in front of children, but a time for teachers to develop themselves, collaborate, analyze data, and learn best practices."

The District intends to "think about different working conditions," and removing "the administrative burdens put on teachers every day."

The rub for teachers, of course, is the concurrent intention to slash pay and benefits when they already work for less money in harsher working conditions than most of their counterparts in surrounding districts.

Hite says that this doesn't make him happy, but that he has no choice.

"I get the fact that this is a tough ask. I wish we didn’t have these economic challenges and I wish we were not asking teachers, who we think are most important to student outcomes, I wish we didn’t have to ask our most important people to give back money. But we have incredible fiscal challenges, and it is also important to have certain flexibility in order to approach teaching in a different way."

Eliminating seniority in assignment, moving to site-based hiring, and giving principals more autonomy are all part of a "vision" that will ultimately benefit teachers, Hite said. He acknowleged, however, that any success in that area would require significantly upgrading the quality of the District's principal corps. Teachers and union leaders who hang tenaciously on to seniority as the only fair way to assign teachers consistently cite arbitrary principal practices as a reason.

"We have to strengthen school leadership, and teachers have to be a part of that," he said. "The plan is to begin to define a set of standards and competencies every leaders should have, and then recruit off that. ... It will take a different type of leader to give voice and access to teachers so they can co-develop plans for their schools. In many high performing schools, these things are already occurring."

The District also wants to restructure the teacher salary system, eliminating automatic increases for what is known as "steps" -- for years served -- and "lanes" -- for degrees earned, replacing it with an as-yet-undefined performance-based system. There would be no raises until 2017.

Again, that is a tough sell. A few districts around the country have made changes along these lines, including Denver, but longevity and education level are still the main drivers of teacher salaries. Hite said that research over the years has shown that advanced degrees don't correlate with improved student achievement.

"Naturally, we want people with more experience to the extent that adds value, but we spend a lot of money across the nation dealing with steps and lanes when they haven’t proven to impact student outcomes."

But research is inconclusive on the effectiveness of performance-based pay.

Hite acknowledged that some things are trickier than others. For instance, the District would like to eliminate any contractual limit on class size. Hite said this is part of the "flexibility" he is talking about, which would allow the District to use more blended learning, more lectures combined with labs, and to use technology more efficiently.

But traditionally, the class-size limits set by the contract have provided the guidance for teacher allotment in schools. Ideally meant to be maximums, the limits -- 30 for K-3 classes and 33 for older students -- have historically been treated by a succession of cash-strapped administrations as the standard. Eliminating them altogether could remove all guidance for how many teachers each school needs.

"Our desire is not to increase class size," he said. "It's just to have more flexibility for more types of models."

Hite, after barely six months on the job, is trying to reset the District and deal with what he called an "incredible" fiscal crisis of a magnitude "that I'm not so sure any other district in the country is experiencing." 

"The point is, everybody has to make sacrifices," he said. "This has been something that was talked about long before I arrived."




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Comments (220)

Submitted by Teacher Recruiter (not verified) on February 28, 2013 6:23 pm
The Delaware Valley Education Consortium is holding our annual Teacher Job Fair at Neumann University's Mirenda Center on Wednesday, March 6th. As a recruiter for a mid-sized suburban district, I'm specifically seeking teachers of Special Education (secondary preferred) with additional certs (Math and Science in particular) and experience, teachers of physical science (physics and chemistry), teachers of Mathematics and teachers of foreign languages. Most of my colleagues are seeking the same. Check out the Job Fair website, and then come see us next Wednesday. If Philadelphia won't treasure you, we will!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:37 pm
Well, this certainly would want me to go work for you. Taking advantage of my situation--what" F'--ing" nerve
Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:21 pm
Everyone in my building was polishing their resumes after school yesterday. This is relevant information.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:28 pm
Don't do that if you still want to teach in Philly. FIGHT for your rights !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:07 pm
The same pay isn't my right. It's what I want. It's what I think is fair. It's what will keep good teachers like me from leaving the district and making far more. I don't live in a world where teaching in Philadelphia is my only option. It's an option I take a pay cut for. I'll fight to avoid an even greater pay cut but if I lose I will be off in another district.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 7:41 am
I DID fight - all the way down the line - in both Michigan and Louisiana. I lost both times; not just lost, I got massacred. I ended up getting laid off with many others, and all I had to show for my long, hard, virtuous fight for my rights was a very meagre unemployment check. Meanwhile, those who saw the handwriting on the wall and jumped ship before it sank ended up with higher-paying jobs in much better districts. They DID go to recruitment fairs and I didn't. By the time I got it all together and started sending out my resumes, there was nothing left. Today I'm angry and bitter and very fearful as I see history repeating itself right here in Philadelphia.
Submitted by Kate Sannicks-Lerner (not verified) on March 5, 2013 8:52 pm
Amen, Joe! AMEN!!!!
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 5, 2013 8:25 pm
So let's see if I understand, Kenny Gamble and his charter buddies don't have to pay rent on city buildings and Hite can give raises to 50 non union people at 440 upon his arrival but we need to close union school buildings and demolish union rights of workers. That pretty much sums it up, right??
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 5, 2013 8:52 pm
So let's see if I understand, Kenny Gamble and his charter buddies don't have to pay rent on city buildings and Hite can give raises to 50 non union people at 440 upon his arrival but we need to close union school buildings and demolish union rights of workers. That pretty much sums it up, right??
Submitted by Kate Sannicks-Lerner (not verified) on March 5, 2013 9:11 pm
Again, Joe, AMEN!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:44 pm
Don't worry, dear. I'm sure they wouldn't want a drama queen with your oh-so-delicate sensibilities who takes outraged umbrage when genuine opportunity is knocking. Stay home, love. For those of us who live in the real world as opposed to La La Land, it'll be one less person in the interview line.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 6:48 pm
Unnecessary hostility.
Submitted by Kate Sannicks-Lerner (not verified) on March 5, 2013 8:59 pm
Wow... judgements and personal comments just don't serve... Tsk, tsk!
Submitted by classroom cowboy (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:16 am
Will Hite take a 20% pay cut to show some leadership? Will he sign a refusal of any future bonus or golden parachute clause to his contract? This guy is a another mercenary put here to further degrade me and my fellow teachers and make my job less than profession. He's just another parasite in a long line of blood suckers on the dying carcass of the School District of Philadelphia.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 11:40 pm
bless your figurative imagination!
Submitted by Darnel (not verified) on March 2, 2013 11:35 pm
Philadelphia's new LOW is our man HITE!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 10:14 am
What an invitation! Wow! And the hours are...9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on a school day. Is it that the recruiters only wish to appear during regular office hours? Or is it that the sponsors, academic institutions churning our candidates for a constricted market, really don't want to underwrite experienced candidates?
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on March 2, 2013 11:01 am
Anonymous, I cannot say this for sure, but I suspect that the upcoming Delaware Valley Education Consortium (DVEC) job fair is when it is because it coincides with the spring breaks of many colleges and universities. Also, this is a job fair for teacher candidates that has occurred since 1994. Its sponsors are colleges and departments of education and it is intended for new graduates of education programs. By February 20th, students who wanted to attend this job fair for only $5 had to pay someone in their school's college/department of education. This is what I did. Others can still attend, and the at-the-door cost is $10. There is no conspiracy. The DVEC job fair exists to help teacher candidates find jobs and this job fair has existed since 1994. However, as the recruiter posted earlier, others are welcome to attend this job fair. See the website of the DVEC at EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 6:48 pm
If advanced degrees show no correlation to better student performance, then the same could be said for those Superintendents that have advanced degrees and yet run the district "into the ground". Hite makes the correlation to doctors--yet fails to mention that "medical doctors" aren't paying out of pocket expenses to the degree that teachers are. Doctors get "kickbacks" from prescription companies, and those funds are used to finance their practices. Hite believes the b/s that he told the press. I don't know about you, but I cannot afford to take such a pay decrease, get no raise until 2017, and continue to pay for materials that the district will not provide. Hite makes it seems that "copiers" in a building are extraordinary requests. No books? I guess teachers are going to have to fabricate the necessary materials in order to effectively teach. And, with no prep, no minimum class size, no lunch. And yet, possibly, teaching 5 periods in a row without a bathroom break. Incidentally, Mr. Hite, the article fails to mention the concessions that YOU are willing to concede to! What are YOU willing to give up?
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:24 pm
NO------------He doesn't believe it. He's spewing the rhetoric of ALEC, The Broad Foundation and The Koch Brothers. He's being paid to say such drivel and he wouldn't be here if he were even remotely interested in the kids or their education.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:07 pm
You can say that Again!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 2:33 pm
@Joe- BINGO! when I hear people say I dont have any chalk or they are taking away water fountains I shake my head. Do they not understand teh enormity of this?, Who anywhere gets to a certain point and has a 13% pay CUT, it's ludicrous and quite obviously means they want people to quit or retire. Queston: where do you think you are going to get "dedicated quality teachers" with that that attitude, and that question is directed at Presdient Obama and Mayor Nutter as well. Corporate education is the biggest disaster that can befall public school systems, it's teachers, students, and parents. FIGHT BACK and stop lining the pockets of others.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:40 pm
Where in the proposal was there a proposed cut in prep time? Isn't 225 minutes what teachers have currently?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:14 pm
If you have to cover classes, and not be compensated for your time, then you don't get a prep. Get it now? They'll find something for you to do.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:26 pm
They'll find something for you to do -- depending whether you are the principal's pet or not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 10:03 am
I not sure what a "prescription" companies are, but if you are referring to pharmaceutical companies, those kick-backs do not exist. If we are going to find flaws in Hite's analogies, of which there are many, let's make sure they are valid.
Submitted by TWood (not verified) on March 2, 2013 8:02 am
Right on! Everyone should pause and ask themselves why those items were in the contract to begin with. Do we spend the majority of our waking hours in the DR's office or in the lawyer's office? WHat is this "vision"? Now would be a great time to share it. A teacher taught me that in algebra we need to know what we are looking for to get there. We share our daily objectives with the students. Why won't the district do the same?
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:13 pm
This guy is really pathetic and embarrassing, much like Uncle Mike Nutter and the SRC. What he's really saying is the PFT needs to go so the corporations can dictate their "Vision" which just happens to be destroying the Middle Class to increase their profit margin and oh yes, this will help, not hurt teachers. This is like a VERY bad April Fools joke, gone horribly wrong. Nobody old enough to color within the lines is buying any of this crap.
Submitted by CGraham (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:32 pm
Why does he think those provisions were put in the contract ? Because the SDP never treated their employees as professionals or with respect. In fact, I never knew of any employer that consistently treated their employees with such contempt. Those provisions, when removed, will allow the SDP to say to any teacher, "Oh well, you don't have a desk? There's nothing that says you should have one." Believe me. I worked for the SDP for 35 years.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 2:30 pm
I disagree in one respect CGraham, Teachers are both professionals and union members so these things have to be spelled out. in a contract .Its' not because of disrespect, but more about accountabilty and enforcement. You are correct though, without the contract anything goes- no way Jose! this is what makes the private sector livid and to that I say too bad.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 8, 2013 7:55 pm
CGraham: I am with you. After more than a decade in the district, I see how abritarily the contract is used.The contract's use or language is dependent upon the adminstrator managing the school. A good adminstrator will find desks for teachers rather than parrot the contract's exact language. This requires thinking and good leadership. I am afraid it does not exist in Philly.
Submitted by Peg D (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:03 pm
Dr. Hite, How much of your salary are you willing to contribute to help with the sacrifice? Actions speak louder than words. “...there is a difference in eliminating a provision and eliminating the thing that is being provided.” You are a master of double speak. Yes teachers do work many hours in addition to their 7 hr 4 minute day at school. You want to change it to 8 hours. "The [teacher] workday is defined as not just standing in front of children, but a time for teachers to develop themselves, collaborate, analyze data, and learn best practices." And after they do that for 8 hours, you want them to go home and grade papers and create lesson plans. And you want them to do all of this for a 13 % pay cut, an additional give back of 13% to pay for health insurance and no chance of a raise until 2017. The only misconception here is that you think teachers are going to accept your rhetoric and smile while they are being scorned. How do you sleep at night?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:20 pm
Sad part is in today's fear of being without a job YES teachers will accept it and are going to. But will not perform better. Which really doesn't matter who cares about educating Philadelphia's urban children.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:37 pm
This teacher is NOT going to accept this! If we stand together, we will win!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:53 pm
Then I will be next to you fighting back!! LET'S DO THIS NOW!!!!! My Children deserve better, NO OUR CHILDREN!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:18 pm
That's just not right. Teachers will be annoyed and feel mistreated. Some experienced teachers will look for work and find it in higher paying districts with less stressful jobs. For some it will take multiple years. Lower caliber new teachers will apply for jobs in Philly. I know when I applied I had an offer here and in a suburban district. I liked Philly and took $5,000 in lower pay for year one and $10,000 in lower pay for year 3 because I liked valued teaching in and living in the city. I don't regret my decision but if that $10,000 gap is going to become a $20,000 gap I will leave. The people who will not be able to get jobs elsewhere in the midterm will likely be the worst teachers. Sure, there are some great teachers who would take $20,000 a year to work in Philly who will stay but more and more good ones will leave. I'm not really worried about my job since I'll find another but I think we all understand that adequately paying teachers is important to keeping quality teachers.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:24 pm
Don't be silly, nobody past the age of reason, is going to accept 13% cuts and all the rest. The District is trying to get the older, more expensive teachers to bail. Don't be shocked if they even give a buyout of some sort, claiming to have to borrow more money to get the old boobs out like me. Having said all that, Jordan is either a fox in waiting or a snake in the grass. We all hope he's the fox but actions count loudest. This is put up or shut up time for The PFT and we better win or life as we know it, will be over.
Submitted by tom-104 on February 28, 2013 9:00 pm
Joe, have you read this article? You and everyone should to understand what is going on.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:45 pm
Tom 104---Yes, I read it and I totally agree this is a very scary time for Teacher Unions everywhere especially in the urban areas where the Poverty Cycle with all its insidious appendages is alive and well. Like stealing candy from a baby. ALL ORGANIZED LABOR needs to push back by any means necessary. This is do or die for The PFT and hopefully, Jordan is still our leader rather than the proverbial snake in the grass. George Wallace and Bull Connor are snickering in hell. Some people will do or say anything as long as you're paying them.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 12:22 pm
Incorrect. They will NOT accept it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 2:26 pm
I'm sorry, but when teachers complain because they have to work outside of school hours to grade papers, etc. and complain about pay cuts, I throw up in my mouth a little. Welcome to at least 75% of all jobs in the US today. Unless you are an hourly or exempt employee, you work outside of your EIGHT hours a day. The fact that teachers in SDP get paid what they do for 7.067 hours per day and complain up one side and down the other... Please... I know that working conditions suck in SDP. I know that things aren't as they should be. But if you say you can get a job elsewhere, then do so. I don't want ungrateful teachers teaching my kids. $45K to start, fresh out of college is a damn fine starting salary for most. I'm not saying that SDP teachers should give up the farm. But don't complain about the extra 56 minutes. And you're being asked to take a pay cut. Big deal. We're all dealing with this. Take the cut and move on. Be thankful that you have a job, or go somewhere else to get a different job. I know I won't get much sympathy here, but enough is enough.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 4:32 pm
What kind of other jobs are you talking about in this 75%? I come from a family of educated professionals. As the only teacher in the group, I am the only one working nights, weekends, and holidays doing lesson plans, research, grading papers, etc.. I am also the only one making less than 3 figures.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 12:33 pm
You really don't grasp the situation at all. It is not a mere 56 minutes.If the real problem is a lack of funds then why do you expect teachers to work even longer while they taking a pay cut. It's obvious that you don't know what teachers have to go through. We aren't complaining about the extra work, but we are sure tired of the idiots who think teachers only work those hours that the kids are in the school. Pay attention instead trying to show how clever you think you are with your comments. Most of us either come in an hour early or stay an hour to two hours after kids leave. Then we take work home. The school district has started dumping more their work onto the teachers which eats into our private lives. I came to teach, not be a truancy officer, special ed. teacher, disciplinarian, administrator, etc. This is happening this year so what do you think it will be like next year if they tack on another hour to each day? Add to this the level of incompetence of most principals in this district and you have a receipe for disaster. I have done other work so I can do it even if I have to work two jobs. However, finding teachers that can actually teach and LAST FOR MOIRE THAN TWO YEARS in Philly is not going to happen in this city. If you don't believe me then go back and check the articles from five years or so back about teacher shortages. Cut-and-run leaders like Hite talk alot of crap about respect, but this contract shows nothing, but contempt. What does giving principals (who are not being held accountable) more power and taking away teacher prep's have to do with the economy. This is a powerplay by the SRC who are the ones that have driven this district into the ground with their inept leadership, but want to make the teachers pay for their incompetence.
Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on March 2, 2013 8:01 pm
I worked for corporations for over 16 years and now as I am working as a lead teacher, I don't like the idea of not getting an increase in pay for my advanced degrees. When I received my MBA, I also applied for and received a better paying job with more responsibility. I would not be happy if I went and pursued a doctorate in Education and it would mean nothing to the district in terms of increased responsiblities and higher salary potentional. Am I misunderstanding the contract proposed by Dr. Hite? I also find that not having librarians, not providing instructional supplies, counselors and classroom caps concerning as a parent!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 8, 2013 7:06 pm
I would find it concerning too. Just imagine your kid going to see a counselor who lacks a private office or telephone to discuss private matters with your child. In the real world (e.g., EAPs), no employee would discuss private matters in the open. Why expect a student to do with less? Has anyone one heard of confidentality or privacy?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2013 4:42 pm
"Throw up in my mouth a little" is why you're not a teacher. It is a big deal to have your salary cut, and "get a job elsewhere" is not an answer to a growing problem. I suggest you read or grow up, either will do.
Submitted by Kate Sannicks-Lerner (not verified) on March 5, 2013 9:58 pm
Who complained, ANONYMOUS? I really wonder about "anonymous" posters. At any rate, no one is COMPLAINING. We are stating that we already work much, much more than 7.067 hours. Additionally, what you are NOT considering, ANONYMOUS, is the effect this will have ON THE CHILDREN. I don't give a whit, damn, or flying [insert F-bomb here] about the pay, really. What I do care about are my STUDENTS. You see... - they are going to cut and expand class sizes, in spite of the fact that research shows that would be counterproductive; - with this move, OUT goes experience and incentive, in comes inexperience through the revolving door, i.e., you will have inexperienced teachers teaching students, getting fed up and burned out with an overburdened system, and they'll leave. And there will be much more fallout - think about it... Now, as far as pay IS concerned, I would think that you would understand that an 18 to 26% pay cut - yes, 18% for under $25k, 23% for up to $55k, and 26% at $55k+ - I would think you would understand that that will not be a cut, THAT WILL BE A FINANCIAL HARDSHIP, especially for people who have already paid out of pocket for their education. I don't believe that the VICTIMS of fiscal malfeasance should be made to pay for the malfeasance! The SRC was put in the role of stewardship, and they botched the job, yet they are not giving up their salaries. Why don't they go to Wells Fargo and INSIST they reimburse the district for their shady swap loan deals? THAT'S a $35m savings, $10m more than they say they will save by closing schools. The SRC needs to be an ADVOCATE for the families they SERVE - yes, they are public SERVANTS, and it's time they starting stepping into their roles. They need to go to Harrisburg and insist that SCHOOLS be funded, NOT PRISONS. They need to stop being corporate cronies, and ask those same corporations to PUT THE MONEY THEY'VE MADE OFF THE BACKS OF THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE BACK INTO THOSE COMMUNITIES!!!! Last, but not least, THAT is the real issue here - closing schools with LIES, GARBAGE AND TRASH, and driving a hidden agenda. Before you strip communities of schools, before you strip schools of experienced teachers, and before you strip teachers of pay, how about dealing equitably with everyone? The bottom line - this is a societal issue, this is an issue of dire poverty, this is a war against the poor. Anonymous, I don't teach for the pay, I TEACH FOR THE CHILDREN I LOVE. Make no mistake, anonymous, this your fight, or you, too. Stand with us, or FALL WITH US.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:44 pm
Don't reset the tone. Reset your position.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:09 pm
From what I understand, a good portion of other districts help with continued education costs. I paid completely out of pocket for my Masters while teaching in Philadelphia. I understand most districts help with continuing education costs. We follow what the district tells us, then they abuse us for doing exactly what we were told to do. Unreal.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:38 pm
I was under the impression that the SDP did reimburse some of the cost of continuing education. See Did the budget cuts impact tuition reimbursement?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:55 pm
What is the does not cover the entire cost. $2000 is it! And, you must claim it as income. Go back to your charter school hole!
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:16 pm
I have no charter school hole. I was just asking.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:17 pm
This was not available when I completed my requirements. This program can't be more than 2 or 3 years old.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:57 pm
This is only for Instruction 1 to get the additional 24 required credits. This benefits very few teachers. Most of us have had to pay - or apply for scholarships - for graduate work. Many suburban districts pay for all graduate work - I've attended classes with them. While I do not agree with eliminating steps increases and salary for degrees, the District could qualify which courses / degrees they will recognize. There are too many "quicky" graduate degrees offered on the cheap. This provide cash for some local colleges (and online programs) but they lack credibility. Some do not require GREs, a thesis, etc. There are also far too many administrators with the "quicky" degree.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:46 pm
The School District, since Dr. Hite's arrival, is promoting "quicky" graduate credits on the cheap ($150 course). It was promoted as "get your plus 30." So, yes, the District, as usual, is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. There i no logic is the contract proposal nor sincerity Hite's claim to love teachers. (I wonder why Hite has a doctorate if having an advanced degree doesn't matter? I wonder if he would go to a doctor or lawyer who have not furthered their education?)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:37 pm
Really? Through what program. Did they only let you know?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 5:21 am
That KDS program is full of crap and the District as usual paid a lot of money for it.
Submitted by tom-104 on March 1, 2013 6:52 am
The Easy IEP program used by Special Ed teachers in the School District of Philadelphia comes from a company owned by former Superintendent Paul Vallas. I wonder if it was a no bid contract and how it was selected. There is a contract scandal involving him in Bridgeport, Connecticut where he is currently Superintendent.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:30 pm
What accredited graduate program do you know offers those quickie degrees you speak of. I've been in the district for over a decade and haven't found any. I along with the majority of SDP educators earned their degrees the good old fashioned way, through hard work perseverance and diligence. Stop spreading a myth. Bet you can't name one program.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 1, 2013 3:41 am
Cabini - just look at their flyers. (No, I have not taken their classes but it certainly is marketed as get it on the cheap, quick and without having to do much, take GRE's, etc. When I've talked to people taking the courses, part of the motivation is the "ease.") Eastern and Cheyney also have offered, over the years, get it quick certifications for administrators and "add ons" for teachers. Now, "on line" universities do the same thing. This was issued by the School District on 9/19/12: "The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) has partnered with Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS) to offer teachers the opportunity to take courses that are Act 48 eligible in a blended learning model as well as eligible for graduate credit. Individuals can opt to enroll for college credit at any time during the course for a $150 fee; this equates to 12 credits for a total of $600. These credits may be used towards your Masters Equivalency, Masters +30, Senior Career Teacher and can be applied towards the 24 credits needed to obtain your Level II Certificate. Courses run for a total of 45 online hours and 8 face to face hours to meet requirements for Act 48 and college credit offerings!!! Teachers will participate in four (4) Teacher courses." The "8 face to face" hours were dropped. This was sent in another email from the School District January 4, 2013 - "* Based on feedback from first semester participants, Assessment and Grading for Student Achievement has been streamlined to reduce the time needed to complete the course, while maintaining the high quality learning experience." These are no equivalent to taking graduate courses as part of a graduate degree.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 6:59 am
As for Cabrini you are wrong on both accounts of it being cheap & easy. I received my Masters from Cabrini with Principal Certification in 2009. At that time the courses were an 8 wk cohort model and $1200 a course. We attended classes after work from 4- 9:30 pm once a week year round. There wasnt anything remotely easy about the requirements or the coursework which also included 100's of Principal Internship hours. I highly doubt that I would've passed the Administrative Leadership Praxis exam if Cabrini was a fly by night institution. As for KDS I've never heard of the program but I'll definitely check into it. The Cabrini program is marketed as convenient because they offer classes at SDP schools after work instead of traveling to Radnor. Convenient is not synonymous with easy in this case. It's people like you who spread rumors that educators receive advanced degrees and credits in basket weaving in order to qualify for higher pay. That just gives the SDP fuel to justify not paying us for our educational achievements. Pursuing National Boards and my Masters plus the 33 additional credits I have had made me a better informed and accomplished educator. Heads up if someone tells you that National Boards is a breeze don't fall for that lie either. And yes I should receive reimbursement for my expenses and a 7,500 bonus for being a NBCT as the current contract states. The SDP will be left with people like you uniformed & clueless because anyone with my credentials is not going to stay and work under a prison like contract as so aptly named by Diane Ravitch in her blog. Is it really mind blowing to you that people get compensated based on their educational levels? If so you're in the wrong profession.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 1, 2013 6:41 am
I have 3 Masters - all required a thesis - and only one is education related. I also have National Certification - twice. I'm currently on dissertation status for a doctorate so don't question what I do or do not know. I'm also committed to teaching and living in this school district for 30 plus years. I'm glad you enjoyed your experience with Cabrini - it is not for me. i was fortunate to get scholarships to pay for most of my degrees but certainly not all. The information on KDS has been sent by the School District - look through your email and you should find it. It is no more than PD - it is not graduate level work.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2013 1:07 pm
Perhaps you should go back into teaching. Nevertheless, getting 3 Master's Degree was no easy task. Doing any graduate level work while teaching full time is not easy. Please don't undermine that. It is insulting.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 4, 2013 4:05 pm
I am sorry that you were insulted - I apologize. I know that going to college, teaching and balancing a family life is very difficult. I'm still at it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2013 7:32 pm
Actually, there are far too many Principals who are arrogant, vindictive and unprofessional.
Submitted by lovetoteach (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:46 pm
There is only reimbursement for Instructional 2 certs. I started15 years ago with more than 24 post bachelor's credits so I can't be reimbursed for anything.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:51 pm
Here our the words of our esteemed Superintendent: Hite said that he wants to put teachers on a par with other professions like architects, engineers, doctors, and lawyers. "Other professions don't approach things the same way," he said. "A doctor doesn’t look at his contract to provide beds for patients. Water fountains, copy machines, desks, books...we will absolutely continue to provide them." I did Medical Malpractice fro 25 yeas and my wife writes medical contract for a living. Hite is either very stupid or a liar. Every doctor's contract with a hospital very specifically sets forth what facilities the Doctor is provided with. Does he believe teachers are stupid????? Or does he just say stuff because it sounds good???
Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:01 pm
Right? We had to mention the contract to get a principal to take the lock off of the copier. We had to mention the contract so that we could have somewhere to lock up our personal things because they kept getting stolen. In other districts and professions, it is considered common sense to give people what they need to do their job. Sadly, the SDP has no common sense. That's why we need the contract to spell it out. If you provided it, we wouldn't have to demand it.
Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on February 28, 2013 9:45 pm
Exactly. The reason we (PFT) had to negotiate learning conditions and sanitary conditions for CHILDREN into the contract is because we know (from looong experience) that the district WILL NOT do what is right for children! Sure, we should not have to require the district to buy enough books or supplies, or fix water fountains for the kids, or provide a nurse's office for the kids with hot and cold running water! But, if we do not require it or have it written into our contract they WILL NOT do it!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 10:33 am
These are all great points with specific examples. I hope you consider testifying before the SRC.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 3:58 pm
Correct, and what recourse do we have when the princpal breaks into your locker and takes your things or equipment to sell? this is by way of saying that the contract doesn't need to be downsized it needs MORE protections.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:25 pm
Poogie--He'll say whatever he is paid to say, just like Vernard Johnson.
Submitted by Linda K. (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:27 pm
Amen to sister works at DUKE Univ as a hospital administrator and believe me, she does not pay for copies, books, pencils...or anything other than her lunch......Dr. Hite, if you really want to make analogies stay away from the hospitals......we have enough sick thinking as it is
Submitted by g (not verified) on March 3, 2013 8:48 am
Do doctors, lawyers,and Indian chiefs-other professionals-like Hite says-have to ask for PERMISSION to leave the building during their LUNCH???????????????????? Tell me one hospital in which a DR. seeks permission to go out to lunch? Although he seems to think that WE are all craven morons-Hite probably has an IQ at least approaching normal-How can he not realize that we grow more and more aggravated by the day?Clearly-his financial plan is to push as many of us as possible to quit. It of course is not about the children-it never is-He will just cram even more children-some of them VERY VERY emotionally and cognitively needy-into each class-FIRE any teacher who needs to use reasonable force to protect a child or him or herself from occasional violence from a frustrated- angry child-and then count the money he saves when the last possible parents with any choice at all-pull their kids out of the system. As many as possible-the TAXPAYERS we have left-will vote with their feet.-Across the magic line. This will speed the downfall of out city. By the way-thank you Mayor Nutter for your cowardly agenda-I must be the moron Hite thinks I am -I voted for you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:07 pm
We all know how insulting this is, and most of us understand the history behind it and who the real deciders are. The question now is: what do we do about it? Lisa Haver
Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:37 pm
Take Act 46 to court.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:58 pm
Break out the pitchforks and torches---It's WAY PAST TIME. Time to fight, folks !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:38 pm
Organize every teacher in the district to work "by the book" and not one second more for a period of a week or two...or as long as it takes to make the point. No work at all outside of the contract hours. In many schools, this will cause an uproar among students and parents. We need them on our side in this, and we all need to stand together. No tutoring, sports, clubs, parent meetings, phone calls or emails, AP prep, not to mention planning, grading, etc. The parents at my school would FLIP. The question is--what would we all do with all of that free time!?
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:17 pm
Many parents and children are already on the side of the teachers because it is the PFT and allied organizations (e.g. PCAPS) that have been opposing the overwhelmingly unpopular school closing plans. Of course, it doesn't hurt to give parents and students additional reasons to stand with the teachers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 4:15 pm
You make an excellent point up until tthe last sentence because the point is not about what you'd do with that time.
Submitted by Seth Kulick on February 28, 2013 7:05 pm
How about a decent amount of time for lunch and recess, and less of the endless standardized tests? Can that be part of the "vision"?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:55 pm
Yes! Now that's a vision.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:02 pm
Dr. Hite can say that he values teachers until the cows come home, but actions speak louder than words. He needs to realize that many teachers and other employees do not trust the District's administration and are deeply suspicious of Dr. Hite's motives (his connections to the Broad Foundation, chief among them). Given the lack of trust, trying to remove provisions from the contract about teachers desks and copy machine isn't the best idea. I understand his point that there shouldn't have to be provisions about copy machines and teachers desks. However, it behooves him to provide more context for the District's decision to include these in the "School District Proposals to the PFT." Maybe he and others did provide the context, but the union took it out. I don't know. Given that there are so many "empty seats," I would think that the District might have a surplus of teacher's desks, but what do I know. The provisions about a teacher's desk and copy machines seem relatively minor compared to the proposal to ask teachers for a longer school day while simultaneously cutting pay. That is such a slap in the face and a demeaning move, and it will backfire on him because the longer school day and pay cut proposal is going to mobilize teachers and other PFT members big time. Why not propose to keep pay the same and extend the school day? That's a little bit more reasonable of a proposal. Based on comments I have read on here and, the opinion is pretty unanimous across the board, even from people who are typically critical of teachers, that asking for a longer school day while also cutting pay is unfair. Provisions about books should be in the contract because I have seen myself and heard from teachers who work in the District that the District does not provide books. When I was student teaching, some of the teachers had to run off copies of workbooks because there weren't enough and the workbooks were on order. This was in November...there should be enough workbooks in September! In the article, one of the paragraphs says that "eliminating seniority in assignment, moving to site-based hiring, giving principals more autonomy, are all part of a "vision" that will ultimately benefit teachers, Hite believes. He acknowleged, however, that any success in that area would require significantly upgrading the quality of the District's principal corps." How can he propose these changes when he doesn't have the right people in place for the proposals to work? Upgrade the principal corps first, THEN talk about site selection, autonomy for principals, etc. These kind of statements make so little sense that These kind of statements expose him more and more as a puppet for "school reformers" a la Eli Broad. For others who have more experience in education and labor, my question is, do wealthier districts have provisions about copy machines or desks? Is it standard to have provisions about a desk and copy machine? Is the PFT contract similar to other contracts for teachers in the Philly area? I know that most other teachers in the Philly area have NEA representation, but I'm curious to know if provisions about desks, copy machines, and supplies are standard practice. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 6:52 am
EGS, I always look forward to reading your posts. They are well written, informative and have research information included. My question to you, do you have a job? What do you do, if you don't mind. You have a wealth of information that should be used somewhere.
Submitted by Edu Grad Student (not verified) on March 2, 2013 11:56 am
Thank you. I'm presently looking for a job since I have finished student teaching and my coursework. I also volunteer at a local District-run public school and will continue to do so until I find employment. Education Grad Student (I had to put Edu Grad Student in the Your Name box because I am applying for an account, so my full name comes up as a registered user's name. Someone else posted as me, so I figured I should register.)
Submitted by TC (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:41 pm
I don't have the time in the day to accomplish all of the things that I have to do, and I work through my lunch and prep (when I have one) every day, in addition to at least another hour I spend working on things at home. I don't have books NOW for my class, and the 2 boxes of paper that I got for copies are long gone. I can't imagine it getting much worse, but if it does, "The world needs ditch diggers too".
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:28 am
I think people on the outside don't realize that prep period is NOT a time most of us sit for 45 minutes resting or gossiping. It is a working part of our day. Think paperwork, parent emails or phone calls, grading papers, lesson planning etc. Prep time should not be dictated (you must do this job) and coverages should be minimal. Not having to pay teachers for covering would result in hiring less subs, because why have subs if we can have our appointed teachers do it for free?
Submitted by Meg (not verified) on March 4, 2013 7:02 am
I open the building daily with the building engineer. We are only alone for a very little while before other teacher begin to arrive. I put in a nine hour day int he building every day and it is not enough time, but all I can do - they want to extend that by another hour for less money? No way will I be able to physically do this and still give the kids my best every day. - these proposals are vindictive and I did not earn them. None of us did.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:54 pm
If things like water fountains, desks and a nurses office are a given, what's the harm in keeping them in the contract? Why take them out, other than to antagonize people?
Submitted by ms pat (not verified) on February 28, 2013 7:30 pm
All I hear is BS, and I don't mean the degree. Working conditions are in the contract because we all know that once something breaks, it won't get fixed. And we all know the copy machine line is a joke since we don't get enough paper to use it anyway. My school hasn't received new texts books since the early days of Paul Vallas. The SRC has done a poor job of running the district, and they want school staff and students to pay for their blunders. Solidarity is our only hope!
Submitted by tom-104 on February 28, 2013 8:40 pm
Giving top administrators huge salary increases but, according to Hite, teachers must take cuts because "I have no choice" and "everybody has to make sacrifices" ....because of what the SRC, the city and the state have mismanaged. Hite says eliminating the due process protections of seniority will "ultimately benefit teachers." Hite says a subjective performance based system replacing steps in salary, and giving principals more control over their staff salaries will "ultimately benefit teachers". Hite says limiting class size will give the district "more flexibility". Hite says he wants to put teaching on a par with other professions like doctors and lawyers and in the same conversation says "that research (what research) over the years has shown that advanced degrees don't correlate with improved student achievement." So should teachers and parents stop telling students that education is important? Is this the Orwellian talk they taught you to use at the Broad Superintendents Academy Dr. Hite? If it is, they forgot one thing, people are not stupid! "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:29 pm
Dear SDP, Your contract proposal is insulting and disrespectful, to say the least. If I wasn't a level-headed 'seasoned' professional, I'd quit. However, that is EXACTLY what you'd like me to do, so I won't. I CHOSE to teach in Philadelphia, and this is where I'm staying. Love, A hard-working, dedicated teacher who will continue to support and advocate for my students and our traditional public schools, in spite of YOUR misguided mission P.S. Thank you for the insane provisions that you put into the proposal. No amount of damage control can unring that bell :)
Submitted by High School Teacher (not verified) on March 1, 2013 6:39 am
"Thank you for the insane provisions that you put into the proposal. No amount of damage control can unring that bell :)" ha - best comment ever! Just tweeted this to #phillyeducation (great conversation going on over there too)
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on March 1, 2013 1:09 pm
Dr. Hite said that the salary increases occurred because people moved positions and their new positions came with a higher salary. That's all well and good if there's enough money, but it's not fair or sensible to give salary increases if other employees have to take a pay cut. Where is the shared sacrifice?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:36 pm
On the one hand, he doesn't want to mandate private space, water fountains or copy machines and paper, because "we do it anyway'" but wants to mandate extra time for teachers while demanding a significant cut in pay, because "they do it anyway."
Submitted by Down the Hall (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:50 pm
I think Dr. Hite is confusing contempt for respect. He must be looking at the wrong box on the frayer model. Is he sacrificing? Oh yeah, he doesn't have to he's better than us because he's the Super......intendent.
Submitted by g (not verified) on February 28, 2013 8:01 pm
I said it before and I'll say it again-We need to strike NOW and NOT NEGOTIATE until that ***hole is removed and the entire SRC is replaced. How can we work for an entity that is so very disrespectful to us-and treats us like a bunch of morons?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 9:52 pm
It's time to march on 440. Shut down the operation and let's see how long these principals will last in their schools. Corbett wants to fire 10,000 teachers? Go ahead. You'll be begging for them to come back within a year when your Leach For America fodders starts bailing out right and left.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:24 pm
There are many new graduates and others, including graduates of education programs, who would jump at the chance to cross picket lines and teach in Philadelphia because, among other reasons, they need a paycheck. Who knows if the SDP could bring in 10,000 replacement "teachers." However, I suspect that if they did, parents and students would notice the difference. Parents and students would realize that in the vast majority of classrooms, an untrained replacement cannot satisfactorily fill in for a well-trained teacher.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:48 pm
10,000 teachers fresh out of school? Seriously?
Submitted by Edu Grad Student (not verified) on March 2, 2013 12:32 pm
No, there aren't 10,000 teachers fresh out of school, that's why I said "many new graduates and others, including graduates of education programs." I have no idea to know whether or not the District can replace 10,000 teachers, but there are enough people out of work that I suspect they could find a sizable number of people with college degrees who would apply. I would not cross a picket line, but there are many people who are so desperate for a job that they probably will. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Edu Grad Student (not verified) on March 2, 2013 1:23 pm
Sorry. I need to think before I type. I really need some more experience, both life and professional, before spouting on the Notebook. Education Grad Student
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 1:57 pm
EGS, Don't be so hard on yourself, and try not to take the criticisms to heart. You're doing a great job. I'm a veteran teacher and I read your posts and click on your referenced links regularly. I stay up-to-date on things that relate to instruction, but I rely on you, other Notebook contributors, and individuals like Diane Ravitch, to provide me with insight into what's going on beyond the classroom walls. Thank you and please keep up the great work!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:52 pm
13% of $300,000 is 39,000. Will he give up this much? 13% of $55,000 is $7,150. I can't afford that!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:17 am
Maybe I misunderstand the math, but isn't it really a 26% paycut? 13% cut, + 13% benefits = 26% So, for somebody at the upper end of the payscale, say, 83K, that would be over 21 thousand dollar pay cut, no? Absolutely devestating.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 10:42 am
It's actually a 24.31% cut (since the 13% for benefits will come from the reduced salary), but, yes the overall picture is correct.
Submitted by Anony Mouse (not verified) on March 1, 2013 10:58 am
No. We would pay 13% of our benefits. So if you are single, you would pay 13% of X, if you are married you would pay 13% of Y, and married with kids on your plan, 13% of Z. Whether you are a first year teacher, or a senior career teacher, the amount you pay would be the same. The only variable would be if you have a spouse, and/or kids or not.
Submitted by Jonathan (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:06 pm
I wonder if their has ever been a study that calculates the man-hours involved with the various tasks that a teacher is responsible for doing during the work day. A contractor, when calculating a job quote, always includes a careful consideration of the man-hours involved in the job. If he miscalculates too often he will loose money and potentially go out of business. Since Hite is so anxious to bring a business model to education, let him create a real calculation of the man-hours involved in running a class of 23 or so students. I never work less than eight hours a day, and often work considerably more. I always have several hours of planning, prepping and or grading over the weekend. As do my colleagues. Most teachers have to put in more than 40 hours a week in order to run a class properly. Add to this the disproportionate amount of my time that is spent on a kind of social work that is outside the purview of the teaching profession, but, by default, falls to the teacher. By this I mean calling parents on a regular basis to sustain their support in their own child's behavior and education. And spending valuable instructional time before during and after school addressing the behaviors and needs of the many students who don't, for various reasons, come to school ready to learn. The idea that the district wants to add an hour to the day is no big deal, so long as they don't feel obligated to fill it with mostly meaningless pds, but, instead, allow me to use the time meaningfully attending to the actual work of running a class. The entire notion of upgrading, improving, and reforming education by demeaning and devaluing the predominantly hardworking cohort of teachers in public schools is a strange and ultimately indefensible position.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on February 28, 2013 10:26 pm
Jonathan, Teaching is indeed one of the professions in which it is hard to leave work at the office. Activities you describe, such as "calling parents on a regular basis to sustain their support in their own child's behavior and education" and "spending valuable instructional time before during and after school addressing the behaviors and needs of the many students who don't, for various reasons, come to school ready to learn" are part of the job, and even more so in a city like Philadelphia in which a higher-than-average number of children come from fragile families and tough economic circumstances. I also like your point that "the idea that the district wants to add an hour to the day is no big deal, so long as they don't feel obligated to fill it with mostly meaningless pds, but, instead, allow me to use the time meaningfully attending to the actual work of running a class." If there is an extra hour of school, it should be instructional time. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 2, 2013 4:57 pm
EGS it is a big deal because more time heaped onto the day is only the beginning. You can never be sure what they will want you to do in that hour and NOT for the same amount of pay but LESS! The last I heard was that the kids would retain the same hours they just wanted the teachers to stay. For what reason may I ask, so they can say they put one over on the unions? I had a colleague when I first started who told me don't ever give up your lunch on a regular basis, you won't get it back .It may sound jaded (but it's experience talking) the more you give the more they'll take.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 28, 2013 11:35 pm
This man needs to go! For making such demand, it shows he is not matured enough to lead 10,000 teachers plus additional staff and students. Have they forgotten, WE are supposed to be a team-- Hite and his team do not decide what direction we go but we ALL, with teachers, should collaborate and work together. I guess the reason SDP has failed is because they never engage teachers in their decision-making process I feel I do a great job everyday. My students feel the positive effect I make in their lives. Taking advanced courses, every time I added one, IMPROVED my teaching skills. I will never quit teaching and I will always be in demand God remove this man and SAVE us from his demonic "VISION." You see he never explain what the "vision" was. He also need to explain the "undecided standard they plan to use to determine raises for teacher!" If you do not have exactly, the measures you plan to use why eliminate the current one?
Submitted by Teachin' (not verified) on March 1, 2013 7:54 am
He meant to say that they're not ONLY anti-teacher. They're also anti-student.
Submitted by Child Advocate (not verified) on March 1, 2013 7:26 am
Hite said that research over the years has shown that advanced degrees don't correlate with improved student achievement.> I actually agree with this, BUT: You told me if I put out thousands to get these degrees, you'd pay me more. I still have to pay off those loans. You can't reverse that problem after I've already fulfilled my part of the bargain.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 8:24 am
Well let me just say that it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to have language about copy machines in the contract. I work in a high performing school that does NOT have appropriate educational materials that correlates to the Common Core Standards. Translation... NO TEXTBOOKS! In order to supplement my students with the needed materials I must make copies. However, I was SUSPENDED from making copies. YES, that's right my copy code was suspended because I made too many copies. What professional employee do you know, doctor,lawyer, etc., has their right to make a copy suspended? So in order to prevent any principal from arbitrarily cutting off the teacher's right to make copies, I would prefer that the language about access to copy machines stay right where it is, page 62 number 14. Thank you!
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on March 1, 2013 4:10 pm
The root of the problem is that most AP are utter fools. The real problem 440 will not address is administrative incompetence.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:13 pm
Yes.....and the people on the front lines (the teachers) have to deal with the fallout from all of their poor decisions....
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on March 1, 2013 7:07 pm
I agree with you! I student taught at a school with a great principal who respected teachers and totally understood that some teachers were running off many copies because they lacked Everyday Math workbooks until the school got more workbooks. I also know that not all principals are so caring and focused on helping teachers and students, so I agree that the statements about copiers and supplies should stay in the contract!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 8:54 am
In the Inquirer, Jerry Jordan states that some of those items need to be in the contract because the PFT had problems before when things weren't in the contract and they didn't have to do them. Jerry is way off. The School Police and The Principals' Union had pay raises in their contracts and they didn't honor them. So why should the PFT need things in their contract? In other words Jerry, does it really matter?
Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on March 1, 2013 8:49 am
You cannot be a good educator if you lie to your students. You cannot be a good leader if you lie to your employees. Dr. Hite cannot possibly believe that anyone is stupid enough to believe this unfettered balderdash. I remember when certain Notebook people went out of the way to welcome Hite when he first arrived. I remember how certain people still argue that the SRC are people of good will. Right now my students are reading a book by Chinua Achebe called Arrow of God. One theme is the consequence of the Igbo allowing the British to live as neighbors. They thought the colonizers must be wise if they assumed the authority to lie to them about the meaning of religion, civilization and other life matters. My students may as well be reading the Daily News.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:02 am
Nothing worse than unfettered balderdash. I agree Hite must truly think we're all as dumb as he thinks we are. Maybe some of us but not I. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Seriously, if this isn't a call to arms, nothing could be. No matter how you couch it, it is nothing short of insulting and only cowards of the first order would find any of it acceptable.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on March 1, 2013 7:44 pm
Geoffrey, You are right on the money! How can Dr. Hite expect teachers and other employees to give him ANY credibility if on the on hand he is saying "We value the work of teachers" and on the other hand he is saying "We want to cut your salaries by 5 to 13% at the same time that we want you to work a longer school day." Not only does he look completely outrageous to teachers, but I think that he's also lost a great deal of credibility with most of the public because the District's initial proposal is so outrageous and insulting. EGS
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 1, 2013 9:50 am
This only shows that being "a highly qualified experienced educator" does not mean the same thing as "doing the right thing". Dr. Hite is definitely engaging in (and pretty bad at that) "doublespeak". I would only suggest that the teachers/PFT fight fire with fire. Put a dollar amount on those drinking fountain, copy machine, adequate materials guarantees. In the real world, guarantees are not free, nor assumed. Take those dollar amounts, and expose them as the pay cuts that they really are. Take the school closures, and use them as the concessions they represent. Get the ELC, Education Law Center to help you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 10:25 am
i know what pft can ask for tell them if they don't get this ridiculous offer off the table we will send in a bunch on non certified subs to take over lol
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 10:31 am
really, seriously. let me explain something to you. I am that noncertified sub that you speak of. I have outlasted teaching fellows, TFA'S, AND some certified teachers in some of the toughest schools in philadelphia. I have watched over the years how we as non cert subs have been given the short end of the stick, supposedly in the best interest of the child. This has been done by only allowing subs to make longterm twice in their lifetime as a non cert teacher. I myself have made longterm every year prior to that little hit from the state. I have been in jobs that i can only stay in for 21 days and can only stay in a position for 21 days and have to come out and technically a nother sub can go in the position. I have watched how that same position stayed empty for the entire school year, because no cert teacher or teaching fellow, or TFA person could last and then i would come back into the position. I spend my money just like you do in the classroom but only difference is i don't get any type of reimbursement from the district, I have watched each year how a benefit has been taken from the health and welfare fund for me. I started out with having prescription, dental, and vision. Now I am down to just prescription. I look at some of the concessions that they want for people in my category such has if I pick up a job and the administration closes the school for that day I cannot get paid unless I actually go into school that day, please explain to me how I could go in if the building is closed. I looked at the other one of the principal can make you take any class regardless of what job you picked up on aesop and for those of you that don't know aesop is like our little own binding contract. so if that flies the principal can say that the jjob is for a kindergarten class and I get there and they tell me the job is for me to take an 7th grade class I would have to take it and vice versa. So before you start talking smack a lot of the things that were taken from us over the years pft should have fought to keep because I knew that once they started picking eventually they pick a little higher and this time they did. But at the end of the day i still will support the pft and you even though I am just a LOWLY NON CERTIFIED SUB. oh and by the way it is because i pick up some of these jobs that you are allowed a prep. Speaking of which if I am at a school and I miss a prep i don't get prep paybacks pay for missed preps and I maybe there the whole year
Submitted by Philadelphia Educator (not verified) on March 1, 2013 11:15 am
Dr. Hite, You are unconscionable. Doublespeak? Try blatant hypocrisy. In the Fall, you justified the pay raises of 25 non-Union employees within the administration by citing the fact that due to central office layoffs, these administrators were to take on added duties and responsibilities and therefore should be compensated for the added workload. Now, you ask teachers to take on the same added duties and responsibilities and deny us compensation. In fact, you propose to cut our salaries, reduce our benefits, and jeopardize our services! How stupid do you think we are? I, among many, teach students well after our contractual hours have passed, without compensation. Under these new terms, I will be forced to abandon these services to find other means of income to support my family. Are you so deluded that you think this will not adversely affect the children's education you are charged to provide? Leave Philadelphia right now, Dr. Hite. You, clearly, have no place in educational leadership. In fact, please move as far from the field of education as is humanly possible. Education, in our society, serves to promote the ideals of Justice, Fairness, and Democracy, all of which you have trodden upon so unscrupulously. Leave. Now. Finally, to those of you who say, "Don't worry about it. This is just the opening gambit of the District and will certainly not be the final offer," I also say shame on you. Opening gambit? This is not a game, Ladies and Gentlemen. These are peoples' lives and livelihoods. It is disrespectful, shameful, demeaning, and embarrassing. Please, do not expect smiling faces photographed along side you when you visit the schools you "spared" from closure in your blatant attempt to improve your discredited image in the coming days. It will not work. Mr. Jordan, do us proud. We stand, prepared and unbowed. Philadelphia Teacher
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 11:00 am
I couldn't agree with you more. I hear so many teachers saying, "Don't worry. They don't really mean what they say. They're just playing politics. It's all for show" and "They're just making these outrageous, insulting statements to scare us. In the end, it won't be anywhere near this bad" and "Just wait it out. Just put blinders on to all this craziness and go about your job. It'll all work out" and "Don't be an alarmist. They wouldn't have the nerve to really do these terrible things. Just stay put. Don't let them scare you away." My grandparents said the same things many, many years ago. They both died at Auschwitz.
Submitted by g (not verified) on March 1, 2013 12:15 pm
I agree with you absolutely. Mr. Hite-Get the H**** out our city and school district now! Perhaps you could follow Queen Arleen?!
Submitted by ANON 452 (not verified) on March 1, 2013 1:31 pm
Well said and Amen. They should be embarrassed to call themselves educators and propose what they propose. We stand ready to FIGHT!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2013 5:16 pm
The truth is that they are they are NOT educators they are managers (administrative management).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 11:54 am
Who is going to keep up my student loans payments? Am I going to be forgiven during these tough economic times. Yes, I will agree they are tough, they are for me. They are also going to take my days. Are you kidding me........
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 1:42 pm
I hear a lot of griping by teachers on this, but I have seen piss poor results from this same union. You want negotiating power? Show me some real academic gains. And I don't want to hear about parents and the district. You're in the classroom with these kids everyday. As someone who spent a lot of time in the district, I saw teachers who don't understand the subject they're teaching. I saw teachers who sit down and read the paper while students who are already behind do busywork. I saw teachers fake injuries to get out of being fired or getting poor evaluations. I saw teachers get up and walk out on PD that was geared towards helping their practice because it was the minute their contract allowed. There are some good quality teachers in the Philly School District, but there are also a ton who are fair to poor to incompetent. I have no sympathy here for a union that hasn't actually produced any positive results. It's a district failing more than ones that are comparable. Teachers make the greatest impact on student learning, so the SDP failures fall on the teachers more than anyone else. I feel bad for the good ones out there, but I also know well enough that they are fewer and more far between than most people know.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 1:22 pm
Hello, Dr. Hite. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 2:24 pm
Thank you for your comments. I just wanted to ask a couple of clarifying points to understand your comments better. You said you spent a lot of time in the district. Can I ask in what capacity? How much exposure to teachers did you have and how many teachers did you get to observe overall? What percentage of teachers would you say are "fair to poor to incompetent"? Would you say it's the majority?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 3:51 pm
I worked as a teacher, a counselor in an outside nonprofit, and as a principal intern. I worked in 7 schools, most of which were the lower achieving. I cant speak to the Centrals and Mastermans of the district. I would say 30-50% were poor. There were 20% who were amazing, but a failing district like Philly needs more. Fair or not, urban districts are up against more than the burbs. If we want the children to close the gap, we need a super high standard for the staff. I didn't see that at all in the SDP. In fact, I saw high quality teachers as loners who were often frustrated by their colleagues.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 4, 2013 8:20 am
Thank you Anonymous. There is a culture of mediocrity in the SDP. Yes I would have to agree with you, the excellent teachers were in essence loners, with little support from their principal, even their peers. I was in my neighborhood school almost every day as a parent volunteer. Nothing says more than a teacher dismissing their co-workers' success as "a one time (District) phenomena" (and not the product of intense hard work). I was stunned to see the "back stabbing" and self promotion going on. As you also say, these are not all the teachers, but there are enough to make it miserable for those who are actually focused on the kids. The PFT's advocacy stops at wages and benefits. When these are achieved, the advocates "go home", many to their comfortable pensions, and many to the suburbs where their own children are away from the "nonsense" of the SDP. Many commenting here are more interested in whipping up an emotional frenzy than they are in actually helping the kids. Real solutions are a lot less interesting and a lot riskier.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 4, 2013 8:09 am
I agree but maybe not in terms so stark. I think the problem starts with leadership. Of my three principals over the years none of them have taken any steps to punish bad teachers. Sure, they get asked to leave if they're drunks but there are no penalties for just being bad at your job, not showing up, not helping students. The punishments that were meted out were done in the manner of "you're all guilty and causing this school to fail" which is completely unproductive. Our failures start with principals and that's why I'm wary about giving them more control. Regarding this contract, irrespective of the failings of teachers, nothing in the contract proposals will reverse that. It will cause good teachers to leave because in the end we know that our resumes stand out and we will be able to get jobs outside of Philadelphia. The teachers who are the biggest problems will complain about the lower pay but stay in the district because no one else will want them. The best thing the union can do is stop fighting the district on cases where a teacher has done something wrong, admits it, and sometimes even accepts their punishment but the union rep will say "we can fight this". No, you can't. You can waste time and demoralize other teachers who see that you can do nothing but still be protected. A functional system does not continue to employ teachers who have not submitted lesson plans all year and skips many of their classes.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 4, 2013 9:25 am
This contract proposal is a joke, outright, even if you leave the achievement factor(s) out. Even worse is Dr. Hite's defense of it. As nonsensical as much of the current SDP bureaucracy, this definitely "takes the cake". It can only help the PFT. I hope they are working on an appropriate counterproposal right now.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 4, 2013 9:58 am
I forgot to add, since I know solutions aren't what most commenters are looking for, the thought that there needs to be a third party evaluating entity. Not one associated with the SDP, and not one associated with the PFT, not even one associated entirely with the caregivers. On this issue, there isn't enough "political will" to make it happen; but perhaps someday...
Submitted by g (not verified) on March 1, 2013 2:04 pm
Are you saying that the reason the kids do better in Radnor than in Phila is that the teacher are better, more hard-working, and more caring? Are you really saying that??????? If we simply flip-flopped the reaching staffs at Germantown High and Radnor High-The kids at Germantown would begin to all score proficient and advanced and the Radnor kids would become below basic? Are you saying this??? ANSWER ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on March 1, 2013 3:11 pm
That is the question I am always asking people in arguments. Have never gotten a even remotely decent answer yet. Same with unions. People say "it's the union's fault", yet if that was the case, wouldn't states in the south be kicking northern state's butts academically, since for the most part southern state unions are weak, and even basically nonexistent.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 1, 2013 3:36 pm
I didn't say it was the union's fault, I just said they shouldn't have any negotiation power when they aren't producing any results. All research points to teacher quality making a bigger impact on student learning than any district policy or school leader. I don't blame the teachers union entirely, but I don't think the union is in a strong position here. The paycut thing sucks, but the SDP is in a major crisis of money, partly because they have been signing ridiculous contracts with all of its unions when they couldn't afford it.
Submitted by tom-104 on March 1, 2013 4:46 pm
The district is in a deliberately caused financial crisis because money has been poured into charter schools and debt service which the SRC has run up over the last ten years. Philadelphia teachers are some of the lowest paid in the state.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 2, 2013 2:48 pm
Tom 104-------------YES, it is a manufactured financial crisis as is always the case when the 1% want to abuse the 99%. This a call to arms of the first degree and maybe, Hite wants a major showdown with the PFT because he views the PFT as weak and not unified.Actually, it wouldn't be he but the shot callers who tell him what to say. They may well be right so we need to stand together right now. ALL organized Labor needs to stand together in the inner cities where this abuse is being marshaled. I get sick when I read posts here that agree that we have a real financial crisis. You and I are old enough to know better. If I have a million bucks and I deny it, does that make me broke? Spoke again at length with Jordan yesterday at Beeber and felt better afterwards, right great but better. SOLIDARITY !! If they can close Beeber, no school is safe because everybody in the School District, knows Beeber operates an honest ship with no lies, no deceptions and not bull.....
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2013 1:14 am
You're rhetoric would be funny. Except I am a taxpayer who just got a 400% increase on top of multiple tax increases to fund the school district, Let me assure you that we understand who is the 1% and who is the 99% in this dynamic. If this is not clear, you are the 1% and everyone who pays wage, income & property taxes so you can get a rich (wage & income tax-free) pension for life is the 99%.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on March 3, 2013 3:16 am
I am sympathetic to your situation. I live in Philly and am raising children in Philly on my own. I also received a property tax increase - although not nearly as much since I do not live in a gentrified neighborhood. I also am receiving increasing water, gas and electric bills. Every week at the grocery store I have to contemplate what basic foods I can and can not afford to feed my three teenagers. (Amazing how much they can eat!) I pay 7.5% into my pension each check as well as city wage taxes, union dues and all the of other taxes. It is very tight. I also spend a lot of money to teach - from basics like paper and pencils to specific curricular materials. I also have hard candy on hand and other snacks for my students who stay after school for extra help. (I am not compensated for my extended school day - I stay because my students need the extra help.) Teaching in Philly can be expensive! (And yes, I am up early on Sunday morning trying to grade papers because I have to tern in interm reports this week!) I am not seeking nor deserve sympathy. I enjoy working with young people. I learn a lot by teaching. I want my children to have teachers who enjoy working with them and enjoy teaching. I know the national - and global - economic situation is difficult for the vast majority. I know the federal government's gridlock and tax policies favor corporations and the wealthy rather than most citizens. This has significantly contributed to the current economic decline. I know Gov. Corbett's tax and spending policies are hurting most Pennsylvanians. So, we are not your enemy. I assume most teachers/School District staff know there will be some "sacrifices." That said, Dr. Hite, Mr. Kihn and the SRC are not merely asking for some "reasonable sacrifies." They are proposing the most draconian contract provisions in my 20 plus years of teaching. They are asking us to sacrifice years of formal higher education (which is very expensive), our professionalism, and fair compensation for their privatization political, economic and social agenda. In the long run, all of us who live from pay check to pay check will lose whether you are a unionized worker or not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 3, 2013 1:07 pm
My biggest beef isn't with the teachers who perform an essential job in a difficult environment but really with the rest of Philly's obnoxiously inefficient parasitic government complex. The unfortunate fact is that this stinking mess has been run by Philadelphia politicians for the benefit of people working in the government. That is the culture here. Enabled by the unions. Teachers are being put-out here because they are the most deserving and sympathetic of Philadelphia's government workers. Philly could easily cut $100mm a year worth of patronage hacks and make-work bureaucracies, or utterly incompetent employees. Then use that to fund the school district better. But they won't. Look, you have these chumps in the sheriffs office who can't even perform the easiest most elemental job of government, collecting property taxes. And the first thing the new sheriff (a machine politician) does is complain that he needs a new SUV to pimp around town in. Then he takes almost a year to get a website up and running! The low level union workers there are no better. These people can't even bother to track critical data (like how much people pay for properties at auction) in a spreadsheet. This is so typical of Philly government. Zero work ethic throughout. Absolutely people should be fired, would be fired anywhere else. But never here. No layoffs. No accountability. And rich pay and a tax free pension for life. That is the 1%er life (except I heard it is actually like 10% of the cityincluding their families that works for the government), paid by the rest of us. I always here AFSCME complain that they haven't gotten a raise in 3 years. You know, they also haven't had a layoff EVER. Even as 500k people fled the taxes they drove to skyhigh levels. Never a lay-off. Union work rules. They became less and less productive every year but still got big raises for decades to the tune of billions. And all they ever do is complain for more. So I do feel bad for teachers who get tarred with this same brush and don't deserve it. But sympathy only goes so far when I look at what this city already takes and how much of it is squandered.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on March 3, 2013 2:08 pm
I think you're closer to the real culprit, than those who think privatizers are causing all this pain. How else would you explain a lack of any real plan to bring jobs and growth to the City, especially beleaguered neighborhoods such as North and Southwest Philly? Why is there such a skirting around the Census statistics that show the stunning flight of families with their children ages 5 to 14 in the past 10 years? Such well worn myths: the culprits are big business, the Republicans. Such well worn helplessness. Look no further than your City leaders - they are satisfied with the/their status quo. I did not have to look far to find comments of some looking to relocate in NE Pennsylvania who did not consider Philadelphia because of its high taxes. Cultural attractions -propped up by generous foundations and barely hanging on because of financial uncertainties. The corruption/entitled attitude of City Hall pervades even the best assets the City has.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 3, 2013 11:09 am
Yes, I too am sympathetic to your position but we all live by our choices. Plus, inner city teachers spend thousands of dollars every year on the kids'clothing, food, and materials in all directions. I do recognize your position but ti infer that teachers are part of the 1% ers, isn't based on facts but rather on feelings.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 2, 2013 2:11 pm
Sorry, I meant to say, "not great, not right great."
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on March 2, 2013 2:15 pm
Sorry, I meant to say, "not great, not right great."

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