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Notes from the news, May 17

By the Notebook on May 17, 2013 08:30 AM

State, teachers' union reluctant to provide more revenue for city schools. Notebook

Hite proposes ending teacher seniority. Inquirer

More than 50 schools will have new principals in September. Notebook

University City High School's closure is a special case. AxisPhilly

School students protest at weekly Philly City Council meeting. NewsWorks

Nutter's tax hike plan is getting a chilly reception. Tribune

In Fairmount, residents are pushing to improve school's image. NewsWorks

Philadelphia School District administrator is named chief of Chester Upland schools. Inquirer

Philadelphia students showcase their art. Notebook

Forum takes on standardized testing. Notebook

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

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Comments (14)

Submitted by Philly 2 (not verified) on May 17, 2013 10:44 am
Will Hite get rid of principal seniority?
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on May 17, 2013 10:09 am
Hite said teachers should not get increases "just" for staying another year. Hite obviously doesn't know the current contract. There are only step increases through 10 years. Anyone who works more than 10 years in the School District gets no pay raise unless there is a raise via the contract. I've taught 22 years - no step increase in 12 years.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on May 17, 2013 12:21 pm
I am sure Hite knows that the steps only offer increases for 10 years. Hite also understands that he can outright lie, spin, slant the truth and get away with it. When this happens he still gets the benefit of swaying a certain number of readers against the teacher's union. This tactic will work unless teachers relentlessly speak the truth in every venue available. Hite was likely hired because he has mastered the facial expressions of a cunning person- earnest, serious, disbelieving, whatever gets him through each duplicitous moment. His comfort in allowing the word cesspool to be attributes to teachers and attributing the comment to the "rest of the state" without defending the teachers will not be forgotten by the professionals charged with teaching the young in this city.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on May 17, 2013 10:10 am
Hite called Philadelphia and its schools a "cesspool." So, Dr. Hite, why did you come to swim in our "cesspool" of a city and School District?
Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on May 17, 2013 10:47 am
This is an unbelievable comment by a so-called leader. He is literally comparing talented, dedicated, hardworking people to filth. The mayor should demand Hite's immediate resignation. This is inexcusable and he cannot be bargained with in good faith.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on May 18, 2013 8:01 pm
And, Hite said, outside the city, "Philadelphia is thought of as a cesspool." ...But, Hite said, Philadelphia has taken steps that no one else has - closing 31 schools over 18 months, with more school closures planned, extracting big concessions from blue-collar workers, and demanding more from teachers. "I'm trying to draw that distinction, and individuals are listening, and they're trying to help," he said. ya know hite, outside the city, no matter how much you do their bidding, they're still gonna call ya what they're gonna call ya when they're not looking you in the eye. because that's just the way they are. pity you've bought into it. pity you've sold yourself and us out so cheaply.
Submitted by tom-104 on May 19, 2013 8:11 am
Another example of why it is bad to have a Superintendent from outside the District who knows nothing about the School District and our history with the state government. Someone who knows that Pennsylvania has Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on it borders and Mississippi in between would know where this "cesspool" idea is coming from. These are the people who have been running the School District (along with help from their tools) for ten years. What an unthinking tool Hite is!
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 17, 2013 5:03 pm
Regarding the article "Hite proposes to end teacher seniority," this is not news. Hite and the District proposed ending seniority earlier this year when they sent a list of proposed changes to the PFT for the next contract. As for Dr. Hite's statement that teachers shouldn't "get another increase just because they're remaining on the job another year," this is a moot point because starting next year, 50% of a teacher's evaluation will be based on student test scores/value-added measurement. There do need to be reforms to the current system of seniority in order to ensure that the teaching quality in every classroom is high. However, these changes should be similar to the system in place in Montgomery County, MD. If Dr. Hite really cared about the children of Philadelphia, he and the District would have filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth for not providing sufficient funding to the District.The Chester Upland SD filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth for this very reason. Dr. Hite clearly doesn't care enough or much at all, and that's why he's giving into the Legislature and its Republican majority, which won't provide more money for District schools without a fight or concessions from the PFT. However, if there was a will to do so, the District could challenge the Commonwealth in court. Dr. Hite simply doesn't have the will to do this. As for the accusations that Philadelphia is a cesspool? There's a bit of truth to that and I can speak from my own experience at the District school where I work. Giving the school at which I currently work would help, but real change will only happen when the current principal leaves. At the same time, I believe that Harrisburg is a cesspool full of many White/European American closet racists who don't give a rat's behind about children of color in Philadelphia. Anyone who, for whatever reason, be it politics or power, would rather see children end up in prison than be educated, has a conscience that it a moral cesspool. EGS
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 17, 2013 5:03 pm
Correction: I meant to say "Giving the school at which I currently work *more money* would help,".
Submitted by Nikki (not verified) on May 21, 2013 7:56 am
I thoroughly agree that there are many white racist politicians in Harrisburg. However, we the people have put them there and have allowed them to stay because we are so bogged down with the everyday task of trying to get by and or through another day, we are sleeping on who is who in government and many of us have no clue as to how the politicians really feel about the issues that concern us. I asked MANY of our colleagues why they voted for Corbett instead of Democrat John Morganelli. The response was, "Well, we didn't know Morganelli, but we knew who Tom Corbett was and he grew up in Philadelphia and was a teacher. We assumed he was a good candidate for the job." - The look on my face: PRICELESS!! It is apparent that old Tommy couldn't handle the classroom, he left after one year of teaching 9th grade. My colleagues, when it comes to politics and politicians are some of the most ill-informed people on the planet. But now all of us are having are nipples pinched and are about to scream in pain. However, it seems the train has been riding on the track and will not stop until we are busted and have lost everything. I know of a politician PERSONALLY, who first became a state representative and later on a state senator. The attitude of the person when they first went into politics was hopeful, I honestly believed they would be for the poor and working class. When they got to Harrisburg and began to speak to other politicians about the minorities here in Philadelphia, their whole attitude changed and not for the better. They have said and done things that would make you cringe and they also believe that teachers have everything they could possibly need and want in the classroom. I have invited this person to come to my classroom, and my school to see for themselves what is going on. They have made no effort after knowing me for 33 years to do this. They honestly believe that we have everything we need and should stop crying about what we don't have. Get this, they are a Democrat. The look on your face: PRICELESS. LOL!!!
Submitted by tom-104 on May 21, 2013 7:36 am
Nikki, you end contradicting what you said earlier in your post. You criticize people for not voting for Democrat John Morganelli for Governor, and then at the end talk about a Democratic Senator who is as reactionary as the Republicans in the Legislature. Every election, the PFT supported Nutter with money and volunteers for his campaign.What did that get us? Isn't it time that labor has its own party (and by labor I do not mean the union bureaucracy). Both parties represent the 1%. Don't we need a party that represents the 99% with a program that represents the interests of the 99% such as full funding for public education based on the belief that an equal education is the right of every citizen?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 17, 2013 6:43 pm
If I see Hite on the street, I'll punch his face. It'd be completely worth an arrest and a fine. He better watch his mouth. Nutter couldn't care less about the kids, especially African American ones. But we chose him as our leader. So we must deal with our choices.
Submitted by Joan Taylor on May 18, 2013 9:44 am
Gregory Shannon is a "turnaround specialist"? What, precisely, does that mean? Is there a degree program that confers this distinction upon one? Some experiences and success that would entitle one to such a claim? I don't know the man, and he may not refer to himself in such a ridiculous way, but could we please get some clarity about such terms? Turnaround specialist, fiddlesticks!
Submitted by Philly 2 (not verified) on May 18, 2013 10:50 am
I know him from the Restructured Region (had been CEO's region) (Vallas in 2005, 2006). He was a player - knew people - and that is how he got the position. (He came in when Marilyn Perez had to quit - one of many times.) Shannon was bombastic, bragged about who he drank with and like many administrators, knew nothing about instruction. The "turn around specialist" was a program Vallas sent some principals to from the Restructured Region in 2006-2007. They supposedly learned how to change a school. Not much came out of it but it was very expensive. Shannon has no more specialization than anyone else. I assume he will follow the NCLB / Race to the Top model - get rid of teachers, extend the school day, test prep, etc.

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