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Protesters rally outside governor's office

By the Notebook on Jun 15, 2013 08:06 AM
Photo: Amy Yeboah

by Mark McHugh

Members of the Philadelphia Student Union and the faith-based organizing group POWER conducted a boisterous rally in front of Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia headquarters on Friday afternoon.

Several hundred protesters were there to object to the “doomsday” budget that the School Reform Commission recently enacted due to insufficient revenue. They marched from LOVE Park, past City Hall, to Corbett's office at 200 S. Broad St.

The District budget has a $304 million shortfall.

“School is going to be more like a prison,” said Sharron Snyder, a junior from Benjamin Franklin High School.

The crowd made a ruckus on South Broad Street outside the Hyatt at the Bellevue hotel, holding signs, chanting, and cheering as passing cars blared their horns in support.  Snyder and others said they were not sure that Corbett was listening.

“I know they hear our voices but I honestly don’t think they’re listening to us, but they should. ... We deserve better.”

To close the budget gap, Superintendent William Hite laid off more than 3,800 workers, the vast majority of them based in schools. They include all counselors and secretaries, more than 600 teachers, and all support staff. On Friday, 76 administrators got pink slips.

“They’re telling us that they [the children] need to get an education, but how can they?” said Patricia Jackson-Briggs, mother of a 4th grader at  Nebinger Elementary. “How will they go to college? The counselors aren’t there to help them.”

Without the laid-off workers, parents like Jackson-Briggs will be forced to make difficult sacrifices in order to fill in the gaps.

“I will have to take a lot of time off work to be at the school,” Jackson-Briggs said.

Members of POWER, which is fighting justice issues on several fronts in Philadelphia, made their presence felt at the protest.

“For Judaism, education is an essential value for us,” said Rabbi Eli Friedman of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, a member of POWER. “We believe so strongly that education is one of the keys to society. ... We believe everybody deserves equal treatment and equal education, across our city and across our state.”

Friedman suggested that Corbett is vulnerable as he runs for re-election because of his lack of support for funding schools.

“If he knows what’s good for him, he is [listening],” Friedman said. “Elections are coming up soon ... and I sure as heck am not going to be voting for him.”

Also on Friday, several dozen protesters on several issues confronted Corbett himself after he made a speech at the Franklin Institute. The governor brushed past them and got into his car without answering any questions.          

Mark McHugh is an intern at the Notebook.

Video by Amy Yeboah.

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Comments (53)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2013 9:18 am
It won't make a difference. There is not even a hint of more money coming from Harrisburg and Nutter's cigarette tax will be dead on arrival in Harrisburg. There is no magical money tree from which to pull funds. That means austerity for the school district.
Submitted by Susan DeJarnatt (not verified) on June 15, 2013 9:27 am
No, the money is there but the priorities are wrong. Here's some specific ideas (some just relate to Pittsburgh because the blogger is from there) that could solve this problem if Corbett and the state legislature cared more about kids than about their rich friends. From the Yinzercation blog (http://yinzercation.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/wheres-the/ ): But when Rep. Turzai or Gov. Corbett and others say we have to “live within our means,” what they really mean is that our schools must continue to cut into the bone – ditching art, music, library, tutoring, Kindergarten, books, supplies, field trips, athletics, and thousands of teachers – while families struggle to make up the difference. That’s not living within our means, that’s just mean. This is about budget priorities. There is money, but it’s not going to public education (or our other public goods). We could fully fund the vibrant, rich curricula and the educational programs our children deserve right now if our legislators wanted to. Here is our updated list of revenue ideas: Close the Delaware Loophole: It costs our state $500 million in missed tax revenue every year and more than 20 other states have already closed this loophole. Impose a severance tax on Marcellus shale: Most states with major mineral resources like ours have a severance tax and not having one has cost Pennsylvania over $314 million since October 2009 alone. Get rid of the new bonus depreciation rule: The state itself estimated that more than half of last year’s budget gap was due to a huge shortfall in corporate tax revenues – to the tune of $260 million. (See “We Have a Priority Problem.”) Keep the capital stock and franchise tax: Gov. Corbett wants to eliminate these as a gift to corporations and plans to eliminate them by next year. But if lawmakers freeze the tax at 2012 levels, the state could raise around $390 million. Eliminate sales tax exemptions: Helicopters and gold bullion top the list of hard-to-swallow exemptions. And what about smokeless tobacco? (See “Can They Fly Our Kids to School?”) Rescind the new Voter ID bill: It solves no actual problem in the state, is facing expensive legal challenge, and will cost taxpayers an estimated $11 million to implement. (See “There Goes $11-million for Our Schools.”) Fix the cyber-charter funding formula: Taxpayers and school districts could be saving $365 million per year — that’s $1million per day — if cyber charter schools received funding based on what they actually spent per student. (See “One Million Per Day.”) Shut down the EITC programs: These two voucher-like giveaway programs now funnel $150 million (double the amount from last year) in public money to private and religious schools with no accountability for expenditures or student outcomes. [See “EITC: No Credit to PA” and “2-4-6-8, Who Do We Appreciate?”] Stop handing money to international giants. The new sweetheart deal with international giant Dutch Royal Shell will cost taxpayers $1.675 billion. (See “Can Shell Education Our Kids?” Close other tax loopholes. The “89-11″ real estate transfer scheme has cost Pittsburgh schools millions of dollars. (See details at “Corporate Grinches“) Insist on PILOT payments from large non-profits such as UPMC. They would be supporting Pittsburgh schools to the tune of $8.5 million if they did this. (See “UPMC’s Fair Share“) Hold corporations to their word. Rivers Casino is trying to wriggle out of paying $1million a year to Pittsburgh schools after promising to be a good neighbor when we gave them perks for setting up shop in our city. (See “Rivers Casino’s Fair Share“)
Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on June 15, 2013 12:00 pm
Thank you Susan. I am looking forward to hearing from many more citizens such as yourself on the Notebook, in the City Paper, and in the mainstream press. NO ONE GETS A PASS in this most pressing stage of corporate destabilization of our precious public schools. Using your name here on the Notebook adds credibility to the information you have given here. The spin doctors who represent corporate interests in the takeover of our schools are emboldened in their use of bullying tactics when the silent majority hides behind anonymity.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2013 2:07 pm
How about cutting some of the rest of he absurdly boated Philadelphia budget? No? So Solidarity with AFSCME and the patronage machine is more important than funding schools after all. Easy to bitch about Corbett and beggar the rest of the state rather than taking actions within our control. We still have our delegation defending 10 year tax deadbeats from having their wages garnished. There IS record state funding of education this year. You want the problem, look in the mirror at the local Democrat party. There is no shortage of revenue in Philly with its sky high tax rates... But a racketeer will never question their fellow racketeers waste.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 1:11 am
It is sad. The local Democrat party places education just about last place in their priorities behind cronyism and corruption and taking care of the grossly overpaid service and municipal employees. The last place priority is the taxpayer of course. So if the city pols can figure out a new tax to impose or raise our already record tax burden education might get funding. But that is tough nowadays with almost every tax at highest in the US levels... If the idiot voters of Philly actually elected people who could do the job- prioritize, manage effectively, then the pols could easily cut $100mm a year of their waste, the special interest handouts, patronage, that defines Philadelphia's government, there is no funding available. Don't think that gets lost on the rest of the state. There is no shortage of taxes or revenue in Philadelphia. As long as the teachers ignore this fact, I have little sympathy for them as a parent and taxpayer. They are part of the problem, not the solution.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2013 12:29 pm
Seeing as Corbett wants to link educational funding to pension reform, which btw our last contract already amended, then YES Rabbi Friedman is right, Corbett's reelecton should be based on and tied to education funding.
Submitted by Dave (not verified) on June 15, 2013 1:55 pm
Actually, the girl holding the Malcolm X sign is probably unaware that the quote she is displaying was actually a quote put forth by one of our Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2013 1:45 pm
Too modern. Alex Hamilton, the British journalist, said this in 1978. However, it is first found in writing said by a chaplain to the US Senate, Peter Marshall, in an opening prayer said April 17, 1947. Are you trying to insinuate that because this girl is black, she doesn't know American history? Neither do you.
Submitted by Dave (not verified) on June 15, 2013 1:51 pm
LOL. Are you kidding me? Slow down on the angry pills. It was just a comment.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 15, 2013 1:42 pm
Actually Bitterness, you don't know YOUR history.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 15, 2013 3:23 pm
Just for the record, the Joe above is not Joe K. Just saying. Joe K.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 15, 2013 3:48 pm
I would assume the poster of that comment is just clarifying that this girl doesn't know the roots of her quote..... it doesn't appear to be racial. That seems to be your hangup.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2013 3:35 pm
He was not insinuating anything, It was an observation @@
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2013 5:19 am
Unions are to blame. Signed Malcom X.
Submitted by tom-104 on June 16, 2013 9:43 pm
Did everyone catch the Inquirer editorial this morning calling for school district employees to give concessions for "shared sacrifice"? "Teachers must do more than talk the talk" http://tinyurl.com/m8pmvos I submitted a comment to the Inquirer twice this morning as commenter #10. The Inquirer refused to print it so I'm submitting it here. *************** Where is this “shared sacrifice”? 12 % of the School District budget goes to debt service to the banks most of which the SRC ran up over the last ten years. Where is their shared sacrifice? Even though there have been drastic cuts in administrative staff at 440, Hite continues to hire his staff with high paid six figure salaries. Are they being asked to sacrifice? The charter operators pay themselves huge salaries: $153,629 2010 reported salary of charter CEO with 1202 students. $155,000 2010 reported salary of charter CEO with 896 students $189,844 2010 reported salary of charter CEO with 155 students $193,510 2010 reported salary of charter CEO with 929 students $201,800 2010 reported salary of Lower Merion Supt. with 6943 students $241,033 2010 reported salary of charter CEO with 588 students $384,000 in campaign contributions to Governor Corbett reported by Vahan Gureghian, whose management company ( in Chester) runs the state’s largest brick and mortar charter school. $1,320,653.69 Pennsylvania political contributions reported by Vahan Gureghian from 1/1/2007 through 5/31/11.  Mr. Gureghian has been a strong proponent of legislation making it easier for new charter schools to be authorized by the state without the involvement and oversight of local school districts, whose taxpayers would still have to pay the bills. $3 million The 21st Century Cyber Charter School reportedly has a $3 million accumulated balance of excess funds over actual costs that it would like to return to school districts and their taxpayers but there is apparently no provision in the existing charter school law that would enable them to refund the money. Source: http://tinyurl.com/mqrhoft Are they being asked to sacrifice? Governor Corbett refuses to tax natural gas companies even though they tear up our infrastructure and environment, and reap huge profits from Pennsylvania’s natural resources. Why is it the working people who actually create the wealth are always the ones who are called on to “sacrifice”?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2013 11:58 pm
tom-104 - Hite makes $300,000. Linda Lane, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools makes $200,000 a year. Most superintendents in this state make around $150,000 and up a year (even the smaller districts) and assistant superintendents make $120,000 and up. What's your problem with a CEO of a charter school making the same amount as a superintendent? Seems fair to me that a charter CEO makes a comparable amount as compared to their counter-parts. Quite frankly, I don't have a problem with these salaries. Furthermore, Rendell was governor for 8 years and we know that Dwight Evans was the brains behind the SRC. Both are from Philly. You'll blame Corbett, but the real mess was created by Rendell and Evans. Also, Corbett ran on a no tax pledge and we knew his supporters were the charter schools and Marcellus Shale companies. There was NO hidden agenda. I repeat, there was NO hidden agenda. None. Sorry, you can NOT blame Corbett.
Submitted by tom-104 on June 17, 2013 12:41 am
I think this article sums it up: The 2013-14 "Doomsday Budget" of the School District of Philadelphia: How Did It Come to This? http://tinyurl.com/mwkclqr
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 10:00 am
tom-104 - I read the link, which is a pretty good summary for the formation of the SRC itself. Rendell did throw more money at SDP. Rendell's first budget was $14 billion. By the time he left office, the budget was $27 billion. In other words, Rendell's budget almost doubled his 8 years in office. You can NOT sustain that type of growth. SDP is looking for the state to bail them out. There are 500 school districts in this state. 98% of them are funding their schools. Sure, there are issues, but nowhere near the problems with SDP. If the state give SDP anymore money, then the other 499 school districts will want more as well. The city has no political power in Harrisburg. Sorry, it's not going to happen. I see a poster mentioning taking action through the courts. PA Superior court and the PA supreme court have a republican majority. LOL there.
Submitted by tom-104 on June 17, 2013 1:57 pm
We are all connected economically and biologically. If the people you support are successful in lowering living standards in Philadelphia and decimating our public schools for private charter interests, the economy of the entire region will suffer. You WILL be affected! I just hope you do not need the social safety net you are helping destroy.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 1:01 am
tom-104 - You need to take a step back and realize that nobody wants anything to do with the mess of SDP. You can see it in their eyes, particularly the Philly democrats. Detroit and Chicago are in the same situation as SDP. Where's Obama? Let me be clear, there is NO money. It's not coming from Harrisburg. It's not coming from D.C. Like Walter Williams said, you have 100% of nothing.
Submitted by rashed (not verified) on June 17, 2013 7:58 am
Well said! That certainly proved Canada's stupid foreign policy and the minister shut his wide mouth after hearing all other countries attending the CHOGM. Canada is promoting terrorism to be a close ally to US. This is very wrong and they just want to grab the Tamil votes which are mostly Liberal.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 9:35 am
Helen Gym...or anyone out there that has more understanding of this. Is there any way we can go to the Supreme Court like they did in Jersey? They made the state restore the funding.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 2:53 pm
Rural and urban districts tried and failed several years ago in PARSS v. Casey. The Commonwealth Court (Judge Kelley writing for the Court I believe) rejected the clam and was upheld at the Pa. Supreme Court. The federal lawsuit also failed.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 17, 2013 4:15 pm
Good point. That case is not necessarily dispositive of the issues now at hand though. There are several additional legal issues which are actionable at the present time. That case was many years ago when Casey was governor and was simply an equity of funding suit. There was no state takeover and no SRC at the time. The constitutional and statutory rights of students, parents, principals and teachers were not being plainly ignored as they are now. A quick history of that case can be found here: http://www.parss.org/?page_id=320 If the SRC and Corbett try to implement the budget as it now stands, there will be several causes of action which will become ripe and which very well could prove fruitful at either the state or federal level. Tom-104 said it quite succinctly the other day when he pointed out the PA constitutional requirement to fund public education thoroughly and efficiently. Perhaps he could reiterate that point here.
Submitted by tom-104 on June 17, 2013 6:34 pm
All Pennsylvania government officials take an oath to uphold the Pennsylvania State Constitution. Article III, Section 14 says: "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth." Look at the state Constitution and do a search for the term "school" and see what others aspects of the state Constitution are being violated. http://www.pahouse.com/pa_const.htm
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 17, 2013 8:01 pm
Thanks again Tom. Since you always lead me in the right direction for interesting legal questions, I just want everyone to focus on the use of the word "public" in that constitutional provision. What is meant by "public" in that clause? Now there is a legal issue just screaming to be litigated. I would love to be the lawyer who litigates that issue -- I would just love it. Whether Pennsylvania charter schools qualify as public schools or not is an issue I have researched in depth in the last few months and want to publish a couple articles about. As another point. It was Representative Sturla who pointed out at recent House of Representatives Democratic Policy Committee hearings that the only item in the state budget which the state is constitutionally mandated to fund is public education. Representative Sturla said point blank that the problem was the other side of the aisle.
Submitted by tom-104 on June 17, 2013 9:07 pm
Well the U. S. Census Bureau has no problem determining if charters are public schools. US Census Bureau: Most Charters Not "Public " Schools | Jersey Jazzman http://tinyurl.com/lch8x5y Be sure to read the links in this article.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 17, 2013 10:00 pm
Yes. Thanks for the citation, too. The federal forums all use either the "Hawkins County test" or the "actual operations test" to determine if charter schools are public or private entities. The "Hawkins County test" is that its board of trustees or directors must be elected by the General Electorate or appointed by a public official who is elected by the General Electorate. If not, it is a private entity, not a public entity. The minority opinion in most cases that looked at the issue is to look at the "actual operations" of an entity to determine if it is public or private. Under federal law, it does not matter how the state defines charter schools. It only matters how they are actually operated. The federal courts go by a case by case analysis and do not say that all charter schools are either public or private. Interesting stuff, especially when those designations affect the civil rights of students, parents and teachers in schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 2:00 am
Tom & Rich - Ok. I'll bite here. I've very aware of our state constitution and have referenced that clause many time in blogs. To me, the operative word in that clause is efficient. Over the years, I've read the articles here along with the comments from the bloggers. Could you please explain in great detail if SDP is providing an efficient form of education? Could you provide examples? I'd like to hear your side first and then I will respond.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 8:05 am
Who are you?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 18, 2013 8:17 am
I was wondering the same thing. "Efficient" is at the heart of our Industrial Revolution based public education. It implies mass production and cost savings. The SDP as large as it is has multiple layers of bureaucracy, and awards huge, largely opaque contracts. Is there not more efficiency to be found in tackling this structure? I'm still intrigued by the BCG's suggestion of networks of similar academic philosophy/student body schools. In my opinion, using this idea but keeping the administration within the District was worth an analysis. For example, could the principals of these groups of schools have taken on the responsibilities of the current Regional/Assistant Superintendents as a team for their network. Rotating shifts possibly so there were no entrenched power issues? Having a different team evaluate them or the Superintendent evaluating them as a team? Could the compliance function have been shifted to an outside agency/auditor? (Internal compliance checks are an inherent conflict of interest anyway.) Could each of these networks been allowed to choose their own curricula/contracts also, breaking up/easing somewhat the incentive for corruption and political brokering here? If I recall correctly, the line item in the school budgets (2009/10 FY) for the average cost to the District of a school principal was about $140,000 (includes benefits), which is comparable to a charter CEO salary. Would it be too much to ask the principals as a group to take on more of the decision making for their schools? I think the best "grease" to coax more money from Harrisburg, rather than a "bare bones" budget to try and force it out, would be a strong auditing/insurance entity. Some of what was hoped the SRC would do, but obviously the SRC has has failed here.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 18, 2013 8:39 am
Ah good, we have someone who wants to bite into a discussion on these crucial issues. I love "collegial discussions." I will answer your specific question, but not in great detail as my colleagues have already well answered that question on this site in great detail about the many inefficiencies and misuses of public funds. But first, let me say that "efficient" is not the only operative word in that clause. The entire clause is "operative." "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth." No, the SDP is not providing an efficient education to all of our students. That is the issue which is squarely before us now isn't it? The SDP has been mismanaged for the last decade which left the district in a state of devastation which I have never seen before in my now, 38 years. It is still being mismanaged. It wastes millions on unnecessary expenditures that detract from quality time on authentic education. It spends way too much money on people and questionable contracts with organizations which do not directly serve children. It also does not provide appropriate support services in the form of school nurses, art and music, specialist teachers and small class settings for early elementary years and special needs of students. It has many unqualified and ineffective people in management positions due to its lack of rules, policies and transparent procedures. Rather than regulate the charter schools as is their duty, the SDP allows them to run roughshod over the district and thumb their noses at the SRC. Many charter organizations put their self interests over the interests of the common good, the well being of the district as a whole, and the well being of other charter schools and their students. Some violate student, parent and teacher rights and create unethical side businesses where they funnel the money into private pockets. The amount of public money paying for both sides of litigation is obscene. The proposed Draconian budget makes it all worse. Efficient system?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 9:12 am
Rich - Thank you for your comments. I'm willing to engage in any discussion on education. You admit that SDP is mismanaged to the point of inefficiency. Why continue the discussion? Having said that, I'll continue to move along. In my discussion, I'll try to quantify it. In other words, put it into numbers. You've been around for a long time. I'm sure that you've seen changes over those 38 years. I asked for details. IMHO, education is big business today. You will spend $2.7 billion this year for Philly schools as compared to $1.4 billion in 2001. You've double your budget in 10 years. I would wager you had declining enrollment over that timeframe. How many budgets have a 10% growth rate? Inflation is less than 2%. It's even exascerbated considering the district wanted to spend more than $3+ billion not too long ago. SDP per pupil spending is much higher than most school districts in this state. I would wager it is near the top. Quite frankly, I don't like to see anybody lose their job, but the cuts at 440 have been long overdue. It's time to cull the herd. Take a good look at catholic schools. Trust me, there is NO overhead. They operate on a shoestring budget. I sent my kids to catholic schools. The Diocese of Pittsburgh has a dozen or so people working in their central office serving 25,000 kids. The Pittsburgh Public Schools had 900+ people working in their central administration office serving ....... drumroll please ..... 25,000 students. Do you see the problem? It's not even close. Not even debatable. Rick, there is your problem. I graduated high school in '82. It was much simpler back then. You had a principal, assistant principal, guidance counselors, teachers and students. Today, you have bloated overhead in central administration and schools leading to inefficiency with money LESS money being spent in the classroom. Like I said, you have declining enrollment. How many of these schools are operating at less than 50% capacity? I don't know the numbers in Philly. Pittsburgh Public Schools (facing the same budget issues) had a dozen schools operating at less than 50% capacity. Everybody wants a neighborhood school, but you can't operate a school if there are no kids leading to more inefficiency. You and I know that there are fixed costs to keeping a school open with utilities, administration, etc. In summary, you are spending more money than ever in SDP, even moreso than other districts. The operations are inefficient with bloated administration and low school capacities. I can go on here, but I have a dentist appointment. I will check back later. Thank you.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 18, 2013 10:23 am
So what is your solution? Whose responsibility is it to manage and lead the school district and create a system of "public education" which is "thorough and efficient?" Remember the School District of Philadelphia has been taken over by the state. The Governor appoints 3 SRC members and the Mayor appoints 2. Whose fault is it that the school district has been mismanaged with bloated and inefficient bureaucracies? The teachers did not create this mess. They deal with this mess and most do heroic jobs holding their schools together in spite of the lunacy that surrounds them. So do most of our principals. Instead of disparaging them and trying to take their middle class standard of living away from them along with their dignity as professionals and human beings, why don't you work selflessly to improve the system? The question which should be before us is, "How do we turn all of our schools into 'true professional learning communities' which attract the best and brightest to our district and retains them for life?" The present course of conduct and the "choices" that our politicians, managers and leaders are making is chasing many of our best and brightest out of our district. I am not "the school district." Please don't project your personal biases and animus towards the school district onto me personally. I do not work for the district any longer. The people in the district who have dedicated their lives to the schoolchildren and each other are not a "herd" to be culled. The vast majority of the people in our district along with the advocates who give of themselves freely are dedicated professionals who give everything they have to the schoolchildren and their school communities. What we need is effective leadership.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 11:06 am
Of course,the elephant in the room is our system of school funding. Wealthy communities with solid property tax bases get good schools. Poor communities with failing property tax bases get poor schools. Schools should be funded with a state-wide graduated income tax. A new costing-out study should be done and the funds distributed according to need. Will this ever be done? Of course not. The other elephant in the room is racism. Most of the state either does not care or is actively hostile toward urban African Americans.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 18, 2013 1:04 pm
More like there needs to be real consequences that are not on the children or the taxpayer. Doesn't the SRC have the authority to restructure the SDP? The impression is that they are as lost as the general public. Also better communication with Harrisburg. This post from Anonymous is really why there is hesitation to provide more funding -from taxpayers. Will this actually go to the kids? Where's the guarantee? Is an abstract "effective leadership" enough, or more like a real police element? I've been out waiving signs and working petitions, and I know what it's like to be used. When it comes your turn to get support from those you've given up so much of your family time and finances for... it vanishes into the woodwork. They've got "theirs", and they no longer need you. Senator Evans is plain evil in this regards. He is advocating for more money and appearing to support caregiver protest, so he can get more from his "nonprofit" business investments. We get more money from Harrisburg, we support Senator Evans.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 5:07 pm
Rich - Here are my solutions. 1. The Pittsburgh Public Schools offer the Pittsburgh Promise. In a nutshell, any city resident student that GRADUATES from a PUBLIC high school and has a MINIMUM G.P.A. will get $40,000 for college. Yes. You read that right. Corporations here in Pittsburgh put up the money for the Pittsburgh Promise. There is NO taxpayer money involved here. It gives kids incentives to stay in school, work hard and they will get the money. $40,000. It works. You can read more here. http://pittsburghpromise.org/ 2. I made a reference to catholic schools and I see one poster has already started the catholic bashing. To maintain a collegial discussion, please lay your anti-Catholic bias aside. It serves no purpose here. The Diocese of PIttsburgh has the Extra Mile Foundation (not to be confused with Sandusky's Second Mile) that provides a catholic education to predominantly African American students who are NON-CATHOLIC. Once again, the money comes from corporations. The taxpayers are NOT footing the bill here. I will also note that many non-Catholic kids attend catholic high schools here. You can read more here. http://www.extramilefdn.org/ 3. Reduce high stakes testing. I'm not saying eliminate it, but reduce it. You don't need to stop regular instruction to "teach to the test". Take the money out of it. Catholic schools here take the Terra Nova standardized test, which is given 1 to 2 hours each day for 2 weeks. BTW, for the catholic bashers out there, California takes the same test, so I'm told. 4. Fire any consultants, particularly the ones that come from XYZ corporation that want to make 6 and 7 figures off the taxpayer. You may want to add anybody from academia. There has been too much screwing around with curriculum. Now, it's Common Core. You're throwing up stuff against the wall to see if it sticks. I have a daughter in college and my youngest is in the 5th grade. Nothing has changed in 10 years from my oldest to my youngest. It's still the same curriculum. There are plenty of qualified people at 440 who can make it work. You don't need outside consultants. 5. Like I wrote above, close schools that are less than 50% capacity. You would surprised how many schools operate below that level. Sorry, the neighborhood school may bite the dust. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-... 6. Firesale. Get rid of closed building. They cost you money even when they are closed. Sell'em and put them back on the tax rolls. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/pittsburgh-school-dis... 7. Sell assets like this. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/sothebys-auction-for-ve... 8. Cut the bloated central office staff. PPS had 900+ people serving 25,000 students to the tune of $70 million. Really? Seriously? Are you kidding me? How many work in central office at SDP? Common, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has a dozen or so employees for 25,000 students. Speaks volumes. You're spending money not in the classroom, but outside it. 9. Vouchers. Forget'em. For the record, I don't like vouchers. I don't need any government authority messing around in a catholic or religious school. Having said that, it maybe your saving grace here. If the corporations don't or can't pony up the money as I wrote above, then offer $3500 for a voucher considering the cost of SDP is 4 to 5 times that amount. Go ahead, let'em open Jewish or Muslim or Lutheran school. You're paying maybe $10,000 to send them to a charter school. Corbett, Evans, Williams and Nutter want to privatize public education. You're cutting your nose off in spite your face. Time to stop the hemoraging of charter schools. Forget about accountability, financial or academic. You don't have it now with charters. Charters are not going away. 10. Having said that in item 9, reduce the funding formula for charter schools. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's $10,000 per student. It speaks volumes that folks like Kenny Gamble are making big time profits with charter schools. If they can make big profits and they are, what does that say about your current operations in public schools? 11. Did I miss anything? Enough for now. More later.
Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on June 18, 2013 12:07 pm
If you went to Catholic school in Pennsylvania, you had a school nurse as well- not included in tuition. As far as the catholic arrogance is concerned, I can go there, but my lunch break is over. I'll get back to that point later. Eileen occasionally justa little annoyed by my fellow catholics Mary Bernadette Duffey puleese!!! stop making us look so bad in this public forum I am praying you will reply that you aren't catholic-just sent your kids to catholic school! :)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 10:18 am
So basically the teachers want the rest of us to pay still higher taxes and work longer hours so they can sit on the beach in Avalon? The gall is incredible.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 4:25 pm
That's what we do. We sit around, laugh at people like you, and draw a paycheck. Get real.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 12:38 pm
I believe that this is all a set up, two years ago Philadelphia wasted billions of dollars on new uneeded summer school supplies. I have visited different schools and still til this day there are alot of those supplies unused, sitting around collecting dust. That was a big waste of money. Why couldnt we used what we already had to educate our children for those six weeks. There is no way they did not foresee this coming back then. That was wasted money that we did not have.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 17, 2013 12:17 pm
There's no way Hite didn't see this coming 2 months ago when the school closing announcements went out and Hite lied and said only 1 teacher per school that is closing will be laid off, but will be reabsorbed because the district hires approx. 1000 new teachers each year.......like he didn't know all this would happen....3700 layoffs. He lied right to our faces!!!
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 17, 2013 5:00 pm
Get used to it. Hite isn't here to invest in kids' education but rather to segregate the kids, replete with a caste system. He's a Broad Foundation Graduate whose focus is on corporate takeover of inner cities' schools. It won't stop unless/until the people demand it in a very big way-----------------------VERY big way. Jumping around in rallies and sending kids down Broad St. isn't going to mean a blessed thing as these folks have no conscience. They'll continue to ignore us as long as we allow it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 18, 2013 8:51 am
Caste system? Lol. You guys in the SDP ed establishment have done more to drive segregation over the last 40 years than anyone else. Why is it OK for you to drive the well-off and educated to the suburbs? Delivering sub-par quality education with a complete lack of concern for delivering what educated parents expect out of schools. Devotion to destructive ideas like bussing, social engineering fads... No amount of funding would fix these fundamental flaws in the SDP- an organization that did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to win back the hearts and minds of the 500k educated middle class parents who fled the city, driven by high taxes and crappy schools. But never ever take any responsibility for this failure. Blame it on racism. And ask for more money.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 18, 2013 9:27 am
You may well be trolling but in case you believe your drivel, let me respond this way: Nobody is asking, Adolph !! In a democracy, you have a right to demand justice. In inner cities, the kids' needs are expansive and heart attack serious like nearly starving and living in environments where you would pee your pants 24/7. Take a course on sensitivity before you scorn the poor and those who try to help them. I won't respond further but I encourage you to avail yourself of human principles like kindness and equity and not be so dismissive of the "least among us" and those striving to improve their collective quality of life. If you're a troll, follow the Kardashians to keep you busy. This site is for thinking adults not all of whom agree with one another but are serious in their resolve.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2013 3:05 am
Not a troll. Just a Philadelphia taxpayer and parent of two young children considering options for their future. The district is an institutional failure and you seem to be one of its spokesmen. While we all support justice, "equity" is an excuse for the system to do a crappy job in actually educating children- "equity" allows you to completely ignore middle class parents who are the lifeblood of the city, which has been the district's MO for 40 years+. Equity allows you to hide behind your supposedly good intentions when the system fails to deliver education to the poorest. And it is an excuse for four decades of failure- if poverty must be solved before our schools can be successful, well... It's as if poverty not exist 50 years ago- before our newly "professionalized" urban ed establishment started treating its primary goal as achieving "equity" rather than delivering a quality education. The crazy thing is that your definition of equity and justice now involves rounding up the 50k kids who have chosen charters, to put them back under the thumb of this failure of a district. And while planning to sacrifice tens of thousands of kids to indulge your ideological control fetish, you call me the fascist! You live in a bizarro world.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2013 6:57 am
This does not sound like a parent but someone masquerading as a parent.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2013 4:45 pm
Not a current parent. They are 1 and 2.5. Planning ahead, but still have every option available. I went to a public neighbourhood elementary school and like the model, despite some misgivings of how the system operated. I feel for the parents in the system. Despite getting reemed by AVI (300%+), I'd prefer more tax money to education BUT that it come from the rest of the city waste- the deputy mayors and the various interest group bureaucracies that never disappear. I know the city government and the district seems like the same sort of cesspool. Most of the money you send will get filtered into the Philly grifters.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2013 4:30 pm
And I look at Joe from watching this board. If his people win, I am definitely out of here. Along with my more than pays for its services tax contribution. Life's too short to deal with idiot beggars.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2013 4:23 pm
And if you demand justice and try to enforce that demand at the level of the County of Philadelphia, you are an "idiot beggar". Sorry Joe. This is just common sense. I'm happy paying federal taxes to support intelligent redistribution of my ample income. Just tired of stupid people in Philly using it to support their crappy political machine with the highest in the US wage tax. Very difficult to leave the US (damn near impossible for tax purposes). But very easy to leave Philly. Especially when the "service providers" using my ample tax contribution consistently given me the middle finger like I have no options. Sometimes I think of giving the middle finger back atcha!
Submitted by Concerned teacher (not verified) on June 17, 2013 1:04 pm
Did you know that Pastorius will be a charter in September?! Just found this out but no one there told the parents of my Head start students when they registered for kindergarten. Now they have 7 days to find another school. Nice. Ugh!
Submitted by Concerned teacher (not verified) on June 17, 2013 1:02 pm
Oh yeah, and so much for no charter expansions next year.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 19, 2013 7:13 am
Yes, Talking Points 101 right from Fox News. Nuff said.

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