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Countdown, Day 26: Hite wants SRC to suspend school code's seniority provision

[Updated, 10 p.m.]

Still lacking sufficient funds to open fully staffed schools on Sept. 9, Superintendent William Hite will ask the School Reform Commission to suspend parts of the state school code at a special meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Many of the changes involve provisions governing labor practices. The District is seeking to bypass seniority rules as it restores positions and calls back laid-off workers. It also wants the ability to put at least a temporary halt to automatic pay increases based on longevity -- called "steps" -- for professional staff.

"We are in an untenable position," said Hite in an interview Wednesday afternoon. The requested changes, he said, will give the District more flexibility "to grapple with a budget that does not adequately support schools."

Other requested changes would allow the District to hire licensed nurses who are not specifically certified as school nurses. Hite said that no current school nurses would be displaced, but that vacancies could be filled with nurses who would not be paid as much.

Hite also wants the SRC to suspend a requirement about "independent school employees" so that teachers at the District's new virtual school would not have to be part of the collective bargaining unit.

The District is currently in negotiations with both its teacher and principal bargaining units, whose contracts expire on Aug. 31.

Heads of both the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the principals' union immediately reacted with dismay.

"This clearly represents the District negotiating in bad faith," said PFT president Jerry Jordan.

Hite repeated several times that seeking these code changes will give him more tools to make ends meet and staff schools adequately, and are not related to the contract talks.

But one byproduct is that he could achieve some goals the District is seeking in the negotiations through this means, including a weakening of seniority and elimination of automatic raises based on longevity.

"Professional employees get salary increases, required purely on the fact that they are here another year," Hite said. "This would allow the District to say, 'OK, we're not giving increases that way. Instead we're giving increases based on performance.'"

It also means that if the two parties don't reach agreement by the deadline, the current contract will not be what governs pay and assignment going forward.

More immediately, suspending a provision in the school code regarding recall from layoffs will allow the District to call back the employees they want, not just the most senior.

"This would allow the District to recall certain employees based on the specific needs of students rather than the length of service of employees," Hite said. He gave the example of counselors, all 300 of whom were laid off. If not all can be called back, Hite said he wants to make sure that especially in high schools, counselors who have been working with seniors for three years on college placement are able to return to the schools that they left because they have already been working with those students.

"If we are only able to retain a portion, it is important we can return the counselors to the buildings that are familiar and have been working with those young people," he said. "We want to take whatever actions we can take now to make sure that when children come back to schools, they have the ability to interact with that person."

Other changes being sought include one that would make it easier to close poor-performing charters and another would make it harder for charters that have exceeded enrollment caps they agreed to in writing to get reimbursed from the District for the excess students.

Other changes would make it easier for the District to sell surplus property more quickly.

The law that in 2001 established the School Reform Commission as the governing body for Philadelphia schools also gives the SRC the extraordinary power to waive provisions of the state school code.

Union leaders said that this action would complicate negotiations.

"To make the decision that the School District wants to suspend sections of the school code is nothing short of outrageous," said the PFT's Jordan. He was especially incensed about the provision that would allow the hiring of nurses not certified as school nurses.

He said there is a reason for the special certification. "I think that’s reprehensible. The school nurse is, in many cases, the only medical person many children see," he said.

On not using seniority to call back laid-off workers, Jordan said it is arbitrary to decide which are more valuable. Hite said that he was hoping to call back all the counselors, but wanted to be able to set priorities if he couldn't.

Jordan was blunt. "I don't normally curse, but that's bullshit," he said.

He noted that the union was able to negotiate a path to calling back secretaries so that each school was staffed, and wondered why Hite didn't want to do the same for these other job categories.

Secretaries will start work Monday, and about 75 percent of schools will have secretaries that worked in the buildings before, Hite said.

Robert McGrogan, head of the principals' bargaining unit, CASA, said he found the action "extraordinary" and troubling.

"Eliminating these rights would be discriminatory and subjective by nature," McGrogan said.

McGrogan  noted that the SRC didn't give his members a raise that is part of their current contract.

"The SRC reneged on the agreement we're in and we're still negotiating with them, trying to find efficiencies," he said. Now, the District is treating them "as a wart on their side," he said.

[Update: The Philadelphia School Partnership, which lobbied in Harrisburg to demand contract reforms in return for more state dollars, issued a statement in favor of the changes Hite wants -- and more.

"We encourage the SRC to go further and implement mutual consent across the board – suspending seniority as a factor in the hiring and transfer of all teachers – as a critical component of reforming public education in Philadelphia," said a statement from PSP director Mark Gleason. "It’s the linchpin for developing schools that give our children the very best chance to succeed."]

Hite said that he isn't taking these steps in an effort to placate state officials, who are withholding $45 million in appropriated funds pending a labor agreement with the PFT that is satisfactory to them. He said that it is his understanding that only a signed contract with the PFT would shake loose that money.

As far as the $50 million from the city -- a one-time payment from a loan using future sales tax revenue as collateral -- Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke made no announcement Wednesday on an agreement. Clarke wants to use some of the money from the extension of a 1 percent sales tax for pension costs and not turn all of it over to schools.


The School District of Philadelphia faces an unprecedented situation – uncertainty over whether it will be in a position to open safe and functioning schools in September.

This feature, appearing each weekday, is an effort to highlight developments and motivate action as we get closer to the beginning of the school year. We encourage readers to send us information about both concerns and breakthroughs to countdown@thenotebook.org.

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Comments (258)

Submitted by Gtown_teach (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:18 pm
Other provisions must be about the number of days/minutes students must attend.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:16 pm
What does that mean? Confused. Would anyone like to clarify?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:46 pm
They are attempting to void our contract & bust the union.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:27 pm
Can Hite and his crew be removed from Philadelphia School District? I think our country was fair than any other Nations in the world? Once again Slave Industry is slowly emerging in our country.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:48 pm
STRIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's what it means.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 2:35 pm
We can't strike. Hites decision to postpone the opening of schools until funding comes through is the closest thing. There is a law in place that prevents striking bc the state has taken over our schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 5:58 pm
Yes. Strike to preserve this idiotic arbitrary system you've designed that only considers seniority. Lay off only young teachers. Never lay off anyone over 50 no matter how bad even as half your students leave charters. Assign all schools new secretaries and counselors because the only thing that matters is preserving seniority. Then each year the PFT public schools become even less attractive compared to charters and suburbs because the incompetents the PFT serves and protects above all else become a bigger share of the overall teacher corps (incompetents will never leave this system). So complain some more about how it is unfair that charters don't follow the same idiotic self-destructive personnel policies the district does. But when you strike, you shouldn't wonder why you get very little public support. You aren't fighting for children. You are not even fighting for teachers. You are fighting for a specific demographic of older teachers who aren't very good. I do feel bad for the (probably) majority of teachers who care and do a good job in difficult situation but are tarred by association with the PFT defenders of mediocrity.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 10:49 pm
Hite has been meeting with the district's principals this week. I have no doubt that they convinced him to make this move. To be honest, I don't blame them, nor do I blame Hite. The principals want to be able to get the best teachers in their classrooms at the beginning of this school year because at many schools (with a lack of secretaries, counselors, AND teachers), there will be dangerous situations. Unfortunately, many (NOT ALL) of the teachers with high seniority are just sticking around to retire and collect their pensions. Many of them have ZERO classroom management, which is what principals want and need. I know this because I am a teacher in the SDP...a teacher who has witnessed and worked with one too many apathetic senior-ranked teachers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:53 pm
You are going to feel like such a fool when you see what they do to your job. Do you actually believe they care about how good a teacher is? This is all about business. Cutting costs by lowering school employee living standards while they increase the profits for the private sector. If they get away with this, anyone who protests the horrible teaching conditions they want to create so they can save a buck for themselves will be gone. Apparently you are young. Do you really want a future with no job security based on how your students do on a test or on the whim of a principal?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:33 pm
I have no fear of job security because I am not afraid of competition or of being judged and evaluated based on my ability to do my job and get positive results, regardless of my age. Can you say the same?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:51 pm
I'm not the person you replied to but... yes, I can stay the same. But can you say that you trust your principal to be the judge of your success in teaching? I've taught for a principal who was decent, a principal who was so afraid of one clique of teacher she let them run the building, and a principal who was paranoid and just loved to yell at everyone. Maybe they will use value added testing but I've seen the lack of year-to-year correlation in the results. Bottom line: I'm not against some of the reforms (longer days, flexibility, etc.) but I think it's pretty clear that this is not about putting in a system to make sure our students have better teachers. It's a transparent attempt to make sure they can pay teachers as little as possible irrespective of ability.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 16, 2013 10:23 am
I may have worked at that very school, or at least with that principal. After which time my perspective was changed. I, too, believed that my ability and performance would provide job security. Not necessarily true. Personalities, personal agendas, nepotism, cronyism, and ideology can prompt bias. I have seen AMAZING educators run out of schools and even forced out of the profession. I agree that operating schools using a business model sounds good, however we are not selling widgets here! We are talking about the education and training of children and young adults. It cannot be that simple because it is not that simple! Teachers want meager compensation for a job well done. I'm not sure why it's assumed that teachers are given pay increases soley based on time in service. I have been given a raise every year for completing another year with the district SATISFACTORILY. I'm evaluated on my job performance and compensated accordingly, just as every other profession (job). Ask parents why they send their children to charter schools. High on the list is safety. They are not trying to escape teacher incompetency. They are avoiding unruly children who pose a threat to their child's physical well-being and ability to learn effectively in the public setting. How many students are sent back to their neighborhood schools because charters don't want them and can't teach them. Who teaches these kids? Who loves and nurtures them? I'll tell you who. We do!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:12 pm
I doubt you are a teacher. (Is this Mark??) No teacher would be so ignorant of history.
Submitted by Tara (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:33 pm
You should fear for your job security regardless if your performance is the best in your school. When you start to have too many years in, when your principal wants to hire their neighbor's child who recently graduated from college, etc. What happen when the evaluation is stacked against you so that the result is an unsatisfactory evaluation?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:38 am
BINGO TARA. It will allow principals to act on a whim, and goodness knows we can't have that. I know one who did away with a whole department because one person (who had been a friend of hers) did something she didn't like. People also should not be fooled by the word "flexibility," that has made it's way into this whole discussion. It is a euphemism for "we're going to do what we think is best. That's why we have a contract to begin with to avoid adminnistrative flexibility and "arbitary and whimsical" acts.
Submitted by Dave M (not verified) on August 15, 2013 12:24 am
Oh yeah. This person is definitely young.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 7:05 am
I am not young, in fact I have over two decades of experience and I am partially on board with the idea that principals want and need to have excellent teachers in the classrooms under the current situation. I am not naive enough to think there isn't some sneakiness going on here, but quite frankly there are too many teachers who will make the chaos of this September worse by not stepping up and I want colleagues next to me who are going to make sure our students are encouraged to be in the classrooms and for the teachers in those classrooms to be able to manage them well.
Submitted by Susan B. (not verified) on August 15, 2013 8:57 am
I was surprised to read that you have over two decades of experience, and haven't learned anything except excessive pride and self-congratulation. What makes you think that people who are nearing retirement in ANY career aren't looking forward to it. I look forward to seeing my students each day, but I'll be happy to retire also. You may have "good classroom management," but you have no heart or soul. If you treat your students the way you treat your colleagues, you are only producing self-centered robots. Get a grip, and open your eyes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:52 am
I don't mean to seem prideful, but I am proud of my ability to manage a classroom of students (many different kinds of students). There is a difference. I don't have any friends who are principals, for the record. Listen, everyone does look forward to retirement for sure, but that DOES NOT MEAN one can slack off in their work for years, prior to that retirement. Also, you are making the assumption that I'm talking about teachers that are nearing retirement. Truth is there are teachers that really struggle with classroom management that are not near retirement at all. I'm talking about ineffective teachers. There are not a lot of them, but they do exist and it would benefit schools for principals to be able to say, "hey, this teacher really had a great handle on their kids and the material. They were laid off, but I want to make sure that they are able to return to my school because they were an asset." Same is true of counselors, etc. It's just being able to use the concept of "right to return" in a lay off situation before a teacher/counselor is sent to another school.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:48 am
Thank you for your comment. It affirms my faith in teachers. Be prepared to be unfairly attacked.
Submitted by Susan B. (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:45 am
I totally agree that there are teachers who struggle with classroom management as you state. I've met them, and I'm sure everyone has. I've helped a few, and met some who are beyond help. When a teacher "slacks off" or performs poorly in other ways, it is the principal's job as the instructional leader to offer help, support and discipline according to due process. This requires effort and consistency on the principal's part. I don't respect a principal who is too lazy to follow through anymore than I respect a lazy teacher. Giving principals power to hire and fire at will is not a solution. As the saying goes, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Due process is there for a reason and it should be respected and used.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:53 am
20 years doesn't get anyone retirement FYI unless they started later in life.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:54 am
You must have friends that are principals...Who's evaluating these principals to be sure they are hiring back the "competent" teachers and not their buddies because that's what site selection has turned into in some schools...Who's word is to be taken about who can and cannot manage a class? Every group of kids is different from year to year.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:02 am
"Who's word is to be taken about who can and cannot manage a class? Every group of kids is different from year to year." Exactly. In addition, if they don't like you, they can put together a class that a genius teacher would have trouble dealing with. And they would undermine you in front of the students to make things worse. I had this happen to me once. I had a great number of years, my classes were under control, students were learning, then a new administration came, and I had a disaster year. Nothing seemed to work. Did I suddenly lose my classroom management skills? I don't buy any of this "great teacher" stuff ever since. Also, I read here a lot from the people who claim they are "great teachers".They put down their colleagues who are not as great. I've seen you guys in my building. You are the ones who would rather stab me in the back when I am having difficulties. I don't want to work next to you either. Education is not only about how much Math, English and Science our students learn. It is first and foremost about raising conscientious members of the society, who will work to improve the society as a whole. Your message of personal success at the expense of others is what running this country into the ground.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:41 am
As a male I have traditionally had my classrooms used as "dumping bins" by principals. The sexist attitude "males can handle behavior problems" is used too often by incompetent principals that don't want to address discipline issues themselves. What makes matters worse is that children are allowed to swear at me, break things I bring to use in class, disrupt my class and the administration will make excuses for doing nothing. We can't even keep children after school anymore. Teachers are expected to give up their 45 lunch period (which is also your bathroom break now) instead. If these same children mouth off to the administrations they get suspended. This double standard is a green light for continued disrespect for classroom teachers. It Hite was worth his paycheck he'd be addressing this issue instead of trying to beat down Philly's teachers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 5:24 pm
I wish my principal had used a male to dump off the student in my class who was sexually aggressive towards the female teachers. Nope, just dump him in the next female's class - young preferably - they don't complain as much.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2013 5:11 pm
That's because your principal is a weakling who wishes somebody else to do his or her job. Tell your principal that if the student continues to display such behavior you will phone the cops. Usually the principal will wimp out and move the child to another room or maybe even actually discipline the student out of fear for his or her own job. However, your problem doesn't address the problems that specifically male teacher encounter, especially in the elementary grades. There is a double standard against male teachers. It's one of the things that Hite should be working on instead of unionbusting.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:34 pm
I can't agree with you more. Male teachers are really discriminated against as being able to handle every discipline problem in the school and expected to get results. Principals are truly ungrateful that we show up to work to have the lion's share of the discipline issues of any given grade that we teach. I go through the same thing. They can ruin stuff, tell me I can suck their balls, throw tables and chairs around. And if you anonymously call the safe schools advocate, your principal will come after you even if she does not know for sure if you made the call or not. Can't the suburbs build more schools I want out. Philly is bound to collapse down upon itself anyway.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:42 pm
I can't agree with you more. Male teachers are really discriminated against as being able to handle every discipline problem in the school and expected to get results. Principals are truly ungrateful that we show up to work to have the lion's share of the discipline issues of any given grade that we teach. I go through the same thing. They can ruin stuff, tell me I can suck their balls, throw tables and chairs around. And if you anonymously call the safe schools advocate, your principal will come after you even if she does not know for sure if you made the call or not. Can't the suburbs build more schools I want out. Philly is bound to collapse down upon itself anyway.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:40 am
Some people seem to think that children are actually learning where a teacher has great classroom management. Often times, these classrooms produce the lowest test scores.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:20 am
I'm with you. I work with several slugs and can't stand them. I want to work with teachers that have a can do attitude and love what they do.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:12 am
You shouldn't be allowed in the classroom.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:41 am
Why because they are sticking up for the profession?!!!????
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:23 am
They are sticking up for themselves.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 8:43 am
Do you really think the principal at a high performing school will pick you when they can pick their friend from their last school? This will mean more buddy buddy picks of sorority members or picking the cheapest teacher available. Competition is not the objective.
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on August 15, 2013 8:55 am
Isn't the district still filled with "AKA'ers" from the Ackerman years? As for cheapest teachers, that has the potential to be true. A few years ago during a staff meeting, my principal gave a speech where she said that it was basically stupid that each teacher position costs the same in the budget. She pointed out a senior career teacher by name, and then a first year TFA teacher by name and was incredulous that they each cost her the same amount. She felt that each principal should be given an amount and be able to divide it up as they choose. For example, if they had a million dollars they could buy 10 veteran teachers, or they should be able to buy 20 newbie teachers. Scary thought. If asked (and she wasn't) she would surely say if the expensive veteran teacher was really good, they would have nothing to worry about. I think everyone else knows veterans would be kicked out for cheaper and more obedient kids whose ink on their college degree hasn't yet dried.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:32 am
Principal should never be saying anyone by name at a meeting in this fashion, for this purpose ,but not much can be done about it. Who responds? Nobody.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:54 am
Can you say age discrimination?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:17 am
Can you say age discrimination?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 12:21 pm
It's not necessarily age discrimination it's that older people have been in the system longer and these reformers are only interested in downsizing, money, and union busting- period
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 1:20 am
Regardless of the other posts, I AGREE with you. I've said all along many of the teachers with the most seniority are the ones that DO NOT teach, but know in the event of a layoff they are spared from getting fired. This will push all teachers to do their best rather than sit and hand out worksheets. As you stated I have witnessed it numerous times. I've personally had some of the older teachers say that they are just counting down the days when they can retire. As one teacher stated, I'm waiting for my significant other to retire so i am going to hold on for a few more years. (can literally state the number of days before retirement)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 6:13 am
Divide and conquer. That's the way ruling elites stay in power. Get the peasants fighting over the crumbs from their table. The above is propaganda from the Philadelphia School Partnership.
Submitted by EILEEN DUFFEY (not verified) on August 15, 2013 8:23 am
Any person in any job about to retire can be expected to count the days. Why would you use a remark like that to put down an older teacher. As an "older" professional in this district I know Hite is equally glad for any measure that would eliminate intelligent, experienced, credentialed, respected and fearless veteran employees. At the risk of being criticized for patting myself on the back I will use my name on this post. I am not a teacher. I respect my fellow teaching colleagues immensely and my experience tells me seniority is the fairest way to make difficult decisions. FUND education adequately and this is much less a controversial topic. BE AT 440 TODAY. SRC MASTER PLAN TO DESTROY OUR SCHOOLS CONTINUES. WE FIGHT BACK!!!
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:02 am
And I agree with you because I, just as a parent, an "outsider", have seen this too. In fact it was the most senior teacher who sent the school security guard to remove me from the school under the directive that I shouldn't be "wandering the hallways" (I was in a room staffing a uniform exchange closet which I took the initiative to start btw) despite my having all my volunteer clearances. She tried to hide her identity...except the guard wasn't too good at hiding who it was. Apparently my presence was a threat... but why? I'm an educated parent, so you figure out the rest. I'm not sure how seniority is a guarantee of "due process". No one has sufficiently explained this to me yet. A junior teacher should get as much "due process" as a senior one. I understand that when hiring and firing and evaluating all depend on the principal, there are legitimate fears of favoritism in the process. To protect from favoritism, and other unprofessional judgments, you need a way to evaluate the principal too. In my opinion that is a better protection than the current seniority system.
Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:42 am
This is such a sad and reckless comment. One person hurt your feelings, so now you wand to denigrate an entire generation based on age and experience. In my twenty years I have learned that senior teachers almost always have the greatest degree of knowledge about teaching and learning, are more committed to outside professional development, and actually regard teaching as a craft that is constantly evolving. These are the kinds of teachers that I learned from when I was just starting, I can assure you that Hite, Gleason and the SRC are only interested in malleable, drive-by types who move on before they finally see through the top-down, test driven pseudo-science that they are being forced to practice.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:12 am
How is not using the current system of seniority "union busting"? Unions still have the power to negotiate pay and benefits, right? O.k. I understand that this system supports a structured pay system, but is this not possible outside of this system of seniority? Are you saying that experience is not respected at all for the teaching profession? If you keep this system, what that will mean in a school district of declining enrollment is that there will be fewer and fewer new teachers simply by virtue of "time in". Is that good? Look at Japan, if you want to see the effects of a bureaucratic seniority system. There is little growth or opportunities for the younger generation, and that ultimately affects the older generation as well. My citing of my own experience simply supports an observation that another commenter made. SOME teachers' careers with the full support of their principal are more important to them than are the children under their care. Evidence their behavior and decisions, and they get priority over new teachers by virtue of having been in the system longer. Btw, that particular teacher was in favor with the principal - he used Title I funds to keep her doing his administrative work. Does that help all the other teachers, even the ones that might have less seniority? How do we fix this? Or is that not as important as large generalizations about unions?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:12 am
Btw Geoffrey, why didn't you speak up about the suggestion of decentralizing the administration of the District when it was proposed? That would have allowed schools, that is groups of schools, to choose their own curriculum. All I'm seeing is a lot of ideological argument and little practical effort.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on August 15, 2013 9:02 am
You base your support for union busting on this dubious incident of "mistreatment" of you, "educated parent" by one senior teacher? I thought you were smarter.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:26 am
As a veteran teacher in that school my first impression would be that this person is a "spy," not due to being a volunteer, but when you see someone poking their nose where it doesn't belong. I worked as a volunteer years ago (got a stipend for it too) and I can assure you I was never seen as a threat to anyone's competence. That is all in your head.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:33 am
A "spy"? For what? Full disclosure? Having the security guard come tell me I couldn't sit with the uniforms after I had permission to use that room from the principal to do so, was not in my imagination. Then having him say it as a "senior staff person" and he couldn't say who (ha ha ha, this is a spy story), who sent him. Well, do you wonder why this school failed specifically for Literacy the entire time this senior teacher was Literacy Team Leader? Oh yes, here is the real reason I was a threat: I was the ONLY parent who took the time to read the School Improvement Plan; and YES it was this senior teacher who did the "cut and paste" absolute empty "eduspeak" job writing it. YES Title I paid for her salary for years, and now the taxpayer, as well as the current teachers (in the form of the budget crisis) is paying for her retirement. Btw, I took absolutely no pay. In fact, like many teachers here, I bought things with my own money for the children. I even funded my own workshop with a Phil. Theatre Co. teaching artist. In return, I am accused of being a "spy", well if that doesn't explain everything about the mentality of those who rely on seniority.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:51 am
I AGREE! As stated in the previous post, many of the teachers COMPLAINING are the ones that know and would not admit that due to seniority they are able to keep their jobs. If the senior teachers are as good as what they say then they WOULD NOT have to worry about seniority. But now since their cushion may go away and they can face elimination then suddenly its a major problem. Most have now become comfortable that whenever layoffs occur they can't be touched since they have put in all these years.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:12 am
How naive!
Submitted by Anon, Anon, we must go anon (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:50 am
You are very naive. One you become an "expensive" teacher, no matter how good or wonderfully skilled you are, you will be the one to go because the principal could hire two newbies for the price of one experienced teacher. Seniority rights prevent this. What seniority rights do not protect are bad teachers. The principals have a process to get rid of poor teachers--the problem is they are either too lazy or too overworked to do it. It is actually not that hard to get rid of a bad teacher if the principal is motivated to do that--and they should be! That is their job.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 12:50 pm
Every veteran teacher knows what a spy is (whether external or internal) and the fact that you don't, then come here to complain while offering up facts and figures, suggests to my trained eye that the teacher was right. You "took no pay" because it wasn't offered to you, There was a "parent scholar" program that awarded a $200 stipend way back when, but now the SLUGS AT 440 won't even provide paper. Those my friends are your cut public education, union busting, privatizing slugs. How obvious can you BE with your "assessment" of teachers that you were watching whatever your reason. The union doesn't permit cameras in classrooms for a reason, so to have a "watchful" parent who will run and blab to people about her "findings," is not acceptable to most teachers. Aah your last sentence gives you away like a canary in a coal mine
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 2:26 pm
Cameras in classrooms are a good idea. You could protect the teachers as well that way. So the unions are against this and against watchful parents too? What you are saying then is unions aren't much different than criminal organizations who are against cameras and watchful citizens too. Well, that would explain the historic involvement of organized crime with unions -small wonder.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 4:07 pm
Ms. Cheng, here you are once again showing your true colors. The reason given is so that errant children can be monitored, but anyone with a lick of sense (SDP employees) knows that it's for monitoring and evaluatiing teachers. Well, we now know what you think of teachers so whomever asked to have you escorted out knew what they were doing. P.S. it doesn't matter who it is or what their names are PPS watch out for your own children, espeically the one who dropped out
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 15, 2013 5:59 pm
I supported the good teachers at the school, of which the majority were. One in fact had 30 plus years, and we started a gardening collaborative with the senior center nearby. This one even expressed dismay when we lost our 2nd grade teacher because of the seniority system, as she was "one of the best". I was not "after" any teacher. The one that went after me, did so after I read the SIP, and this I did to give the school good press. She gave herself away. Of course the teacher knew what she was doing when she went after me. The result was that she retired with a pension, while the rest of the teachers were force transferred because so many parents left, that the school's enrollment dropped to less than 1/3 and it was closed. What are teachers afraid of in being evaluated? Paranoia is not a good attitude. Btw, the dropout is producing his own music, playing with several bands, and working enough to pay his own rent (and not to his parents), till such time as he might find a reason to go back to school. Not bad for just 18.
Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on August 15, 2013 6:28 pm
Why don'y you just challenge this teacher to a good old-fashione duel. That way, if you win, seniority will be safe for the rest of us.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 16, 2013 8:07 am
Thanks Geoffrey for the suggestion. I would love to have my day in court with her, along with the principal. The consequences of their actions have fallen on the children, the other teachers, and the District. I think we should decentralize the administration of the District. It would make principals much more accountable to their school community, students, parents, and teachers. Then perhaps we wouldn't have cases of senior teachers that weren't doing their job adequately, and there would be no argument against the seniority system.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 16, 2013 9:54 am
Volunteer vs. "day in court with teacher and principal" Delusional.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 16, 2013 9:18 am
Right, it would never happen. But it wouldn't be as a volunteer, it would be as a parent and taxpayer. So much disrespect to volunteers and parents as well. It's not any corporation that is causing both to leave the District.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2013 4:13 pm
The principal passed away in fall of 2011, as Ms. Cheng is fully aware. Not sure why two years later he is still her favorite person to discuss.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 17, 2013 4:17 pm
Right and who did the teachers blame for the school's mediocre achievement and loss of enrollment, after rating the school at 100% satisfaction? Yes, the principal.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2013 4:40 pm
There is a lot of turmoil in the District right now as anyone can see, but for the time being, and for your own own sanity you need to let go.. As every real (actual) employee knows there are good schools and not such good ones and many and varied situations in between. He wronged me, she wronged me is prevalent especially when principals are given too much power. It happens, we deal with it because we have to- you don''t. The SDP is not about a disaffected parent.or two. If you want to send your kids to a charter then do so, but an educated person knows what's really going on with this charter movement.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 17, 2013 5:04 pm
Thanks for that. Despite the interpretation, the issue is not a personal one. The correct use of Title I is a big deal. If the District continues to misappropriate it, then all the more reason for parents to seek charters. This even if none of them ever read their SIPs. Attitudes can not be hidden. The discussion started with a critical evaluation of seniority, which (in my opinion) as a guarantee of pay scale is fine. Under the current bureaucracy however, which apparently neglects its management responsibilities, it becomes something of questionable benefit to students. The question then (and probably I will start another round of attacks on myself because obviously it's not my place to ask this) is, where's the serious reform of the bureaucracy? I will still ask, for all the children, who I still see in my work at another organization.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2013 6:29 pm
Ms. Cheng let's be clear about something, the salary schedule and step system has been in place for teachers and has nothing to do with "it's benefit to students." If a teacher pursues degrees beyond a Bachelors and has put time in they shoudl be paid equitably like they've always been. Whether a parent likes it or not has no bearing, and I hope this can be restored by the courts or whatever because taking that way is horrendous for the profession.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 6:46 pm
"I supported the good teachers at the school," >> How generous of you, I'm sure they couldn't wait for your evaluation to come through ."This one even expressed dismay when we lost our 2nd grade teacher because of the seniority system, as she was "one of the best". >>> So? the point that teachers are trying to make here is that you don't make those decisions and neither do other teachers. Everybody has opinions especially in this district ,but the principal rates teachers sometimes fairly and other times not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 7:37 pm
Of course the teacher knew what she was doing when she went after me. The result was that she retired with a pension, while the rest of the teachers were force transferred because so many parents left, that the school's enrollment dropped to less than 1/3 and it was closed.> Cheng I hate to break it to you but what's going on in this system has nothing to do with you. Nobody "went after you," you were just too transparent in whatever you did. IOW you didn't know your place. The fact that the school closed and teachers had to pick again again has nothing to do with you.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 16, 2013 7:29 am
Yes, it had nothing to do with me because I was working to keep parents at the school. It did have a lot to do with the attitude this teacher was allowed to show, and it didn't require cameras for parents to sense that.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 16, 2013 8:43 am
Please explain to all of us parents what exactly our "place" is. Parents have a legal right to read their school's School Improvement Plan. So far, I haven't heard that many have. The SIP guides Title I spending. Federal funding is a full 20% of the District's finances. If this were actually used as it is directed, for the enrichment of the poor children, perhaps we would have less of the issues that are driving parents to seek charters. Since I don't know my place, I guess I should retract the letter I wrote to my State Rep asking her to push to reform the charter funding formula with an amendment that could save the District as much as $110 million. Apparently my place is not to use any thinking, but to follow blindly; or to simply leave.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 16, 2013 12:55 pm
Your place (not a nice phrase really) is to advocate for your children as a parent and citizen, not report on or take action against SDP members. Since the school is closed and the teachers and principal have moved on I guess there's not much of a case. Most volunteers are not asked to leave unless something is amiss.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 17, 2013 4:15 pm
In testifying to what I witnessed I am advocating for not only my, but all the children I worked with. When Title I funds are misused, it hurts the children first, specifically the poor children. These are the children who you say are being wronged; well then why aren't you concerned about how they are being wronged? Nice to try and dismiss what I have seen as something personal. That tactic is not new. Repeat, I did not set out to report or take action against any SDP members. So whose side are you really on? Your personal attacks just prove the seriousness of the wrongdoing I saw, and push parents more and more to charters.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 7:28 pm
"Thank you for your comment. It affirms my faith in teachers" >> Ms.Cheng "Well, that would explain the historic involvement of organized crime with unions -small wonder." >Ms Cheng When I say I smell a rat it most always turns out to be true. We'll be counting on supportive parents TYVM.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 7:12 pm
Cameras in classrooms are a good idea. You could protect the teachers as well that way. So the unions are against this and against watchful parents too? >Cheng This how it worked at one school, and this is also for people who think this isn't the real world: The principal not wanting her school to be highlighted in any way, refused to purchase blank tapes for the cameras that monitored the halls and stairwells. When the school police officer offered to buy them she said no and gave him old tapes of her soap operas to tape over- pointless. Tell us again about how teachers are always the problem Ms Cheng, and FYI she was friends with the regional superinendent so complains went nowhere.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 16, 2013 7:47 am
I never said teachers are always the problem. I gave an example of one senior teacher doing things that ultimately hurt the children at the school where she worked and also her peers. The one example I used can also be used to show how principals focus on the administration above them rather than the school community for which they are responsible. How do you fix that? What argument do you have for decentralizing the administration of the District? I have complained many times about the bureaucracy and the principal, far more than about this teacher.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2013 2:38 am
Ok Ms. Cheng...you are a very angry parent. I bet you are considered to be middle class, since you have so much time to spend in the classroom or some kind of cubby hole. You are greatly on the side of busting unions, not just the teachers unio, but unions all together. But in this country we only have middle class because of the unions. You know the ones you call criminal organizations. You sound like someone who would take a decent paying job and get hired at a cheaper cost and pat yourself on the back as a highly educated person but evidently you'd take a cut rate price, and zero pay. If you are so educated and can do better than the teachers in there, go take the tests, get your degree and then tell us all where you wor so I can volunteer to be a spy over your shoulder. I am not a teacher, but I am a classroom assistant who work with teachers everyday. I watch the teachers in the quote unquote real public schools who get cursed out, attacked, and still do their jobs. Without unions many of the students would not have a teacher. A lot of newbies will leave if the job is stressful within the first three to five years. Stay in your proper place such as your cubby hole Ms. Cheng and continue to be the rat you know you really are. LMAO, Ms. Cheng, LMAO!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 17, 2013 2:49 pm
Wow I guess that settles that. Very well said.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 17, 2013 4:43 pm
I hate to break it to you, but I'm not trying to bust any unions. Just because you don't understand what I'm saying doesn't mean I'm a union buster. I just wrote a letter to my State Rep, asking her to push to reform the charter funding formula in favor of the SDP, I guess that makes me a rat. Stand back and read the thread, and you'll see why charters are so very popular with parents right now.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:15 am
If teachers are handing out worksheets, it is the administrators responsibility to stop this happening. Senior teachers should not be penalized due to the administrators inability to run a school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:41 am
I truly believe that principals should have the right to site select all staff. I am a secretary III yet the union is not fighting for me. I know secretary I that only has 4 years in the district yet she is being called back. I have over 15 years in the district how is this seniority thing fair. I know many secretaries that do absolutely nothing have limited computer skills but because they have 30 years in the system they will be called back. I have an associates in computer science and am fluent with the advantage system, I took the secretary III test and passed it on my first attempt. I did this to better myself and gain more responsibilities and how am I rewarded? With a lay-off notice. What is this telling children, just stay mediocre don't try to better yourself it is not worth it. I hope the SRC ratifies the seniority clause. Better yet call all the secretaries back and test them see who will pass and the ones who do not should be released.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 12:22 pm
I thought they did away with senior secretaries, maybe not.
Submitted by A Teacher (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:40 pm
So...does this mean that if this section of the code is suspended then they can put teachers in any school? There would not be anymore choosing schools?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:48 pm
The bigger issue is that would be a violation of the current contract & union busting.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:52 pm
Who knows? I'm suppose to pick on Friday.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 10:17 pm
What he is saying now which I find horrendous, is that they will decide (cherry pick) which jobs have the most value and who to call back (based on subjectivity). Do you think they have any idea of who is "better " than anyone else? Seniority is one of the cornerstones of our contract, IOW one of the most important things. We gave in years ago by accepting site select, but at least it was a decent ratio. When this goes, everythng goes, it'd be a willy nilly system with of course, the cheapest people they can get. Cheap, 2 years and out ,with no union affiliation is their goal.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 15, 2013 11:15 am
If anyone is not returned to service because someone else of lesser seniority is called back sooner, have them call me. That is a "due process issue" which can be litigated in federal court under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. That right is a personal right and vests with every employee in their individual and personal capacities. It is also the basis of a class action suit. These are issues which have constitutional implications. I assure you the SRC has no right to suspend any portion of the U.S. Constitution or the Pennsylvania Constitution. It is also an open question as whether the SRC can be granted any authority to suspend any part of the School Code as that would arguably be an unconstitutional usurping of legislative authority of the General Assembly. This will open a Pandora's box of litigation -- watch.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:55 pm
This is not only a direct attack on unions, but the middle and working classes and well as the very moral fiber of our nation. It's time to stand for something, so that we all don't fall. Why can't the PFT solicit the support of ALL unions in the city of Philadelphia and call a general strike. One day of a general strike by all unions working in the city would shut this city down. Remember, Teamsters don't cross picket lines, so businesses get no deliveries. In addition, public transportation isn't running, trash isn't collect. How long do you think the Chamber of Commerce would allow this. If the SRC and Corbett want to play dirty, bring it on.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 7:50 pm
GREAT IDEA!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:28 pm
BATTER UP---- STRIKE!!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 1:36 pm
Back in the 70's strike some teachers manned the lines at 4am to see that the guys who fired up the boilers couldn't get in. Those were the days. What do we have now ? Waahhh my principal didn't email me, I thought she liked me. They don't " like" anyone, no matter what they tell you and, they will sacrifice you in a heartbeat if that's what they are told to do- veteran teachers as well.
Submitted by Dave M (not verified) on August 17, 2013 5:19 pm
Anonymous: You seem very eager to call a strike. I for one, would advocate for other measures, such as rolling sick-outs, etc. Your comment comes across as..... juvenile to say the least.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 18, 2013 5:37 pm
You sound a lot weak. In case you haven't noticed, the SRC is not playing fair. They have changed the rules completely. If you went to kindergarten, you should have learned one of life's basic lessons - play fair or don't play at all. A strike by the PFT is letting the SRC know that we, the PFT, refuse to play by your unfair rules.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:28 pm
LOL! You want to take money away from all the trades unions who are going to build the new prison in order to line your pockets and you want them to strike with you for that? LOL! Good luck!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:57 pm
It would be in the best interest off all unions to support this deliberate attempt at union busting. For, as a wise man (Martin Niemoller) once said: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 10:34 pm
Call up Johnny Doc and tell him you want him to support the cancellation of the prison project so the money can be used to relieve the PSD. For one year, anyway. See what he says.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:42 pm
If you want to testify call 215-400-4180 before 4:30. That is the office of parent & community engagement. The nice lady answering the phones explained to me that we can testify. However, we can only testify about the parts of the school code that the SRC will be debating whether to suspend. I asked her what those parts were. She had no idea. So I asked her how we are supposed to sign up to testify, when we, and her, did not know what we would be testifying about. I read verbatim what it says here in this article. She told me she had no knowledge of that and wasn't told anything. So sign up to testify. Maybe they'll let you talk about how this is some shady, underhanded, back door, incredibly nontransparent dealings by the SRC and it is incredibly shameful. Maybe. They'll probably cut you off though. Testify tomorrow. Give 'em hell.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:34 pm
Unfortunately, this is par for the course. They also, it goes without saying, have not posted the resolution(s) they are considering for action tomorrow. So if you want to speak--go ahead! If you, as a member of the public, want to know what they are doing so that you can make a pertinent comment--well, too bad for you. Lisa
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:56 pm
Please come even if you were not able to call the number in time. They need to be told that one day is not sufficient time to sign up and that all who wish to speak should be added to the list tomorrow. I had to call the number three times before someone picked up. This is such a gutless move by the SRC that even I am shocked. Lisa
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:03 pm
If you go to the SDP website, the agenda for tomorrow's SRC meeting is posted. At the bottom, it says, See separate resolution list. Click on "Current Resolution List" and you will see the one from July 26. They may have called the meeting in just enough time, but they have not published the resolution list in due time. Not that this is anything new, but it means that they are going to change long-standing rules without a chance for the public to comment. You can't comment on something you haven't seen. Rich, What do you think?
Submitted by Helen Gym on August 14, 2013 7:22 pm

I'm pretty sure they are not obligated to publish the resolution list "in time." It just has to be available to the public. The notice must be 24 hours.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:58 pm
Hi Helen, I appreciate your answer, but I'm not talking about legalities, I am talking about their responsibility to conduct fair and open meetings where people have an opportunity to make arrangements to attend and to know what is being discussed so that they can intelligently express themselves. If they were legally responsible to have resolutions out "in time", we could have the votes of every SRC meeting invalidated. This is not an esoteric issue. This is not just another shady contract deal. They are changing the rules. They are engaging in classic union-busting. They are prohibiting the actual contract negotiations to proceed in any kind of good-faith. See you tomorrow. Let's make them regret this sleazy move. Lisa
Submitted by Helen Gym on August 15, 2013 8:29 am

I was responding to the question raised only in terms of legalities because that was what was asked. In terms of "fair and open" there is no reason to discuss responsibility, there is only what's legal or not. The SRC has long abandoned any semblance of "fair and open."

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:56 pm
I think the games that are being played are unethical and not done in good faith. Rob McGrogan and Jerry Jordan certainly have my support and so do all of the advocates who speak up for stakeholders in our schools. We had a poster on the wall back at Furness. It said, "If you don't stand for something -- you stand for nothing." Time to stand folks.
Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:45 pm
Right you are, Rich! I have been standing and will continue to stand up for our children!!! Nebinger H&S President
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:17 pm
I'd rather stand up than continue to bend over!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:32 pm
Note that this is being done ahead of Friday's "deadline" from Hite and also when force transfers were schedule to pick by seniority starting August 17th. Shady stuff.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:06 pm
They moved up the dates. Forced transfers have been picking all week. I pick on Friday.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:07 pm
Forced transfers already started. I know some people who went today, and are going for the next few days to pick. Basically, Hite is going to do what he said. Only hire back about 1,000 staff and put them in the "largest and neediest schools." There are needy children in ALL Philadelphia schools. It's not fair that some schools with have added resources, and others will not. It's also unfair that the 1,000 will not be sufficient to truly make a school safe. Principals have been emailing and calling staff to volunteer to help open their schools. I understand what they are doing, but it doesn't help the almost 4,000 staff that have been laid-off. Why bring us back if they know that they are others willing to do our jobs.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:15 pm
Basically, Hite is going to do what he said. Only hire back about 1,000 staff and put them in the "largest and neediest schools." There are needy children in ALL Philadelphia schools. It's not fair that some schools with have added resources, and others will not. It's also unfair that the 1,000 will not be sufficient to truly make a school safe. Children will not be helped, serviced or identified as a result of the lack or resources. This will result in litigation and settlements. More money down the drain. Principals have been emailing and calling staff to volunteer to help open their schools. I understand what they are doing, but it doesn't help the almost 4,000 staff that have been laid-off. Why bring us back if they know that they are others willing to do our jobs.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 7:33 pm
It's also being done ahead of our contract deadline which has me wondering how kosher it really is. The teachers didn't strike or break any agreements.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:58 pm
Now We will see the mettle of our leaders.
Submitted by Bobbie Cratchit (not verified) on August 14, 2013 5:27 pm
Rich I always respect your opinions and have a legal question...If the SRC changes the school code for Philadelphia schools only, wouldn't that be considered arbitrary and capricious?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:37 pm
I do not think their action could properly be called arbitrary and capricious because it is a well reasoned planned decision. However, I would argue that Act 46 is discriminatory because it allows and enables the taking of rights away from a certain and specific group of people. It also raises a bunch of labor law issues which I am sure the PFT will deal with. There really are a lot of entwined legal issues, but it really is a contrived crisis exacted upon Philadelphia citizens based on political purposes and ideology. Our children are still Beneath the Wheel of politics. How sad. Everyone should be outraged. As the speakers said at Bethel Church on Monday -- it IS personal now.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 6:43 am
Rich, If you were the district's attorney- how would you defend act 46 and the district's other actions. Clearly the district is going to make some valid arguments.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 15, 2013 8:04 am
The district's lawyers are going to say that all of their actions are necessary to preserve the health, safety and welfare of the school children and the citizens of Philadelphia. They are going to argue that Act 46 does legitimately provide provisions which are necessary to enact in times of distress and that it does indeed give them legitimate extraordinary powers. They are going to say that Act 46 and all of its individual provisions are constitutional. The bottom line argument will be: "It was the 'legislative intent' of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania." Elections matter.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 3:58 pm
OK all of you bloggers and complainers about "what the PFT is doing. Put up or shut up! PACK THAT MEETING ROOM!!
Submitted by tom-104 on August 14, 2013 4:14 pm
Has the PFT sent out an email and posted a response on their blog? Have they told Building Reps to tell their people to show up? That's what leadership does!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:34 pm
Not a thing from the PFT yet. Not a text alert or email. But they probably predicted this from the SRC all along.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 7:24 pm
I received numerous texts and emails from my building rep.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:20 pm
There's nothing on the PFT website & they have not sent out texts or email alerts. Lets not be asleep at the wheel PFT!!!! Update the website and send every member an alert or email. Post on Facebook & twitter. Like hello time to turn it up!!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:29 pm
I have already recieved two emails today about this from the PFT
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:24 pm
What do they say I haven't received a thing & I checked my spam. I am on the email list so I don't know what gives.
Submitted by Let'ssticktogetherevenifwehateeachotherforour/kidssakes (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:24 pm
You have a good rep. I've heard nothing from ours. I'm the one telling other people to go. But they are "busy." You know, going to the movies and the pool etc.
Submitted by Let'ssticktogetherevenifwehateeachotherforour/kidssakes (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:20 pm
Just got the e-mail from the PFT.
Submitted by Nancy (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:45 pm
The PFT sent a text. I was working the phone bank this afternoon. There were only 4 people there working the phones. What is up with that? Get strong. We have to fight to win this.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 4:52 pm
The meeting was packed, scores of people weren't allowed in, and the resolution still passed. Time to end the speeches, we need some Teamsters!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:36 pm
Sorry. Forgot to sign comment on SRC resolutions, lack thereof. Lisa
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:36 pm
The spokesperson on the phone said they will vote tomorrow. The topic is "Suspensions of Selected Requirements of the Pennsylvania School Code." The spokesperson did not know what they would be voting on tomorrow. Take a look at how mammoth the school code is. http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/US/HTM/1949/0/0014..HTM If you are attending tomorrow. Please bookmark this link on your phone so that you can call it up while the SRC is talking.
Submitted by Consejera (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:35 pm
Forced transfers started picking today. I pick tomorrow.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:02 pm
They've been picking since Monday.
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on August 14, 2013 9:22 pm
I wish we had more transparency about forced transfers...I am not picking until Aug 20 and I have a gut feeling that I might be getting screwed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 1:41 am
Trust your gut.
Submitted by Gtown_teach (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:10 pm
Seriously, 440 has to announce what provisions of the school code they're talking about. Placement isn't the only thing they're going to vote on.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 4:21 pm
"The School Reform Commission, a state board that controls the Philadelphia school district, is holding a special hearing at 3 p.m. Thursday to consider suspending a part of the district code that requires staff let go during a layoff be rehired based on seniority. Schools spokesman Fernando Gallard says the district would like to hire back employees based on the skills that they had at a particular school and to ensure that employees are hired back at the facility where they used to work." http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/School-Budget-Crisis-District-...
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on August 14, 2013 5:00 pm
We have to strike. It is clear that Hite is going to destory the union so let's make it hard. You will be unemployed in two years anyway. WHY MAKE THE TRANSITION TO CHARTERS EASY. BLOW THE PLACE UP AND LET THESE GENIUS FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY HAVE DONE ANYTHING THING ELSE MEANS WE ARE DESPICABLE PUSSIES.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:33 pm
It will only happen in Philly where the poor students are not valued and can be exploited. I will be fine with my better paid job in the suburbs while my students will be experimented upon.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:48 pm
You keep blaming all charters. The small charters are in the same boat. They are being squeezed to death to make way for the corporations. Keep looking at the wrong enemy and by the time you figure things out, there will be no district schools or charter schools, just renaissance.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 14, 2013 7:22 pm
Poogie - Hite just opened a can of worms. You better start acting like hornets over this one. This is a no-brainer to destroy the union.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:06 pm
I AGREE & SAY STRIKE!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by Pro Public Education (not verified) on August 14, 2013 5:21 pm
The new order of the Governor, his minions on the SRC, their minion Superintendent Hite, with the assist of a business oriented Mayor: Create a problem through underfunding and bad administrative decisions over time, then use the fall-out as cover for why they have to gut labor and good educational practices, as well as the employment of dedicated educators.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 15, 2013 10:33 am
Actually, the problem was created by politicians and unions trying to protect the headcount as some 50k students fled district schools. Now the unions will further cripple the district by forcing arbitrary seniority based staffing decisions. The idea that seniority should trump prior service at a school is just stupid and obviously not motivated by any desire to provide a quality experience to kids or parents. A fair sensible approach would be to spread lay-offs throughout the demographics- so that older teachers weren't targeted but also weren't given a free pass. The common theme in the district- taking care of the employees first. Parents with means have been leaving the district for decades. Now others have the opportunity to leave for charters.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 5:03 pm
The PFT is sending out messages now asking everyone to be at the SRC meeting tomorrow.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:33 pm
I hope its a STRIKE message. This is so dirty. All bets are off.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 5:03 pm
If we're talking about saving money, and as Hite puts it, "the district is in dire straits", I need to ask the following questions. 1. What decrease in salary is Mr. Hite willing to take in order to help the financial crisis the district is in? 2. What is going on with the Promise Academies? Why on earth is there no mention to them not taking away the salary bonuses and extra hour? Why do they still exist when those that teach in them know that they are a gross waste of money? 3. Why are the charter schools allowed to open on time and we're not? 4. Why isn't anyone screaming about the blatant age discriminatory practices that charters use in order to employ their teachers? 5. Why isn't anyone screaming about how taxes dollars are being used in order to fund charter schools---yet they are selective as to who they enroll in their schools? If Hite feels that he is impervious to such cuts, then we, by example, must show him that we're not cattle waiting for the slaughter!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 7:38 pm
The time for asking questions politely is over. (especially is HIte going to take a pay cut). BTW I have been asking that question all along about taxes going to charters, I almost didn't sent my check this year.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:59 pm
All right all you slaves without a contract back to work says HITE, CORBETT, ZOGBY and NUTTER
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:01 pm
This is not the first time a superintendent has threatened to shut the district down. This "union busting" has been in the works for years. Teachers and the general public should be aware of the state takeover and Act 46: https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jbl/articles/volume5/issue3/Laroche5U.Pa.J.Lab.&Emp.L.611(2003).pdf
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 6:05 pm
This is beyond bullshit!!!!! Do they really think we're just going to take this???? I can't believe this is happening.
Submitted by Charter School Teacher (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:39 pm
Will you and your colleagues be at the SRC tomorrow? Seriously, will you? I doubt it. What are you going to do to NOT take it? Hite and the SRC, including that bus matron, will do what they want whenever they want. You're all screwed. None of you stick together and you're all too "busy" to go to meetings because you're lazy. Come work at a charter school. Just know that I'll be making more than you because of my seniority. LMAO.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 8:52 pm
I'll definitely be at the SRC meeting tomorrow afternoon. As for working in a charter school that would be an option of very last resorts. You guys have crappy pay and benefits and are at will employees. Most of you would have been better off never to have earned degrees because you are basically living on a McDonald's worker salary after paying your student loans and basic necessities. I don't begrudge any of you working in the charter school grind. I think that all of you deserve a salary equitable with your education & experience levels instead of your pay being based on what's left in the budget. That's why I'll be at the SRC meeting tomorrow to make certain that I don't end up like you.

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