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PCCY executive director and state budget secretary debate funding on ‘Radio Times’

By Wendy Harris on Oct 18, 2013 11:16 AM

Though Governor Corbett has announced that he will release the $45 million that the state had appropriated to the District but had been withholding until reforms were made, education advocates continue to debate the issue of fair funding for Philadelphia schools.  

This morning on Radio Times, Donna Cooper, executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and Charles Zogby, secretary of the Budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, debated the issue of funding for public education in Pennsylvania.


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Comments (19)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 18, 2013 3:51 pm
Zogby is just a union-buster. He doesn't care about the children.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on October 19, 2013 6:30 am
Thank you Donna for being a strong advocate for adequate funding for our public schools. Your expertise was clearly evident. As to Mr. Zogby, I found much of what you said to be lacking in substance and dishonest. You did not even have the courage or honesty to answer Helen Gym's question. I also find the bargaining stance of holding our children hostage in your political power, money, and ego games to be unconscionable and unethical. You play your games while Philadelphia's schoolchildren suffer every day. The harm to them caused by your actions is irreparable.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on October 20, 2013 4:39 pm
Rich, I completely agree with your points. I listened to the interview from the website and Mr. Zogby frequently beat around the bush when it came to answering questions, including Helen Gym's. Unfortunately, Mr. Zogby isn't alone is his opinion. In today's Inquirer, there is an editorial which says that the PFT needs to do its share and make concessions. I believe that every PFT member should pay into their health care. I do. However, the salary cuts are completely unreasonable and offensive. Philadelphia's teachers are underpaid compared to their suburban counterparts. We deal with more difficult kids and have fewer supplies. Where is the shared sacrifice from the charter schools? Discovery CS has a brand spanking new building, right up the street from the former Joseph Leidy School. Each of Mastery's schools has FOUR Assistant Principals: One of instruction, one for culture, one for operations, and one for specialized services. Where is the shared sacrifice? Zogby says that the Commonwealth needs to incubate the nascent national gas industry. As Ms. Cooper pointed out, the gas industry isn't nascent. Also, the Marcellus shale is here; it's not moving anywhere. The taxes shouldn't be unreasonable, but taxes can be higher. Unfortunately. Republicans seem to view any taxes as too high. Mr. Zogby says he opposes seniority being the determinant of how employees are assigned. Well why doesn't he attach strings to money that goes to every other district in the state as well, because seniority isn't just the policy in the SDP, it's universal throughout the state. Mr. Zogby greatly oversimplifies the issue of seniority. There's a reason why seniority exists. Radio Times did a great show on this issue, "The debate over teacher seniority." Marty Moss-Coane interviewed Dr. Richard Ingersoll from UPenn. Dr. Ingersoll used to teach high school. He really understands the issue of seniority as was able to discuss the reasons why it exists as well as some of the downsides of it. He believes that a peer review system of evaluation is the best system for evaluating teachers. Listen to the interview here: EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 20, 2013 1:21 am
Interesting Donna Cooper and Zogby agree the district is wasting money paying for masters programs (and then raises) that almost every study show have zero impact on results. Then Donna Cooper says, 'Well, that's only $80 million out of a $2.x billion budget". BTW, impressive to be so cavalier about wasting a boatload of money while demanding even more. Zogby surprisingly doesn't follow up and drive the point home that until the district stops wasting the $80 million, they need not $1 more from the state or city taxpayers. Still not a $1 from the PFT who benefit from this waste. To put that in perspective, that $80 million is most of the 1% sales tax increase. So now everyone in the city will pay 1% sales tax just to support this PFT excess which has zero benefit to the kids.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on October 20, 2013 8:20 am
As I said above, I have a whole big bunch of respect for Donna Cooper. However, as to your comment that "almost every study shows" that masters degrees and raises have zero impact on results. That is a myth and belies common sense. There is no study which shows that. I have never seen anyone cite any credible, scientifically conducted research study, and have never read any credible study which leads to that conclusion. And I challenge you, or anyone else, to cite me such a study right here. Please do not cite the NCQT report as that report cited nothing but unsupported political based assertions which are untrue and outright falsifications. It is political propaganda. There is no standardized test which can possibly measure that as all standardized measures of achievement are based on a student's "cognitive growth over time" and are based on many more cognitive factors than any single teacher's impact on their cognitive growth.
Submitted by tom-104 on October 20, 2013 9:27 am
Zogby, Hite, and Cooper all preface their position on teachers being encouraged to get a Masters through their pay scale with "studies show". I have never heard them cite a study. This is important because the source of the study would tell us if this is about education or lowering educators living standards. Anytime anyone uses the phrase "studies show" they should be required to say what study, who produced it, and when. Once again they are caught in the contradiction of corporate education reform which is trying to make education a profit making enterprise. The contradiction is being in charge of the education of the next generation even as they try to devalue education itself. What message does it send to students that having highly educated teachers does not matter to their education.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on October 20, 2013 9:54 am
Thanks again Tom for bringing us back into the realm of reality. I humorously refer to that phenomenon as 'the studies show disease." Both corporate reformers and many educators go around saying "studies show" but can not cite any study which actually supports what they say. There is a difference between fact and opinion and an outright lie. Our profession of teaching and learning has always, in the past, prided ourselves on scientific study, credible research and high standards of intellectual discourse. The corporate reformers, led by the Broad Foundation, Gates Foundation and front organizations like Michelle Rhee's Students First, all resort to "telling outright lies." When I attended Michelle Rhee's recent event, I could not believe how many "outright lies" they presented as fact. They had no study to back up anything they said. It was totally orchestrated political propaganda. Lisa Haver wrote an excellent article showing how utterly meritless the NCTQ report was. It was riddled with 'the outright lie" which is now a "tactic" of the corporate reformers. What saddens me is that so many really good people buy into that Malarkey. Science is supposed to be search for truth -- at least that is what we teach our children in science class.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 20, 2013 10:20 am
Most masters are generic - education. According to Cooper's and Zogby's "studies," these have no value. Well, Hite's Masters is in education - along with most administrators. I happen to think a masters in a discipline - biology, history, English literature, etc. - is more rigorous and demonstrates academic skill as long as it requires a thesis. That said, some ed masters have thesis requirements. Would Hite have his job without this ed. masters and EdD? Probably not. I'd like my children to have teachers who have at least a masters in a discipline - just like the teachers at private schools attended by the Obama's children.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 20, 2013 8:59 am
If Zogby claims a Master's doesn't help then the state should stop requiring it. The solution is not to stop paying people as agreed when the degree was earned. So, it looks like he is saying You must get a Master's but I am going to go back on my agreement to reward you for it. This isn't even a Philadelphia issue, it is a statewide issue.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on October 20, 2013 4:47 pm
Anonymous, You are exactly right. Mr. Zogby talked about seniority and districts paying for master's degrees as if it was only an issue in Philadelphia. Of course, this is also an issue affecting every other public school district in the state as well. However, I've heard a number of comments from teachers that the District doesn't even reimburse teachers for getting a master's degree. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 21, 2013 4:13 am
The District does not pay for Masters. There are a few exceptions. (TFA gets a huge discount from Penn for their Masters in education - along with the same federal grant as City Year volunteers although TFA are making the same salary as any Philly teacher.) The District has not paid a dime for any of my Masters. Many other Districts pay for Masters and doctorates. (Yes, Lower Merion is one such district!)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 21, 2013 6:22 am
Many NJ districts pay out-of-state tuition rates for their teachers to continue education
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 21, 2013 1:10 am
These requirements that were put in place to raise costs and create barriers to entering teaching- they were done so by the unions. private schools can hire subject matter PhDs who don't have the patience for more schooling to get an Ed degree. Some of of the best teachers were phd's who loved to teach their subjects, but for whatever reason burned out of/ didnt fit in higher ed academia. What a stupid system that tells a physics or history phd that he can't teach high school without wasting his time and money (teacher's perspective) on irrelevant Ed theories.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 21, 2013 4:31 am
Some PhDs are in K-12 settings because they did not get tenure at the collegiate level. (Same with some people at 440). Granted, the job market at the university level for full time, tenure positions is tight for some degrees. That said, if TFA can get a "quicky" certification after 5 weeks - the extension for "highly qualified" for TFA was added to the extension of the federal budget - than someone with a PhD should get the same benefit. AT least someone with a PhD in math, for example, knows math. Far too many TFA have no background in what they are teaching.
Submitted by Lisa Haver (not verified) on October 20, 2013 10:41 am
Cooper has a Master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Center of Government, as well as a master’s degree in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training. [from PCCY statement announcing her appointment]
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 20, 2013 11:43 am
Yes, most professions honor advanced degrees and experience. Apparently, it doesn't matter for teachers based on "studies." In any other profession, continuing education matters.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on October 20, 2013 12:31 pm
it is mind boggling that this point of discussion continues to make inroads in the education community. hite, zogby & the rest of their "reform" friends seem to be borrowing their talking points strategy from the author of these pearls: “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.” “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.” “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” ― Joseph Goebbels
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on October 21, 2013 9:40 am
Thank you! That is exactly what s happening. The organizations and persons who have a Privatization Agenda, from the Broad Academy, to Students First, to PSP, all perform the same propaganda tactics. They are like talking Parrots. They repeat the same myths over and over again. They believe if they tell the same lie over and over again people will believe that the lie is true. What is amazing to me is that so many otherwise highly intelligent people believe them and buy into their propaganda. Whenever I hear "students first" or read editorials like "School reforms should put students first" it immediately translates in my mind to "corporations first." It is always the corporate types and the union busters saying that. The corporate propagandists will stop at nothing in their raid to turn our public schools into markets for profit. They are attacking from every angle and every vantage point. And like the meeting at the Union League, they gather to plot and plan the destruction of true public education so they can turn schools into private businesses paid for with public funds for the benefit of the profit makers like McMastery Schools or McKIPP schools. Some day I am going to write a book entitled "The Mythology of Tenure and Seniority and Its Threat to Freedom of Thought in the American School House." If the people in power really cared about our students and were to really put students first -- they would immediately staff all schools properly, thoroughly and efficiently and get off of their unconscionable bargaining tactics which put our schoolchildren in harms way. The teachers nor their unions created this mess. The management did. They need to stop projecting blame on the teachers and the PFT. They are not the axis of evil. The teachers and our principals are the ones who are heroically holding our schools, and in many instances, our children, together. What we are watching really is -- The Theater of the Absurd.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 21, 2013 9:35 am
This is a great little video on making a square from a circle on utube. Maybe we need to address these issues via social media as youth do these days. I mean Euclid did it, why not you? So if Mr. Goebbels can be excused, he ought to prove that a square is, in fact, a circle. Maybe teachers and educators need to bombard social media with their own thoughts, not just on this forum.

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