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What do you think about the staffing policy changes being imposed by the District?

By the Notebook on Mar 26, 2014 03:31 PM

With teachers' contract negotiations stalled, the School District announced earlier this week that it would be unilaterally making changes to a range of work rules that govern staffing in schools, while asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to affirm the District's power to do so. 

Chief among those changes is the issue of seniority, which in the fall, the District says, will no longer be a deciding factor in where teachers are placed. Instead, principals, with help from a school-based "site selection" team, will have decision-making power in the hiring of teachers and other staff. The District also said that seniority will not be the deciding factor in layoffs and recalls.

The Notebook invited written reactions from key education stakeholders to the news that the District would be enforcing changes to staffing policies. We received the following responses.


Members of the Coalition for Effective Teaching
(Six member groups: Congreso, Economy League, Philadelphia Education Fund, PCCY, Urban Affairs Coalition, and Urban League)

As members of the Coalition for Effective Teaching, we commend the District and the SRC for adopting the Coalition’s recommendations for improving how teachers are placed in schools via the hiring and transfer process. We believe that resting teacher selection decisions with principals and committees of teachers and community members will ensure a better fit for teachers and promote more cohesive school teams that work together to help our students achieve.

However, the fact that the District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers were not able to reach agreement on these reforms via the contract negotiation process is disappointing. More students will succeed in our schools if management and teachers are working together to improve student learning.  

It is now incumbent on the District to ensure these reforms are implemented well. They must provide the guidance and support principals and their site selection teams need to effectively, fairly recruit and hire staff. 

Further, the District’s elimination of the minimum staffing requirements in schools for counselors and librarians take us in the wrong direction. Where so many of our students are more likely to succeed if they could rely on the assistance of a counselor and the academic support of a librarian, further reductions in these position will put more students at risk of failure.  To the degree that financial concerns are driving these changes, we urge advocacy for adequate funding rather than reduction in essential positions.

We also understand that the contract negotiations have been made more difficult because the District suffered deep cuts in state aid and rising pension and other costs.  We recognize that both the union and the administration care deeply about the students in the District.  However, we believe that all parties must recommit themselves to reaching an agreement on a contract so that the real work of educating our children can become the common focus of everyone employed in the District.


City ​Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown

I stand firmly on the side of teachers and their right to collectively bargain for a fair and competitive contract. We must encourage a fair dialogue, respectful of the working conditions teachers need to succeed. Where teachers succeed, students succeed.

What is lost in the conversation of wages, seniority, hours, and site selection is the issue of talent retention. Workplace quality of life is a direct link to keeping the most talented teachers here in the School District of Philadelphia. The question should be, “How do we create a workplace quality of life that retains strong, committed and talented educators?”

The School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers can take lessons from other districts that have negotiated site selection and pay systems that put the needs of students first. Ultimately, we must come to a comprehensive, holistic package that gives Philadelphia a competitive edge in the talent bidding war. We need to hear from teachers themselves, through the collective bargaining process that which they need to succeed.

If we shortchange our teachers, we are ceding the battle to attract the best and brightest educators from the get-go. You get what you pay for, so we must use our resources, our collective ideas and energy to recruit and retain talent. 


State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila. 
Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the recent announcement by the School District on new staffing guidelines for the 2014-2015 school year. While everyone agrees that every student deserves a good teacher, I am concerned about how these new staffing guidelines will affect our students and schools.

According to the District, "The new guidelines will prioritize staffing decisions based on student and school needs; a committee comprised of the principal, teachers and a parent will determine teacher staffing at each school." I have real concerns that, given the abuses associated with past site selection hiring practices of teachers, there be an equal opportunity for all teachers in a school to be considered in staffing a school. 

I am requesting specific information on these new guidelines and how they will be implemented at schools and that these new guidelines and how they are to be implemented be distributed to both the existing teachers at each school and to the parents at each school. There must be transparency and accountability in this process of staffing our schools with the most qualified teachers.

Whatever is done should be fair to teachers and should be built on a partnership between teachers and the SRC, rather than an adversarial relationship.


State Sen. Vincent Hughes

This is an issue best settled at the contract table through negotiations. I am disappointed that the SRC continues to go in this direction, when that was not the original intent when the SRC language was drafted over a decade ago. The SRC must determine a better and more thoughtful way to work with the educators and other school district personnel, who are on the front line in the education of our children. 

This is a manifestation of the strangulation of the Philadelphia School District, through hundreds of millions of dollars of budgetary cuts that the governor has been successful in securing. We have schools that are in crisis with insufficient staff and resources, schools that are in lockdown, and schools that are loosing their status as state-of-the-art models of education. Until those resources are replenished, and we can make sure that every school is a high-quality academic institution, it is imperative that everyone works together. That is the only way to get through this crisis.  

The action the SRC has taken does not indicate a desire for a spirit of cooperation. I only hope that we can forestall the implementation of their directive to abandon the bargaining table, and that a more cooperative tone can be taken. The children only suffer in the current climate.


Mark Gleason
Philadelphia School Partnership, executive director

We applaud Dr. Hite and the SRC for acting to ensure principals and school communities can take the steps needed to best serve their students. What’s more, this announcement comes on the heels of District principals agreeing to reform the seniority provisions in their contract as well.

This is a necessary step, but not a silver bullet. Putting responsibility for managing talent more squarely in the hands of principals creates big opportunities for school improvement. Now it's up to principals, with support from the District, to fulfill that responsibility fairly, strategically and proactively.


Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS)

While Superintendent Hite promotes this action as necessary to insure that every student gets “the right teacher with the right skill-sets to support quality learning”, the District has presented no evidence that universal site selection and elimination of seniority will lead to this outcome. Roughly half the positions in the District are already filled by means of site selection with mixed results.

PCAPS believes that improved professional development and competitive compensation that could attract and retain good teachers is a course that would improve teaching and learning. But the District instead calls for cutting compensation and attacking due process rights that teachers across the state, including those in the highest performing schools, have had for decades.

Moreover, as a labor-community coalition we are concerned with the District’s rejection of collective bargaining and their embracing privatization as the road forward. The current announcement includes a decision to privatize substitute services through competitive bidding. Philadelphia’s working families see the shrinking number of union jobs and the continual downward spiral of wages as a major issue and so do we.


The following two statements were issued Monday, when the District announced its action.

Bill Green
School Reform Commission, chairman

The School Reform Commission supports the Superintendent’s efforts to implement the Action Plan, and we will use every measure at our disposal to ensure our students have a great education in the best schools possible. The Action Plan and these needed reforms merit additional financial support from the State and City governments.


Jerry Jordan
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, president

The School District and the SRC have chosen to forsake negotiating in good faith in favor of a legal end-around to avoid meaningful contract talks with the PFT. The members of the PFT are partners in public education, not indentured servants. Today's action by the school district belittles every PFT member, and signals an unwillingness to reach a fair contract with the city's educators. 

The PFT has successfully negotiated every contract since 2001 with the SRC under Act 46, and sees no reason not to do the same this year. But the district has been unwilling to withdraw any of their contract proposals, many of which undermine educators, jeopardize school safety and remove programs and services from our children. The School District and SRC chairman Bill Green have made it clear that they view Philadelphia's teachers and school staff as entitled and overpaid pawns, rather than critical members of the school community. 

We have instructed our attorneys to oppose strongly this bogus effort by the SRC to avoid its legal obligation to bargain in good faith over all of these issues. The educators, parents and students of Philadelphia want schools that are adequately funded, and provide children with the 
tools, material and conditions they need for a high quality education.

The PFT believes that collaboration, not litigation, is the best way to provide our children the education they deserve.


This post has been updated.

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Comments (60)

Submitted by DM (not verified) on March 26, 2014 4:38 pm
Before Bill starts asking for teacher concessions, I'd like to know how much money the District is spending to implement this botched Common Core and the testing that comes with it. Let's get rid of that first before asking for hand-backs.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 6:30 pm
I'm shocked there aren't going to be wage and benefit concessions. This is better than the deal we offered.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 6:46 pm
don;t exhale, this isn;t a contract, they just want permission to forfeit seniority immediately
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 6:47 pm
And they admitted that they don't have the right to impose wage and benefit changes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 6:43 pm
You're Living In A Fantasy World. They Intend To Impose Concessions And Let The PFT Sue In Court.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 8:07 am
They already imposed wage changes when they stopped step raises.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 1:41 am
Swamp the email boxes of Green, Hite, and other SRC members. Perhaps, aside from Billy the Kids Green / Hite , the other 4 SRC members have a conscience and actually care about their students and the people that spend about 7 hours with them daily --teachers and other staff. Green,Hite, SRC members read the supplement in the Phila. Inquirer last Sunday about top companies to work for in Philadelphia and every one of their leaders stated that they listen to employees, treat employees with respect,dignity,(knowing they are more productive under this relationship) and are fair to them when it comes to pay ,benefits, and working conditions. You SDP leaders have no clue about working, dealing with workers or students. The filthy , evil rich use you all as puppets to do their dirty work.How dumb can you be? All the rich want is more money , power for their greedy self -centered,uncaring, self.They will probably promise you a inflated salary job when when run you all out of town with pitch forks hopefully. Email the so-called "leaders" that run the District. Swamp their email addresses with your opinion. In addition, fill out the form email written by the union to them, link below. William Hite Email: Bill Green Email: School Reform Commission Email:
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 9:57 am
I think we need to do a bit more than "swamping email boxes"!!!!!!!!!!!!! How dumb can we be is right!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 4:04 pm
I agree, stronger tactics need to be implemented asap.I've been saying that for some time.
Submitted by Proud Teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2014 5:27 pm
I have been teaching in the SDP for the past 11 years. My wife has been teaching in the SDP, as well, for the past 5 years. From the onset, the SDP promised us that if we furthered our education, we would not only become more effective educators, but we would also earn a better income. This was a promise made not only to us, but to all educators in the SDP. And so, my wife and I took out $42,000.00 in student loans. We did this because we have 4 children, one who is in his senior year of college. 3 out of our 4 children still live at home. I worked very hard to earn my M.Ed., plus 60 additional credits, obtain 2 different certifications, and 10 years of satisfactory service. My wife worked very hard to earn her M. Ed., plus 30 credits. Effective in September of this past year, our pay was frozen and our seniority and Career Senior Teacher status is in jeopardy. What is the SDP's response: "Sorry!" Well, we, along with our sisters and brothers who are in the same boat, are very sorry, indeed. Sorry that we believed in a district that not only turns its backs on teachers who truly try to continually improve upon our professional development, but absolutely love the work we do, and our students, as well. Some out there might just be thinking: "Suck it up! Times are tough for everyone." Could you ever trust a boss again who made the same promise to you for 10 years, only to renege? I hope not. Believe me, I'm all for reform. But we need to be in on this, all together, in a way that will not only enhance opportunities for our students, but for those who have sacrificed so much for the honor of educating them.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 9:59 pm
Don't suck it up! Times are only tough for the bottom 90%, and only because we don't put up a fight. The top 10% are better then ever.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 26, 2014 6:13 pm
As long as "the people" play the dunce and accept the crumbs that's what they'll get. "The Austerity Program" is only for the middle class and poor, certainly not for the top 25%. It's a ruse and playing the fool is what they want us to do and many are. When that stops, things will improve. This isn't complicated. Hite is ONLY here to end Public Ed. so the corporations can increase their profit margins. Corbett, Nutter, Gleason et al are all doing the bidding of ALEC etc. too.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on March 26, 2014 7:27 pm
The position of the coaltion is essentially that of Mark Gleason's, with some hand-wringing thrown in. Shame on these groups whose stated missions is to advocate for those who are most vulnerable, and have been most victimized, including children and people of color. They have no problem turning their backs on the people who serve those populations every day. Their positions on education are not based on experience in the classroom or any type of hands-on teaching. They have no idea what it is like to have to work under an incompetent or petty administrator whose ascension up the career ladder is her primary consideration. How disappointing to see those who consider themselves progressives commending those engaged in outright union-bashing. Hite and Green are using the same tactics that Scott Walker did in Wisconsin: use a financial crisis--created by their own negligence and mismanagement--to take collective bargaining rights away from union members.
Submitted by Proud Teacher (not verified) on March 26, 2014 7:12 pm
I respectfully state that "negligence" is an inappropriate term. Not to parse words, Lisa, but I think you would agree that this is extremely calculated and intended.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 9:23 pm
Thank you Lisa. I hope that each of the organizations in this "Coalition" will be asked to publicly answer whether they stand by that statement, which largely gives a stamp of approval to changes that will negatively impact both teachers AND students.
Submitted by inthetrenches (not verified) on March 27, 2014 4:22 am
Yes, Gleason is once again drooling his $235,000/annual salary plus generous benefits and laughing as the so-called "liberals" mimmic the platform of the right wing hedge funders. All of the organizations drink at the same contaminated well as Gleason. Shame on them and the "leaders" who are continuing to drink the funding of the Phila. School Dictatorship - yes, Workshop, SLA, "new" high schools, HIll-Freeman - while other schools are parched. You are part of the "divide and conquer" regime of Michelle Rhea, Gleason, Walmart/Walton Fd., Koch Brothers, Gates Fd., Broad Fd., TFA, etc. Chris Lehman loves to brag - well, where are your words now?????
Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 5:53 am
Lisa, about those tactics of using a financial crisis. Isn't that precisely how we got into this mess over a decade ago? Act 46 was written precisely with Philadelphia in mind. They placed a financial trigger inside the law that would hand our schools over to Harrisburg if they could not meet their financial obligations. Then they deliberately underfunded the schools. David Hornbeck announced an early school closing if the SDP did not receive an additionsl $75 million (peanuts by today's standards) and our mayor John Street, who was busy financing the new sports complex, was unwilling to help. Snap, bang, pop. The trigger was pulled, as planned. This fits neatly into the overarching plan stated in "Tough Choices or Tough Times" the 2007 document that outlined the business world's plans for American education. The end goal is to have every state in the country in complete charge of education and to "sell" management of every school district in the state to private corporations. Privatization of all public assets is the ultimate goal.
Submitted by Geoffrey Winikur (not verified) on March 27, 2014 10:37 am
How can this group call itself The Coalition for Effective Teaching when they are not even educators?Notice how these neo-liberal advocacy groups are more interested in teachers sacrificing wages than demanding fair and equitable funding from the state, the dissolution of the inherently corrupt SRC and the inclusion of teacher expertise in designing meaningful PD. They are afraid of Corbett and Nutter. They are blindly loyal to Hite.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 11:01 am
And thank G-d they are NOT educators. Who starts an organization, and prints out a big banner with Coalition spelled wrong? Remember, they USED to be called The Coaltion for Effective Teaching.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 7:08 pm
City Council Reps say they support the teachers but fail to support w funding the district..
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 7:34 pm
So now the best schools get the best teachers and the worst schools get the worst teachers?
Submitted by Sally M. (not verified) on March 26, 2014 8:58 pm
I would like to know exactly how Principals will determine a "right fit" of students to teachers? Every spring, new classes are formed at each grade level for the following Sept. How will each Principal know in advance which teacher to choose to be the perfect fit for each new-formed class of students? This question is particularly disturbing in regard to Principals who have never been teachers…
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 8:04 pm
The illusion of control the principals will have... The principals who have only been in their school for 2 years or less... The influx of short-term temporary and inexperienced TFA "teachers"... The lack of resources in every school (no counselor, no assistant principal, no librarian, no nurse)... The absolute power of a principal who may not even be WELL QUALIFIED TO LEAD (albeit this is probably a small number)... No retention of experienced leaders... shall I go on? this is a mess
Submitted by D. Grill (not verified) on March 26, 2014 8:59 pm
While I agree with the Coalition's statement concerning the elimination of minimum staffing requirements for counselors, librarians and nurses, I agree with Lisa concerning the Coalition's position on the elimination of seniority. Anyone who has had any practical experience in the classroom and knowledge of school politics would not take the stand that they have. They are engaging in union bashing, and I suspect that deep down inside they know that.
Submitted by Anne Tenaglia (not verified) on March 26, 2014 9:04 pm
I am very disappointed, but not surprised, to hear that PSP, Congreso, Urban League, etc. are commending the SDP and SRC in unilaterally changing the work rules. We have had site selection for over a decade in the schools that have a working relationship among the teachers, parents and administrators. It has worked well for the most part. Consider for a moment why the other schools have not opted for site selection. I'd bet in most cases it was because of an incompetent/unfair administrator. There has to be an element of trust as well as a common goal in the school for site selection to work. Rather than worry so much about the teachers, I'd worry about the principals and whether they are effective or not. I'm not talking test scores here. I'm talking good leadership which encourages rather than punishes, which delegates responsibility where possible and that encourages teachers to think outside he box for solutions to school problems. Someone who allows highly qualified teachers to have autonomy in lesson planning and lesson execution. Seniority in these buildings, the ones with the bad principals, is necessary to insure fair and equitable dealings with the teachers. All these work rule changes do is to pit teachers against administration and reinforces the idea that 440 is clueless about what REALLLY goes in the schools. This will result in many excellent, experienced teachers going elsewhere to teach. leaving the district in dire straits with too many inexperienced teachers who will always be looking for something better. Shame on the SDP and SRC.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 9:23 pm
I am a National Board Certified Teacher. I have frequently looked for teaching opportunities in different schools across the District. From my personal experience, applied critical thinking, analysis and reflection, I can tell you with certainty that I never experienced an SDP principal who knew how to conduct an effective site selection interview. I have also worked in a school where employees were family members and friends of the principal who hired them, and the best hires they were not. They did not cultivate students' respect for school employees and behaved in less than a professional manner.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 9:46 pm
So how will site selection work in years like this one when, like, ONE QUARTER of the principals are new? It's also important to separate discussions of the role of seniority in site assignments, from the role of seniority in layoffs and recalls. The latter opens the door to significant discriminatory layoffs, and easily could endanger the entire professional life and livelihood of good teachers whose mistake is being too old/expensive, outspoken on their principles, needing disability accommodation, etc. Sure, that's illegal, but very many illegal things happen and most of them never see redress or justice.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on March 26, 2014 9:23 pm
Maybe the coaltion members could answer the question I asked Dr. Hite at the February SRC meeting: how do these rules work in every other district-- including those with "successful outcomes" like Lower Merion, Council Rock and Lower Moreland-- but not here? Dr. Hite says his plan does not work with existing union protections. If they work everywhere else, then it is obvious that the problem is with his plan. That's what needs to be revised. Explain why the teachers in Philadelphia do not deserve the same workplace protections as every other teacher in the state.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 26, 2014 10:17 pm
As you and I well know, this is all about union busting and profit margins and the correlation between the 2. Period-----------end of story.
Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 7:01 am
Exactly,Joe. Unions stand in the way of autonomous control by management which is their only goal. Before the union, teachers who were and are mostly women had to accept whatever working conditions, wages and benefits that were imposed by the superintendant. If he wanted to balance his budget, all he had to do was give teachers a pay cut. He could put any number of students in the classroom and split as many grades as he wished. Teachers were burdened with a host of non-teaching duties, including walking their lines to street corners or standing on subway platforms. They had yard and cafeteria duties and female teachers had to monitor boys' bathrooms. In the new business model, it is possible to go back to giving teachers non-teaching duties and even to use children for adult tasks, just so they would not have to hire such help. Look for them to eliminate preparation time as they fill that time with unrelated tasks formerly done by administrators and counselors. Of course this is about extending profit margin. This is the philosophy of libertarian economists like Milton Friedman who states that profit is the only factor in making business decisions.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 27, 2014 8:25 am
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, some--many--of our fellow posters, are becoming sidetracked by minutia and are STILL looking for a silver lining which is purely stuck on stupid to paraphrase Thomas Paine. Hite is ONLY here to end Public Ed. There is no balance there, no silver lining, no compassion etc. He's The Manchurian Candidate sent from The Broad Foundation. Yes, Milton Friedman is also amazingly cold blooded. What a Guy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's remember, Obama rubber stamps all this abuse on our democracy too.
Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 10:02 am
Sadly, Joe, we have no advocates in the White House. Arne Duncan is another Broad trainee. When Obama talks about funding Early Childhood education, he is not talking about expanding anti-poverty programs but more commercialization of pre-school. Head Start is being outsourced everywhere. The point here is not to prepare children for school but to prepare them to be obedient test takers. Curriculum is being pushed down to younger and younger children while high school students are offered a chance to take college level courses. If the plan goes forward, there will be exit exams in the 10th grade. Getting the "work force" into tertiary education earlier and earlier is the trend. But to do that you have to begin teaching very young children how to manage the technology and fill in the bubbles.. Then the idea is to teacher proof this process as much as possible, using techniques like "blended learning" which puts kids in front of computers for hours every day. With that plan, they can hire fewer teachers. Education will become more and more scripted. Easier for amateur TFAs to manage. Keep the work force in flux and you do not need to worry about unions and all their pesky demands for working conditions and professional wages and benefits.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 10:07 pm

When will the Philadelphia taxpayers wake up, demand the SRC - a group of unaccountable, politically appointed hacks who run back to their law firms or banking jobs after destroying our schools - be tossed out and replaced with a school board who is elected by, and answerable to the taxpayers of the City?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 10:08 pm
Can we take cues from Mayor de Blasio's schools chancellor in NY and get a requirement that people making the policies have to have actually done work in the schools and be in it for the long term? Like what they've now put in place up there for principals - - no more of this hobby tourism, with business dilettantes with no idea of the real-world implications of the policies they push...
Submitted by union member (not verified) on March 26, 2014 10:20 pm
All SRC members should make individual statements at the next meeting explaining why they support this action. I would really like to hear what Sylvia Simms, who was a union member herself, has to say. The Mayor said that he chose her so that she could represent the community. He must have meant the Comcast community or the PSP community, because she has not done anything to protect the parents or the students or the teachers. She voted to close schools with the rest of them. Now she will vote to throw the people she once worked with under the bus. She owes us an explanation why.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 6:36 pm
How about the student/parent communty. Oh, whoops. Wrong message board!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 11:03 pm
As long as groups like PEF and PCCY get private kickbacks from PSD and PENNCAN they will continue to engage in this disgraceful game. While PEF has always been a bit shady, PCCY at least used to ask questions about the meat of the issue. These groups have given the District a ringing endorsement without even knowing what these "changes" are. The district has not outlined this new policy in practice but they are ok with it. Bad "policy" that these folks claim to be expert in. Follow the money. Shame on Darren Spellman and Donna Cooper. The others have always been slime.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 11:08 pm
Did anyone forget that PENNCAN used to be a coalition member along with PSP, interesting they no longer are on the statement. How convenient.
Submitted by good speller (not verified) on March 26, 2014 11:16 pm
From the 50Can web page: Posted by Jonathan Cetel on Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 16:37 "Today, PennCAN is proud to join the Coalition for Effective Teaching, a diverse collection of organizations united by our common commitment to doing what’s best for Pennsylvania kids. Along with the Urban League of Philadelphia, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and other local groups, PennCAN believes that the upcoming teacher contract negotiations in Philadelphia are a critical opportunity to reach a decision that puts students and the quality of their learning first." Is PA Education Voters still part of the coalition?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2014 11:55 pm
Education voters blows wherever the wind does. It's a desperate one woman show. I'm sure she's part of the sham.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on March 27, 2014 9:27 am

I thought the most revealing statement in the District's press release about why they were doing this was Hite saying they have to do this "to be able to compete with charter schools."    In charter schools, with a handful of exceptions there are no unions, teachers are at will employees and there are no checks on authority of charter managment.  The corporate reformers promote deprofessionalizing teaching.  There are large numbers of inexperienced and uncertified teachers.   Teacher turnover is huge.   Charters rely heavlily on Teacher for America.    This is the future the SRC seeks for the District.

Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 10:09 am
Exactly, Ron. I call it the "Walmartization" of education. Get the cheapest most expendable workers to do a scripted job. Use "economies of scale" and try to force human beings to sit on an assembly production line. Calling the process "quality seats" and "value added teaching" are dead giveaways that the full fledged quantatative business model is being imposed on what was formerly a qualitative process. If foreign agents tried to come here and impose such a fascist program on our education system, we would call their actions terrorism.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 6:51 pm
I call it "The employer hires the employee" not the other way around.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 10:45 am
The whole point of this move is to make the union ineffective. It's not about improving education. It's not about reading levels or college readiness. It is about being able to get rid of teachers who cost too much. If seniority is crushed, teachers have no employment security. A teacher could be fired due to racism, sexism, nepotism, retribution or any whim under the guise of a poor evaluation. The problem the district faces is lack of resources. Our seasoned teachers are highly qualified, consummate professionals who are exposed to cutting edge methods through required act 48 professional development credits. Our teachers are faced with an untenable situation- growing class size and poor resources. For goodness sake, we have to provide our own printer paper.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on March 27, 2014 10:14 am

Yes, Gloria.   Heard a segment on NPR about Amazon using computers to track what workers are doing every second of the workday.  If a specific task is not completed in the allotted time the computer starts beeping, demerits are entered on the employees record, etc.   Old fashion Taylorism raised to a new level with digital technology.   We can see it coming in teaching.


Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 11:16 am
Yes, Ron, and that is the principle behind "value added assessment". So called "effective teachers" would be those who could raise test scores from one year to the next Teacher pay would be tied to this kind of mechanical, assembly line performance. Making the whole process standard and scientifically measureable would make it easier to determine which teachers should be retained, paid bonuses or removed. Mostly it would make unions useless. It would also kill any creativity or educational innovation. If it is not on the test, why teach it, even if it would enrich children's lives? Why bother with music or art or dance or any of the creative and performing arts? We cannot let the philistines win!!!!
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on March 27, 2014 2:26 pm

You are so right!  And their at the gate.


Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 3:26 pm
Nay, Ron, they are within!!!!!
Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on March 27, 2014 3:37 pm
Nay, Ron, they are within!!!!!
Submitted by Lisa Haver on March 27, 2014 7:23 pm
It's also new-fashioned PD from the pages of the Mastery handbook. Is there anyone who works at one of the four schools in which a Mastery PD coach has been embedded? I'd appreciate your emailing me. Thanks.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on March 27, 2014 7:55 pm
"By any means necessary," comes to mind. They need to go !! Our more affluent suburban peeps need to be very, very worried too. "First They Came." The top 10% will always be fine but the other 90% are all fair game for these cretins.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on March 27, 2014 9:34 pm
Mark Gleason's statement that "Putting responsibility for managing talent more squarely in the hands of principals creates big opportunities for school improvement" reflects (a) a lack of respect for schools as community institutions and (b) lack of respect for teachers. Schools are community institutions. While some schools have principals who have a lot of longevity at the school, there is high turnover at the principal position. I think it's fair to say that at most District-run schools, the staff person who has been at the school the longest is someone other than the principal. Thus, the idea of giving so much power to principals who come and go, some of whom will have this power without even spending much time in the community, should give everyone pause. How can a principal know who will best meet the needs of students if he or she learns of being assigned to a new school in April or May? If PSP's definition of school improvement means test scores, then maybe the principal can figure out what best meets the needs of students. But if doing what is genuinely best for students---providing a safe, enriching, nurturing environment for learning---is the goal, then the school leader MUST have familiarity with the community. Mr. Gleason's statement also communicates a lack of respect for teachers because an assumption which underlies his statement is that principals must have the power over staff persons in order to achieve results. He doesn't even say teachers or even personnel, but talent. He appears to be endorsing a very top-down, autocratic approach. Anyone who works in a District-run school knows that principals have a lot of power already vested in their positions. They can sign off on paperwork. They control the budget. They can keep a tight reign on supplies. Some principals use the power to a greater extent than others. Some principals see teachers pretty much as equal to themselves whereas other principals create a greater power distance between himself/herself and teachers. My question is, what checks and balances are in place to ensure that Full Site Selection actually includes community involvement? How committed is the District to ensuring the integrity of the process and guaranteeing community involvement?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on March 27, 2014 11:32 pm
What we need more than site selection of teachers is site selection of principals and assistant principals. What counts most in schools is the "community of a school." We profess to want schools to be "professional learning communities" yet we act in ways which are the opposite of that and do things which destroy the sense of community. Communities, to be healthy communities, must choose their own leaders. In healthy communities it is a symbiotic relationship. The community should decide who gets selected as their teachers and principals. There was a time, not too long ago, where we all were supposed to be site selected to be a principal or AP. The most important thing is leadership chemistry with the community. It is not the principal's school. It is the school community's school. That may be too forward thinking though, for the present management culture.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on March 28, 2014 6:07 am
I only disagree with ONE word Rich- may. It IS to forward thinking for the current management culture. I am glad you substituted management culture for current SDP "leadership"
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 9:05 pm
I'm tired. I'm tired of the bashing. I'm tired of the phone calls from my non-teacher relatives that think they have the answer. I'm tired of the lack of consequences promoted by the SDP. I'm tired of the students who know this and perpetuate the lack of expectations by the district policies that are not enforced. I wish I could help you all. But, I'm too tired. Tomorrow, I will submit my resignation. I apologize to my coworkers, since we've been through HELL this year and I know how tired the rest of you are.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 28, 2014 6:08 am
I will no longer enforce level 1 offenses. Period. Parents run to charter schools because of issues like this. We are a failed enterprise from the top down. Not to worry, City of Philadelphia, because you will get what you pay for, that is a basic rule of economics. Don't pay for education, go ahead. There were at least 6 more cell phones out all period yesterday. Kids hear this news, or hear others discuss it, and they just love the chaos. Obama is a mystery man. He steps up for the poor but blames the very people reaching out to better the lives of their children for their problems.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 28, 2014 10:28 am
Yep, me too. I have been with district for 19 years . I can't do this anymore. I want to continue teaching, but not here. I will be giving notice in April.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 29, 2014 9:18 pm
I've been in the district for 11 years and I am so over all the drama. Students fight, disrespect teachers, swear at them with no consequences, get high, roam halls, fight on twitter, and get promoted to the next level on 7 th grade reading levels. It's all a joke to the SRC, the PSD, the kids, the parents, and those in charge. Why do we bother? Because its that one students maybe we can reach! But how much can we take? We pay for our own classroom supplies and feed our students. But now they want to cut our salaries, take more abuse and trash us! Really what's the answer?? I'm tired too!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 10:19 pm
I'm with ya. Right now I am on the year by year plan. I don't know how much more BS I can handle. I am a good teacher with experience and I am working on my resume to get a job in another field. Every year the crap just keeps getting thicker. I will truly miss the kids!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 27, 2014 10:53 pm
Who would have thought that our first African American president would have been so anti African American children. He is supporting continued racism in our educational system. He should be ashamed of himself.

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