Please Join Today!
view counter

Teachers who police their own — an argument against eliminating seniority

By the Notebook on Mar 31, 2014 04:30 PM

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Last week, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite announced that the District intends to suspend the state school code and eliminate seniority as the predominant factor in all staffing decisions for the 2014-15 school year. The District has filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court to judge whether this unilateral decision is legal.

[Listen to two veteran Philadelphia teachers offer their perspective on seniority and teacher quality in the interview above.]

"Our plan helps each and every student have the right teacher with the right skill sets to support quality learning. We have seen firsthand the impact the right teachers have on students," Hite said in an official release.

"We must implement these changes now to be ready for the coming school year," he said. "In one instance, a high school chemistry teacher who was voted 'best teacher' by students lost his job simply because he lacked seniority. We cannot continue to allow that to occur."

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, whose contract with the District expired Aug. 31, has long opposed ending seniority — which exists in every other school district in the state. The PFT sees the debate about seniority as a red herring for the District's real problem: a lack of adequate resources.

PFT president Jerry Jordan has instructed the union's attorneys to "oppose strongly this bogus effort by the SRC to avoid its legal obligation to bargain in good faith."

Before the announcement was made, I sat down with two District teachers to discuss the perceptions surrounding seniority and the District's teaching workforce in general.

Robeson High School teachers Andrew Saltz and Karla Johnson related an experience far different from the "parasite" teacher narrative that they say often pervades the education-reform conversation in Philadelphia and beyond.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

Click Here
view counter

Comments (1)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 31, 2014 9:32 pm
Thanks for taking the time to do that. It's important to take opportunities like that to personalize our work. I am proud to be in the same union as you both!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

Read the latest print issue

Philly Ed Feed

Recent Comments


Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy