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District announces 342 layoffs, mostly aides; move unrelated to cigarette tax

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 10, 2014 12:25 PM

Updated | 3:25 p.m.

The School District announced 342 layoffs Thursday, most of them noontime aides and special-education classroom assistants.

But the total also includes eight assistant principals, three conflict-resolution specialists, and 15 assistants in Head Start classrooms.

District spokeswoman Raven Hill said that these layoffs were mostly the result of budget decisions made by principals and are not related to the 1,300 layoffs that may be necessary if the legislature fails to give final approval to a cigarette tax to raise funds for the District.

Superintendent William Hite has said that without the tax, which is expected to raise between $45 million and $69 million in its first year, he would not be comfortable opening schools on time. The 1,300 layoffs, which he said would have to begin Aug. 15, would result in bigger classes and other service reductions, he said.

"I've indicated over and over again that I have no intention of putting 40 children in a classroom. I have no intention of reducing services beyond where they've been reduced," he said Wednesday.

Hite also told reporters Wednesday that there might be some layoffs relating to "repurposing" funds.

"We are repurposing staff. [Some people who are] assisting students now, their roles would be eliminated," he said. "I don’t anticipate significant layoffs, but we have repurposed some positions."

Robert McGrogan, president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators (CASA), represents the assistant principals and two people who work in the central office who were laid off. He was livid and said he was considering legal action.

McGrogan said that the District says it needs more bilingual assistant principals who speak Spanish and could have reassigned people to minimize the layoffs, but chose not to.

"I know we have Spanish-speaking members working in communities where they don’t utilize the second language where they happen to work," he said. "We’re talking about people’s livelihoods. They're being laid off and told that if they spoke a second language, it wouldn't happen."

He said that 22 assistant principals laid off last year have not been called back. Adding these eight assistant principals, the District "is bypassing 30 employees" while advertising for some higher-level administrators who would not be working directly with children. 

In March, CASA agreed to significant concessions, including salary reductions, to help address the District's funding shortfall. The contract, which reduced starting and top salaries and modified benefits, would save $20 million over three years.

"I am beside myself," McGrogan said. "The concessions this organization took, I suspected we would be secure temporarily with regard to the workforce."  

The 2015 budget approved by the School Reform Commission at the end of June included $5.5 million in reduced special-education costs, described as "management review of identified savings through more efficient allocation of resources."

Parents United for Public Education tweeted that it is considering legal action regarding cuts to special education and bilingual services.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, called them part of the "nightmare of an underfunded education system" and a "crippling blow" to students who rely on the support of the aides. 

"The loss of these services is a tragedy for our neediest students and an unacceptable way to run a school district. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers will work to restore each one of these positions," Jordan said in a statement.

PFT represents all the other workers on the list except for the noontime aides, who are represented by Unite Here Local 634.

The layoff notices are scheduled to go out on Thursday and Friday this week.

Following is a list of layoffs provided by the District. A LIMA is a "library and information management assistant," and a BCA is a "bilingual counseling assistant." Noontime aides supervise the lunchroom and perform other duties.  

 

Position Type Number of Layoffs
Special Education Classroom Assistant/One-to-One 157
Noontime Aide 147
Teacher Assistant/Pre-K Head Start 15
Assistant Principals 8
Career and Technical Support Assistant 4
Conflict Resolution Specialist 3
LIMA 2
Community Relations Liaison 2
Central Office Employees 2
BCA-Laotian 1
Sign Language Interpreter 1
Total 342

 

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Comments (57)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 2:26 pm

Up to this point, Special Education has pretty much been a sacred cow. It absorbs an inordinate share of a rapidly dwindling pot of school district revenue. This has served to keep the lid on all sorts of nasty possibilities. But beware. As funding falls and the amount of mandated SPED paperwork continues to grow exponentially, as severely disturbed pupils with horrific psychiatric problems and penchants for assault continue to be dumped into Philly classrooms with no assistants, as charter schools skim off the 504's and those with the mildest (read "least expensive") learning and physical problems - leaving the worst of the worst for the under-manned public schools - as the number of college students majoring in Special Ed continues to plummet precisely because of the hellacious responsibilities, the ever present danger, and the pitiful salaries - things are going to get quite desperate. THIS is why the state of Pennsylvania now mandates that ALL new teachers must be Special Ed certified - so that 10 SPED kids who are vicious, threatening and out-of-control can be pushed into a classroom with 30 non-SPED kids, thus saving one whole teacher's salary even as a powderkeg situation is forced upon the poor instructor who must somehow try to keep it all under control. How ironic that on the very day that 157 SPED assistants are laid off,  PFT sends me a notice advising me of new RTII (Response to Intervention) training wherein "those students with learning and behavior needs ...are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning." My question is "WHO is left to provide such interventions??!!!" Seriously - just how out of touch can the PFT get with the harsh realities of working in the trenches? And how naieve can the SDP be to believe that this situation won't explode in a very big way?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 3:26 pm

Did you just refer to children as vicious? I'm glad you're not teaching my kids. Disgusting.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:39 pm

You obviously haven't spent much time in classroom if you aren't aware that there a vicious children entering our schools. Just because your own children may be well behaved that does not mean there aren't other ones that a not only vicious, but dangerous. Save your disgust for the Hite and his posse who are dumping these children into mainstream classrooms with no support while he still continues to pay out raises to his flunkies.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:56 pm

vi·cious
?viSH?s/
adjective

deliberately cruel or violent.
"a vicious assault"
synonyms: brutal, ferocious, savage, violent, dangerous, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, callous, cruel, harsh, cold-blooded, inhuman, fierce, barbarous, barbaric, brutish, bloodthirsty, fiendish, sadistic, monstrous, murderous, homicidal;

"a vicious killer"
malicious, malevolent, malignant, malign, spiteful, hateful, vindictive, venomous, poisonous....


 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 6:53 pm

Unfortunatetly, there are some students who 

1. because of lack of a consistant caring home,

2. parents who are are not following through with treatment,

 

3. parents who need treatment themselves for their own issues

4. AND schools with faculty and staff who MUSTcare for more than ONE SP ED student at any give time,

VISCIOUS children appear in SDP building.

 

I mt m first second grader who along with a paren who GAVE HIM AWAY, had need for several trip to the hospital for mental health issues. That 8 year old demonstrate sexually inappropriate behavior, violent behavior with ordinary classroom items ranging from cutting another student with scissors all the way to throwing tables and chairs at other students, faculty and staff.

 

It took two years and eight school months to get him moved to a place where his mental health issues could be dealt with as he needed.

 

But guess what?.....he was not the only child in that class of 30 who needed help....the others are still in need.

 

Linda K.

 
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 6:59 pm
3 teachers were physically attacked in the school where I teach at last year. If that's not vicious then I don't know what is. Oh, and because of new guidelines and procedures, nothing happened to those children, not even a detention. The teachers who were attacked beause they tried to break up a fight or refused to be cursed out by a 10 year old have to try to teach a class of 35 who now know there are no consequences for their actions.
Submitted by Solly (not verified) on July 10, 2014 9:19 pm

Ooh, you're clever!  A definition and synonyms!

 

Wait - and it will happen to humble you - until you're attacked.  

We'll see how self-righteous you are then.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 12:17 pm

Yep. That just about covers it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 6:33 pm

Your children I could tolerate. You're a diffrent matter.

Submitted by g (not verified) on July 10, 2014 8:02 pm

The fact is-there are many violent and seriously disruptive children in the district. Some of these children are as young as 5 or 6 years old.The question is not :if you want a teacher who refers to a child as "vicious" to teach YOUR CHILD. The real question is: Do you want YOUR CHILD in a classroom with some of the children the writer so politically-incorrectly refered to? We are not talking about uncaring teachers who don't want the headache of troubled children in the classroom. We are talking about the real quantifiable THEFT of an education foisted upon the rest of the children in the room. If the seriously disruptive and/or violent children had all of their social ,emotional,and educational needs met-properly-and in a SEPARATE SETTING, we would go a long way toward increasing achievement for ALL of the students in Philadelphia. This could occur without any grand new programs and buzzwords. Just plain old-fashioned, uninterupted ,actual  teaching . This would also allow Philadelphia to retain more of the very families we need to support our city and school system. Those taxpayers who have the choice to leave a city they would otherwise choose to live in. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 11:27 am

Here, here! It never ceases to amaze me how CLUELESS people can be about the day-to-day working conditions of so many Philadelphia teachers. Damn few people can do what we do - and, predictably, damn few of us can do it for any length of time. To the dodo bird who called the poster "disgusting" for suggesting that there are, indeed, vicious pupils in our schools, I would offer this. In my decades of teaching in Philadelphia, I have been shanked four times. I have had my nose broken, I have been burned with acid thrown at me by a student in a Chemistry lab, and I have been punched, kicked, bitten, cursed and threatened more times than I could possibly count. I wish I had a nickel for every time a principal told me: "You have a special education certificate. It's all part of your job" - and actually BELIEVED it! I might add that in NO assault I suffered did the attacker ever get more than a three day suspension. Thanks to federal protections on any thug fortunate enough to be labeled "emotional support", it's always open season on teachers, but God help the instructor who should be so bold as to attempt to defend herself during an attack or attempt to neutralize a (yes) vicious assault before it happens. I clearly recall coming to school early one morning and finding a colleague of mine - an eight months pregnant history teacher - crying hysterically in a stairwell. One of her pupils had forced his way into her classroom that morning and threatened to rape her. She screamed and ran and (thank God) she wasn't assaulted, but worse than the boy's vile threat was the principal's reaction. He glowered at this five-foot-nothing woman and said, "And what did YOU do to HIM?" Years later, I can still feel this girl's horror and helplessness and my own outrage. Ironically, it was the student's father who withdrew him from the school and placed him in a disciplinary institution in Delaware. Had we waited for the principal to do the right thing, we'd still be waiting. Needless to say, my colleague did not return to school - or to teaching -  again. I should point out at this time that it is the special ed assistants and one-on-one's who  over-and-over again have prevented crisis situations like this one from escalating into assaults, stabbings, shootings and mass pandemonium. They have courageously thrown themselves into the line of fire in my classroom and throughout my school and my gratitude and sense of indebtedness to them knows no bounds. Now - with the layoff of so many - I shudder to think what this next school year will bring. My heart goes out to all Regular Ed teachers who will  be on their own in dealing with a great influx of mentally disturbed and combative "emotional support" pupils with no assistant standing between them and tragedy. No nurses, no counselors, no assistants - but the demands upon us grow more and more outrageous each school year. How in God's name did it ever get to this point? And how in God's name can we survive another year?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 12:13 pm

Only God knows how we will get through. Thank you for sharing your experiences. The average person has no clue as to what goes on in the schools today.  The situation is only going to get worst. And lastly, principals blaming teachers for these very real sick children's behaviors is going to only escalate. And it will continue to be an assault on teachers. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 6:37 pm

I have had my nose broken, I have been burned with acid thrown at me by a student in a Chemistry lab, and I have been punched, kicked, bitten, cursed and threatened more times than I could possibly count. I wish I had a nickel for every time a principal told me: "You have a special education certificate. It's all part of your job" - and actually BELIEVED it! I might add that in NO assault I suffered did the attacker ever get more than a three day suspension.

 

Why didn"t you press charges?  These are criminal offenses.  There are federal protections for special ed students, but criminal assualt lies outside of that protection.  

Don't wait for your principal to do the right thing.  YOU do the right thing.  Once you press charges, watch and see how not only the principal but the students as well give you more respect. 

 

Ironically, it was the student's father who withdrew him from the school and placed him in a disciplinary institution in Delaware. Had we waited for the principal to do the right thing, we'd still be waiting.

This teacher should have pressed charges too.  

The time for waiting for others to do the right thing is over.

Let's take back our schools.  

Submitted by Sadder But Wiser (not verified) on July 11, 2014 9:18 pm

I couldn't agree with you more. But in Philadelphia, rational action seems to result in so many infuriating consequences, that it becomes impossible not to say "The hell with it!" and simply escape to another school and a different principal. Case in point: some years ago, a fellow instructor - a middle-aged man who stood well over six feet tall and weighed well over 200 pounds - was punched in the side of the head by an "emotional support" pupil while subbing in another instructor's classroom. He wasn't hurt but right then and there, he called the Philadelphia police on his cell phone. The Philly police, in turn, contacted the School District police - who contacted the principal - who proceeded to make this man's life a living hell for daring to contact the authorities without first notifying him. This poor instructor was then subjected to endless "observations" which resulted in a plethora of disastrous reviews and  derogatory comments being placed in his file. He withstood this for about three months before he took off for a Catholic school in Bucks County. But it was a lesson to all of his colleagues: open your mouth and lose your career - sort of the academic version of "Snitches get stitches." I would dearly love to know if any other SDP teachers experienced such "payback" for standing up for themselves. My guess is that quite a few have much worse stories to tell.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 11:21 pm

I have worked under 8 different principals in this district.  Many were bullies, and one is on probation and will hopefully be removed and replaced.  

 

One thing I have learned is that the way to handle a bully is to stand up to them.  In every case that I have done this, they have backed down and went off to look for weaker prey.   Principals are no exception to this rule.  I have stood up and been assertive with bully principals, and they have left me alone and/or shown me respect.  

 

To successfully work in Philly, which seems to be a magnet for unprofessional, bullying principals, you need a strong backbone.  You need to stand up for what is right, state it assertively and professionally, and bring in the union if necessary.  

 

Allowing students to assualt you because you are afraid of speaking up and losing your job is a disservice to you and to your students.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 2:44 pm

Right on the money about standing up to principals that refuse to honor the contract, but want you to honor it. I've written the 440 crew about a principal that was stealing and they merely turned the letter over to that same principal which shows you where this administration stands. The same ones that want more money, but refuse to discipline their own principals when they steal, bully or sexually harass their staff. I've noticed since the principals' union caved in to 440 the better ones (hard to find in Philly) are leaving and awful vice principals are being hired in their places. If there was ever a time to hire strong, team-oriented principals it is now in the time of cut backs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 2:08 pm

Hand that cowardly principal a copy of "Lord Jim" and explain that the next time it happens he/she will be feeling your pain as well. As long as they have nothing to lose they could care less about your suffering. When they suddenly realize that they will also be on the receiving end then they will get off their lazy asses and start doing their job.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 3:54 pm

Because the cowards running this school district blame teachers in all cases. They are too scared to stand up to the sperm and egg donors who breed, but never parent their offspring. If you call the cops then they are suddenly under attention of their superiors so they try to shift the blame on the teachers. The cowardly leadership that has occupied the offices at 440 is a far greater crisis than even the lack of school funding.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 3:31 pm

As a Philadelphia public school teacher I denounce and dissociate myself from this comment about parents. Pathetic!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 4:41 pm

Are you the same "Anonymous" who denounced the earlier contributor for claiming that there are vicious students in our school district? Now you denounce this contributor for pointing out that some of our parents are abject failures at parenting (a point that one student puts even more starkly in today's lead story.) The first contributor was "disgusting". This contributor is "pathetic". I don't know what sort of happy juice you're drinking but please save me some - or else get me a job at Lollipop Elementary where you must surely work.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 10:32 pm

I wasn't the earlier, anon, it's just that you and the other person are in the wrong line of work. You really should look for a job where you don't have to deal with people.

Submitted by Orly (not verified) on July 13, 2014 10:25 am

With all due respect, perhaps YOU should find yourself a job where you don't have to deal with reality. There are some of us who value truth above political correctness. Or above trolls with 440 mindsets who countenance genuine outrage with feigned umbrage. Save me a swig of your Happy Juice, too.

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on July 10, 2014 9:48 pm

Children are people.  How dare you imply they are not and are not capable of being vicious!

Disgusting.

And delusional.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 12:41 pm

Children are people and sadly, many of today's children have significant emotional and mental health issues that are so problematic that they need to be in the least restrictive environment that may not be the public school. 

Have you ever sat and talked with a child who has mental health issues and have them tell you that they really can not control such factors as running out of medication, their parents not taking them for the medication appointments so that they can get refills, but their parents continue to send them to school and they continue to get into trouble because they can't control their Impluses to be destructive, harmful to self and to others? Have you ever sat with a child who cries and tells you that they don't know why they act the way that they do and that they don't want to act in ways that are not appropriate in school, but they are unable to control their behaviors? Have you ever talked to a child who wants to do the right thing, but can't sit still long enough to do it? 

Spend some time in the schools and see what is really going on instead of calling those who are in the schools names! Come into the schools and see for yourself what teachers are up against, not just teachers, but principals as well and while your there offer a handing hand!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:33 pm

I have to agree with you and with the way that things are going, it is going to get worse inside of schools. And sadly, I believe that only children with significant mental health issues, those children who have significant physical challenges, those children who are autistic are going to be the only ones left in public schools. 

To put children who have significant mental health and emotional concerns into a regular education classroom is a serious mistake. I don't know who down at 440 thinks this is going to work. Speak up, please, tell us what you are thinking when you do this? We'd like to know your plan...Our schools are lacking resources, manpower, and now you are releasing Classroom Assistants, who often are worth their weight in gold in calming a child with significant emotional and mental health issues. What can you possiblily be thinking?  

Not have the resources for children with special needs is opening up a can of worms, more like federal lawsuits.  Are you ready for the lawsuits? 

All I do is shake my head in total disgust.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on July 10, 2014 8:11 pm

Laying off Special Education Classroom Assistants/One-to-One Assistants will put the School District even further out of compliance.

Michael Basch is licking his chops, and the District will be spending even more money on out-of-district placements. 

 

Shaking my head.

 

 

Submitted by gayle Robinson (not verified) on July 10, 2014 3:13 pm
Unrelated, but in addition to what they want to do. This is an all Out assault on Public Education and it's UNION. This administration along with the SRC are destructive and dangerous to Us all. VOTE PEOPLE..
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 3:57 pm

"I am beside myself," McGrogan said. "The concessions this organization took, I suspected we would be secure temporarily with regard to the work force."  

 

Step down McGrogan.  You are weak and the principals deserve a strong leader.   

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 7:37 pm

You wimped out, you took concessions, and they backstabbed you anyway.  You fed a tiger from the palm of your hand, and then were surprised when the tiger bit your hand off.

 

You should have stood strong, shoulder to shoulder, and demanded respect.  It doesn't pay to be weak.

 

Take note, PFT.  Take note, and don't feed the tiger.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 11:33 pm

Anyone could've told them once they conceded to anything the district would just be back for more & guess what the remaining prins and asst prins will do absolutely nothing. Yellow bellies who voted themselves and colleagues out of jobs thinking they would be safe. Guess that safety net pops after a few months. Just smh & this is definitely an I told you so moment.

Submitted by Tax payer (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:39 pm

Meanwhile the folling central office positions are posted...

http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/e/ee/opportunities/job-opportunities

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:07 pm

Check out the job description for "Observation and Feedback Coach".

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:27 pm

And they are serious about filling these positions? You have got to be kidding me! 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 6:09 pm

Omigod! it's deja vu all over again! I had to deal with these outside "coaches" in California until they were literally run out of our District. My coach was a twenty-three year old know-it-all with a degree in marketing and one year's experience in Teach For America. She did not hesitate to interrupt my teaching (I had 11 years experience in teaching secondary Math) to call me out of the classroom and tell me all the things I was doing wrong. Thanks to a private sponsoring Foundation, she earned more than I did, and she took every opportunity to remind me of this fact. My colleagues and I endured her criticism and her eye-rolling until the day she threw a hissy fit at a parent-teacher meeting and called the members of our Parent Council "morons". The ill will that this arrogant little witch generated led to a vote of "no confidence" in our principal, who had invited her on site, and to her own subsequent transfer. It was an utter disaster all the way around - though I'm sure that here in Philly, it'll be all rainbows and butterflies..

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on July 10, 2014 11:18 pm

I would have to agree with you. How the District can lose 1/3 of its students and still need the same number of Assistant Superintendents (previously Regional Superintendents), with an opening for another, is pretty sad.

Why did no one suggest teacher led "achievement networks" to replace this top heavy, ineffective structure? Perhaps we were too busy vilifying, and thinking short term.

Submitted by Tax payer (not verified) on July 10, 2014 5:33 pm

correction...the following....

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 4:37 pm

The District is laying off assistant principals while at the same time hiring these so called “Observation and Feedback Coaches” who will be non-union workers charged with the same responsibility as an Assistant Principal—to assist the principal in providing instructional leadership. I believe Foundations Inc. is funding the positions, but I am not quite sure whether the folks hired for this job will be considered District employees.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 11:05 pm

Here comes Philly Plus...

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 11:10 pm

Here comes Philly Plus...

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 9:59 pm

No, actually these are actually district TEACHERS being recruited for these higher paid positions.  Those who were once members of your peer group, and who you may have taught with will NOW be OBSERVING YOU.     A colleague told me that a teacher from her school, with only 3 years teaching experience, is now in the cohort to become one of these teacher coaches.   IT'S TIME TO GET LOUD FOLKS!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 9:01 pm

No, actually these are actually district TEACHERS being recruited for these higher paid positions.  Those who were once members of your peer group, and who you may have taught with will NOW be OBSERVING YOU.     A colleague told me that a teacher from her school, with only 3 years teaching experience, is now in the cohort to become one of these teacher coaches.   IT'S TIME TO GET LOUD FOLKS!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 11:24 pm

So they are going to pit us against each other, huh? Will these individuals be apart of PFT? 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 11:27 pm

Ask around.  You will see that teachers have entered this cohort.  This is not a lie, but the truth.  I find it amusing that someone who has much less experience than I, let alone no conception of what it is that I do teach, will be assisting an AP to observe me.   I hope Jerry Jordan is aware of this latest shennanigan by the district.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 6:13 pm

Having been a spec. edc. teacher for more than 20 years in the SDP and an SEL, it has become increasingly obvious that the plan all along was to provide an "inclusive" setting to all but the most severely impaired (MDS, AS). Regular classrooms are being filled with more and more disturbed, cognitively challenged, and charter school "rejects." My job has become impossible to perform adequately, let alone very well. Add into this equation an incompetent and arrogant principal, an incompetent and arrogant spec. edc. collegue, and changes in staff every year, the stage has been set for failure for a long time now. I can only hope I survive until retirement. If this is the best we can do for our neediest kids, then I am ashamed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 8:13 pm

I have to agree with you. Inclusion has been in the works, but is something that was not clearly examined. Now, we have children who are mentally ill, who have significant emotional disturbances in classrooms with children who do not have these issues and these children are taking away from the education of the "regular" education students because the teacher has to spend time dealing with the child who is disrupting the learning process. 

Don't  get me wrong, I firmly believe in inclusion where it is possible. Many of the children who have significant mental health issues, emotional disturbances can be taught and do learn and can do well in regular education classes, however, when they are not taking their prescribed medications, they do cause problems in the classroom. Not all mentally ill children or emotionally disturbed children belong in regular education classes. 

And to add to a teacher's problems are some of the schools young inexperienced principals who sincerely believe that it is the teachers fault, that the teacher has poor classroom management skills when these children act out or disrupt the learning process. It isn't the teachers fault, these children have severe problems that can not be managed within the regular education classroom.

it is sad that education in our schools is not valued and our children are not given the resources that they need to become successful adults. We are going to wake up and public education will fail to exist. 

Submitted by slugo (not verified) on July 10, 2014 7:38 pm

Please erect a new sign atop the current one at 440 N.Broad, which,

simply reads"No Future"!

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2014 7:37 pm

I am confused. Hire has often said there are costs associated with laying people off. I am sure this is true. So why would he lay off teachers Aug 15 (incurring the cost he mentions), thus forcing class sizes to levels where he says he won't open schools? Presumably until he gets the money to hire teachers to reduce class size back to safe levels. If he is not going to open the schools with such large class sizes, then isn't laying off teachers on Aug 15 a waste of money? 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2014 11:26 am

Note only two people in the central office received layoff notices and there are numerous positions that have been posted. What is going on? You tell me that there were only two people that worked at the central office that could be laid off? If the District is in such dire straits, how does one justify identifying and posting new positions?

 

Layoff notices sent to 157 Special Education and one on ones, how do you take care of the fact that on children's IEP's, they have "one on ones provided by the School District of Philadelphia" clearly identified on their IEP's? Are parents lined up at their lawyers office getting prepared for filing suit against the District for not providing a service that is identified on their child's IEP? How is the District going to get around not providing one on ones to students?

 

Is there going to be Federal intervention against the SD for not providing what is clearly identified on a child's IEP?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 12, 2014 10:58 pm

The Observation Coaches are being hired under a grant and being managed by Bret Shields who is a know nothing getting paid lots of money with an office that does nothing and knows nothing. He along with other 440 Chiefs and Deputies salaries could be used to bring these people back.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 11:08 pm

Will these individuals be apart of PFT?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 14, 2014 3:10 pm

YES!     There are teachers from the DISTRICT recruited to become a part of this cohort.  Plain and simple, be sure to have your AP do your observations, contact the union, and make sure that the observations are indeed evidence based as per the Danielson model--and not based on whether or not you are a crony of this "teacher leader".

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 14, 2014 5:25 pm

And these same Observation Coaches/Former teachers will still be apart of the PFT? 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 14, 2014 6:48 pm

And how does the PFT represent both the Observation Coaches and the Teachers? To me it appears to be a conflict.

Submitted by phaghag on July 13, 2014 4:44 pm

I've been saying this for years while others have called me crazy, stupid, disgusting, rude, etc. Philly's public schools are becoming special education factories. End of discussion. The DOE has seen fit to change the State licensing requirements so that all new teachers must have 18 credits in SPED. That's 6 classes. Also, I think they must have 6 credits in ESOL. In a few years our schools will be filled with these students, which is unfortunate for ESOL because it's a language issue. The district saves money by hiring those with SPED and multiple certifications. In addition to the mounting SPED paperwork, there has been an increase in ESOL paperwork. If you want to give an ESOL student a "C", there is a 2-page form you have to fill-out justifying your reason. For a "C"! And people wonder why there are so many illiterate students, because no one wants to go through all of this paperwork! I became a teacher to teach, not to be an administrative assistant. I'm certified to teach a specialized subject. I am not certified to teach SPED, nor do I have the desire to teach SPED. I am insulted that I am being asked to do more and more with less and less. Teachers are the new "it" group to hate. Remember when it was lawyers, Wall Street, doctors, the insurance industry? Keep complaining because soon there won't be any people interested in going into teaching. Look at how the high cost of malpractice has turned off potential doctors. As Murdoch has said, "I'm getting too old for this ..."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 7:44 pm

You are absolutely correct in your observations. What will be left in the SD of Philadelphia are students who are identified as needing special education services, children who can not for a host of reasons get into charter schools. I, for the life of me don't understand why people aren't seeing what is clearly being written on the walls. And the Citizens of Philadelphia are standing by watching this happen and are not raising holy hell!

People things are not going to get better, they are going to get worse! 342 people were laid off this past week and the majority of those that were laid off were special education classroom assistants and one on ones for special education students.  August 15th, Dr. Hite promises to lay off 1300 more people, which totals 1642 people who will be unemployed if the cigarette tax doesn't pass. And that in itself is a whole conversation for another page! Yet, there are newly created positions that are being advertised for. But the SD has no money! I am so confused! 

Why are we allowing this to happen? Philadelphia's children, even those in special education, deserve the opportunity to receive an education, an education that prepares them to become employable. Our schools for the last several years have been operating with less and less resources. What is left to be cut? 

Personally, I believe that the cutting will not stop until all of the public schools are given away to Charter Schools and the SD is left with the magnet schools, the special admit schools, and a few schools that will provide the bare minimal to special education students. Where will the rest of the students go?

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 13, 2014 8:45 pm
They should go to Green and Hite's house and setup school there 
Submitted by Annony (not verified) on July 14, 2014 10:52 pm

If 8 APs were laid off, how many new principals were hired outside of District (charter, other school district) schools?  Why isn't CASA fighting this fight?  If people are laid off, how is the District hiring outsiders?  Does anyone even have a list of new principals?

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