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Philly parents anxiously await funding - and decision on opening of schools

By Kevin McCorry for Newsworks on Aug 8, 2014 05:42 PM
Photo: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

The Philadelphia School District held its 2014 back-to-school expo for parents Aug. 8 at the High School of the Future.

Decision day looms on the horizon.

In one week, the Philadelphia School District will announce its plans to deal with its $81 million budget gap.

Without additional funding, Superintendent William Hite says he will be forced to choose between two bad options: either lay off 1,300 staffers, mostly teachers, or save money by shortening the school year.

This could happen by opening schools late or closing early.

Either way, by forgoing the state-mandated 180-day school calendar, the District would be sending a bold message to the Corbett administration and Pennsylvania lawmakers who have spent the summer squabbling over the Philadelphia cigarette tax authorization bill – the District's best hope for a relatively large and immediate cash infusion.

Without that influx, exactly a month before schools are scheduled to open, parents have been once again left sitting anxiously in wait.

On Friday, at the District's annual E! Day: Back to School Expo, held at the High School of the Future in West Philly, many parents said they were shaken by the two prospects.

"As a parent, I'm scared to death," said Tonya Wildes, a parent of three.

Wildes' oldest goes to a private high school, but her younger twin boys are about to enter second grade at West Philly's Lea Elementary, where Wildes teaches.

"As a teacher, I'm also scared to death because of the classroom sizes, and I don't think we're going to have enough staff as usual," she said. "And I don't think they're going to give us adequate supplies either."

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks


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Comments (55)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2014 9:49 pm

If the public schools are closed and the charter schools remain open it will be proof postive that charters are not public schools, and this is about destroying the public schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2014 10:42 pm

If the charters open on time and the district schools do not, that will be proof positive that the charters are  spending their money more wisely, as they are given the same amount of money per student as the district schools. That's competition in action. It's what the children and taxpayers deserve.

Submitted by g (not verified) on August 8, 2014 11:08 pm

Not true!!!!!!!! Charter schools' funding is based on the PREVIOUS years public schools' spending. Charter schools don't take a financial hit until a yaer later.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2014 11:13 pm

The district revenue and proposed budget  are both $200 Million higher than last year. If what you say is true then the charters are even more efficient than I had suggested.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 9, 2014 2:35 am

The District has increasing debt and pension obligations. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 1:11 pm

Am I the only teacher who doesn't trust the state that can't solve any of the crises of the day saving for my retirement?  I'd much rather have a good match on my 403(b) than the pension that may or may not materialize.

Also, Ackerman was incredibly unwise in borrowing so much.  Instead of resolving this crisis 3 years ago she borrowed and has left the district with greater deat service.  Debt service is 8.87% of the total budget that the district spends for district-run and charter schools.  That is insane.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 1:40 pm

And she got nearly a million as her Go-Away gift from the school district.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 1:57 pm

It's important to note that the District and SRC deserve to be blamed for making that contract.  Ackerman played the system well but the failure was with our district leaders.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on August 9, 2014 2:00 pm

While Ackerman went through a lot of money in three years, it's important to note that the big three borrowing acts that have driven up the debt servrice were before and after Ackerman

1. The $300 million borrowed in 2002 to get the District out of a hole at the time of the state takeover

2. Vallas's $1.7 billion capital plan for new facilities and renovations

3. The $300 million borrowed in 2012 under the leadership of SRC Chair Ramos, a year after Ackerman left, which postponed additional budget cuts for a year.

Some would argue Ackerman's policies contributed to #3 but she had nothing to do with the first two.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 5:57 pm

Paul, don't forget that the District still has billions in deferred maintenance on their buildings. If you want a real story, pull the L&I files for all the District schools.

Submitted by IntheTrenches (not verified) on August 10, 2014 10:52 am

Thank you for reminding us that most debt created during the "Vallas years" but all by the SRC.  One of Vallas' creations was a new Audenreid High School. That school was given to Universal Co.  Meanwhile, there are District schools in South Philly crumbling.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 7:56 am

Daily New headline: "Let Them Eat Lead!"

I can see it coming.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 2:51 pm

True. But the district should have thought about the debt service when it was borrowing money to kick the can down the road. I haven't heard any people on here complaining when it was happening as long as they got their raises and step increases. Now the bills must be paid. The pension costs are totally out of control. Everyone should be swithched over to a 401K type plane where you contribute your own money with some matching. The district is spending far too much money shoring up the pension fund. That money should be going into operations.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 9, 2014 3:06 pm

You are crazy. The pension costs are not out of control. That is just another myth created by the Teaparty nuts like Corbett and his ilk. All that needs to be done is that the state pay into the fund what they were supposed to pay into the fund, but the state chose not to. 

401K type plans are not for the beneift of those paying into them. They are all for the best interests and benefit of the fund managers and the financial organizations which control them.

They are just another way for the 1% ers to sink their filthy tentacles into the backs of the working class.

You don't see the SRC asking the financial organizations to lower their usury loan rates by 13%, do you?

What is being intentionally done to our schoolchildren is the Great Pennsylvania disgrace.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 7:08 pm

And where, pray tell, do you think the pension plan invests its money?Through the very same fund managers. Why don't you try to look up the budget summary and look at the numbers. I'd post a link but since this blog is completely broken and the Notebook staff refuses to do anything about it, you'll have to look it up yourself.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on August 9, 2014 8:10 pm

Nobody at the Notebook has refused to do anything.  You haven't explained what problem you have with the blog, so of course we can't fix it. From where we sit, it's working.  Telling us "It's broken" isn't very helpful.

If you register as a user, you should have access to some editing options that you're not able to access without logging on. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 10:38 pm

If you have been following the posts, several people have complained about it already. When you type, your cursor stays all the way on the left side. If you put it anywhere else the type font becomes tiny and you have to push each letter three times for it to register. You also can't paste links anymore. Also, when you try to scroll down to post your comment, the screen scrolls back up again on its own. You don't see that?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 10:33 pm

In the last couple of weeks whenever I post anything more than a sentence the type size shrinks. Suddenly it's harder than hell to type a sentence correctly, often it takes three tries before all the correct letters in a word actually show up. The cursor seems to skip over letters or ignore them. When I try to undo the "Notify me" box it hops up and down for a minute or two. Never had this happen until recently. Thereis just shrunk again and I'm having trouble typing in the letters.

Submitted by Good Thing (not verified) on August 10, 2014 11:45 am

He said to register for the site, Anonymous.  There's a better chance of helping you in that way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 12:46 pm

Already registered for the site. How can you post without having done that? This obviously is a new problem that's affecting other posters too.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on August 11, 2014 11:01 am

Thanks for these details. Is anyone else having this problem?


Neither of the two posts complaining of a problem has a user's email associated with it as required ... don't know if that's part of the problem or another symptom of the problem.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 10, 2014 8:10 am

Yes, that is true, but the problem with our fund is simply that the state has neglected to pay its share into it, instead determining to put state money elswhere to avoid fairly taxing the high and mighty. 

The two best books which I have read are "The Investment Answer" by Daniel Goldie and Gordon Murray, the Wall Street broker who, before he died of cancer, explained how it works.

And "The Creature from Jekyll Island" by Edward Griffin. The Creature is the federal Reserve banking system. He explains how the Federal Reserve system was created in order to assure that the richest people in the world such as the Rockefellers and the Rothchilds stay the richest peiople in the world. Jekyll Island is off Georgia where they met to devise the system. I am not a conspiracy theorist like Griffen, but the book was eye opening.

It was Allyson Swartz who proposed that the retirement system be offered to all Pennsylvanians because it is so good and is a much more vaible way to assure a decent retirement for all citizens.

And rest assured, I do read the budget from time to time and I am appalled by the millions the SRC wastes on needless contracts to edu-prenuers like Pearson and the attorney fees they pay to the connected law firms who just churn the cases to milk money into their grubby little pockets.

There are many leeches with their tentacles into the back of the district sucking its lifeblood from it.  The banking system is one of those leeches and the interest we pay is criminal.

The PSERS retirement system is not one of them.The employees have always paid their fair share and it has always been self supporting.

If we want to attract and maintain a high quality professional teaching force, we need to treat teachers like professionals, pay them like professionals, and give them security. That is basic common sense.

Our forefathers had common sense in 1949 when they devised the PA School Code for the common good of all Pennsylvanians.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 12:36 pm

DId those books come with a tin foil hat?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 12:39 pm

Not as nice as the one atop your head!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 12:08 pm

If pensions, rather than 401K's, are needed then how come noone in the private sector, where the best people are at, has them?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 3:39 pm

Many private companies offer pension plans.  I work for a fortune 500 company and I get a pension when I retire.  In addition I get profit sharing placed into a money market account for when I retire.  Learn the facts before you start citing absolutes.





Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 8:17 pm

Who? It's less than 5%.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 11:17 pm
Who Fortune 500 Company That You Work For That Has Pension Instead Of 401K?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 8:18 am

You don't need to know my personal information but here is a list of fortune 500 companies that offer pension plans to their employees:  AT&T, Verizon, General Electric, Ford, Lockheed Martin, UPS, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Pepsi, Bank of America, Graybar, Citigroup, Wachovia, Exxon Mobil, Accenture and I could go on.  So this is far more than "noone"!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 10:04 am

There are 10 in the Fortune 500 that offer pensions to NEW hires. That's 2%. A tiny fraction. Work for a company not in the 500? Forget about it. You're on a 401K. If it's good enough for private sector workers, it's good enough for our civil servants.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 1:18 am

Charters don;t take on special ed, behavior problem students, etc. They dump them in the public schools. To compare charters as an equal is a laugh.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 9, 2014 2:06 am

Charter schools are guaranteed to get their money, but the same is not true for the School District of Philadelphia. The Commonwealth has a practice of favoring charter schools by "making them whole", as the following article describes: "Pa. took $8.7 million from Philadelphia School District, gave it to charters": // 

Also, not all charter schools are set up to serve children with significant disabilities. Some of the Renaissance charter schools can serve children who require supplemental self-contained placements, e.g. Emotional Support or Life Skills Support. Comparing lottery-based charter schools to District schools is an apples-to-oranges comparison. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 1:44 pm

You fail to grasp the difference between "set up to serve children with significant disabilities" and willing to take those children with disabilities. Many pubic schools aren't set up either, but have to take these children in anyway. Charters claim to be public schools, but refuse to hold up their end of the deal.


Hey Notebook, why are you still shrinking my type and making it hard to type? Enough!

Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 9, 2014 4:35 pm

Actually, I do grasp the difference. However, it's easier to speak factually about the charter schools's ability to provide services than about charter schools's willingness to take students with disabilities.

It is a fact that most charter schools, namely the lottery-based ones, do not provide the supplemental placements such as Emotional Support or Autistic Support. It is also a fact that charter schools as a sector serve far fewer students with disabilities than District-run schools. However, I cannot make a blanket statement that charter schools turn away students with significant disabilities. It's hard to make generalizations about charter schools in this regard.

I am a Special Education Teacher for the District. This past school year, the parents of one of my students wanted to send their child to a lottery-based charter school. This school accepted her for admission even though the school did not have the particular Complex Support Needs programming/services that this child's IEP/NOREP stipulated.

In order to know more about whether charter schools turn away students with disabilities during the lottery or admission process, parents need to go public with their experiences. Educators cannot talk specifically about students because we have to keep student information confidential. 

As for the District's schools, not every school can serve children with disabilities, but the District has placements that support the needs of most students with disabilities. (Some students obviously attend private placements.) Students can be bused to a school with the appropriate placement/services. 

Whatever the reasons are for the discrepancy, charter schools as a sector serve fewer students with disabilities and that is a problem. School choice as a concept is deeply flawed. A disability can constrain the choices of appropriate schools available for the student with the disability and her/his family. The presence of constraints is one of the reasons why the idea that parents and children benefit from the proliferation of school choices is nonsense. 


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 10:25 pm

All charters are suppose to be public schools therefore ALL CHARTERS should take in special ed, emotional support, etc. students. Just like the public schools.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 11, 2014 1:25 am

Theory and practice are two different things. Your comment reveals exactly why the proliferation of charter schools is such a problem. They are supposed to serve all children, but they do not and cannot. For students with significant disabilities, there are certain economies of scale that the District has which are necessary for providing services in IEPs. For example, the District has a Life Skills Curriculum, special instructional programs and the necessary professional development for teachers who use these programs (e.g. Design to Learn, Reading Mastery, STARS), and programs to help students transition to adulthood (e.g. coordinating employment). Charter schools cannot provide or would struggle to provide all of these structures necessary to support students with the more significant disabilities. 

Charter CEOs like Stacy Gill-Phillips can talk all they want about how the District is failing, but many charter schools fail students with disabilities by virtue of not serving very many of them! For 2013-2014, 5.4% of the students at her school, West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School (WPACES) had a disability. Of that 5.4%, almost half (47.2%) had a Speech or Language Impairment. or


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 4:55 am

I agree with much of what you say, but at times, your heart gets in the way of clear thinking. (You sound very young to me.) I, too, am a special education teacher - and have been for over 30 years. On top of teaching Introduction to Special Education at the college level, I have taught in both public schools and in (wonderful/awful) charter schools both in Pennsylvania and in other states. I have sat in (many, many) student admissions meetings for charter schools  wherein Autistic Support, Emotional Support, Life Skills Support, and Multiply Handicapped Life Skills Support applicants were summarily dismissed with a curt "We don't have the resources to service them." Invariably, the child with a vision deficit, a slight learning disability (with no attendant behavioral problems) or a mild orthopaedic handicap would be admitted. More shamefully, students with severe disabilities were admitted with the clear understanding that once their funding came through, they would be returned to neighborhood schools with a shrug, no funding, and a faux-regretful "We did our best, but we just can't service him. He really belongs in a public school." It's an out-and-out money grab and it's the very worst sort of child abuse. And it is a far more common practice that you yourself realize. (Unfortunately, I also suspect that this will be the fate of your own Complex Support Needs pupil admitted to a lottery-based charter.)

So you see, based on long years of rude experience, I CAN make the statement that charter schools turn away students with significant disabilities.

I must agree with you, however, that not every school can - or SHOULD - service children with moderate-to-severe disabilities - primarily because there are not enough special education teachers to staff each neighborhood school. There is currently underway a mass exodus of teachers out of the field of special education (indeed, out of education itself) and there are very, very few who are willing to replace them. This is why the state of Pennsylvania is now insisting that ALL teachers be special ed qualified. Alas, like most attempts at forced social engineering, it is achieving precisely the opposite of what was intended. It is driving college students away from the field of education altogether. My college enrollment numbers are down sharply, and I wish I had a quarter for every student who has confessed to me that she is dropping out because "I can't handle special ed. It's just not what I want to do." Far too many outstanding future elementary and secondary teachers have been sacrificed to this particular madness. Just like being a monk or a nun, being a special ed teacher is a CALLING; it always was and it always will be. It is definitely NOT for everyone. To ram it down the throats of unwilling educators is to do both those educators and their students a monstrous disservice.

In California, there are superlative special education public schools (like Philadelphia's own acclaimed Widener) wherein hundreds of moderately-to-severely disabled pupils are protected, loved, and helped into the future by cadres of teachers who are strongly committed to their welfare. (Frank D. Lanterman High in Los Angeles comes immediately to mind.) When once the existence of these schools was threatened by activists who insisted that they violated "Least Restrictive Environment" regulations and the civil rights of students to be educated with non-disabled peers, their parents (many of whom had taken their children out of "regular" schools due to incessant bullying) launched a ferocious battle to preserve them - and won. If special ed is to survive in Philadelphia (and across the nation), I suspect that this will be the only way to preserve it. We cannot depend on for-profit charters to shoulder their rightful obligations; we cannot depend on them for anything except to make a profit at the expense of public school districts and to make the most money for doing the least amount of work. As the infrastructure of this school district continues to crumble, this will become all too tragically apparent.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 11, 2014 1:14 am


My heart isn't getting in the way. I just don't want to bite off more than I can chew. I don't like to say things unless I have what I believe is sufficient evidence to back up my statements. I hear many school reformers use flimsy evidence to support their positions and I try not to stoop to their level.

Let's pretend that I did say, "Charter schools turn away students with disabilities" and someone followed up and asked me, "What evidence do you have?" I wouldn't have enough evidence--personal experience or research conducted on the issue in Philadelphia--to support my statement. By the way, I'm entering my second year of teaching. Prior to this, I was in graduate school for education. 

You have had experiences which allow you to state assertively, as a matter of fact, that charter schools do turn away students with disabilities.

Of course I believe that charter schools do turn away students with disabilities because I've heard SELs talk about it and other teachers as well. But I'm not going to state that as a matter of fact because I don't have sufficient evidence to support my statement. For me to repeat your statement or others's statments as fact would constitute the use of hearsay on my part. 

Regarding those situations in which a charter school tells a parent, "We don't have the resources to service your child," that parent should IMMEDIATELY retain a lawyer. Unfortunately, many parents don't understand their rights. Maybe if more parents insisted that their child has the right of their child to have his/her IEP implemented at a charter school and fought to make sure it happened, it would keep the charters honest and they would have to play by the rules. 

As for the student who was accepted into a charter school, I don't know what will happen. I spoke to the mother and she was on the fence. She stated that she wanted to do what was best for her child. I said that the District is able to implement her IEP as written (obviously, because the child was in the requisite Complex Support Needs class). I also informed her of her rights, namely, that the charter school was obligated to implement the IEP as written and that the school had an obligation to serve her child. To stop serving her child would constitute discrimination. I also encouraged the parent to speak to the SEL at our school. 

With regard to being qualified in special education, I've heard people like yourself say that PA is requiring all new teachers to be certified in special education, but I don't understand how this can be possible. There are programs which allow students to just major in elementary ed or secondary ed.

Could you clarify what you mean by "special ed qualified." 

Regarding LRE, I agree that there is still a place for the schools that specialize in serving students with disabilities. The idea that all students can be fully included in a regular ed classroom is preposterous. It doesn't work. This is why there are self-contained classrooms for students with disabilities in neighborhood schools--students receive appropriate instruction and have the opportunity for socialization with peers without disabilities during lunch, recess, assemblies, and other events/times as appropriate. At the same time, LRE is important because it helps contains costs. Without LRE, parents could insist that their child be in a private school or sue in order to get their child into a private school and school districts wouldn't have much recourse for defending themselves. 

I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience. I always enjoy discussing special education issues on this site, but I don't have the opportunity to do so as often as I would like. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 8:39 am

I have been certified to teach special education students since 1982. The school districts weren't requiring teachers to be dual certified so I am only certified to teach special education students. When I graduated undergrad school, in 1979, I came out with an Instructional I. Today, graduates come out with nothing and have to take the Praxis and obtain the additional credits, in order to obtain certification. If I had to do all of that, I don't know if I would even become a teacher. Who has all of that money when you just finished paying for undergraduate school? 

As for charters accepting students with emotional, mental health issues, significant physical challenges, autism, severe visual and hearing challenges, they don't accept these students, or they accept them in September and by December, these children are sent back to traditional schools in the School District. The charter schools excuse, they aren't able to provide the necessary services that the student requires. But, the charter schools knew in September they weren't able to provide the necessary services, but they accepted the student in order to obtain money for the student. How deceptive to the student and to the family of that student. So, back to the traditional schools the student goes and the money will still be paid to the charter school. To me, that seems like paying twice, once to the charter who failed to educate the student and then the School District must spend money on that student. Charter schools should have to return the money or not bill for that student that they failed to educate. 

Charter schools aren't what they are cracked up to be, particularly when you are discussing the needs of students with special learning needs, emotional needs, hearing and visual needs or physical challenges and the general public doesn't seem to get that. If charter schools are public schools, then they should have the same criteria for admittance as traditional public schools, but we all know that they don't! 

Submitted by Physics Teacher (not verified) on August 9, 2014 11:39 am

"as they are given the same amount of money per student as the district schools"

100% untrue.  

Submitted by IntheTrenches (not verified) on August 9, 2014 5:15 am

Charters also apprently can't be shut down.  Trubright, Community Academy, Walter Palmer, ETC, ETC.  Meanwhile, public schools are shut in a few months.  Another example of how charters are not like public schools.  Charters are guaranteed funding - including huge inequity in their special educaiton funding.  It is a recipe to expand charters at the expense of public schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 7:05 am

The charters lump their money together. The Renaissnce Charters central office controls the categorical funds by lumping all money together. The LEA charter is given a dictated budget but not all the funds are on the sheet. The LEA charter is not allowed to speak to the title one representative. He or she must go to the LEA central office and speak to the business manager. Next, the budget for teacher salaries in charter schools is horrible and a disrepect to the teaching profession. The teachers salaries are determined by the charter funds and the best interest of the company, teacher salaries are low ball salaries with no room for negotiation, long hours working, year to year contract with a zillion clauses, to terminate positions and not have to go work performance evaluations, no review or just cause to terminate, change professional positions and make salaries lower with a new contract.

The charters waste a lot of money also with constant initiative changes because of their central administration. The same folks that leave the district go to the charter so how is any of this getting better. You recycle people and positions

I hope Philly gets it together. The should if kept the model where School District of Philadelphia kept its schools, teachers and only allowed the curriculum and instruction be managed by charter or EMO. Also charters should not if be given any school buildings. When Charters were originally created they had to their own capital for building structure. The problem is to much politics in Philly and the education is not centered on the students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 11:42 am


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2014 11:48 pm
I don't want to go back to my school without more funding than last year. Last year was hell. I can't go through that again! Lay me off. Please! Wish I was able to volunteer.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 7:37 am

You won't have to go through last year again because this summer we've already had hundreds  more layoffs and we're STILL $81 million down from last year's "barely surviving" level. So it will be MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse. In fact, you'll look back on last year as the golden days.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 10:26 am

Ok, let's see

A. Defy Corbett and Greene and open schools until the money runs out.

B. Don't open schools until money is recieved.

C. Lay off everyone 

I wonder which way he'll go. What about you?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 7:21 pm

My prediction: schools will open in September. A ton of pink slips will go out over Christmas holidays.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 9:32 pm

How stupid would that be to lay off people at Christmas? Too much rearranging of staff and rostering.  If anything they will carry out the threat of laying people off on August 15th and then lay off again in June 2015.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 7:16 am

Plenty stupid. But it's what they did with SDP school nurses - creating havoc but getting their way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 12:16 pm

I suspect the schools will open and Hite will keep pleading for more money that will never come.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2014 5:01 pm

We are all on a ship that is sinking fast.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 9:13 am

This is not about students, charters or public schools. This is about Zogby and Corbett's desire to break the PFT. Everyone else is collateral damage. Everyone gets upset when the Israeli's kill innocent people but no one says anything about the effects of Zogby and Corbett.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 10:50 am

At some point the PFT will be broken. Charters already have 30% of the students and they continue to expand. The members of the PFT will have to learn to adapt. That means you meet with an employer and he/she makes an offer and you either accept or decline.  If the offer is not acceptable, then you go seek employment elsewhere. It's what 90% of the workforce deals with, so the PFT members can deal with it, too. You get compensated based on the supply and demand for your skills in the marketplace.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 11, 2014 1:59 pm

It's not so simple as "the supply and demand of your skills in the marketplace." The ability of an employer to make an offer and "you either accept or decline" is rife with problems. It opens up the door for wage discrimination. When employers use job security or firing as leverage, employees will keep quiet about illegal practices in order to keep their jobs.

Jonathan Timm wrote a great article about pay secrecy on called "When the Boss Says, 'Don't Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid.' The School District of Philadelphia's salary scale for teachers is public: I like it that way---I know exactly how much I'm supposed to be paid and what the criteria are for earning a particular salary. It's fair and transparent. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2014 11:48 am

The PFT will not be broken. It will join with the AFT when the teachers at charter schools realize that they also will need to be represented if they want to teach and obtain reasonable wages and benefits.

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