On Monday, Philadelphia public-school teachers reported to work, as they always do, in a workplace fraught with the most dangerous of all pitfalls: hope.
In the wake of budget cuts, they report to work daily with the hope that the children will be settled; that hallways will be clean; that classrooms will be equipped with luxuries like paper and chalk.
But there is one more hope they carry with them constantly — the hope that they will have a normal day.
We call bulls*** on the SRC. Al Dia
Politicians exploiting teachers' plight. Inquirer
School Reform, Philadelphia Style. Education Next
Strong Appetite Among Parents for Improving Public Education. Education Post
Philadelphia students refused to attend classes at two District high schools Wednesday morning to express solidarity with their teachers, who students think have been mistreated by the School Reform Commission.
On Monday, the SRC unilaterally terminated the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers contract. With the agreement out of the way, the School District says teachers will now begin paying for a share of their health care premiums, a move they say will give classrooms an additional $44 million worth of resources this year.
In forcing the city's teachers' union to accept cuts to its members' health care benefits, the School Reform Commission said the move will allow the financially battered School District to inject $44 million back into schools this year.
To seek clarity on the legal authority of breaking the collective bargaining agreement with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the District and the state Department of Education filed suit asking the Commonwealth Court for a declaratory judgment that affirms the SRC's right to make its unilateral move.
On Radio Times this morning, host Marty Moss-Coane delved into the controversy surrounding the School Reform Commission's dramatic decision to cancel the contract with the city teachers' union and force health benefits changes on its members.
Joining her on the program were WHYY/NewsWorks education reporter Kevin McCorry for an overview of the situation, new SRC member Marjorie Neff, and PFT president Jerry Jordan, with their reactions to the SRC's decision.
Students 'strike' in support of teachers. Inquirer
Philly students on strike for their teachers. Billy Penn
SRC benefits overhaul could be a game-changer. Daily News
The ugly facts of life in Philadelphia public schools. Washington Post
The Plot Against Public Education. Politico
Members of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, Fight for Philly, and Pennsylvania's Working Families Party assembled outside Gov. Corbett's Philadelphia office Monday afternoon to protest the School Reform Commission's decision to unilaterally impose terms on the city's teachers' union.
The history of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia will be honored throughout October with a citywide series of events presented by the Moonstone Arts Center.
Recounting the period from 1830 to 1870 in Philadelphia, the month-long series will offer programs on the Underground Railroad and highlight many individuals who fought against slavery during that time.
“There are 22 events that include screenings of 'The William Still Story' at neighborhood libraries, lectures, panel discussions, storytelling and music on various aspects of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia,” wrote John Lavin in an email. Lavin is a Moonstone Arts Center member and teacher at Kensington International Business High School.
Many express outrage in response to SRC decision to break teachers' contract. Notebook/NewsWorks
Details of the health benefit changes. Notebook
Critics question 'sneaky' SRC meeting. Daily News
Editorial: Not asking too much. Inquirer
SRC axes Philly teachers' contract. Billy Penn
SRC cancels the PFT contract. Philadelphia Student Union
District warns parents about Enterovirus D68. Daily News
Featherman: Teachers' union should strike. Philly.com
After schools are sold. Inquirer
A heartbreaking act of staggering cowardice. Daily News
The District will require all PFT members to contribute to the cost of their benefits. Those earning less than $25,000 will pay 5 percent of the plan's premiums. Those earning between $25,000 and $55,000 will pay 10 percent, and those earning over $55,000 will pay 13 percent.
The District says monthly payments for PFT members will range from $27 to $71 for single coverage and $77 to $200 per month for family coverage.
After 21 months of fruitless labor talks, the School District made a bold move Monday to unilaterally restructure teachers' health benefits and send $44 million in savings directly back to schools.
At a special meeting that was barely publicized until hours before its 9:30 a.m. start, with no public testimony before acting, the School Reform Commission unanimously voted to cancel the contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in order to rework its health-care provisions. The District also filed a legal action in Commonwealth Court to establish its right to rewrite the contract based on special powers granted to the SRC.
Don't repeat this history. Inquirer
A guide for student bike commuters. Notebook
Mentoring becomes key learning piece. Tribune
A special School Reform Commission meeting will be held Monday morning at 9:30.
A small legal notice appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday edition, but the meeting was not otherwise announced. It is not on the District's website (which on Sunday night said that the next SRC meeting is Oct. 16). The newspaper ad said the meeting was for "general purposes."