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The Main Scoop

Corbett budget ushers in a new reality

By by Dale Mezzacappa and Benjamin Herold on Jul 1, 2011 05:47 PM

Low-income children and students of color across the state were hard hit by the budget approved in Harrisburg on June 30, with Philadelphia in particular singled out for negative treatment as lawmakers haggled over a final spending plan, according to some education advocates and District officials.

The final $27.15 billion budget slashed education spending by nearly a billion dollars across the state, with Philadelphia absorbing more than a quarter of those cuts, close to $300 million, even though it educates only 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s children.

Little of the funding restored by the legislature went to Philadelphia. In one case, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were the only high-need urban districts excluded from a restoration of funds.

Overall, the final budget will cut Philadelphia’s per-pupil funding by about $1,300 per student. It already spends far less per student than many of the wealthier surrounding suburbs.

Since it fell short of its goal of getting $57 million in additional funds from the state, the District is now facing an additional $35 million in cuts, which will likely mean more layoffs besides the more than 3,400 already put into place to close a $629 million shortfall, according to the District’s chief financial officer, Michael Masch.

While Gov. Rendell was driven by concerns over equity and adequate resources for school districts, Gov. Corbett has anchored his education policy in privatization, the growth of charters, and vouchers that students can use in private schools. He and his education secretary, Ronald Tomalis, are also on the record saying that they discount any correlation between higher spending and better outcomes for students.

“The real agenda is to corporatize public education and take that funding stream and give it to private entities,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Philadelphia Democrat. “This governor clearly has in his mind an attempt to boldly change public education from what we know it to be. We need to be thoughtfully prepared for the sea change that may be hitting us.”  

Others said that the budget simply reflected political realities. “This was an education deal that worked for Republican districts,” said Donna Cooper, who was a top adviser to Rendell. “The whole notion that money should follow need is out the window.”

Rep. James Roebuck, Democratic chair of the House Education Committee, said the budget “is clearly designed to hurt poor school districts and benefit rich school districts. That is wrong, especially when Republicans are choosing to leave up to $700 million in unexpected [surplus] revenue untouched."

The plan hammered out by the Republican governor and legislature effectively reversed the priorities of the Democratic Rendell administration, which were to increase the state share of education spending relative to the local share, narrow funding gaps among rich and poor districts, and make sure all districts had enough resources to effectively educate their students.

“This has the effect of undoing much if not all the progress made over the last three years toward more equity and more adequacy,” said Ron Cowell of the Education Policy and Leadership Center, a Harrisburg advocacy organization.

In 2008, the state enacted a funding formula for allocating state dollars to school districts with the goals of “equity and adequacy.” It was based on a “costing-out” study that determined what each school district should have, based on characteristics including poverty level, number of English language learners, local tax base, and other factors.

The study said, for example, that Philadelphia needed to spend $1 billion more annually to adequately educate all its students, high numbers of whom live in poverty, must learn English, or have other special needs.

While the formula is still in place, how the budget was handled this year “seems to be the end of any commitment to close the adequacy gaps that were identified by the costing-out study,” said Cowell, a former Democratic legislator. Pennsylvania has one of the largest gaps between rich and poor districts in the nation. The legislature removed from the school code a non-binding provision calling for adequacy goals to be reached by 2015.

“Clearly there are people in Harrisburg who believe that school districts collectively have plenty, and there are others who want to starve public education,” said Cowell.

The governor said he didn’t want to use the expected surplus to offset any budget cuts because there are obligations coming down the road for pensions and other long-range payments.

But given the magnitude of what school districts will be required to slash – teachers, counselors, social services, art and music, sports – Cowell said that failing to use the estimated $700 million surplus for education “is like saying we won’t buy food or clothes for the kids because we have a mortgage.”

Corbett originally proposed a budget with more than $1.1 billion in K-12 education cuts. The legislature restored $228 million of that amount.

In making the restorations, little consideration was given to the factors that generally drive state aid to districts – overall enrollment, wealth as measured by its average household income and property values, and the percentage of students living in poverty.

Instead, the first $100 million was distributed to make sure that each district in the state got at least the same amount that it did in 2009, regardless of any changing circumstances.

“Even if its enrollment went down or its property wealth went up, it got the money,” said Michael Masch, the Philadelphia School District chief financial officer and the former state budget director under Rendell. Of the 501 districts in the state, 349 shared in this pot, but not Philadelphia.

One result of this approach is that the wealthy district of Trediffryn-Easttown got 83 percent of its initial cuts restored, while Philadelphia and poorer suburban districts like William Penn got little or nothing.

Another $100 million was put into Accountability Block Grants, devised by Rendell to funnel money into programs like early childhood education and full-day kindergarten. Corbett had zeroed out that funding stream; the $100 million restored by the legislature represented a 61 percent cut from the $259 million in the 2010-11 budget. Philadelphia got $22 million of the restored money.

But the city would have gotten a larger share if the legislature had decided to distribute the $100 according to the regular block grant formula, which is heavily weighted by factors such as poverty.

“They picked a way of distributing that money that was most painful for Philadelphia,” said Baruch Kintisch of the Education Law Center. “They didn’t have to do it that way, they had other alternatives.”

The third pot was $28 million put back in the budget by the Senate.

Masch said the money was earmarked for urban districts with a high “aid ratio” – meaning low property wealth and low household income – but only if its enrollment was below 20,000 students. “That leaves out … Philadelphia,” said Masch.

And despite Philadelphia’s pleas for $57 million in charter school reimbursement funds, both the governor and the legislature zeroed out that line item. Philadelphia has half the charter schools in the state, so it felt the biggest impact of that decision. In 2010-11, Philadelphia got $112 million in charter school reimbursements.

Philadelphia’s City Council approved $53 million in additional taxes and fees for the District in an effort to show Harrisburg that the city was doing its part and therefore deserved more state aid. But that failed to convince legislators that the state should also step up to help the city.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s sudden decision to save full-day kindergarten by shifting some of its federal aid also provided legislators with fodder to deny the city additional dollars. According to advocates, some legislators concluded that her action showed that the District has enough Title I money – federal funds targeted to disadvantaged students – to meet crucial needs.

Kintisch, despite being a veteran of Harrisburg give-and-take, said this year’s events shocked him.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” he said. “I’ve been quite open since the beginning of the budget season saying that Philadelphia was not going to be singled out for bad treatment, that folks had too much respect for the process to manipulate it so badly. But I was wrong.”

 

About the Author

Contact Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa at dalem@thenotebook.org. Benjamin Herold is a freelance reporter.

Comments (72)

Submitted by tom-104 on July 1, 2011 7:13 pm

Once again The Notebook is providing much needed analysis of the education crisis in Pennsylvania. What is being done to the future of the children of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is a historic crime. To fight it we need information. The Notebook is indispensable in our present situation. I don't know what we'd do without you!

Submitted by Teacher under seige (not verified) on July 5, 2011 8:13 am

Once again we see a Republican governor and legislature attempting to destroy public education. The state has a huge surplus then makes education cuts and fires teachers, but there is still money to privatize and create foolish"promise acadamies." The PFT has to be more aggressive in electing pro teacher legislators and governors ands revoking Republican anti teacher acts.(Act 46, Act 48)
My Republican co-workers constantly vote against their own interests. It doesn't help that Democrats have been Republican light for the past 20 years. There is zero solidarity among PFT members. We teachers are the whipping boy for fascist teabaggers and wimpy Democrats. Strong union action is in order. I fear that there is no spine to stand up for our hard earned rights.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 6, 2011 12:09 pm

Information in the struggle to preserve public education for all.
Keystone State Education Coalition
http://www.keystonestateeducationcoalition.org

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 1, 2011 11:04 pm

Corbett's election should be a warning for those who care about public education. When a politician promises to dismantle public education, s/he will do it. The fact that a very wealthy district gets its money restored while impoverished districts do not speaks volumes to the values held by the Corbett administration and Harrisburg legislature.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 2, 2011 8:39 am

When you elect intolerance and bigotry, expect intolerance and bigotry. Elections matter to quote Vincent Hughes. Having said that, this budget is SO unprincipled and unjust that we all need to march to Harrisburg with MALICE not SONGS. This budget is beyond discriminatory and uncaring. He will certainly be a 1 term Governor but what do we all do for the next 3.5 years ????????????

Submitted by Teacher under seige (not verified) on July 5, 2011 8:57 am

Get out and vote to take away his lesislature.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 4:50 pm

I agree but what do the kids do now and for the next 3.5 years?????????

Submitted by Teacher under seige (not verified) on July 5, 2011 5:30 pm

These politicians don't care about the kids I teach. They are happy to build new jails for them, but they really don't care about providing them with an education. If they cared, there would be trade schools for non-academic students. "All these kids need to go to college." That is a cruel lie told to them by ignorant or greedy people. Most neighborhood schools should be vo-tech schools, not "promise to fail academies.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 6:35 pm

Correctamundo as the Fonz would say back in the day. The Politicians are making a killing off Charter Scams, I man schools but what else is new. Yes, the whole thing is a farce masquerading as concern for kids. I have never seen anything like this in 59 years on the planet. It's so bad that the average person wouldn't believe you if you told them about it.

Submitted by MacMaven (not verified) on July 6, 2011 7:50 pm

Agreed. I heard that the district is planning 3 new "Career Centers" for 2012. No longer called "vocational education" (stigma attached) but now titled "Career and Technical Education" (CTE), I believe these centers will be more like the Skills Centers of old whereas students will report part-time to a home school for academics and part-time to the centers to learn trades. CTE in Philly is now closely monitored by the state to ensure higher standards, accountability, and adherence to mandatory requirements. Failure to keep in compliance will negatively affect the grant monies (federal - Perkins) that Philly receives for CTE to purchase the types of industry equipment that schools could normally not afford.

Unfortunately though, many comprehensive, neighborhood high schools can't meet the hourly requirements for CTE (1080 hrs - approx. 6 credits over 3 years) because the district's required courses for graduation leaves only 5 elective credits (the district says 6 electives - but one must be science or math). Since many parents are reluctant to send their kids across the city to a CTE school (Dobbins, Bok, Mastbaum, Swenson, etc.), it makes sense to put more CTE in the neighborhood high schools. But if the district won't budge on credit requirements, it's not going to happen. It remains to be seen where these Career Centers will be located and how effective they can be at attracting students.

FYI: With the exception of maybe the building/printing trades (where apprenticeships are key), most trades offered in CTE now require at least a 2-year postsecondary degree/certification before an employer would offer a decent entry-level job thereafter.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 2, 2011 1:11 am

Sue the pants off the State of PA.

Submitted by tom-104 on July 2, 2011 10:57 am

It would behoove us to pay attention to what is happening to public education in the rest of the United States. Our situation is not unique, for some (such as Detroit) it is a lot worse. Corbett’s education cuts are the most blatant I’ve seen, however, in terms of protecting the wealthy districts while cutting the neediest districts.

Florida is cutting 15,000 children from a school readiness program for low-income families. Michigan is cutting spending on K-12 education by $470 per students, which will force local districts to lay off teachers and shut down schools. New York is cutting its education budget by 6.1 percent. Last week, Chicago announced the layoff of 1,000 teachers, on top of the 3,000 that were laid off last year. In Detroit more than forty schools are slated to be shut down or sold off to charter operators. When students return in September, one third of the public schools will have been taken over by charters or closed.

This article in The Economist details a suit brought by the New York City teacher’s union and the NAACP last month to oppose the turning over of public schools to charters. Note the similarity with Ackerman’s program to the point where they have “Promise schools” being established.

http://www.economist.com/node/18867720

Submitted by Philadelphia taxpayer and parent (not verified) on July 2, 2011 1:49 pm

Here's another article that puts our city's plight in a national context: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2011/06/reasons_for_...

Submitted by Christopher Paslay (not verified) on July 2, 2011 2:04 pm

Baruch Kintisch of the Education Law Center can’t understand why the Philadelphia School District is being “singled out for bad treatment” by Harrisburg. Maybe the following will help him understand:

On April 14th, PA State Rep. Michael McGeehan publically called for the immediate termination of Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. McGeehan insisted her removal was necessary to bring some credibility back to the District in the eyes of Harrisburg. In a letter written to Governor Tom Corbett, McGeehan stated, “It is apparent that the SRC did not exercise adequate due diligence in thoroughly vetting Ms. Ackerman for the position, which has resulted in the diminished standing of Philadelphia School District . . . Questionable procurement practices, the dismissal of two district employees who may be whistleblowers, a scathing federal report on the district’s handling of racial violence, an alarming school district performance audit by the Auditor General and a myriad of other problems have made it clear that Superintendent Ackerman has become fodder for the seemingly never-ending negative press concerning the School District of Philadelphia. . . .”

McGeehan’s attempt to repair the District’s broken leadership and bring some credibility back to Philadelphia in the eyes of Harrisburg was met with strong resistance; he was called a racist and a bigot by city leaders and clergymen.

Here are some facts about the Philadelphia School District’s finances:
• For the school 2010-11 school year, the District had a budget of $3.12 billion, by far the HIGHEST budget of any of the 501 school districts in the State. When you divide $3.12 billion by approximately 195,000 students (160,000 District students, 35,000 charter students), you get exactly $16,000 per student. This amount per pupil is not only higher than the majority of school districts throughout the State, but enough money to send every Philadelphia public school student to Temple University full-time for one year.
• For the school years 2009-10 and 2010-11, the Philadelphia School District received nearly a HALF A BILLION DOLLARS in federal stimulus money (approximately $485 million), by far more than any other school district in the State. What does the District have to show for all this EXTRA money given to them? A $630 million DEFICIT for the 2011-12 school year.
• The Philadelphia School District did not follow their “Five Year Financial Plan: Fiscal Year 2008-2009 through Fiscal Year 2012-13” which promised “tight fiscal restraint” and projected, coincidently, a budget of $2.8 billion for the 2011-12 school year, the same budget the District is scrambling to currently balance.
• The Philadelphia School District is currently being audited by the IRS, which has targeted 28 areas for inquiry. As reported in the Inquirer, they are seeking “information on reimbursements for travel and meals, the use of district automobiles and credit cards, and ‘checking account data for payments that are processed outside the district's general fund.’”
• City officials have also expressed serious concerns about how the School District handles tax dollars. The City Controller's Office has recommended that the district be required to present a five-year financial plan to an independent accounting authority because of “material weaknesses” found in its financial statements.

Here are some facts about the leadership of the Philadelphia School District:
• Superintendent Arlene Ackerman owes tens of thousands of dollars in backed income taxes in three different states.
• Ackerman has hired Robert L. Archie’s law firm to handle her income tax problems. Robert L. Archie is the Chairman of the School Reform Commission and serves as Ackerman’s boss.
• Last year, the Philadelphia School District abruptly and without reason took a lucrative security contract away from Security and Data Technologies Inc., a Caucasian-owned firm, and gave it to IBS Communications, a minority-owned firm. It was the second time the District improperly steered work to IBS. The first time, it ended up paying 12 times the $1,000 estimate offered by a competing firm.
• When Ackerman was accused by public officials of breaking the law over the security contracts, she spent over $250,000 of District money to conduct an “internal investigation.” Several months later she was cleared of any wrongdoing.
• In 2009, Dr. Ackerman began replacing principals in various Philadelphia schools with personal appointments. Later it was found that 12 of these appointments did not have principal certificates.
• David F. Girard-diCarlo—who was on the School Reform Commission from October 2009 until February—was managing partner of Blank Rome for 22 years. Before he took a seat on the SRC, Blank Rome attorneys handled labor negotiations, municipal finance issues, and other work for the District.
• District leaders have taken ZERO responsibility for the $630 million deficit which has adversely affected nearly everyone in the city—taxpayers, teachers, parents, children, and unions, to name a few. District leaders are not held accountable by ANYONE, and do whatever they want, whenever they want, no matter how much money it costs.

Does this help you understand any better why the Philadelphia School District has been cut-off by the State, Mr. Kintisch?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 2, 2011 3:30 pm

You're preaching to the choir but destroying the kids isn't punishing Ackerman.
Having said that, Ackerman and her cronies all need to be in jail--WHY aren't they???? Is it the kids fault?????????????

Submitted by Les (not verified) on July 3, 2011 2:45 pm

Maybe the flash mobs need to start rioting in front of 440, rather than on Walnut Street. Maybe they were protesting the unfairness of having a pig like Arlene Ackerman in command and took it out on innocent people.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 3:43 pm

I just hope they call me before they flash mob at 440 because I want to join them.

Submitted by Les (not verified) on July 3, 2011 5:44 pm

Ha ha!!!

Submitted by Teacher under seige (not verified) on July 5, 2011 8:52 am

Ackerman should be thrown into a 440 rubber room till her contract runs out.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 4:45 pm

I totally agree. How is she staying out of jail let alone still here. What is going on?

Submitted by Teacher under seige (not verified) on July 5, 2011 4:58 pm

You work in Philly, and you really don't know that scum rises to the top, then gets protected by other scum?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 8:45 am

It seems there was no big problem with Ackerman until she dared to touch the "caucasian" vendor. After that, it hit the fan. One could surmise that as long as Ackerman leaves the republican connected white guys alone, and let them suck the public dry, everything will go one without controversy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 9:35 am

You are a complete idiot!! The only reason she still has a job is because she is "black". The white guys were shown the door for a lot less.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 9:58 am

Ackerman got a lot more "heat" - and rightly so - when she refused to recognize the racially motivated attacks on immigrant students at Southern. Most of her supporters stood by her no matter what happened. It took a federal law suit to get some people to listen.

Submitted by tom-104 on July 3, 2011 11:48 am

Anonymous, it is too bad that all you can see is color in the situation in the public schools. You would understand things a lot better if you started looking at the class of people, rather than their color. What is happening in Philadelphia is happening in cities all over the country. Some of the administrators implementing this program of decimating public schools are white, some are black. They all represent the banking and corporate community who are trying to privatize public education.

Ackerman is working for this elite, not for the community, black or white. She has obviously let the powers that be know she will carry out their program of privatization as long as they pay her well.

The biggest losers in this privatization program will be the working class and unemployed who are already having a very hard time. The powers that be use people like Ackerman bring in race to throw dust in your eyes to blind you to what is happening to the future of the next generation.

Long after Ackerman is gone we will be paying for the agenda she has brought to Philadelphia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 12:34 pm

Well said and so very true

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 12:48 pm

You obviously don't know much about what Ackerman's done to make such a lame claim. Have you forgotten her urging teachers to work during Obama's inaugaration only to then skip off to DC for two days (Miss I-Haven't-Had-A-Vacation-In-Three-Years)? How about the demeaning letter sent to teachers who dared to use their sick days? This included one teacher who had given birth, guess she should have waited until her prep, and teachers who'd been out one day all year. Her implementation of her programs has been halfassed from start to finish. Ackerman has a legacy of her own bigoted actions trailing all the way up to Philly, not starting with any "Caucasian vendor". She must pay you well to help deflect criticism aimed at her.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 9:03 pm

Teachers and parents hated Ackerman long before that. Since she started, honestly. The vendor hubbub came, in my memory as someone in the district, in the midst of the deluge of bad press on Ackerman.

I distinctly remember it as a moment like Carl Greene, where I thought the press was finally catching on to the shenanigans that the public always knew about. There were weeks there where there was a new and horrifying story about the ethics of Arlene every day, the vendor situation being only one.

Submitted by Anon and anon (not verified) on July 3, 2011 1:58 pm

MORE layoffs? How will that work? I thought that teachers had to be informed by June 30th whether or not we are laid off for next year. Isn't that contractual? So, in order to do MORE layoffs, will the SRC have to cancel our contract as they have already voted to do?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 4:55 pm

Another blow to the corrupt teachers union that fights every initiative to improve education if it doesn't entail more money to line their pockets and protect their fiefdom, with no personal responsibilty, no metrics by which to judge job performance and the outright protection of incompetent teachers through tenure. The game is coming to an end, and none too soon.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 4:55 pm

At that point trolls like yourself can volunteer to teach in the schools for free. How is overloading classrooms with students going to "improve education"? Who's asking for more money? The administration, clown, not the teachers or their unions. We're just tired of giving when we've given already and gotten nothing in return. If the game ends it will not end the way you think it will. Pray tell, how do we "judge job performance" for administrrators including principals (who also have a union)? When was the last time you heard of a principal being fired? They certainly have enough corrupt and incompetent ones to fire.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 4, 2011 2:49 am

If you actually thought things through you'd realize that incompetent teachers are fired during their first three years before getting tenure. Tenure was developed to protect veteran teachers that the administration would have normally targetted because of the salary they made. What you seem to fail to grasp is that it is the school administration that does the hiring, not the teachers or their union. Why is it administrators are not doing their job if you truly think so many teachers are incompetent? Every teacher that I know that had gotten fired from public school ended up in charter schools shortly after.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 4, 2011 1:36 pm

At least in Philly, veteran teachers' salaries are irrelevant to principals--each teacher "costs" the school the same in the budget allocation process. So there is no incentive for principals to target older teachers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 4, 2011 2:31 pm

Principals do whatever the higher ups tell them to do. A teacher with 20-30 years earns more than a first year teacher. Are you seriously saying that there is no incentive for the district to get rid of teachers that are being paid double what a beginning teacher earns? I guess it was just a coincidence that when Rhee went after teachers in DC they happened to be mainly older teachers.

Old teachers know what works as well. Younger teachers haven't learned to watch their backs the way you do in Philly. They can be "molded" to the principal's will. That's why Ackerman is so desperate to keep her newbies at the Promise Academy.

Submitted by Curiouis (not verified) on July 4, 2011 5:07 pm

I heard (or read?) somewhere a while back that this is no longer true -- that some portion of the salary is now charged back to the school. Where did you get your information? Just wondering.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 4:26 am

It was in the news in the last year or so. Ackerman wanted to change it, because it actually hurts neighborhood high schools (i.e. they are paying the same for their staff of with mostly under 5 years experience, as a Central or Masterman is for a very veteran staff). But I'm 99% it wasn't changed. Staffing is done on a "position" basis -- every position of any particularly classification "costs" the school the same in the budget process. I believe part of the reason for this is that schools must submit their budgets long before they know exactly who will fill all of the positions. If see the budget for my school this year -- the positions are simply numbers, with a flat dollar value multiplied by the number of positions allocated to the school.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on July 4, 2011 3:42 pm

The "game" maybe coming to an end, but the fight just started.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 4, 2011 5:33 pm

Then let the fight begin. 1.5 million taxpayers vs. 11,000, excuse me, now now 9500 union teaqchers. I'll take those odds any day.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on July 5, 2011 3:52 pm

Oh, you think, you can speak for 1.5 mln people? This is a mental condition, called megalomania.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 6, 2011 9:33 am

Uh, no, I don't, hence the suggestion to put it on the ballot.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 6, 2011 11:39 am

PFT!! PFT!! PFT!!!

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on July 6, 2011 2:36 pm

But you are sure that 1.5 mln are on your side.
The fight is not us, teachers vs those whose children we teach. The fight is: us, who work for living, union or non union, vs those who stole our money and uses some of what they stole to brainwash people like you.

Submitted by Teacher under seige (not verified) on July 5, 2011 4:17 pm

Too bad more people don't vote. Unfortunately, you and your type have taken over the system and left us with fascists who buy the system, supreme court justices who steal elections. teabaggers who hate public education and poor people, and wimpy Democrats who don't have the balls to fight for American freedom and justice.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 7:58 pm

The problem is there is no one really to vote for. The day of lesser of two evils is over. The Democrats either roll over or they are for the same thing as the Republicans. Look at how Obama constantly gives in to the Republicans for little in return.

The only answer is for labor to build its own party with a problem which represents the vast majority of the people, not just the banks and corporations.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 5, 2011 7:15 pm

typo

"problem" should be "program"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 3, 2011 5:21 pm

I see the personal insults come out. But since you can't respond with rational, reasoned logic, I'll respond in kind. Listen up, union hack. The taxpayers have had enough of your fear mongering. You union hacks can pay for half of your healthcare just like everyone else in the country does. You union hacks will deal with the test of scrutiny, just like everyone else. Perform or be fired. If we can have clesses in college with 400 people in a lecture hall, then you union hacks should be able to handle 30 kids two years younger. Got that, union hack? No more taxpayer money to line your pocket. No more excuses. Either getthe job done or go work in private industry and see what you get. Tell them you have a masters plus thirty in education. That should qualify you to change oil at Jiffy Lube, union hack.

Submitted by tom-104 on July 3, 2011 5:30 pm

Since education means nothing to you, I guess a Masters+30 wouldn't matter. I wonder who taught you to read and write. They sure didn't teach you how to think for yourself!

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on July 3, 2011 5:53 pm

If you really are interested in some reasoned arguments, read this article:

http://dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=504

I really do not think you understand what our profession entails. It would be interesting if you would sign your name and discuss your own profession and its requirements. Maybe then some of us could understand where you are coming from. In my experience, no one's job--no matter what it is--is truly as 'easy' as others think it is.
It is interesting to me that many anti-union people think that people who work in private industry can be fired easily. The people I know that run private places of employment (from law offices to hospitals to resaturants) have to jump through many, many hoops to fire people--HR offices and company bigwigs are scared to death of lawsuits, so every firing they do has to be documented like crazy--this holds true even if employees have committed some pretty serious offenses. And, just like principals, sometimes they do not want to go through the paperwork hassles and give people a deal to 'leave voluntarily'.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 7, 2011 3:51 pm

I just read the article you cited in your post above. It is an excellent article. Thanks.

Did you send it to Ron Tomalis, PA Secretary of Education?

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on July 7, 2011 3:49 pm

Thanks, Rich--I thought it was a really good article as well. Maybe I will send it to Ron Tomalis, thanks for the suggestion.

The website and facebook page called NOT Waiting For Superman always has really good links to lots of education articles and opinions.

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