Menu
Please Join Today!
view counter

District eating millions in facilities costs at Audenried, other Renaissance charters

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 10, 2012 01:08 PM

by Benjamin Herold
for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks
 

[Updated 3:45 p.m. with clarification on maintenance staff.]

Even while slashing staff, programs, and hours at schools across the city in an effort to close an enormous budget gap, the School District has been swallowing millions of dollars in facilities-related expenses at its 13 Renaissance Schools now run by outside charter operators.

Nowhere is the situation more pronounced than at Audenried High in South Philadelphia. There, the District has allowed Universal Companies to operate cost-free in a new, $55 million District-owned building since July because the parties have yet to come to terms on a facility license agreement.

Universal is “not paying for anything” at either Audenried or Edwin Vare Middle School, said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard. The District, he said, is “currently managing both buildings and covering [their] costs.”

Representatives from Universal declined to comment.

Audenried and Vare Middle, both “Promise Neighborhood Partnership Schools” awarded to Universal by the District last spring, are the only two Renaissance charters without an executed facilities license agreement.

But even at the Renaissance charters where such agreements are in place, said Gallard, the District has incurred millions in facilities-related expenses. In some cases, the District is continuing to employ pay unionized blue-collar employees whose school positions have been eliminated, not to work so that Renaissance charter operators can have flexibility in how they provide services like maintenance, cleaning, and food service.

So just how much is it costing the District to convert struggling schools into charters?

Despite the budget crisis, District officials say they don’t know.

Asked to put a price tag on this second year of the Renaissance charter initiative, Gallard said only that the District's most recent calculation – a number he identified as “south of $10 million” – is likely too low.

“The District has an estimate, but we believe we need to do further work on it,” said Gallard. “We don’t want to put a number out there that we don’t believe is capturing all the costs.”

Nevertheless, the District intends to move forward with a planned expansion of the initiative in 2012-13. 

Disputed figures

Some of the Renaissance charter operators, meanwhile, disputed the notion that they are costing the District anything.

“The Renaissance charters are neutral to the [District’s] budget,” maintained Alfredo Calderon, the executive director of ASPIRA of Pennsylvania, which operates Stetson Middle and Olney High schools.

ASPIRA paid the District roughly $800,000 to use the Stetson Middle School building last year, said Calderon. Among other things, that covered a District building engineer and cleaning crew, heating costs, snow removal, waste removal, and a small percentage of the District bond financing costs, he said.

“They’re giving us some of the worst schools, in terms of both facilities and academics,” said Calderon. “We’re assuming all of those responsibilities.”

At the heart of the uncertainty surrounding the costs associated with the Renaissance charters are the terms under which new outside managers have been granted access to operate in District-owned facilities.

District officials maintained that Internal Revenue Service regulations prohibit them from making a profit from renting or leasing public school buildings. Instead, officials said, they can seek only to recover from Renaissance operators the actual cost of owning and maintaining the building.

But even recouping those expenses has proven difficult.

In 2010-11, the first year of the initiative, it cost the District more than $10 million to convert seven low-performing schools to Renaissance charters, largely due to higher than expected facilities costs and student enrollments.

This year, with six additional schools converted to charters, new costs appear to have arisen from the District’s decision to allow all the Renaissance operators to opt out of paying the District for some services. In cases where Renaissance charter operators decided to clean their own buildings or remove their own snow, the District ended up having to create other positions for some of pay its unionized blue-collar employees – whose contract requires them to be given a year’s notice before they can be laid off.

“We are incurring costs due to stranded personnel,” confirmed District spokesperson Gallard.

That’s the District’s problem, said ASPIRA’s Calderon.

This year, he said, ASPIRA opted not to keep the District’s cleaning crew at Stetson.

“Why would I keep cleaning people who didn’t clean?” asked Calderon. “I knew we could do it better and cheaper and have a building that’s actually clean and shows respect for the students, staff and parents who are there.” Calderon added that over two years, ASPIRA has itself raised and put nearly $2 million into building improvements at Stetson.

‘Dismantled from within’

Allowing the Renaissance charter operators the kind of flexibility exercised by ASPIRA has led the District to incur significant personnel costs, said Gallard. The District must also continue to pay debt service costs and other administrative expenses for the buildings that Renaissance charters now occupy, he maintained.

But figuring out exactly how much that’s all costing will have to wait until further cuts have been made elsewhere and until newly installed District Chief Recovery Officer Tom Knudsen has hired outside consultants to conduct a deeper cost analysis, said Gallard.

“Hopefully, we can put them to work really quickly,” he said.

In the meantime, said Gallard, he does “not have enough information” to comment on why the District agreed just seven months ago to new facilities license agreements that quickly proved so costly.

He also declined to identify a time frame for when an agreement might be reached with Universal over the operation of Audenried and Vare.

“We’re still working on that,” said Gallard.

It’s not unusual for school districts to mismanage the leasing of their facilities, said Mary Filardo, the executive director of the 21st Century Schools Fund.

“In general, school districts don’t understand how much it costs to own a particular asset, so [they] tend to share them or lease them out at really highly subsidized costs,” said Filardo, a national expert on school facilities.  

Subsidizing charters’ use of public facilities could very well be a legitimate policy choice, she said. But districts should make such decisions transparently, with the public being given a full understanding of the implications, Filardo added.

That has not been the case in Philadelphia, where District officials have consistently been guarded in discussing how much the Renaissance initiative costs and have given the public little chance to offer input on how continuation of the initiative should be weighed against other priorities.

Just last month, for example, School Reform Commissioner Feather Houstoun presented a grim portrait of the District’s finances, saying that everything from music to gifted to athletics at traditional public schools may need to be on the chopping block as part of a last-gasp effort to find $61 million in cuts before the end of the fiscal year.

The possibility of altering the District's relationship with its Renaissance charter operators as a strategy for easing the budget crunch has never been publicly discussed, however.

 “The thing that’s amazing to me is the extent to which districts are being dismantled from within,” said Filardo.

Houstoun, who has been traveling, responded in an email that the SRC is "sorting out a lot of issues at the moment and I'm not sure that extrapolations on cost elements would be very enlightening." She said she would do further checking.

More to come

Despite the uncertain costs, District officials and charter operators alike continue to tout the Renaissance initiative as a success that furthers their central strategy of replacing 50,000 seats in poor-performing schools with high-performing seats.

Overall, the initial 2010-11 cohort of seven Renaissance charters showed significant improvements on standardized test scores and school climate while continuing to function as neighborhood schools.

In January, District officials announced that they will continue to expand the initiative in its third year next fall. A list of targeted schools and prequalified “turnaround teams” are expected to be announced later this month.

“The bottom line is that we need to continue moving forward, replacing low-performing seats with high-performing seats,” said District spokesperson Gallard. “We are making a call here that it’s a priority to continue this work. That’s what we believe is the best use of our funding at this point.”

The District does not have a reliable working estimate of what such an expansion might cost, however.

“We’re working on it,” said Gallard.

[An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that some maintenance staff were being paid not to work. The Notebook has corrected the story and regrets the error.]

Click Here
view counter

Comments (99)

Submitted by Tara (not verified) on February 10, 2012 12:00 pm

Why didn't the SDP and Universal come to an agreement regarding any costs of using Audenried and Vare? Shouldn't that have been done before Universal took over?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 3:10 pm

I've said it MANY times here. Kenny Gamble gets what Gamble wants. He knows where the bones are buried so he has the hook up.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 12:40 pm

YOU'RE WORKING ON IT? WE'RE FIRING NURSES AND POLICE OFFICERS AND YOU'RE WORKING ON IT?????

Submitted by tom-104 on February 10, 2012 12:35 pm

Excellent reporting Benjamin! Beyond these facilities costs there is no evidence of many charters outperforming public schools. According to this report at Pittsburgh News many are performing below standards at the public schools:

"It's Your Money: Some Charter Schools Get Failing Grades"

http://tinyurl.com/87hchvg

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 3:03 pm

Of course, Tom 104--It's all smoke and mirrors, making huge easy money for the privateers. I'm just surprised so much of the truth manages to get out.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 3:21 pm

Yes, I read that article--The family business--you gotta love it, don't ya??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 8:33 pm

I would even carry it farther---Even with the political protection, cherry picking etc., the best the charters can get is 50%. Imagine if their cards were all on the table !! In any case, unless we want privateers making money off our kids, we better galvanize and mobilize. It's beginning to happen in many places but Phila. is NOT one of them -----not yet. Where's Jerry Jordan ??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 13, 2012 4:44 pm

An excellent question..."Where is Jerry Jordan?" I should be seeing him nightly on my TV IN A RAGE at what's going on in the district and yet I only hear him timidly using the same lines in the same uninspiring voice! Where's the outrage!???!! Where's the anger!!??! As it stands now, every one of his teachers may, over the next few years be re-interviewing for their jobs at charter schools. And you can be sure it will be at lower wages, less health care and zero union representation!!! So I ask again, "Where's Jerry Jordan??"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 13, 2012 5:47 pm

I agree and I wouldn't be shocked if Jordan is in on it at some level. MAYBE THE BETTER QUESTION IS WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE FROM THE YOUNGER PFT ADMINISTRATORS WHO HAVE LOTS MORE TO LOSE THAN JORDAN? If ever there was a time to thrown him overboard, now is the time. They likely are asking the same question--Where's Jordan? Like Where's Elmo?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 13, 2012 5:45 pm

Jerry will be working at his position with the Democratic machine as payment for looking the other way when his duepaying members were getting screwed over by Philadelphia. Like most of hte PFT they have been out of the classroom for so long they can't relate to anything their members tell them. Excuses upon excuses for not doing their job and standing up for their members.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 13, 2012 7:49 pm

I tend to agree--Whatever it is, ain't good--Silence is not the answer.

Submitted by tom-104 on February 15, 2012 10:05 pm

Do a Google search of the terms "Randi Weingarten and Broad Foundation" and you may have a clue to what is going on. Randi Weingarten is President of the American Federation of Teachers, of which the PFT is the local affiliate. Eli Broad of the Broad Foundation is one of the leading billionaire "philanthropists" promoting the privatization of public schools. See the Parents Across America fact sheet about the Broad Foundation:

http://tinyurl.com/3ltddl6

Submitted by Matthew C. (not verified) on February 16, 2012 7:36 am

So you're saying that Jordan is complicit in this Broad Foundation Mission and is being quiet to further their agenda?? Nothing would surprise me after the Ackerman fiasco.

Submitted by tom-104 on February 16, 2012 8:32 am

I have no evidence of that, but given the leadership of the AFT's association with the Broad Foundation, questions must be asked.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 6:21 pm

Yes, where is he and why are teachers at PLA North, who lost 8 out of 16 teachers, teaching with class sizes as high as 39 students? Why are teachers at this school teaching 4 different sections of a subject to one class? When the union was asked why this is possible.....it is clearly against our contract....the union told the staff to deal with it until the end of the year.
I want answers....the administration, the teachers and the students are being destroyed at this school. We pay dues to protect us....our contract says anything over 33 students is AGAINST OUR CONTRACT!!!!!
WHERE IS OUR UNION????

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 6:45 pm

I agree--that's the kind of thing that Ted Kirsch would never have accepted. Appeasement with these crooked folks ain't going to work. They're just laughing at Jordan and why not?

Submitted by citizen (not verified) on February 16, 2012 8:35 am

Which school is PLA North?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 1:07 pm

When you speak to a drug addict or an alcoholic, you simply cannot believe what they say. You have to live your life as though they do not exist. They are not dependable.

The Philadelphia School District overspent their "budgets" by $600 million plus! They are as bad as crack addicts or worse since they have been given many advantages my students will never get!

As a teacher in this district, I do not believe anything said by the leadership of this district and therefore not much of what is said by the leadership anywhere else. Why should I believe that this same group can somehow negotiate a calendar, let alone a contract? Where is "the gas guy?"

I feel like every time a PSD official speaks to me they are calling me an idiot but lack the courage to do so directly. I think our paper might even be part of the problem since your narrative suggests that certain organized forces are at work. These people cannot organize a sandbox.

In reality, the leadership of PSD are a bunch of thieves stealing the future and lives of this and future generations while they attend cocktail parties.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 1:02 pm

The District and the governing SRC are totally irresponsible and inept. There seems to be a cascade of ignorance and incompetence with every announcement coming out of 440 N. Broad. The charters are sucking the District and taxpayers dry and the District STILL doesn't have a clue as to the cost of support for them. What a sham. What a disgrace. What a travesty. If I performed my daily duties in the same way, I'd be fired YEARS ago!! Let's get Harrisburg out of OUR district!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 3:03 pm

NO--NOT inept nor incompetent. CROOKED is the word you need to substitute. These bean counter types are smart people. It's like what I've said about Nutter for 3 years now--either he's complicit in all this corruption or he's stupid and he ain't stupid so............We do ourselves NO Favor by calling them inept. It won't stop until we stop it. Why should it?

Submitted by Veteran of WPHS "Renaissance" (not verified) on February 10, 2012 1:07 pm

How can I get me one of them there "high performing seats?" Does anyone else see through this weird discourse that has you can think in terms of seats when you're talking about schools and students? And that you can count them one for one? If that were possible, this would all be about the furniture.

Submitted by Concerned parent and taxpayer (not verified) on February 10, 2012 3:40 pm

Now, Nunery, Nixon and Masch need to resign. This is the height of incompetence. Universal, Archie's friends, are laughing all the way to the bank. Is it the same with Gratz/Mastery? What about the other schools Mastery runs?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 5:15 pm

It's ALL smoke and mirrors but money talks so it continues. The Pittsburgh Post ir reporting that charter there are doing worse that's WORSE than their regular school cousins and that's with all the lie and cheating. One charter has made it a family business venture and they finished last of all schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 4:32 pm

Universal was a set up. They tried to take over Gratz too and it was clear they could not run a one care funeral yet alone two turn around high schools. Look at the business card for every Universal principal. It says education, real estate and like three other things. They do all badly.

I have heard that discipline at Audenreid is as bad as before and the halls are constantly filled with students milling about.

What happened to the grant to make Kenny Gamble the next Superman like Geoffery Canada. I guess Kenny can sing but not educate. He had political connections with the boys in Philly but the Feds are not so gullible.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 10, 2012 4:48 pm

All this for an organization that told my colleague that "Kenny Gamble can fundraise more in a weekend than you will make in your whole lifetime." So why aren't they carrying their own costs in the middle of this budget crisis?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 5:10 pm

Hope--Garbage in, garbage out. Scam City 101. Younger people with sense like yourself, need to put Phila. in the rear view mirror. I am ashamed to teach here but am too old to leave. We almost CAN't Teach anymore what with the Charter Fiasco on one corner, and the scripted lessons on the other. The kids are as mortified as the teachers with all of it. The whole time, Corbett is building 3 huge prison complexes in Northwest PA. to house our kids later in life. By the way, 2 of the 3 are privateers like charter schools. Is anybody surprised??

Submitted by Raheem (not verified) on February 10, 2012 4:15 pm

This excerpt makes me feel like I'm in Bizzaro World: "Nevertheless, the District intends to move forward with a planned expansion of the initiative in 2012-13."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 5:12 pm

Raheem if you are a young teacher, relocate and get on with your career. Otherwise, the end of Phila. schools in closing fast. Scoundrels will destroy it as they pocket money designed for the kids under the joke pretexts of school choice etc. They have no money for kids but lots of loose change for Kenny Gamble. The writing on the wall is so obvious, Stevie Wonder can read it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 5:00 pm

Feather Houstoun should be ashamed of herself. "Bean counter with a heart" doesn't know how much Renaissance schools cost and doesn't think "extrapolations on cost elements would be very enlightening"???

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 5:46 pm

I told you she was put in by Corbett with HIS marching orders. Of course, I was scolded to be fair with her.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 5:39 pm

You know, the state took the schools over. This gives them the responsibility to fund the schools. They were in charge when Ackerman and all these scumbag politicians and lawyers were allowed to rape and plunder. They were supposed to have oversight over finances. They failed, and now that we are in absolute crisis, in disaster mode, they are blaming the district.

How can Pennsylvania be allowed to do this? How can you take over a school district, mismanage it this severely, and then blame the school district?! The STATE MESSED IT UP in the first place!

I didn't want to believe that they were purposefully and wholesale dismantling the district, but there really is no other answer. The state installed a completely different leadership team, then continued to refuse requests for help because the SRC (again, the state itself) mismanaged funds?

I feel like I might be in the most poorly managed district in the country. My poor students.

Submitted by tom-104 on February 10, 2012 6:54 pm

I question the advice of some commenters to young teachers to get out of the Philadelphia School District. This situation is happening in all urban school districts.

VIEW THESE VIDEOS FROM THURSDAY NIGHT'S NYC DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MEETING:
http://tinyurl.com/84fwqvo

Look at the New York City based Ed Notes: http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/
and NYC Occupy the Department of Education
http://www.nycore.org/occupy-the-doe/

Look at the Chicago based Substance News: http://www.substancenews.net/

Look at this article in the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/8yfvyd7
and http://tinyurl.com/7jhbvg7 (view slide show)

Look at this blog in Seattle:
http://tinyurl.com/7owad2k

There is no frontier to run off to. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We have to dig in and fight for our students and their right to a quality public education. As long as people think there is something better somewhere else, they will leave and let the representatives of the 1% get away with privatizing our schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 6:59 pm

Tom 104----The ship has likely sailed. Corbett is in power because we elected him, same with the other inner cities. By the time their tenure is over, so will be traditional Public Schools. As Vincent Hughes says, "Elections Matter." The only hope we have is MASSIVE Resistance with loads of malice. Only now is Obama pandering to us since he needs our votes. For 3 years, he's been an empty suit.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on February 11, 2012 8:38 am

Thanks for this post, Tom-104. Running won't solve the problem.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 11:46 pm

This article is UNBELIEVABLE! And there is no reason why the District will come up with the real figures that it has spent. But there are many, many reasons why many, many people ought to be in JAIL at this very second. This is a disgrace. And who will be harmed the most by this situation? The children in this city who should be educated. The poor children who are white, black, and brown who have no where else to go but to the public schools of Philadelphia. Someone should be SLAPPED for this MESS! Somebody please tell me how in the world can this total mismanagement, this incompetence be repaired?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 10:50 pm

The FEDS should declare Marshall Law and arrest these scoundrels starting with Nutter and I am dead serious. This NOT incompetence. It's blatant corruption for all to see up close and personal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2012 11:17 pm

Universal Charter School are using Audenreid and Vare rent free because Ackerman and Archie told them orally that they would waive the 2.3 million dollar rent.

Now envision the school district you live in. Is it conceivable that a district like Lower Merion, Springfield or Upper Darby would go 9 months not collecting any of the 2.3 million in rent it had made a deal with a Charter operator to pay.

Such an outcome is inconceivable. And the excuse is a verbal contract which under any interpretation of law no school board member or superintendent in Pennsylvania has the power to make without public hearing a vote of full board.

The people running our district are even more incompetent clowns than we think. Kenny Gamble is running rings around them.

Submitted by Philadelphia taxpayer and citizen (not verified) on February 11, 2012 12:48 am

Bravo, Notebook! Bravo, Benjamin Herold! You're showing us evidence of the pervasive ugliness we suspected was lurking behind the Renaissance plans to remake our schools. SRC, please take notice. Anyhow, please take notice.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 12:53 am

cannot believe that Charter schools refer to students as seats! It's all about money. What happeed to putting the child first?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 12:24 am

when they say "seats"....they really mean that everyone is replaceable

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 6:00 am

“The thing that’s amazing to me is the extent to which districts are being dismantled from within,” said Filardo. This is the most important comment of the whole article. It's amazing to me too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 6:11 am

How much money would be saved by selling 440? Couldn't they move into one of our unused school buildings?

Submitted by J. Taylor (not verified) on February 11, 2012 8:36 am

Isn't the real problem the state's refusal to support our students equitably? Maybe one way to combat this is through a public relations campaign. The general public has the idea that money is "thrown" at education, but doesn't know what these figures are or how they compare from one place to another across the state. Maybe some giant billboards in Harrisburg and throughout the Philadelphia-hating parts of the state might present some factual information that negates the misconceptions the public is fed about what money is "given" to our schools. And instead of just pitting school district against school district, we might compare what we spend on schools to the amount of money we save our large corporations in tax breaks.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on February 11, 2012 10:54 am

Great reporting, Ben. Another great story for The Notebook--which seems to be the only news source really sniffing out the important stories these days. It is truly horrible that students in our schools are suffering from lack of resources when adults simply refuse to do the right thing! We need to maximize our assets--either charge fair market rent to charters or sell the buildings. It should not matter what Archie and Ackerman said, they are gone and Universal should pay its fair share. What does Nutter think about all this? Gamble should be ashamed of himself for causing kids to suffer while he gets richer!

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 11:05 am

The fact that "Renaissance" charters are getting away without paying their fair share is also an insult to "traditional" charters. Many "traditional charters" had to purchase their building, refurbish it, etc. This gives them less operating funds than the "Renaissance" charters.

I would love to see a breakdown of each charter using a SDP building - this includes Mastery, KIPP (Turner MS), Aspira, Universal, ETC - and what they are paying to rent/maintain the building versus what it costs a SDP school or "traditional" charters. If Mastery, Kipp, Aspira, Universal, etc. are not paying the cost of building rent/maintenance/etc., then the have much more funding for classroom. How is, for example, Universal, spending the extra money? What about Aspira?

Remember, SRC, "transparency?"

Submitted by anony (not verified) on February 11, 2012 11:49 am

Echo that sentiment! Excellent investigative reporting by Ben H. & The Notebook especially when compared to the brain-dead reporting by the rest of the media who seem to be swallowing the school reform propoganda - hook, line & sinker.

By the way, as a teacher working alongside the good hardworking people responsible for keeping our building clean & functioning, I find this assclown Calderon's remarks highly offensive and a cheap shot to boot.

"“Why would I keep cleaning people who didn’t clean?” asked Calderon. “I knew we could do it better and cheaper and have a building that’s actually clean and shows respect for the students, staff and parents who are there.”

Can anyone tell me if the PSD has yet seen fit to honor their contract with the maintenance workers and pay them their scheduled January raise that was due them? Never did read how that was resolved. Philadelphia unions have to speak out for each other or these bozos will pick us off one by one. That means you Jerry Jordan...find your voice.

Submitted by Mark G. (not verified) on February 11, 2012 11:40 am

Oh, his voice has spoken--SILENCE. He knows where his real bread is buttered.

Submitted by Worker (not verified) on February 16, 2012 7:38 am

As someone who works at Stetson and worked with SDP cleaning staff and the new staff hired by ASPIRA, the new staff cleans the building. Trash is collected twice a day, desks and tables are cleaned and wiped down daily, floors are swept daily and mopped every other day. The halls are mopped every other day as well. The building is cleaned and better stocked with soap and paper towels. They do a much better job.

Submitted by Mark G. (not verified) on February 11, 2012 11:39 am

Gamble has no conscience--ANYBODY who knows him, knows that. People like Kenyetta Johnson and before him, Harold James protected him. Listen, this is all connected and it's the end of the line unless people rise up enmasse, not 20 or 30 here and there. The REAL question is where's Jerry Jordan?????

Submitted by tom-104 on February 11, 2012 12:39 pm

It is happening in other cities!

VIEW THESE VIDEOS FROM THURSDAY NIGHT'S NYC DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MEETING:
http://tinyurl.com/84fwqvo

Look at the New York City based Ed Notes: http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/
and NYC Occupy the Department of Education
http://www.nycore.org/occupy-the-doe/

Look at the Chicago based Substance News: http://www.substancenews.net/

Look at this article in the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/8yfvyd7
and http://tinyurl.com/7jhbvg7 (view slide show)

Look at this blog in Seattle:
http://tinyurl.com/7owad2k

There is no frontier to run off to. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. We have to dig in and fight for our students and their right to a quality public education. As long as people think there is something better somewhere else, they will leave and let the representatives of the 1% get away with privatizing our schools.

Submitted by Mark G. (not verified) on February 11, 2012 1:10 pm

Bottom Line is we, the masses--the 99%, better recognize our power in numbers, and fight back with as much power that we have which is enormous.

Submitted by Tom M (not verified) on February 11, 2012 1:16 pm

And I believe it is all connected and being done by the 1%ers to lessen the quality of life of the 99%ers so as to increase the separation between the classes.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 11:34 pm

They are ALL corrupt or they are the ship of fools and they aren't. They're doing what they're told by the Corbett administration with tacit approval from our good friend, Obama. They're counting on us to sit back and take it especially since our union leader is being silent. Time to fight back folks and I mean ALL working people, union and non union. All we have is our power of numbers and we better use it to stop these folks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 10:32 am

Have any other schools experienced "shotgunning", when disciplinary notices are being handed out to a number of teachers at the end of the day on Friday? Suddenly the union has to be called for meetings the following week, at the start, by a number of teachers. It comes off like they are trying to save money by going after a batch of teachers (all experienced which means higher pay) all at once. is this happening elsewhere in the district?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 12:16 pm

At our school, they keep threatening us that the whole school will be shut down and we'll ALL be fired, like, tomorrow. For really stupid, simple things that they could have just asked nicely for us to do.

We're way beyond class size, we have none of the resources we are supposed to, and they keep expecting more and more. Story of every teacher in the district, right?

I don't know what they think they are going to do next September when we've all fled for our lives. They'll be left with only the teachers willing to put up with being treated like crap, and those aren't necessarily the best and brightest (they might be the most dedicated, but they also might just be the least able to get jobs elsewhere).

I know at my school, we're all fighting the urge to turn around and go home every morning on the way in. We come in on Monday thinking about Friday afternoon. We weren't like this a month ago.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 7:06 pm

yea....class sizes have doubled over night in alternative ed....what a joke!!!
How can anyone be a successful teacher when we have no support staff, not enough teachers, and the kids just keep coming. 440 is setting up principals, teachers and students up to FAIL. Go ahead and fire me PENNY NIXON....
you'd be losing one hell of a good teacher who cares, but all 440 does is demoralize us and threaten us.

Submitted by Mark G. (not verified) on February 11, 2012 1:11 pm

Nothing would surprise me with these folks and JORDAN !!

Submitted by tom-104 on February 11, 2012 3:37 pm

The AFT has endorsed Obama in the Presidential election. Why? Race to the Top is in the interest of the privatizers who want to use social conditions to destroy public schools. (http://tinyurl.com/777uj42 and http://tinyurl.com/787anxl) Was this voted on or is this another diktat like the "election" of Jordan? Is the AFT being turned into a company union? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_union)

Could the fact that Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, is deeply involved with the Broad Foundation, a leading "philanthropic" privatizer, since 2002 be a factor?

If you do a search on Goggle under "Randi Weingarten and Broad Foundation” you will get numerous links about the topic, more than I can cover in these notes. Some highlights I have found so far.

*********************************************************************
If you go to http://www.broadacademy.org/meetthepress.html you will see videos of Weingarten, on the Broad Foundation website, collaborating with members of Broad Foundation at a press conference for the Broad Foundation sponsored NBC program Education Nation. Note in the introduction it identifies Arne Duncan as a former board member of the Broad Foundation.

***********************************************************************

From the Broad Foundation Mission Statement of 2009
www.broadfoundation.org/.../101-2009.10%20annual%20report.pdf (this is a PDF)

Page 11
Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public
education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in
smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more
than a decade and now president of the American Federation
of Teachers (AFT). We partnered with Weingarten to fund two
union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York
City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools,
as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously
helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and
Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York
City embrace the plan.

Page 22
Caption to a picture of Randi Weingarten getting a hug from Joel Klein, then Chancellor of New York City Schools
"Left to right in picture: Eli Broad, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten celebrate at the announcement of the winner of the 2007 Broad Prize.”

Page 16
The Broad Foundation invests $2 million in the
Teachers Union Reform Network (TURN), a network of
National Education Association and American Federation
of Teachers locals.

Page 20
In 2005 the Broad Foundation makes a $1 million grant to
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City to open
two union-run charter schools in Brooklyn, the first such
schools in the country.

Page 23
With the support of the United Federation of
Teachers, the New York City Department of Education implements
a school-wide bonus program in 200 of its most
challenged schools. The Broad Foundation invests $5 million
to help fund the bonuses.

****************************************************************************

from A Parent Guide to the Broad Foundation’s training programs and education policies published by Parents Across America
http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/a-guide-to-the-broad-foundations...

in the section “A closer look at the Broad Foundation’s “investment in education”

“Along with Bill Gates, Broad contributed millions of dollars to the campaign to extend mayoral control of the public schools in New York City under Michael Bloomberg. Among the leaders he is close to and has personally advised behind the scenes are former NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.”

**************************************************************

From Substance News (http://www.substancenews.net/index.php)

The article is at http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2941

Randi Weingarten, pick of the Oligarchs... Randi was part of the Broad Academy back in 2002
George N. Schmidt - December 25, 2011
Thanks to our friends elsewhere for this bit of research. Anyone wondering why AFT President Randi Weingarten could rise to the top of the national union without ever having really taught a semester in a real public school teaching situation and then foist Bill Gates on the 2010 AFT convention in Seattle while ignoring the labor history and labor struggles of the Pacific Northwest should at least add the following (from Mad Floridian) to their research file. Randi was part of the Broad Foundation's scam long before the Broadies took over Chicago's public schools with the sponsorship of Rahm Emanuel.
######
Additional information from Broad Foundation 2002 press releases, etc.:

“Participants in the academy will not need to leave their current jobs immediately. They will attend trainings for a number of weekends over a ten-month period in locations across the country. Fellowships, including tuition, travel and all program-related expenses, will be fully covered by The Broad Center. At the end of the training, The Broad Center will help place participants in urban school districts as administrators and superintendents.
The Fellows received guidance from leaders in business, education and the non-profit sectors. Faculty at the Academy included:
Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education
* Henry Cisneros, CEO, American CityVista
* William Cox, Managing Director, School Evaluation Services
* Chris Cross, Senior Fellow, Center on Education Policy
* Chester E. Finn, Jr., President, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
* Frances Hesselbein, Chairman, The Drucker Foundation
* Don McAdams, Founder, Center for Reform of School Systems
* Donald Nielsen, President, Hazelton Corporation; Chairman, 2WAY Corporation Hugh B. Price, President and CEO, National Urban League
* Paul Ruiz, Principal Partner, Education Trust
* Adam Urbanski, Director, Teacher Union Reform Network
* Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers”

###########
Substance News continues:
Perhaps that is why she would do something like this.
Everyone who has followed Weingarten's ascendancy to her position as AFT President knew that she had been the pick of the Oligarchs. Her earlier sweet talk about gutting the teaching profession with pay per score plans had earned her the Business Roundtable's seal of approval, and now she is returning the favor by shifting her tepid endorsement of weakening ethical teaching into a full-blown advocacy for busting her own union. Randi Weingarten should be recalled by the AFT membership, and she should be put out to pasture with the other nags.

At a time when the greed merchants and uncharged felons of Wall Street burrow into the system once more to plan another financial catastrophe a few years hence, Obama's man in charge of deciding how many millions the CEO criminals should get has just been subcontracted out by Weingarten to create a plan to fire teachers for their "misconduct." The scourge of the nation--teacher misconduct!! Misconduct will surely include refusing to go along with educational genocide that is occurring in urban schools, where cognitive decapitation in segregated environments is the order of the day for the poor and the brown.

******************************************************************
From a teacher blog in NYC, Ed Notes (http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/)

A disturbing article about the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC.
This had been rejected by the New York state Comptroller last summer, but was revived after Bill Gates put up $76.5 million to fund it. It is a computer system which will track and store the private records of all students and teachers in New York state. It will be managed by Joel Klein, former NYC schools’ Chancellor, who is now with Rubert Murdoch’s Newcorp in charge of damage control over the phone hacking scandal. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Klein#News_Corporation) The Huffington Post article below says:

“According to an earlier NYT story, $44 million of this funding will go straight into the pockets of Wireless Generation, owned by Murdoch's News Corp and run by Joel Klein.”

The Ed Notes link for the article “Will UFT Renounce This Deal? Randi on the Board: Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch” is here:

http://ednotesonline.blogspot.com/2011/12/will-uft-renouncs-this-deal-ra...

Much of the Ed Notes article is from the article “Confidential Student And Teacher Data To Be Provided To LLC Run By Gates and Murdoch” on Huffington Post. The link for that is here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/confidential-student-and-_b...

Submitted by Annethensome (not verified) on February 11, 2012 7:05 pm

Kudos to those urging others to stay and fight. Lets Organize. The next SRC meeting is Feb 16th at 5:30pm. There will be press there. We need to fill the room and get our voices into the media conversation.

Call the SRC and register to speak. 215-400-4010 You have 3 minutes. Write it down. Offer suggestions of what the SRC should do.

I for one will be asking the SRC to pressure our "good neighbor" banks - you know the banks like Wells Fargo that make billions and pay no taxes? Screw our schools over with Wall St engineered deals while they are accepting bail out money and returning to massive profits? Those banks. The SRC needs to use their bully pulpit to pressure these banks to repay cancellation fees on shady swap deals, re-negotiate current bond agreements and be good corporate citizens like they say they want to be. If not, the SRC could switch banks and stop doing payroll with them, under-writing bonds, etc. Its time for hard-ball. Everyone is ok with the district playing hardball with our schools, our kids and our teachers - yet no one has the courage to play hardball with these banks?

Enough is enough. Want to meet before hand? Join Occupy 440 nurses this Wednesday - there is a planning meeting afterwards at a TBD location around 5:15 ish.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 11, 2012 10:49 pm

Where's the PFT?? Do you find it curious that Jordan isn't involved in any kind of resistance?? Could it be that he knows something we don't?? It says here that this SRC may be more connected with Corbett et al than the last version.

Submitted by John Adams (not verified) on February 12, 2012 1:26 pm

Can anybody really be surprised by this Universal rip off??...............I suggest it's way beyond time for us to stop being surprised and begin to rally our side to fight back against this blatant corruption. I have NO paper, NO pencils in my school but Gamble and his ilk can continue to rip off the school district. It is stunning !!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 12, 2012 1:34 pm

While all of this information is helpful, I have been coming out here with the hopes of learning more about what the future may bring for the teachers in the district. I am very fearful about losing my job, and have been through this mayhem last year. As a teacher who does not have much time in the district, I would like to know what exactly is going to happen! What schools are going to close? What schools will be merged? I cannot take another summer like the one I had last year---worrying about whether or not I will be laid off. All of this money for IPads, and advisors has me literally sick with fear that there will be no money for teachers come the next school year. I am not at an age where I can "easily" change careers, or spend an exhorbitant amount of money to work on yet another degree in another field.
Where can new teachers find out the necessary information about whether or not they will have a job for next year? Why doesn't the district stop this mindless spending of money? How come we are now in the middle of February, and now are going to go through another Renaissance year ---without answers!
I feel that more people should be closely focused on this issue---as many more jobs are on the line! I would like to know if mine will be, and how I can proceed onward in the midst of all this. It is very hard to teach when in fear and worry that in short weeks, I may be looking at unemployment. For those that attend these meetings, I feel that these should be the questions asked! How do we proceed? WHEN WILL WE HAVE SOME ANSWERS?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 7:09 pm

So sorry to say, get used to it. They never tell us anything and even if they do, it turns out to be the totally opposite of what they said. The last thing the district cares about are the students and teachers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 12, 2012 3:02 pm

Unfortunately, you have picked a very bad time to teach in Phila. First of all, the corruption is unprecedented. The Charter Joke hasn't burst yet but will at some point. If you hang in there, all will work out. Times is on your side and stay with the UNION !! We all need to.

Submitted by Audax on February 12, 2012 10:47 pm

Hope, you should have told them, "We told you so," because we did. We said it was a joke last February, the kids we left behind will admit it's a joke today, and all the rest of us are left scratching our heads wondering why! Sad.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 13, 2012 4:07 pm

Who's wondering WHY ?? Only dunderheads who refuse to look at the facts. Universal--Kenny Gamble--Bless his heart--is ripping off the kids right in our collective face and getting away with it all because the fix IS IN. The SRC needs to be bombarded with that tonight and not be allowed to give us the bum's rush. We're the folks in a gun fight but we have 1 water balloon and 2 feather dusters.

Submitted by Zach.O on February 14, 2012 9:55 am

It seems as if there is always something that is not right with the school budgets. This is especially true when there is a possibility that funds may not be accounted for properly.

  •  

    Budgeting the funds for school districts is difficult to craft but when there are disputed numbers things can get real tricky, real fast and the kids are the ones who suffer.

Submitted by Tyler.Y on February 14, 2012 11:18 am

It seems as if there is always something that is not right with the school budgets. This is especially true when there is a possibility that funds may not be accounted for properly.

 

Budgeting the funds for school districts in one craft is difficult but when there are disputed numbers things can get real tricky, real fast and the kids are the ones who suffer.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 14, 2012 8:17 pm

We should get rid of the charter and Renaissance schools and we might not be in this mess. Lets keep the money for our schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 14, 2012 8:59 pm

Funny that they will continue to filter monies into all of these "other" schools instead of trying to repair the existing schools. It is now the middle of February--any word on what schools are closing and/or merging?

The mayhem is starting later this year. I am getting worried.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 8:22 pm

Universal Vare has turned around drastically. The kids and adults are safe. The kids are learning. Isn't that what matters?

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 15, 2012 8:22 pm

Imagine the safety team that a $1 million subsidy could pay for and then imagine what it would be like if schools all across this city didn't have to suffer massive budget cuts to the security at their own schools because one provider in particular benefited from an insider deal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 9:16 pm

Vare is safe because they have the funds for it.....shouldn't all schools get the same amount of funding?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 15, 2012 10:16 pm

The cost to the district is actually less than if they were operating the school and they've improved the academic programming. Nobody believes that Olney or Gratz would be better off the way they were.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 1:51 am

Aspira-Olney and Mastery-Gratz are paying for facilities, Universal Audenried and Vare are not. Also, success is not consistent across the Renaissance schools. Even Mastery is struggling with Gratz because the challenge of running a neighborhood comprehensive high school is arguably greater than running an elementary or middle school where formative changes may be made.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 2:02 am

I still think the Rens arein better shape than before. The struggles of Audenried and Gratz is a struggle towards a better position. Most people see hope (no pun intended) in these schools. That didn't nor couldn't happen as a District school. Let's face it, it's been twenty years of violence and failure in those schools. They required a radical change. Give them three years and you should see substantive change. If you do, it will have been worth it. If not, you have the right to complain.

Submitted by Audaxx (not verified) on February 16, 2012 9:41 am

I think Hope and her colleagues would beg to differ about change at Audenried. In the 3 years since it had reopened, test scores had gone up, violent incidents had gone down, and there was a real feeling of family at the school. Those are reasons the students walked out and protested the turnover. The fact that the kids felt empowered and knowledgeable enough to do so should be evidence that things were indeed changing there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 9:58 am

This is an extremely a-historical perspective. I taught at Gratz from 1993 to 2005. During that time there were 5 different principals and a series of incompetent regional leaders. Successful programs were dismantled. The school was made to fail. Please know of what you speak.

Submitted by LS Teach (not verified) on February 16, 2012 10:41 am

Why not give all of these schools that are "renaissanced" three years before turning them into charters? Three years with the same principal, same staff and same curriculum...I am sure there will be gains in climate and school community. After climate is addressed and there is a sense of community, then there will an improvement in test scores.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 10:10 am

What indication do you have that Audenried is in a better place under Universal? The school was restarted less than four years ago and we built a school where students could be proud to attend. Not only did test scores dramatically increase, students representing the school also won multiple academic and sporting awards. Students had a reason to be proud of their school. Many of the students and parents who protested the change already had substantial experience with Universal, either at Vare where they were a provider or at the Universal Institute Charter School. For those of us who know, this year at Universal has been marked by numerous resignations among the staff, a Counselor who left just as students needed input for their college applications, continuing violence and repeated logistical failures from an organization that has never run a high school before. And yet they are operating with more money than any comprehensive in this city right now because they are benefiting from political connections.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 3:00 am

Does anyone know if Mastery/Gratz and Aspira/Olney are paying the FULL cost for the building? The Notebook article indicated they are not. Both Aspira, and especially Mastery, have more than one SDP building. It is not fair to charters that actually have to pay the total cost of their buildings if management companies like Aspira and Mastery get a break. It is obviously unfair - and unethical - if the SDP sucks up costs while its own schools continually face budget cuts.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 1:10 am

MR.HAROLD do you know if universal at least had to pay for all the equipment they got to keep @audenried? for example the computers

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 3:22 am

Universal not only received a brand new building, didn't they also received the CTE (vocational) equipment? If anything was left in Audenreid - from books to computers to white boards - Universal should have paid for them. SDP schools are struggling with lack of resources - Universal should pay up.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 10:10 am

Universal got to keep the computers and the massive Apple server. On the last day of work, Universal called in to central offices and accused teachers of stealing the computers because they saw teachers leaving the building with their own computers. A count by the District later confirmed that they were all there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 11:51 am

Hope, the test score (they only took the test last year) was 27.5 for reading and 20 in math. Violence had not gone down enough to remove them from the PD list. All you need to do is look at the series in the Inquirer to see that it was a very dangerous place. They had more cops in there than on South Street on a Saturday night. And who gave them an academic award and what on earth was that based on? Athletics mean nothing if the "student athlete" is not a student. I know that there were teachers there who cared and worked hard. It wasn't making a difference. I don't lay the blame at their feet. It was poorly managed. But for you to say that things were improving is quite a reach. The fact that students left in protest of the turnover is not as meaningful as Audaxx would have us believe. Give Universal three years and then we'll see if they do better. I find it hard to imagine that they'll do worse. For those who say they have more money to operate the school, do you really believe there was a dollar amount that the former operator could have received that would have made a difference in the school? You may not like the fact that Universal was the operator selected to run the school, but you would be hard pressed to make the argument that change was not required. The PFT has money and political connections. Are you mad at them?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 12:08 pm

they won 1st place overall for a black history contest. but let me ask u this do you think it is fair to allow universal in a building rent free

Submitted by Audaxx (not verified) on February 16, 2012 12:19 pm

Those scores versus what the historical scores at the prior incarnation were tripled. One should also look at the scores of those same children when they came into the school and see where they ended up. Were there that many "Below Basic" that improved to "Basic" and so forth? The answer was, "yes." The writing scores, something businesses talk of all the time, were over 50% being able to write due to comprehensive programs put into place the first year and followed through/expanded each year.

Universal doesn't have any reporting guidelines in terms of behaviors/pushouts/etc that PSD schools do, so their numbers won't mean anything because they can report what they want. Also, did you know that if a student does something wrong on a saturday it counts against the school's numbers? Plenty of violence down at 27th & Tasker was counted against Audenried's numbers.

I would bet more of the teachers felt unsafe in the neighborhood than they did inside the building itself, regardless of the Inquirer article.

Change is a slow process, and it was happening. Anyone who tells you they'll fix all the ills and have sudden spikes in their numbers is lying or manipulating numbers in some way...oftentimes both.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 12:36 pm

Universal has demonstrated time and again that they operate without any sense of ethics. The fact that they are exploiting taxpayers by using publicly funded building while not paying a cent in rent shows that they are open to corporate welfare. So, as Audax suggets, it is reasonable to assume that they will cook the books a la Penny Nixon when it comes to test scores and other data.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 1:47 pm

They won prizes not only in African-American history, but in Internet design at the state level and in the city-wide science fair as well. Regarding the basketball players who won their division on their first year as a varsity team, the two leading scorers were two very strong students of mine who regularly tested proficient on benchmarks and predictive and who partook of the honors curriculum. Their coach refused to let any player participate without explicit consent from each teacher. Our expectations were incredibly high. The truth is hat we worked in a neighborhood where violence impacted us daily, from the rounds that hit the wall below my window during a drive-by shooting to the lockdown that went into effect as police cleared a dead body outside. The articles in the Inquirer reference incidents that occurred in our second year, when after months of attempting to proactively implement solutions hat fell on deaf ears at the district level, we as teachers collectively decIded to turn to public forums to accomplish our objectives. That story is public precisely because we worked to reverse the trend. And through all this, Audenried students contined to improve academically. Thy achieved 29% in reading despite not having an English teacher for a month leading up to the PSSA's and despite he fact that they had always tested with me in very regimented conditions. Not only did they increase the level of proficiency but the number of below basic students was decreased from 56% by more than half. Lastly, the irony in your statement that we should give Universal three years is that the new Audenried had just 2 years and 4 months before the District unilaterally announced that Audenried would be gifted I Universal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 2:11 pm

African-American history contest? Internet design? Those could be everything or nothing. City-wide science fair? You beat Central and Masterman? Not in a fair competition. Expectations are relative, but you could not improve on a test you only took once in the school's history. I find it hard to believe that the acievement you report would pass muster when compared to the rest of the high schools in the city, especially the charters. There were several incidents of violence last year. It may have been less for Audenried, but it wasn't enough to shed the PD label. I didn't make this decision. And I agree that you were dealt a bad hand, even in a beautiful building. However, my sense is that parents would prefer to send their children to a good school in a bad building to the reverse.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 3:38 pm

On the one hand you criticize a school for failing to meet your expectations and then turn around and express your incredulity at the fact that students at the school were able to demonstrate success in multiple ways. Are you so quick to believe that students at Audenried are incapable of excellence?

Submitted by Audax on February 16, 2012 4:29 pm

Hey, don't sweat it, we know what we did. We know the kids we sent on internships to UPenn, the jobs we helped them get, the college recommendations we've written THIS year (even though we aren't there), the homework help we've given (again this year, because of teachers who didn't know how to explain things to the kids), etc.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 6:30 pm

...The FAFSA help since the counselor left as the students were applying to colleges. You are right. I will always be proud of then and what we accomplished together.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 17, 2012 2:15 pm

I know there were capable children at Audenried. What I don't believe is that anyone could achieve in that chaotic environment. I also know the way that educators in urban schools will create tests, contests, and curricula that are so watered down they are meaningless. It's the high school equivalent of tee ball. Nobody loses and everybody gets a trophy. I also know that many who teach in schools like Audenried teach in fear, and rightfully so. But what that does is make the ready to celebrate the minimal results as if they really meant something. I hope you are not trying to convince me that you have prepared a significant portion of your students for post high school education. You can't believe they are prepared to make it. Regular attendance, timeliness, able to learn from constructive criticism, team players, and all the other soft skills necessary for success in college and the work place. Please don't tell me why those things could not or did not happen. I don't care why. If urban schools are to be adequately funded, results are required. We're all well aware of the reasons for failure. This is a job for people who will accept nothing but success. People whose measure success in the same ways it is measured in the macro culture. You tell me what makes you feel good about the work you did. You don't tell me that it changed anyone's life. It's hard work and it's not for everybody.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on February 16, 2012 3:16 pm

I wish people who have blanket statements and somewhat inflammatory things to say would step out from behind the cloak of anonymity and own up to their opinions. How do you know they did not win a prize in the citywide science fair? Did you see and judge the entries? If you did, speak up. If you did not, then you are just making assumptions. I do not know what the kids at Audenried did or did not do, but I do not presume to doubt the word of someone who actually taught there.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 16, 2012 10:22 pm

they also won a state championship for a computer program they did on bootlegging. why is it so hard to believe that the NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL could do better than masterman or central? because it did happen. now the big question is y didn't the school district acknowledge these accomplishments especially since they partnered with one of the competitions? i can answer that for you because it went against everything that they said was wrong with the school.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on February 16, 2012 11:37 pm

That is one of the things I hate the most. When the African-American history team won and the District did not recognize the players even though it is standard practice, it certainly seemed as though they did not acknowledge students successes in the same meeting where thy opted to turn over the school. The fact that Onika and Meshay won at the state level for their website on 1920's prohibition, they had to first win at the local and regional levels. There work was incredibly impressive and included pictures of our office staff gamely outfitted in period. Pastime. There are so many things to miss about the Audenried hat is gone.

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on March 15, 2012 10:21 pm

Why did the SDP allow Universal to run the school without a facilities agreement? This is ridiculous. CEOs Scott Gordon (Mastery), Alfredo B. Calderon (ASPIRA), and
Lars Beck (Scholar Academies) responded to the letter about facilities costs,
http://www.thenotebook.org/blog/124545/renaissance-charter-operators-res....

Where is Kenny Gamble's signature to this?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 2, 2014 11:29 pm

Why do I think this is a lie, the composition of this team is very special, an education manager, an education expert, a super assistant, all of which are educators, I feel that some things are necessary, but they may be some chatter hundred.   web design agency leeds

Post new comment

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

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

Follow Us On

Read the latest print issue

Philly Ed Feed

Recent Comments

Top

Public School Notebook

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

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