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Anger and frustration aimed at Hite and SRC at meeting

By Paul Jablow on Aug 23, 2013 12:00 PM

Robin Dominick, her 2nd-grade daughter, Leah, at her side, told the School Reform Commission on Thursday night that she was worried about putting her child in a split-grade classroom.

“Can you tell her what to do when a 3rd grader bullies her, with no counselor and no aide?” asked Dominick, president of the Home and School Association at Powel School in Powelton Village.

Maureen Fratantoni, president of the Home and School Association at Nebinger Elementary School in South Philadelphia, pleaded for the rehiring of the school’s music teacher, Aaron Hoke, who was transferred.

North Philadelphia community activist Danita Bates, staring at Superintendent William Hite, asked, “When are you going to ask for the next 33 [school] closings?”

Doubt, anger, and frustration filled the packed room as speakers went beyond questioning how schools would open in the face of drastic budget cuts and repeatedly questioned how hard Hite and the SRC are really fighting for the system. An even bigger crowd had protested outside.

“Are you working for Philadelphia’s children?” asked Joan Taylor, a teacher at Middle Years Alternative School, “or are you working for a governor whose conservative policies put him at odds with the needs of these kids?”

“With the massive turnover rate you already have, you should be doing everything you can to keep teachers here, not drive them away,” said David Hensel, a teacher at Taggart Elementary School. “This isn’t reform. This is destruction.”

Hite listened calmly to the 90-minute parade of speakers, occasionally interjecting explanations on issues such as split classes, which he said he does not see as a long-term solution to the budget crisis.

But some of the angriest words were directed at the empty chair of SRC Chair Pedro Ramos.

Lisa Haver, a community activist and a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, accused Ramos of supporting cancellations of portions of the teachers’ union contract as a political favor to Gov. Corbett, who appointed him. She cited a report in the City Paper that a secret Republican poll recommended that fighting with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers would fire up the GOP base in the 2014 gubernatorial election.  

District officials said they did not know where Ramos, who is rarely absent, was or why he did not attend the meeting. Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky was also absent.

Masterman parent Alison McDowell attacked the SRC’s acceptance of a donation from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to develop a school report card, questioning whether it was “a Trojan horse” to get commercial software platforms into the District.

One spectator raised a sign saying, “Fund Public Schools, Not For-Profit Education.”

Of the several dozen resolutions approved by the SRC, one of the few that drew comment from the speakers was the acceptance of a $228,000 gift from the Home and School Association of Science and Leadership Academy for teacher salaries and benefits.

Taylor said, “I wish I could applaud the parents ... for their hard work raising the [funds], but I can’t. “ She said that SLA had set itself up as a “gated community” within the District, which “makes it harder for other schools that cannot do the same.” 

The SRC also revised policies on harassment and bullying/cyberbullying in the Student Code of Conduct and approved licensing agreements with five charter providers under the Renaissance Schools Initiative. There was no discussion of either of these issues. 

Activist Helen Gym of Asian Americans United spoke in favor of the strengthened District policy on harassment, citing the lessons from efforts at South Philadelphia High School to put an end to bias attacks on Asian students.

"We learned that you need an aggressive approach to bullying and harassment with policies and procedures that help enforce and train people how to say no when an anti-gay or racial slur occurs, rather than shrug shoulders and turn the other way," she said.     

The revised policy requires all reports of harassment to be investigated and reported within 14 days.

The harassment policy change also specifies that a violation does not have to be intentional or involve repeated incidents.

The bullying resolution adds a whistleblower provision protecting people who report bullying. It calls for staff training in the prevention of bullying and the use of translators in bullying investigations if the victim has limited English proficiency.

The licensing agreements call for the charter operators at these five Renaissance Schools to maintain the buildings and pay the District for their use.

  • Mastery Charter Pastorius Elementary School -- $5,621 per month
  • Universal Alcorn Charter School -- $9,517 per month
  • Universal Audenried Neighborhood Partnership Charter School -- $391,944 per year
  • Universal Vare Promise Neighborhood Partnership Charter School -- $186,000 per year
  • Young Scholars Renaissance Kenderton Charter School -- $7,991 per month

Universal had previously used District buildings for Audenried and Vare without payment under an arrangement reached during the administration of the late former superintendent Arlene Ackerman. These were the only two Renaissance charters without an executed facilities license agreement.

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Comments (112)

Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 23, 2013 12:05 pm
Our music teacher Aaron Hoke at Nebinger was actually transferred out of our school.
Submitted by the Notebook on August 23, 2013 2:02 pm

Our mistake. It's been fixed. 

Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 23, 2013 4:21 pm
Yeah. He has not been laid off or rehired, but transferred.
Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 24, 2013 1:57 am
Thanks for including me and the other people from the meeting in your article Mr. Jalbow!
Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 24, 2013 1:57 am
Correction on the spelling of your name- Mr. Jablow
Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 23, 2013 12:35 pm
Our music teacher, Aaron Hoke, at Nebinger, is being transferred to another school to teach string instruments, and has not been laid off. We wanted him to remain with us. He was good with the students as well as establishing a jazz ensemble at the school with me.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 23, 2013 1:05 pm
It is up to your principal, to budget for an IMT, with whatever funds your school has. If Mr. Hoke did not request a transfer, then it is possible he could remain, if the principal allocates the funds. There is no question in my mind that instrumental music instruction helps children in fundamental ways that carry over into academics. There is also no question as to the value of having certified teachers for instrumental music. A good artist is not necessarily an effective teacher, especially in an institutional setting. The Instrumental Music program is one of the gems that the District still has. It is worth fighting for.
Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 23, 2013 3:24 pm
Thanks for your input Ms. Cheng. We are still supposed to have an IMT. We are supposed to get a new music teacher and art teacher I believe. I was upset because we had established, as I said earlier, a jazz ensemble. Mr. Hoke is able to play many instruments and wear many hats. I am the soloist in the ensemble that leads the choirs in song. Mr. Hoke was a great accompanist and he was great with our my son who is on the spectrum of autism and others in our autistic support program. Plus it is my son's last year here and Mr. Hoke promised that he could sing the National Anthem for graduation along with me. Mr. Hoke , also, gives out the Music award an is aware of who would be deserving of that out of all of the graduates. The autistic support children have a hard time with change in general. My son is getting anxious over this. So will the others once they are told. I am aware of most of the musical resources in our area. I went to Settlement for Voice and Theory and attended Temple U, majoring in Theater. My son plays violin is in Musicopia and I, also, play violin with them.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:17 pm
One last point, and teachers please don't dump on me. With seniority assignment temporarily suspended, perhaps your principal could request Mr. Hoke specifically as your school's IMT. A lot of senior IMTs (having had enough of the roller coaster) retired this past year, and that is probably why Mr. Hoke was transferred if he didn't request it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:08 am
The probem is having to pick and choose what's "valuable."
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:24 am
Absolutely. The Instrumental Music program has been on the defensive for years, even before I moved to Philly. Check me on this, but I believe a full 40% of the District's schools offer no IM instruction at all. We all (or at least us 99%ers) have to deal with budget issues, and make hard decisions. In support of IM, all I would have to say right now is, it's a lot of "bang for the buck", especially the way the District has been able to still offer it, by strategically placing teachers. The benefits cross over in many ways in a child's life. The Arts are often criticized as being unnecessary and luxuries, but we have mounting research that would say otherwise.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 23, 2013 3:47 pm
Ms. Fratantoni,, I just looked up where Nebinger is located, and found it is in South Philly. Some great resources nearby. These will never replace a certified IMT, but you might look into partnering that could help, both now and when yours is returned. There is the Clef Club and the Kimmel, both which have their own youth Jazz programs (the Kimmel's is "Creative Music"). CAPA and GAMP are nearby (maybe there're kids who need Community Service?). Settlement, Queen Street branch, might be able to help as well. Check with Musicopia, and Curtis outreach too. Philadelphia Orchestra tends to focus on its own groups, rather than fostering others. I volunteer with Temple CMSP, but they require an in school music program in order for students to participate. I could inquire about starting a Community Service outreach for the students in high school, but most likely it would be kids from CAPA or GAMP, possibly Masterman and Central, who would be able to help. Good luck!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 3:26 pm
The most profound statement was made my Joan Taylor - " "SLA had set itself up as a “gated community” within the District, which “makes it harder for other schools that cannot do the same.” Schools like SLA, The Workshop, Central and Masterman will be able to call on parents and outside donors who go for their "top" status and ability to cream off students. We already have an incredible inequitable system - SLA's move reinforces the inequity. A school community who operates under different rules can NOT call itself progressive. SLA teachers - speak up! You love to tweet so tweet for equity rather than a system that gives you far more resources than your colleagues. Lehmann - get off your arrogant high horse and speak for all students - not just yourself!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 3:23 pm
No doubt there will be inequity inside of schools like SLA, The Workshop, Central, Masterman, and Meredith. Students who have parents who are able to make large donations will get special treatment. It worries me that a child of a parent(s) who is struggling to put food on the table and not able to make donations will be treated like second class citizens. We are working on a very slippery slope.
Submitted by Timothy Boyle on August 23, 2013 5:48 pm

To suggest the the educators in any of those schools would treat the students and families they serve differently based on ability to donate money is reprehensible. You don't have to agree with the special admission school model. You can be as angry as you want over the funding crisis. But to think for one second that the the leaders and faculty of these schools would allow a second class of students to exist in their buildings belies your ingnorance of the reputable and caring people that work in them. 

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:14 pm
Read Ms. Taylor's comments again. She did not say anything close to this or accuse any principal of creating a second class of students.
Submitted by g (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:45 pm
I cannot believe that staff would treat affluent and poor students differently-BUT------In a special admit school-it is surely possible that a child could get a "leg up" in admissions if the parents were known to be big donors.
Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:12 pm
Tim, I would not disagree with you. I do think the issue is more complicated than whether the administrators were to intentionally act unfairly. I think that this level of voluntary donation can have deleterious unintended consequences for poor students whose parents cannot afford to participate. Affluent people often are shocked when their charity (i.e. willingness to cover for the poor famiies) is misunderstood. I have noticed what I see as arrogance on the part of some affluent people who assume how recipients of charity should feel. Face it, this is not a country in which we are comfortable with each giving according to his ability to pay. A passing glance at the comment section of gives some insight as to how many Philadelphians feel about those who do not pay their "fair share". Fair share, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Although we may not entirely agree I feel that we need to be able to talk issues like this through and listen to each other. We (i.e. SDP) are charting new territory here. We are learning the misunderstandings inherent in the current debate. My strong feelings about this were learned the hard way several years ago in a school my own children attended. There has been no discussion (as far as I know) about the myriad ways this idea is fundamentally flawed. I would love to participate in a discussion if given an opportunity.
Submitted by Lisa Haver (not verified) on August 23, 2013 8:37 pm Thursday's Daily News had a very good editorial on the subject.
Submitted by Timothy Boyle on August 23, 2013 8:59 pm

I would welcome a conversation about funding and about policy. What I am tired of seeing on these boards and at SRC meetings is educators attacking other educators. Tearing down the people who are providing eductional opportunties for our students is very different than debate about policy.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:39 am
No, it's not educators attacking other eduactors, per se it's the systems that are set up that are being talked about. It's a fairness issue which we didn't used to have with PFT folks in better days, because didn't HAVE these competing entities. The concept of the charter system being "public" without actulally being so has caused a lot of understandable resentment.
Submitted by Maureen Fratantoni (not verified) on August 23, 2013 8:26 pm
Me, too, Eileen.
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on August 23, 2013 11:42 pm
I have seen students treated differently based on PSSA score in terms of discipline. Advanced kids given second chances that Basic kids wouldn't be given. I have seen fantastic students who were great kids rejected from special admit schools for the lone reason that their PSSA scores fell into the "basic" range. How would parents willingness to donate money, be any different.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 1:32 am
You are so right. I can't believe people are trying to convince otherwise. We are still fighting racism. I am so tired. Level the playing field about the admit process for all schools. Children across our country and our city are falling behind every minute. We continue to increase children to prison pipeline. We need to work to together, folks.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 5:46 pm
That is beyond ridiculous. The basic principal of these schools is to attract kids from all over the city who have an interest in learning and achieving at high levels. I attended Central and even then you had kids who came from "legacies" where their parents attended the school, and even kids from out of the city who paid tuition, yes tuition to attend. If your parent paid 1000 bucks towards the library fund or if your parent couldn't even afford tokens we were all treated the same by the staff and each other. The goal is to have ALL schools be funded at an adequate level not to down talk schools where some of the parents are more affluent. This whole discussion is another way to divide us from looking at the real issue.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 5:23 pm
* principle
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 8:11 am
CENTRAL! Are you kidding me? I can remember a retired principal and cluster leader who had to come and support the African American students, because Central’s staff did not know what to do with them. Please! Please! Please! Also, I had one of my Asian students attended Central and the staff thought she was Latino. The Central’s roster team did not believe she was Asian and made her take Spanish 4. The child came running back to her middle school for help. Be quiet Central!
Submitted by Mary Beth Hertz (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:29 pm
As an SLA teacher, I will only add to Tim's reply that the basis of SLA's school culture is based around the "ethic of care." Our entire focus is around kids and their needs, no matter what their background. I have worked in four different schools across Philadelphia and I have worked with students from a variety of backgrounds. I have never once seen a child treated as a "second class citizen" based on his or her parents' ability to give back to the school. I would also argue that I would never judge the culture of a school without experiencing it first. All five of the schools you mention are completely different when you step inside them. Let's not let this difficult time begin to pit school against school. We need to stand together.
Submitted by Annonym. (not verified) on August 23, 2013 8:24 pm
Were't you just a teacher at a charter school? How were you hired by SLA when School District teachers were laid off? Whether or not you believe SLA's "ethic of care" is real or not, the fact that one set of students / teachers will have much more to work with than another set of students / teachers is inequitable within one school district. Why should one group of students get a lap top when other students have to share a lap top cart between 200 students? Why should one group of teachers have to buy their own paper when another group of teachers have to buy nothing? This exasperates the haves and have nots. SLA students, in general, are the "haves." (Just look at how many students went to private schools.)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 10:53 pm
Yes; She was a teacher in a charter school and hand picked, like the SLA students. But we should be taking Chris L to task and the PFT management, not her. I assume the PFT management have to know when a new PFT member is hired from outside the PSD. Mary Beth will do great things at SLA; its's just unfortunate that Chris can ignore 876(laid off) other possibly great teachers too for positions at SLA.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 10:20 pm
Yes - Why does SLA get away with hiring teachers (Jerry, listening?) from outside the District while others are laid off? I'm sure The Workshop did the same thing. Again, another example of the inequity and injustice.
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on August 23, 2013 11:24 pm
Actually, this woman was on a "Charter School Leave" it is in the contract. She was a SDP teacher/PFT member then took a leave of absence for a few years to teach in a charter school, then came back. Again, it is allowed in the PFT contract. She was allowed to return, similar to taking a few years off after having a kid.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:12 am
How does someone "return" when nearly 700 are laid off?
Submitted by Concerned Citizen (not verified) on August 24, 2013 8:19 am
It is in the contract.. I believe an employee is entitled up to four years of charter school leave. At the end if that leave, they would return to their last tenured position.
Submitted by Concerned Citizen (not verified) on August 24, 2013 8:04 am
Oops! "of"...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 9:46 am
"Last tenured position" - does that mean the job / school / position they held or they can take another position?
Submitted by Mary Beth Hertz (not verified) on August 24, 2013 11:33 am
I will answer the question about Charter School Leave of Absence. It took it when I was force transferred out of my school because it became a Renaissance School. When I returned I was treated as a force transfer and maintained my system seniority. Yes, it is in the contract. For what it's worth, I never wanted to leave the district , but was in a tough spot. That said, I am saddened by the language used here and below by so many Anonymous commenters. It's easy to attack and call people names from behind that mask. I agree that funding is unequal, I agree that all kids should have access to everything they need. The system is inherently unfair as I have seen first hand in a Renaissanced School. Let's keep hounding Harrisburg and putting pressure on our legislators and our governor to fix the underlying issue of funding and to remove the SRC, which has run our district into the ground.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 24, 2013 11:42 am
Ms. Hertz, yes there is a lot of misdirected anger. There is also a lack of listening. A good deal of the budget shortfall is caused by an inability to adjust to loss of enrollment by the District, resulting in an inflated per child instruction cost which is then multiplied by unanticipated numbers of charter transfers both from the District as well as private/parochial schools. In short, poor, misinformed planning. (Btw, it was BCG that crunched the numbers that revealed this structural problem.) Judging by comments here on the Notebook, I'm not sure a school board would have been better informed than the SRC was, It appears that historically rural districts have tried to sue the State for more equitable funding, but unsuccessfully, because the State does have an "aid ratio" in place, and it was ruled that it is up to the State to determine what "thorough and efficient" means: I've gotten a promise from my State Rep's office to return my email/calls. We shall see if we can get the charter funding formula fixed. At least this will stop some of the "bleeding".
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:48 pm
I've gotten a promise from my State Rep's office to return my email/calls. We shall see if we can get the charter funding formula fixed. At least this will stop some of the "bleeding" Ms Cheng Sorry but you hve no control over that.
Submitted by Concerned Phila. (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:29 pm
I still do not understand how you were "brought back" to a District position when so many teachers were laid off. The "forced transfers" were not allowed to start picking until a week ago. How could you be on the top of the list? I realize it isn't just you but SLA has a well earned reputation for not having to follow the rules in more than just teacher placement. If there is one slip in seniority, then the seniority system is lost. Maybe you do not support seniority but based on your post, you apparently benefited from it.
Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on August 24, 2013 1:09 pm
When a teacher is on any kind of a leave, he/she maintains seniority. When and if layoffs occur, the person on leave would not be laid off if his/her seniority is more than those people being laid off. Remember, certifications come into this as well. If your certifications are in a high-demand area, or if you have multiple needed certifications, you will either NOT be laid off, or be brought back quicker than someone with a certification in low-demand (such as K-6). Also, SLA and SLA Beeber (like many other schools) are full site-select, therefore, they may hire anyone on the districts list during the site selection window--they do do not have to wait for forced transfers to be placed. ****All of that being said, I do not think it is kind or productive to attack each other. Doing so plays directly into the divide and conquer desires of the District.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:15 pm
An institution that has endorsed running the school district into the ground is the Philadelphia School Partnership. SLA, your new school, has accepted $1.5 million from the PSP. Isn't SLA contributing to the problem? Sure, its students/staff benefit and get accolades for "great work" while other students / staff are left with literally crumbs.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 24, 2013 2:49 pm
Giving money to the District's schools as opposed to charters, strengthens the District. It does not "run the District into the ground". Well used grants from outside sources of funding, take nothing away (jealousy aside) from the other schools. Besides retaining enrollment, another way it strengthens the District, is it shows that additional funding can make a difference in achievement. This strengthens lobbying for more funding for the traditional schools, all of them. (Check your premise that the PSP is trying to "run the District into the ground". Opposing the current seniority placement system, and a better way to keep effective teachers is not necessarily union busting; PSP never said teachers are being paid too much (or did I miss that quote?) Why not strengthen the due process, get better starting pay, and severance packages for example? This might encourage more careful hiring and discourage willy nilly/political firing.)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 8:21 pm
Okay there is something on page 64 of the contract, but it says nothing about "charter leave absence.". It deals with what happens when a school becomes Renaisssance. All teachers become forced transfers and up to 50% may be rehired through site select. All PFT teachers assigned to Ren Schools will be able to volunteer out of the school with one year of building seniority. If you are talking about something else please provide the info. From what I know a "break in service" of less than one year shall not affect system seniority.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 2:25 pm
Really? what's interesting is that many teachers who are "let go" from the SDP end up in charters and they can't get back, so this is very strange. It's strange also because charters are not district schools. Is this for real?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 7:10 pm
It's for real. There is a difference between being "let go" or laid off and then taking a position in a charter and leaving the district "on charter leave." Also, people might also not know to request charter leave, simply resigning or taking themselves off the recall list. I'm not sure why people might be having trouble getting back into the district with the exception on a few certifications or subject areas--the district has been hiring new teachers in the past year, at least in high need certs like special ed or dual-certs like someone who can teach both English and Social Studies. It could be harder to come back with a single certification area (ex. can only teach Soc.Stud)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 7:18 pm
I'll need a source, page number, or something for that. I see nothing about that in the contract,. Charter leave?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:53 pm
IF a charter skl has no relation to the SDP why is that allowed? Are you actually saying b/c they are both public that's the reason? Opting for a non district school is akin to having a baby? You made a decision to leave the SDP. Somebody must've lost their minds agreeing to that.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:20 pm
Please tell me where it is- what page. The contract is online if you dont' have a book. If nobody can cite this I'll take it as anecdotal, but a few ppl here seem sure of themselves so it shouldn't be hard to find.
Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on August 25, 2013 11:32 pm
It is not in the Contract, it is in the employee handbook, section 2-18.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:29 am section 2-18 Thanks KR, I read it but it's says nothing about your status when you decide to return (like the other forms of leave). In addition the school has to be a participant with the SDP, not just any charter school. Perhaps it's not in the contract because it's not cut and dried. I heard that a few years ago from a PFT staffer, that if something is spelled out precisely in the contract it leaves little wiggle room, and my take is that this may fall under that. Therefore it's my conclusion (right or wrong) that when you see somethng like this going on, especially if your own position is affected by it, ask about it
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:38 am
You would think the PFT would know a lot of things but sadly they don't or do and look the other way. I know for a fact, SLA employed new hires (not a charter school return or leave of absence, etc.) to their school before laid off people were recalled back, (last layoff in 2011), and laid off teachers could have filled those slots with appropriate certification. Seniority in the District has already been diminished by tactics like that and what has the union done -well you all know that answer. Human Resources is to blame too of course,after all they have to approve all new hires and appointments.But the most discourgaing thing is when these employees to to the PFT to join the union or do the "fair share" the union at that point ought to make sure laid off people on the list are all back in schools.Why isn't this being done????
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 1:50 pm
I'm not sure how SLA or SLA2 are working their staffing. I know they held interviews and selected staff before site selection was available elsewhere, but I also know that they had staff who were laid off after they were selected for the new school. They were definitely not exempt from seniority in that way.
Submitted by Concerned Phila (not verified) on August 23, 2013 9:34 pm
You need to take off your blinders. Parents who are active in Home School and donate get the ear of the principal much quicker than parents who do not. SLA is no different. SLA drinks at the fountain of the Philadelphia School Dictatorship and Lehmann has done whatever he wants in this School District. This is not progressive education - it is blatant inequality. SLA teachers love to boast so now boast for justice!
Submitted by Leo (not verified) on September 22, 2013 7:10 pm
Why should SLA settle for anything less than the best school possible, if those avenues are open to it? The implications you folks are throwing around are that SLA should be offering the exact same education that everyone else in the district is, just because they are a part of the district. That means that if the handicapped district can only offer a mediocre educations to students, then SLA should only offer mediocre educations to students. Would you rather have every child in the city receiving a mediocre education, or a large group of children with mediocre educations in addition to a small group with a wonderful education?
Submitted by True progressives (not verified) on August 23, 2013 10:34 pm
If SLA has an "ethic of care," let them be generous with their funds. Instead of hiring two teachers with SLA excess, spread the money around. That is how you stand together.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 5:46 pm
Where did SLA's Home and School get a quarter of a million dollars? Did I miss an article somewhere?
Submitted by David Hensel (not verified) on August 23, 2013 5:55 pm
The SRC cut me off on my testimony. Three minutes just wasn't enough time. I guess I cited too many examples of waste. I'd like to put it here in full for everyone to read. Thanks in advance for reading everyone. The teachers are being asked to pay $133 million to fix this mess, but the teachers didn't create this mess. I was taught to clean up after myself and do my best to fix my own mistakes. I teach my students this too. By your actions, what are you teaching our students? Lets give a few examples of many. The public school teachers didn't spend hundreds of millions of dollars of stimulus money on operating costs, setting up programs such as Promise Academies and Renaissance charters, whose continued funding creates deficit after deficit long after the stimulus money has run out. The public school teachers didn't give the previous superintendent a $1 million dollar golden parachute upon her departure, the SRC did. The public school teachers didn't participate in variable interest rate credit swaps, instead of using fixed interest rates, and costing taxpayers over $150 million dollars, the school district did. The public school teachers do not give $675 million each year in public money to private charter schools, the SRC does. The public school teachers didn't rack up $280 million a year in debts that must be paid each year.The public school teachers didn't give the top 25 administrators in this building huge raises, the school district did. The public school teachers didn't approve $15 million dollars for a cyber charter that only services barely over one hundred students, the SRC did. The public school teachers haven't given cover to a governor that has cut $1 billion from our state's students, the SRC has. The public school teachers didn't sit back and let the governor only give us $2 million in new funding, and hold up $45 million in federal funding from helping our kids, the SRC, the school district, and Mayor Nutter have. It wasn't the teachers who called $2 million from the state and $133 million from the teachers " shared sacrifice." The public school teachers haven't spent the last 13 years running this school district into the ground, this state government and this kangaroo court, the SRC has. Does anyone remember Colin Powell's "pottery barn rule?" It goes like this. You bought it, you broke it, you fix it. Clearly that is not the plan here. As teacher Christine McArther wrote in an Inquirer editorial this week. “The trunk of my car is now filled with a carton of paper, pens, lined paper, and copybooks I have bought for my students this September. Now we are also to pay for the mistakes of our employers?" This room and this city are filled with teachers who spend hundreds, thousands, of their own money just to try to give these kids the basics of what they need. When you take $10,000 a year from each teacher, how will these teachers pay their mortgage or their rent? How will they pay for child care? How will we pay for our kids to go to college? If we have $10,000 or more less each year, how will we be able to spend money on our students? We can't afford this. Therefore, if you go through with this, you will see a mass exodus of teachers who simply can't afford to teach here any longer. Will younger teachers step up to take their place? I know you are hoping that, but every teacher in this room will tell you that they wouldn't be here still succeeding if it wasn't for veteran teachers who helped them get through and become who they are today. Treating teachers this way, it is killing education as a viable career for our young people. Would you advise your son or daughter to go into education? I am expecting a child next month. I love teaching and I would love for that child to grow up to be a teacher, but I would hate to see them have to go through this, to see what all of this chaos does to their colleagues, their friends, and the families and children that depend on them. With the massive turnover rate you already have, you should be doing everything you can to keep teachers here, not drive them away. This isn't reform, this is destruction. This cannot continue. Dr. Hite, you are siding with a losing team, a group of political appointees who won't be here in a few years when Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett are gone. The right move for the teachers, their families, and most importantly our students, is to push for an extension of our current contract as it is written, and to spend this fall getting our city's students the funding they need. I hope for the sake of our city, you'll make the right choice. Thank you for your time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 5:37 pm
Well said...thanks for sharing.
Submitted by SMH (not verified) on August 23, 2013 6:43 pm
This is fantastic. Can you please send this to every newspaper in Philly?
Submitted by Lisa Haver (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:34 pm
Thanks to Paul Jablow and the Notebook for reporting on my testimony. I also urged everyone present to contact the PA Office of Open Records in order to find out whether Mr. Ramos' law firm, Truljillo, Rodriguez and Richards, has benefited from doing business with the state. Office of Open Records: 1-717-346-9903 Director: Terry Muchler It's not good enough anymore to plead with the SRC, who ignores teachers, parents and students. We have to make it clear that those who are entrusted to protect our children but put them behind their own political and financial interests must be held accountable.
Submitted by Lisa Haver (not verified) on August 23, 2013 7:53 pm
Hi David, I'm in good company then. They shut my mike off 12 seconds after my time was up. Would you mind emailing me? Your testimony shows that you have a very clear picture of the history and egregious acts of the SRC. Thanks.
Submitted by David Hensel (not verified) on August 24, 2013 5:09 pm
Thanks Lisa. You were inspiring on Thursday night. I was proud to share that mic with so many great parent advocates, especially you. I will be in touch.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 2:42 pm
you aren't fully responsible for this mess, but you have contributed to it. The entire comp structure and personnel policies have been created by and for the PFT. That is a huge component of running a large organization. Sure, There has been a lot of incompetent admin, bad leadership, and a history of graft and patronage in the district that contributed to this crisis, but this total denial of any collective teacher/ PFT responsibility for the status quo is the sort of absurdity that destroys your credibility with any independent observer (ie. taxpayers). Fantasy alternate universe proposals pretending Philly could act like lower merion (hey, how bout starting with killing Philly's wage tax to match lm) aren't an excuse. District Spending per pupil has more than doubled in 12 years since the last crisis and we are back to square one. Meanwhile admin head count and costs are down during this same time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 10:30 am
" you aren't fully responsible for this mess, but you have contributed to it. The entire comp structure and personnel policies have been created by and for the PFT. " >> Come again? Personel policies are negotiated (and we've had to give up a lot of the control we once had) and when they are ignored on a larger scale it' not the PFT who's doing it. Did the PFT just call for suspending parts of the School Code and eliminating seniority? It's a mess right now not becauseof the PFT but because of the lack of seniroty and orderly process we once had. How do they even begin to fight for people based on this non system? TPTB are loving this.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:17 am
The points above about pft not causing ackerman and other gross waste has some validity. The PFT did argue strongly, and until recently successfully, against reducing capacity for the last 12 years as students fled to charters. Watching out for member headcount at the expense of the district. Jobs first. Src under rendell was pliant in protecting philly jobs. That waste is one of the biggest reasons the district is in the current financial hole. So saying this is all other peoples fault, that the pft is blameless, is an obvious cop out, a lie really.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:23 am
Actually this is what th poster said: >> ". The entire comp structure and personnel policies have been created BY and FOR the PFT. That is a huge component of running a large organization. " Your comment "Watching out for member headcount at the expense of the district. Jobs first." This is a union that reprsents teachers and other employees and like other unions their function to advocate for the welfare of it's members. This is like saying to a Fireman's Union: if you weren't so greedy and had less people there wouldn't be so many fires to put out. We do not subscribe to the idea that teachers OR their union is the problem of underfunding and public school destruction, it's not even up for argument.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 6:22 pm
Well that is my point. The public should have little sympathy for you guys. The pft HAS contributed to the districts crisis trying to maintain its headcount and waste as its customers left. Rather than try to do something to win parents back, you got rendell to maintain your personal status quo. Logic would dictate since you guys fought for at least a decade to maintain the districts bloat and inefficiency, postponing the inevitable, you should collectively get a pay cut . That is just basic fairness and accountability. Higher headcount and costs per student means lower productivity and lower pay. That was the pfts choice after all. The philly public sector is used to getting raises for decades of doing less with more. Taxpayers are finally sick of this self dealing corruption. No one here can explain how funding per pupil has doubled in 12 years, there are substantially lower admin costs, and still we have this deficit. What else is there besides the pft supported waste and inefficiency?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 7:17 pm
Okay lets get something straight for the troll poster here. I can't speak for anyone else but neither I nor anyone I know in the District is concerned about public acceptance or perception.. Worker's rights and public education are under assault for the benefit of others and our goal is not to let that happen. Capish?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 25, 2013 7:05 pm
Pension costs are a factor in the deficit, but this is not just in Philadelphia. Suburban districts are having issues with the pension costs as well. PSERS is a state entity. PFT doesn't have a monopoly on the issue. Have you looked at charter schools and how they are driving the deficit as well? Have you driven on Parkside Avenue and seen the closed Joseph Leidy School while across the street Discovery Charter School has a brand spanking new building? Hmm, I wonder from where Discovery CS received all of that public money. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:07 am
Pension costs are a factor because some states have been lax in paying their share over the years like PA and Ill. So now some want to say the pension system is faulty because of employees"? Hogwash. As usual these people are looking to the wrong source. Newer employees (in accordance with the colllective bargaining) agreement pay more into the retirement system than others which is a positive adjustment for the system. There has been a concerted effort across the country to convince the public that the system is faulty and that we shoud stitch over to 401k style program. This kind of thing has been advocated by Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan for Social Security and the public has soundly dismissed it. Why? because there are no guarantees that come with it, it's based on how the stock market fares, and public sector workers like teachers can't afford that.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 10:09 am
"Logic would dictate since you guys fought for at least a decade to maintain the districts bloat and inefficiency, postponing the inevitable, " Yes the PFT fought for bloatand inefficiency . Your l ogic is flawed.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 25, 2013 2:36 pm
Some cuts are related to federal funding. The 2011 cuts were post federal stimulus that added staffing to schools. Then, there were federal grants like the Department of Labor (DOL) grant in some high schools. Those schools, like University City, had excess staff - too many people doing very little. So, there are going to be cuts. That said, the state funding cut, including funding for charters, hit particularly hard. We went from an abundance to not enough staff to provide even basics in many high schools. A high school without a counselor, sufficient electives, etc. is not a high school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 2:23 pm
I dont know why a principal would have an "abundance of staff" given that it's their budget and they have to make it work.. From what I know principals are given a budget to work within, they don't go downtown with a building rep to hammer out anything like the old days. There are cuts because of all the schools that were closed (how convenient) and the autocratic decisions made by the SDP and the SRC. (The intention is to reduce the workforce and union influence, something that's beeen on the political radar for a few years now). My question is: if money magically appeared tomorrow would the school code be in effect again retaining seniority, step increases and the like?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 25, 2013 6:04 pm
David, Thank you for your great post. It's ALL PFT members, not just teachers, who the state and District are asking to give concessions. Paraprofessionals like myself are terribly underpaid in this district. Asking someone who makes between $19,000-$29,000 (before taxes and deductions for pension, health care, etc.) to take a 5% pay cut is simply ridiculous. Unfortunately, although I have the credentials to be a teacher, the job market is saturated. Per diem subbing is an option, but there are no benefits. I enjoy developing relationships with students and colleagues, which is harder to do when subbing than when working at the same school every day. Most districts start out paying $80/day for per diem subs, which isn't much at all. Yes, many charter schools are hiring, but I cannot ethically bring myself to work for many of the charter schools operating in this city given their slimy tactics or desire to put the District out of business. How many of these charter schools educate children with low incidence disabilities? Very few, and I doubt any of the charters using a lottery for admission have programs for children with low incidence disabilities. Teachers and paraprofessionals working in the School District of Philadelphia are UNDERPAID compared to counterparts in other districts in the Delaware Valley. We didn't put the District into this mess and we shouldn't be asked to bail out the District or Governor Corbett's sorry behind. I have my issues with the PFT but it's the only defense against ridiculous concessions. If we need to strike, then we need to strike. We have to stand up for ourselves. There is strength in numbers! EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 6:10 pm
Well Done, David. BUT I hope you realize that Hite is no friend of the kids and families here and Nutter has almost giddily sold the kids and families out to the highest bidder. The SRC are puppets, talking heads for their handlers. You certainly have more patience and restraint than I.
Submitted by David Hensel (not verified) on August 24, 2013 5:52 am
I was trying to make a point to Dr. Hite that he is being used and abused by all these politicians and appointees he thinks of as his peers. They will not mind if he comes out of this looking like a bigger villain than all of them. They are hoping for that. If he continues down this road, this is where his career here in Philly is headed. I don't believe his job is to work against the people that work for him. That is not how you create success. That is how you create disaster.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 9:42 am
David, David, David---------------------Hite isn't looking for success the way you and I would. He's actively trying to end Public Ed. by participating in all this "Churn" and that's why he's here in the first place. He's also NOT being used by the pols. Hite has his role to play and that's what he's doing. Your last word, "disaster" is the goal as hard as that is to believe.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 24, 2013 7:22 pm
all true, to hite's everlasting shame. here is a man given the chance to run one of the potentially great school districts of the world and rather than immerse himself in the challenge at hand, he chooses to bow to the crass and immoral orders of his overseers and act instead to dismantle the very system he is the leader of. he is nothing but a yes man, a hired gun. for this there is no excusing him; there can be no forgiveness. just as teachers are ultimately free to ignore all the bull and threats, close their classroom door and do the right thing by their students, hite could choose to ignore the "reformers" dictates and turn around and start doing right by the philadelphia public schools. if only he had an appreciation for the magnaminous opportunity that has been bestowed on him and could find the courage, nerve and conviction to act in a truly beneficial manner. a poor, pitiful man who has to live with the knowledge that history will scorn him for his actions. "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 24, 2013 8:48 pm
Yes, he's not even a good liar for crying out loud and neither is Nutter, just a couple of torpedoes for their handlers far above Corbett who should be in jail already. This should make every single PFT Member enraged enough to stand together against this OBVIOUS bullying abuse. Just the fact that all of them, Gleason included, plotted together to withhold much needed money "for the least among us" so they could break the union, is beyond scurrilous and immoral. These are very bad dudes who better hope there is no God.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 7:17 pm
Used and abused? He's part of their plan, and it doesn't matter even to him if he comes out looking llke a fool, he just moves on to another city.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 25, 2013 7:29 pm
Agreed--People like Hite simply don't care and "When you don't care, you have nothing to lose," Ben Franklin, I believe.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 7:23 pm
Nah I think it was Joe K. I did not like Ackerman and many would agree, but educationally speaking she sounded like a genius next to this guy. At least she had the jargon (albeit with no morals) but this guy? Looks like that Broad school has gone downhill rapidly. How do you have the nerve to tweet out praise for a musical program from a school you just closed? HELLO!
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 25, 2013 8:37 pm
I'll take credit for it because I think it's really cool but that quote was from one of The Founding Fathers, I believe but I always reserve the right to be wrong. I TOTALLY AGREE, Hite looks like a robot of some sort like The Manchurian Candidate. Ackerman seemed like Albert Einstein compared with Hite. Ackerman also seemed like a walking "Vaudeville Show," and that was entertaining in a perverse, Gallows Humor way.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:03 pm
Joe K my friend you seem more relaxed since retirement- good for you. So funny- "that was entertaining in a perverse, Gallows Humor way."
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:12 am
No, The Notebook again threatened me with exile unless I cooled my jets in writing. I'm still the same...............................and don't call me a friend !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 23, 2013 8:06 pm
David, I agree that you should send this to every newspaper in Philly as an op-ed. You may also want to post it on Badass Teachers and Pennsylvania BATS Facebook pages. People in districts outside of Philly need to know about this. When the state finishes with Philly, they will go after them.
Submitted by Julie Stapleton Carroll (not verified) on August 23, 2013 11:59 pm
My daughter goes to SLA and I must say that I believe Chris Lehman is one of, if not the best, principal in the city. If you were paying attention early on you would remember that Chris made a vocal plea to the sports teams in our city (Eagles, Phillies, etc.) to fund our sports programs - programs for ALL schools in the city. He had the foresight to see what was happening and took action. As he was talking to us about the impact the cuts would have on our school, he expressed the same concerns this article discusses - the haves and have nots. He recognizes the inequities and felt he needed to do something to help ALL schools. Hence the plea to our sports teams to save our sports programs. I urge you to connect with Chris directly to better understand rather than denigrate him publicly. What have YOU done?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:17 am
The plea to sports teams was a joke - it was not taken seriously. If Lehmann cared about all students / schools, SLA would not continue to skirt the rules for hiring and funding. SLA claims to be "progressive" but it is in bed with the Phila. School Partnership which is about the privatization of education. To state that anyone is "the best" shows you have a very narrow view of the school district.
Submitted by Julie Stapleton Carroll (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:16 am
If you haven't noticed...the "rules" have changed. In my humble and narrow opinion, the "rules" historically have been about the adults and not about the children. Let's focus on the children.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 12:14 am
That is a very Micheal Rhea / privateer tired line. You started a charter school and now work with Foundations - you are part of the privatization of education regime. That said, the administrators and teachers who work in neighborhood schools without perks, affluent parents, prestige, and are under threat, etc. are the true heroes of education. Lehmann has never worked as a teacher or administrator in a neighborhood school. I know he never will.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:23 am
The rules are always directed AT employees. FYI you're behind in your rhetoric- nobody even says "let's focus on the children" anymore because even the powers that be say aloud that unions and their membership are the target (the problem). I wouldh't give them one red cent of hard earned money.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 25, 2013 6:21 pm
Julie, It's not the job of pro sports teams to fund athletics for the School District of Philadelphia. These are public schools and their athletics programs should be funded in a manner similar to how such programs are funded in neighboring districts. Athletics and extracurricular activities are a part of a well-rounded, thorough education. EGS
Submitted by Tara (not verified) on August 26, 2013 12:23 am
Let's be honest - The suggestion that professional sports team fund all sports teams in every school was a bit misguided and farfetched. Should the orchestra pay for all music programs? When does the state/city take full responsibility for their duty to fund education? The fact that Chris Lehman has spoken and written about equality and fairness in public education and then has almost a quarter million dollars donated to buy teachers seems contradictory when other schools can't even raise a thousand dollars. I think this is what is so disturbing to people. I am being very serious - Are parents willing to donate this amount or more next year to continue paying teachers? The Greenfield principal has said his budget isn't functional, and that is what prompted him to ask parents to donate at his school. The SDP has given budgets to every school that are not functional. I am not denigrating Chris Lehman, but really trying to understand what is happening at SLA.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 26, 2013 4:12 am
Lehmann / SLA have been able to do what they want to do since it opened. This has included hiring staff, schedule (students leave early every Wed. to go to the Franklin Institute for 9th grade - I'm not sure about other grades.) Staff only have 4 classes and an advisory - other high school teachers have 5 classes and an advisory. Class sizes are smaller. It is a one-to-one lap top school. The hiring of teachers has always been "unique" at SLA. So, getting nearly $250,000 in outside funding for additional staff isn't surprising. I just don't think all of this money was raised by parents. I assume some of the same funders that fund Phila. School "Partnership" came up with the money. SLA is one of 3 high schools (others are new - Workshop - a brand new magnet school and Hill-Freeman - expanding magnet school from 5 - 8 to 5 - 12) getting millions from the Philadelphia School "Partnership." It is a secretive, privatization organization funded with hedge fund money and privateer granters with the mantra "high performing seats." Gleason, the head of PSP, is a loud voice in trashing on the PFT / unions, and calling on Corbett to NOT fund Philly schools. (He has done this at SRC meetings and in the media.) So, SLA (The Workshop, Hill Freeman and many charters like Wissihickon, FACTS, Young Scholars, Mastery, etc.) are aligned with the Phila. School "Partnership." In my mind, this means none of them stand for equity or progressive education - they stands for benefitting themselves so their schools have advantages over neighborhood schools that admit all students. Just like Vallas, Hite is opening / expanding "boutique" magnet schools while shutting neighborhood schools. I guess Hite's plan is to have enough neighborhood high schools to admit students who will not be accepted by magnet schools like Workshop, SLA and Hill-Freeman (Central, Masterman, FLC, etc.) nor charters like Mastery, Universal, and the many other charter high schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 6:59 am
By the tone, venom and antagonistic behavior by many adults on this site, I am truly concerned about the thought of some posters actually being allowed to work with children. If you believe that focusing on children is Michelle Rhee line - perhaps you are in the wrong profession. This teamster type ethos is effective and appropriate when an industry's product isn't children. Consider that the teacher union tactics, politics and leadership has damaged teachers and their credibility as much as Tom Corbett.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 7:35 am
Principals are part of the Teamsters - not teachers. (CASA is with the Teamsters). The bullies are at 440 and in administrative positions. Many heads (CEOs, administrators) of charters are also bullies. ASPIRA is just one example. The PFT "rules" have attempted to provide more equity over the years. When affluent schools like SLA and The Workshop are able to spit in the face of the rules, other students suffer. (Why else would SLA align itself with the hedge fund foundation the Philadelphia School Partnership?) If you care about all students - not just those at affluent schools - you might understand.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:14 am
Drop it fast whoever you are. Many of us are concerned that we are not strong *enough.* Teacher credibility is not the issue, withholding funds by Corbett administration blackmail is of bigger importance. This sounds like a troll post.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 3:40 pm
While the PFT has its faults they have never tried to get me fired. However, the principal that I blew the whistle on did everything she could after I reported her stealing. You haven't experienced the constant demeaning treatment that this district doles out to teachers on a daily basis or you just don't give a damn. How you can equate the teachers' union with a shyster like Corbett is unbelievable. You must be a shil for the privatization industry. Focusing on children is a Michelle Rhee line she uses to avoid answering alol questions that expose her for the carpetbagging fraud has become today.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 7:45 am
In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer. ~Mark Twain
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 7:42 am
"Teamster type ethos" does not mean PFT is part of the teamsters. It refers to the beliefs or ideals of the group. To be more specific, attacking any school, group or entity that is perceived to be at odds with your current goal is problematic. SLA is not your enemy. Every politician is not your enemy. Even many of the charter schools are not your enemy. However, you lose credibility and potential allies when you attack everyone, including your own schools and teachers, if you don't like what they say.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:33 am
I don't think that it's fair to characterize the pft as attacking SLA or charter schools. I have seen that here and there from individual teachers, but not the pft as a whole. They cannot control what everyone in their entire membership (of which SLA teachers are a part) says or does. On the whole, I think that the PFT is becoming more unified than ever through this time of crisis for our schools. We are all in this together.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 9:48 am
Sadly, I agree that some of the teachers have been their own worst enemy. I have volunteered in public schools for over 20 years, and while I have been privileged to see many brilliant teachers, I have also witnessed terrible teaching: teachers who disappear for months at a time, year in and year out, and are entitled to have their positions back whenever they choose to return to work, and teachers who are always on their cell phones when they should be engaged with students. Also, I understand that there is layer upon layer of complexity to this terrible situation, but I feel that there is also the unspoken, unable-to-be-mentioned topic of "parenting" Philadelphia's children. There are so many children in crisis in this city, and parents who, for many reasons, are unable to adequately nurture their children. I cannot blame the teachers for all of these heartbreaking situations, and I don't know how teachers are supposed to nurture children who are so emotionally/psychologically fragile, let alone make them achieve adequate test scores. How much are teachers supposed to do? Finally, I had a child at SLA, and my experience of Mr. Lehmann was that he was 100% committed to every single child who walked through SLA's doors: poor, wealthy, great student, unmotivated student -whatever. His commitment to each individual in his school was unparalleled in my experience - We don't need to put a principal like him down; it would serve the city better to learn from him.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 9:06 am
We have much to learn from many educators in Philadelphia - especially those that stay in the most needy schools. SLA is NOT a needy school. I would have more respect for SLA teachers and the principal if they devoted their time to neighborhood schools. Will Mr. Lehmann give up SLA and go to a neighborhood school? Unlikely.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 9:05 am
I agree that there is much to be learned from many of the city's teachers and not just Mr. Lehmann. He may not be in a neighborhood school, but the majority of the kids at SLA do come from economically deprived circumstances. (School District website). It is true that he also has kids from very privileged homes too, and this mix of students probably benefits everyone. Again, I readily admit that the issues here are infinitely complex... and just wish I could magically find a solution for the whole mess.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 9:54 am
I agree that there is much to be learned from many of the city's teachers and not just Mr. Lehmann. He may not be in a neighborhood school, but the majority of the kids at SLA do come from economically deprived circumstances. (School District website). It is true that he also has kids from very privileged homes too, and this mix of students probably benefits everyone. Again, I readily admit that the issues here are infinitely complex... and just wish I could magically find a solution for the whole mess.
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on August 26, 2013 7:27 am
LOL! Lehmann leave SLA for a neighborhood school? Would Bill Belichick leave the New England Patriots to become the head coach at Temple?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 24, 2013 1:02 pm
Just curious how bullying and harassment can be 'not intentional'. Clearly the district needs to do something about violence and anti soctal behavior but adopting PC speech codes is just stupid if that is what they are doing here.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 11:21 am
Inky wrote a HUGE HIT piece on Jordon and the PFT today. One of the most disgusting editorials I have ever seen in the Inky. We need to push back on these false notions that this mess is "our fault." I hope everyone pushes back like they have never seen before.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 25, 2013 2:11 pm
I've seen meuch worse, it's not very hard to answer.
Submitted by prince (not verified) on August 27, 2013 11:33 am
Stretch goals were crucial to my project, but only because they expanded a product line, and there was sufficient demand. The numbers for production and distribution were calculated long beforehand. Seems to me that if we're looking for ways to improve KS systems, the very rudimentary shipping system needs an overhaul before trying to make some sort of staff scheduling software stretch goal constraint
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