The Philadelphia Inquirer’s education reporter Kristen Graham is by far the best part of the newspaper, in my opinion. She not only does an outstanding job covering the shitshow that is usually a School Reform Commission meeting, but she also breaks down every single proposal by the School District of Philadelphia in intricate detail.
In today’s Inquirer, Graham covered the demands that the School District of Philadelphia is making to its teachers union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Keep in mind, the SD of Philadelphia is making these demands with the intention of closing close to 30 schools. Here are some of the demands:
- “The district would no longer have to provide a teachers’ lounge, water fountains, parking facilities, desks for teachers, a designated room for speech and language staff and psychologists or “accommodation rooms” for students with special needs. Counselors would no longer be guaranteed to have rooms with privacy and confidentiality, a telephone, a locked filing cabinet and a door.
- “Teachers no longer being able to use reasonable force to defend themselves. The district would no longer be required to provide copy machines, or “a sufficient number of instructional materials and textbooks.”
- “There would be no limit on class size. (Current limits are 30 for the lower grades and 33 for the upper grades, large class sizes by anyone’s measure.)”
- “Teachers could be assigned to unlimited classes outside their subject area, and high school teachers could be assigned an extra class without pay. There would be no limit on amount of consecutive time taught in a school day.”
- “Schools would no longer be required to have counselors, and counselors’ caseloads would no longer be capped.”
- “Schools with more than 1,000 students would no longer be required to have librarians or librarian assistants.”
- “There would be no more bonuses for those achieving prestigious National Board Certification.”
- “Pay cuts 13 percent for those who make $55,000 and above, with lesser cuts for those who earn less. (Employees who make under $25,000 would take a 5 percent cut.”
- “On top of the longer work day (eight hours for teachers as opposed to the current seven hours, four minutes), teachers would also have to lead professional development, attend meetings, perform bus, yard and lunch duty and be available for parent meetings outside work hours with no extra pay.”
Absolutely disgusting. I know the School District of Philadelphia has money problems, but this is absolutely revolting and despicable. It’s hard enough to keep good teachers in Philadelphia from going to the suburbs, and this makes it all but a certainty that all good teachers will leave Philadelphia. I’m sick to my goddamn stomach reading this. Asking teachers to take a pay cut while working longer hours, and cutting all extra services designed to help kids such as counselors, librarians, school police etc. pretty much assures that our schools will fail.
These are just proposals, and they could change given time, but to me that doesn’t matter. The School Reform Commission has made it very clear with this proposal that they do not care about the education of Philadelphia’s youth. Governor Corbett has shown he does not care about Philadelphia’s youth, otherwise he wouldn’t allow something like this to even be proposed in the first place. I don’t know what else to say…I hate making inflammatory statements like this, but I honestly believe that if one is not outraged by these proposals, something is seriously wrong with them.
Where is Mayor Nutter in all this?
Where is Governor Corbett?
Where is City Council?
Where is all the outrage that should exist over what is happening to our schools, and furthermore, the way the students and their dedicated staffs are being treated?