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0. FALL 1996
VOLUME 4 • NUMBER I
"TURNING THE PAGE FOR CHANGE"
Like it or not -
Accountability plan unveiled by Paul Soco/ar
Using his "management prerogatives," Superintendent of Schools David Hornbeck has crafted and announced his accountability program - a set of planned District actions that are aimed at holding teachers and administrators accountable for the academic performance of students. The program, outlined in September and taking effect immediately, will use schools' scores in last spring's standardized test as a baseline or point of comparison. Future test results and other measurements will be used to categorize schools as to whether they are improving. Schools that make excellent progress in student performance over the next two years will receive awards of $1,500 per teacher to spend on school needs. Schools deemed to be performing poorly will receive assistance through school review teams and closer scrutiny of teachers through the teacher rating process. Schoolby-school performance data will be publicized. Hornbeck's accountability measures go beyond the provisions in the new teachers' union contract- provisions that deny or delay some pay raises to teachers who are rated unsatisfactory and establish a voluntary Peer Intervention Program to assist poorly performing teachers. Since taking charge as superintendent, Hornbeck has advocated a system of rewards and punishment to insure that schools are accountable for their performance.
Selecci6n de directores de escuela
Un paso hacia el pod er por Cindy Engst
Cuando una comunidad se dedica a elevar la calidad de sus escuelas, su participaci6n en el proceso para seleccionar de su director/a (principal) es crucial. Esta participaci6n es el comienzo de un sistema de responsabilidad publica en cuanto el exito o deficiencias de nuestros nifios. Si desde el principio una directora de escuela se da cuenta que la raz6n de tener ese empleo se debe a un proceso que incluye a las madres de familia,
y se compromete con ciertos objetivos bi en claros, entonces una escuela no necesita directores milagrosos sino individuos que van a guiar una instituci6n basada en una relaci6n mutua de poder. Cuantos casos han demostrado que la pariticipaci6n directa de los padres de familia y miembros de la comunidad en la selecci6n final de una directora de escuela ha resultado en una relaci6n en donde la directora es directamente responsable ante la comunidad de manera publica. Esto contrasta con la experiencia mas comun en la cual las decisiones "vienen de arriba". Padres de familia en Roxborough High School "Un paso hacia el poder" continua en la p. 6
Few teachers get bad rating One accountability issue is that each year the number of Philadelphia teachers rated "unsati sfactory" is well under one percent of the total teacher force. The figure amounts to about one teacher for every ten schools in the District. District spokespeople adm it that many principals simply do not complete the time-con suming process req uired to rate a teacher unsatisfactory, because of "admini strative overload." Hornbeck says that new procedures will mean "greater scrutiny is going to take place." In addition, a recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Department of Education all ows the District for the first time to use "student academic achievement" as a criterion for evaluatin g teachers. While Hornbeck suggests that teachers and principals at the poorly performing schools are going to be rated unsatisfactory more often, the steps that will be taken to assure that principals do their jobs are not yet clear. School rating system developed The Di strict's new accountability program will look at schools' standardized test scores and several additional indicaSee "Accountability plan" on p. 13
• Scoring reform plan p.4
• Map of clusters p. 8
•Mas "clusters", menos dinero p. 7
• Pick your principal p.5
• Broken buildings p. 12
• Mapa de los "clusters" p.8
•New contract p. 10
• "Fight the cuts" p. 15
• La cuenta por la reparaci6n p. 12
SCHOOL NOTEBOOK PAGE2
ir G H(RIBV1iON
Who ya gonna c~ Listed here are the Alliance Organi'in
jeer (AO P)
''Turning the page for change"
Audenried: Gladys Inman. 755_
A voice for parents, students, and classroom teachers who are working for quality and equality in our schools.
German town : Todd Porter, 739_5 702 Ke nsington : M a nue l Portill o , 53 4 _
King: Marty Win slow, 424-44!7 Olney: G ordon Whi tman, 634-8922 Strawberry Mansion: Marissa James 229-0299 546-11 6 6 ext. 3332
Living in wartime P ublic school chil dren are not fari ng we ll under our cutTent elected leaders and the pol itical climate that put them in charge. The kids are caug ht in a one-sided class war where the rich seem to have a ll
is a project of the New Beginnings proment.
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the weapons. Phenomenal political energy is being put into cutting the tiny portion of govern ment spending that benefits the poor (welfare represents one percent of the fed eral budget). Families are going to be thrown off welfare with no promise of bener job u-aining or chi ld care and no assurance of fi nding a job. Meanwhile, the wea lthy just get wea lthier - the top I% now own 40% of the nation's wealth - and the share of taxes paid by corporations gets lighter. Recent legislation is goi ng to cause even more pain for our kids and ou r whole city, which is home to over 40% of the state's childre n whose families receive public assis tance : •To save money, the new federal welfare law went after the food stamp program, cutting $27 billion. The average recipient 's benefit will be down 20%, and legal immigrants are simply cut off. •The state's new welfare law, Act 35, eliminates med ical assistance benefits for up to 250,000 poor individuals in Pennsylvania, a devastating blow not only to those who will not have insurance, but to the many Philadelphians whose liveli hood depends on a job providing health care in this city. • Even disabled c hildren have bee n targeted, with many cut from federa l support because of strict new e ligibility restrictions fo r SST
These moves hurt a ll of. us. Our communities suffer when poli ticians ~a u se our neighbors to lose necessary life supports. Also fo r those holding jobs, the whole wage su-ucture is undermi ned by attacks on the lowest level, the so-called "safety net. " Meanwhi le, federal poli cies and tax laws feed the wealthy. Between 1983 and 1989. the amount of new wealth acc umu lated by just the richest 1/2 percent of Americans was a lmost enough to pay off the $1 .5 trill ion increase in the federa l deficit during that period. The year 1995 was a banner year for CEO's, whose ave rage compensation jumped by 30% (yes, in one year) . During the same period factory workers' pay fe ll by 2%, when adjusted for inflation. The war on the poor has been supported by both poli tical parties. Only one U.S. senator who was up for re-e lection voted agai nst the federal law to "end welfare as we know it." A c lear lesson of the Clinton presidency is that neither Democrats n or Republicans have a commitment to address ing the g ro w ing chasm between the rich and the rest of us . We need a people 's p latform that cuts corporate welfare and increases the income tax rate on the super-rich . Wh ic hever scoundrels may get voted out and whatever new faces are elected in November, it's goi ng to take thousands of people comi ng together to turn the pol itical tide. We all must join that effort- it is not enough to j ust kee p punmg Band-aids on all the ch ildren wounded in this war.
Increase the peace
3721 M idvale Aven ue Philadelphia, PA I 9 l29 Phone: (215) 951-0330
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gram of Resources For Human Develop-
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Ad visory Board Shafik Abu-Tahir, New African Vo ices Alliance Wanda Bailey-Green, Phil adelph ia Federation of Teachers Akil Baker. srudent , Centra l High School Jane Century, Campaign for Public Education Colleen Davis, LULAC Education Project Kathy Fleming, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Teachers Network (GLSTN) Caroline Hopkins. parent Lawrence Lee, CoreStates Bank Ke vin Muszynski, Local Task Force for a Right to Education Myrtle L. Naylor, Educational Quality CE-Qua li ty) Lizette Ortiz, Na tional Congress for Puerto Rican Rights Maria Quinones, ASPIRA Len Rieser, Education Law Center Edward Roberson, parent Rochelle Nichols Solomon, North Phila. Commun iry Compact Dyheim Watson, student, Bartram High Schoo l Debbie Wei, Asian Americans United Organi=ationsfor identification pwposes only.
dir~cror and 12 parent o~g~,:::;,
AOP E xecu tive Director : Gary Rodwe ll , 739-5702 , Fax : 7 39 _ 5704 AOP organ izers (by cluster):
In such a p ivotal yea r for Philadelphi a's school s, it's di sturbing to see Superin tendent Hornbeck and the leadership of the Phi ladelphia Federation of Teachers engaging in verbal warfare. After all, both have a stake in show ing that the Philadelphia public schools can do a lot bette r than they' re doing now. Both should understand they must build pu blic support to win the increases in fu nding needed to bring educationa l improvements. Both must know that provo uc her poli tic ians and columni sts will seek to undermi ne pub lic education by seizing on d ivis ions between the union and District leadership. T here is no way that a div ided . embattled School Di strict is going to be successful in making the c hanges so desperate ly needed . B ut after signing a labor agreement,
the two sides seem stuck_ fixating on what di vi.des them rather than seizing the opportunity to bui ld uni ty. T he union leadership 's actions and words suggest to many that they seek to run Hornbeck out of town. T hey often seem to be protesting every aspect of every refonn . Yet it is their membership that totls m dysfunctional schools - it is teachers, and their students, who stand to benefit if reform moves forwa rd Horn beck would make an eq~al ly serious erro r if he decides he can force his mode l upon teache rs withou t genuine mput. He urgently needs to ex plain hi s program more c lear Iy, to reach out to more teachers and show a true des ire to coll aborate. It is ultimatel y he who must
~~~!: ~he le adershi p skills to find , and
pon, some commo n ground with teachers, parents and students.
West Philadelphia : K e lly Brad ley, 386-5757
Following is a partial list- ~ ing of local educational · • · advocacy organizations: : m Asia n America ns United Contact: Ellen Somekawa, 925- 1538 Focuses on equity issues invol ving Asian
American students and staff. Promotes multicultural, anti-racist education. ASPIRA Contact: Maria Q ui no nes, 923-2717 Informs and invol ves parent> and students in schoo l reform and the education equity process. Citizens Com mittee on Public Education in Philadelphia. Contact: Gail Tomlinson, 545-5433 115-year-old ci vic group advocating quality education for all children. Serves as catalyst for and mon itor of School District policies. Coal ition to Close the Gap Contact: PCCY (see below) . 563-5848 Coaliti on of organi zations and individuals worki ng for equ itable funding for Philadelphia pu blic school children. Educationa l Quality (E-Quality) Contact: Cindy Engst, 329-2687 Mem bership organization of parents, teachers and community activists. Commi1ted to action fo r schools that wo rk for all students. North Philadel phia Commun ity Compact Contact: Rochelle Nichols Solomon, 665- 1400, ext 3309 Partnership between No rt h Philadelphia high schools, co lleges and commu niry organizations. Working to significant ly improve srudent achievemem outcomes. Parents' Union fo r Pu blic Schools Contact: Sarah Gill iam, 546-1166 Informs, educates and helps parents become ac ti ve partici pants in schoo l reform process. Offers parent resource center. Pennsylvania School Reform Netwo r k Contact: Jan Hoffman, (717) 238-7171 Works with parents. community groups and schoo ls aro und the state to develop school reform projects. Philadelphia Citizens for C hildren and Yout h (PCCY) Contac t: Shelley Yanoff, 563-5848 Info rmation clearinghouse; reports on t n::~ cy and budgets; has school-by-school da • general data on children, children's serv ices. PFT Community Outreach Committee Contact: Ron Whi tehorne, 342-6926 Teachers' union initiative to bu ild a teachercommun ity alliance. Philadelphia Student Union Contact: Eric Brax ton, 751 -9934 Organization of students from all around rhe city who are working to make the youth voice heard on issues that affect students. Teachers' Learning Cooperative (T LC) Contact: Betsy Wice, 732- 887~ interWee~ l y m ~eting of teachers and others ested in ,teachjng, children and their work.
all? ng Pro.
by Alyssa Fieo
For thousands of eighth grade students in the Ph iladelphia School District, fall is the time to apply to high school programs·for admission for next year. A common question for parents of students in special education is: "What programs can my special needs ch ild apply to?" The School District offers many \ interesting programs, including ones that revolve around business, health, law, and communications. Special education students are entitled to participate in all of these programs. While the application process can .be confusing, the Ph iladelphia School District provides answers to some common questions in The High School Booklet, available to students and their parents. But parents of special ed ucation students need a clear understanding of the appl ication process so that they can assist in selecti ng the most appropriate program for their child.
Photo: Tony Bu rgos
Parents and students of Roberto Clemente Middle School took to the streets in daily protest after a student and her uncle were killed by a car at Second St. and Erie Ave. in late September. In response to the protest, the City on October 17 agreed to install a traffic light, assign crossing guards and reroute traffic through the area.
'Alliance' organizers working in 12 clusters
Lawsuit opens doors
ian ;mul ti-
Jality nalyst cies.
d to en ts. 1pact
Staying on top of the process
In several schools around the city, groups of parents are showing they understand the need to organize: • At H.A. Brown, a parent collective of Latino, Vietnamese, white and African American people conduct meetings in three languages. Vietnamese parents succeeded in obtaining a full-time bilingual counselor. • Taylor parents were successful in winning a ho! lunch program after an "action" last May. • McClure security needs have been improved by parents and school adminislration working together The focus now is on improving reading levels. These examples show the results of the Alliance Organizing Project's (AOP's) efforts to build parent power in the first six pilot clusters last school year. Now the number of community organizers is up to 12 (see list, p. 2); and as more resources become available·, the AOP will begin work in the remaining 10 clusters. The AOP is an independent, non-profit organization funded by The Annen berg Foundation and other foundations supporting school reform in Philadelphia. Its purpose is to train professional community organizers to help parents and community leaders build the power needed to hold public officials and everyone in the
Eighth graders evaluated Every eighth grader in special education, as well as any special education student who is already in a high school program and wants to change programs, will be re-evaluated this fa ll. The purpose is to determine the appropriate high school program given the student's interests and needs , as well as what support services or accommodations the student might need to succeed in the program. All dec isions on a student's need for certain accommodations or spec ial education services ulti mately must be made by an IEP team that includes the parents. The team must also decide whether admissions criteria for a particular program or school should be modified or waived for the student. Once the re-evaluation process is completed, the results accompany the student's application for the particular programs selected. If the student is app lying to a spec ial admission school or program, acceptance is based on the sc hool's admi ssion req uirements plus the team's evaluatio'n. The evaluation report specifies the support serv ices and accommodations that the student will need to participate in the program. If a special education student and his/her parents fee l that the student was rejected because of the student's di sability, they can appea l that decision and request an impartial review.
New parent groups make gains
As a result of a lawsuit against the Philadelphia School District that was settled in April 1995, high school programs - including all school-designed small learning communities, high school academies, Ci ties-In-Schools programs and vocational programs - are open to students with disabilities and are required to provide special education services on site. These programs do not have admission cri teria such as grades, attendance, behavior or test scores. Rather, admission deci sions are based on a lottery. A few high schools, such as Central or Girls High, and some magnet and motivation programs continue to have exclusionary admission criteria. However, a student with di sab ilities can also apply to these programs if, with some extra help or support services, the student cou ld be successful.
While the application process can be daunti ng, parents and students are encouraged to explore all the possibilities. They should obtain as much information as possible, espec ially about the programs that interest the student. Check with the school counselor to see if there are any special admission requirements. It is important that parents be incl uded by thyir child 's counse lor in the re-evaluation process. The reeva luation should thorough'l y rev iew the special educati on services or accommodations that parents think their child may need . In addition , parents should foUow up with the school counselor to make sure that the evaluation is completed and that the application package is processed by the appropriate deadline. Finally, parents should feel free to present their questions or concerns about their child 's application to their child's school or cluster office.
school commun ity accountable. The School District has recognized that independent parent organizing is a central part of its Children Achieving program. AOP's overall goal is to influence the public school system to change and improve in ways that give children a strong education . Through adu lt education and training, the AOP approach emphasizes leadership development; relationships as the basis of community power; collective decision-making; listening to and actively engaging large groups of people at the grassroots; public actions aimed at negotiating and col laborating with school staff and public officials - and then holding everyone accountable. This fall organizers are newly active in Bartram, Edison, Franklin, Germantown, Kensington, and Penn clusters. While the focus is on organizing parents and community people, teachers are viewed as key allies in the fight for education reform. The vision of the AOP is parents, community members and teachers challenging public officials to take their commitments seriously and apply the tremendous resow-ces of the city and state to fix the school system.
Cuts at 21st and the Parkway accompany cluster build-up I
Downsizing at central offices For several years in a row, the number of people working at the. central offices has been going down. Now comes the relocation of positions resulting from the establishment of 16 cluster offices this past summer, rep lacing the previous regional structure. Without an official scorecard, it's hard to keep track of who's doing what. Many teachers are feeling adrift. "We used to have an Office of K indergartens," recalled one West Philadelphia teacher. "Who do I call now?" Outsiders see a difference, too. "It takes a lot longer to get data from [the central office] now," commented • one newspaper reporter. "They j ust don't seem to have a.s many people available to answer questions."
What's been cut? Insiders really feel the change. Deputy Superintendent Jeanette Brewer, whose office has been reduced from 96 to 34 positions, reflected, "When you walk around the bui lding, it sounds hollow now." Here is a sampling of the changes: •El imination of the Office of Schools with its 38 employees last year, replaced by fo ur cluster supervi sors and their support staff of seven. • Red uction of curriculum support at the central office by at least two-thirds from the 89 people in pl ace during the 1992-'93 school year. • Elimination of up to 100 technical employees due to the consolidation of all computer-related services.
Where do you go for answers? "Got a problem? Start at your own school and its
cluster office." This phrase sums up the new scheme of things. Schools are to be much less dependent on cent:ral administration for nearly everything. (See p.9 for a list of cluster locations and phone numbers.) A draft directory currently being circulated indicates five central administrative departments above the cluster level: •Office of the Superintendent - oversees all cluster activities.Ouster leaders report to four supervisors m the deputy superintendent's office. Superintendent: David Hornbeck; Deputy Superintendent: Jeanette Brewer. •Office of Leadership and Learning- supervises the Teaching and Learning Networks that make sure education programs build smoothly from K through 12 and " best practices" are spread throughout the district. Director: (vacant). •Office of Information Technology - oversees everything related to computers, from payroll to libraries to networks linking school s. Chief Information Officer: Gregory Benson. •Office of Standards, Equity and Student Services - covers everything else that's student-related, such as desegregation and other student placement issues, bilingual education, the Family Resource Networks, curriculum support and everything having to do wi th standards. Director: Katherine Conner. •Office of the Managing Director - oversees the schools' infrastructure: faciliti es, food services, transportation, supplies, human and financial resources. Managing Director: Clarence D. Armbrister.
Facts and figures that take a closer look at our schools and society •Number of children who will be forced into official poverty by the welfare "reform" bill signed by President Clinton: over one million • Average age of the District's school bu il dings: 57 year s •Number of school buildings over 80 years o ld: 40 • Amount of money needed for basic repairs to the District's buildings, as reported by Perks Reutter Assoc iates: $765 million • Amount of each federal dollar in the 1995 budget spent for military related
major social programs (including Medicare, education, employment and labor programs): 8.6 cents •Increase between 1986 and 1993 in the number of neglected and abused chi ldren nationally, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 98% • The average length of prison sentences given to African Americans compared to sentences received by whites convicted of similar federal crimes: 10% longer •Number of white judges in the federal court system: 1,382 •Number of Black judges: 82 • Percentage of African American householders below the poverty line in 1993 despite working full-time , year-ro und: 10.7% •Percent of private wealth owned by the wealthiest I% of the US population in 1976: 19% in 1995: 40% •Number of students in the Philadelphia school system: 215,000 • Number of teachers: 11,650 •Phi ladelphia's statewide rank in perstudent spending in 1991-92, out of 501 in PA: 102nd • Rank in 1995-96: 288th •In response to a 1996 Greater Philadelphia First poll, percentage of PA residents in favor of increasing state aid to urban school districts to allow them to spend as much per student as suburban districts do: 71 %
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Report sees progress at some schools, more support needed An independent evaluation of the School District's Children Achieving agenda found that the District "earned a solid record of accomplishment in the reform ini tiati ve's fi rst year." But the evaluation highlighted once aga in "the sobering reality that Philadelphia students are not mastering the knowledge and skills they need," and it said schoo ls are going to need even more support for Children Achieving to succeed. The evaluation, prepared by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Penn sylvania, looked at the progress toward school reform in Phi lade lphia between January and Ju ne of 1996 by visiting schools and talk ing with adm in istrators, teachers and parents. Their report was released in September. The research was done in the first six clusters set up in the district's reorgan i-
Photo: Fred Engst
Expansion of full-day kindergarten is one s1gmf1cant accomplishment cited in the report. zation, where the Children Achieving reforms were first launched: Audenreid, King, Olney, Strawberry Mansion, Washington and West Philadelph ia. Last year, because of its lack of funds, the School District chose to concentrnte the new resources it obtained for Children Achieving into these first six clusters (out of 22 citywide) in hopes of
demonstrating that its whole reform package could work there. T he report notes that some reforms are taking hold at schoo ls in the first six cl usters. B ut the eval uators were not in a position to add ress the problems that may have been created by leaving almost three-fo urths of the D istrict's schoo ls out of several of the reform in itiatives.
'A broad and ambitious reform agenda' From the report's conclusions: "By the end of the year, the first six clusters had launched operations, standards had been drafted, schools had begun changing organization and governance structures, and a new testing system had been put into place. "The district and its partners have undertaken a broad and ambitious reform agenda in a highly turbulent environment. These problems have consumed disnict leaders' time and energy, sometimes disnacting them from the tasks of implementation. The media's coverage of the district's problems must also have strengthened the resistance of those teachers and administrators who object to the reforms, and who hold out hopes that 'this too will pass.' Perhaps most significantly, fiscal battles have left the district without the resources needed to fully suppon the reform efforts planned for the 1996-97 school year. · "Unfortunately, these problems are likely to continue t:o plague the district throughout 1996-97. While m uch has been accomplished so far, the district wi ll have to contin ue to improve its internal and external comm unications, coordination of services, and a~stan'ce 'l'6 sch ools io make further progress. Although challenging, it can be done." From the report's findings: •"Despite fiscal and political challenges, reform moved forward .... In addition to the new cluster organ ization, full day kindergarten was implemented in 67 additional elementary schools across the district. The opening of school was streamlined, and the leveling process occurred more quickly, reducmg the loss of instructional time." • "Children Achieving ·s theory of action was understood and generally accepted among district leadership. But it was less well understood among teachers.''
•"Supports for reform were inadequately coordinated and sometimes lacked focus. A significant amount of funds were invested in professional development, b ut the use of the funds at the school and cluster levels varied widely and too often was not tied to any coherent educational vision or plan." • "Administration of the Stanford Achievement Test 9th Edition (SAT- 9) awakened many educators to the real ization that th.e y may have to change their c lassroom practice. Others felt that the performance standards simply could not be reached. . " • "Educators questioned decentralization. With the exception of professional development decision-making, cluster and school staff members saw little progress in decentralizing authority. Some doubted its wisdom. They complained abour a lack of budget information and the difficulty of spending money. They worried that local school councils would have no real authori ty or would misuse such power." "The 67 schools in the first six clusters were expected to hold council elections and have a functioning council by the end of the school year. Only 12 schools met the 35 percent voting target [for parents] ; the remainder created interim councils." • "Most schools were struggling with o ne or more of the core reforms - teaching and learning, governance. or fami ly and Community involvement - but only three of the 11 schools we examined were effectively addressing all dimensions. At the opposite end of the range, three others were not doing much in any of the key areas covered under Children Achieving."
For the complete report, "A First Year Evaluation Report of Children Achieving", contact R oberta Brady at the Children Achieving Challenge, (215) 575-2200, ext. 227.
College going should be a choice for all young people. T~e partners of the North Philadelph ia Community COMPACT believe that with consolidated re~our~es , committed leadership and a commu ~ 1ty-w1de. focus on results, more families in ~o~~ ~h1lah~elph1a will realize the dream of seeing e1r c 1ldren graduate from Colle ge.
~-for College Access and Success
North Philadelphia Community Compact Rochelle Nichols Solomon, Director Phi.ladelphia Education Fund United Way Building 7 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 665-1400, ext. 3309
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Parents, teachers draw lessons from efforts to participate in decision-making
Principal selection: A step towards power by Cindy Engst
rms rst six .or in a 1ar almost ols out
and ere ·unds
e ily en-
When communities are dedicated to raising the quality of their schools, their involvement in the selection of their school principal can be crucial. And this participation is the beginning of building accountabi lity for our children's successes or fa ilures. If a pri ncipal real izes from the get-go that s/he "owes" their job to a process that includes parents, and signs on to a set of articulated goals, then schools don't need miracle-worker principals but individuals leading an institution who are aware that they have partners - parents with power.. Case after case has shown that direct involvement of parents and communities in the final selection of their principal sets in place a fundamental relationship of answerability and accountability. This contrasts with the more common experience where decisions are made "from above." Parents at Roxborough High and parents at Central East Middle who have both recently gone through the process believe that in choosing a principal the best way to safeguard community interests is to approach the process as an organized force. Let them know what you want Before the official selection process even began, parents at Roxboro ugh High began writing letters to the school board, local elected poli ticians, and to the superintendent to make sure folks knew that Roxborough parents were watching. They made their principal selection criteria clear in every Jener, whether it was from an individual parent or from the Home and School Association. The Roxborough school community stated that they wanted a principal who knows curriculum; who knows their community; who will not be afraid of the union if it is wrong; who is available to the students, to the adults, and to the teachers; and finally who will be willing to be held accountable. They got the princ ipal they wanted. One drawback in the principal selection process was noted by Pat Zepka, a parent from Roxborough. She says that even though the process is set up to include parents, "it is not made up to accommodate us ." She says there is a "9 a.m . to 5 p.m." bias fo r all scheduled meetings and interviews, with very little advanced notice for working parents, and no offer of support for chi ld care in the process. "They say we are welcome but it is still difficult fo r us to access," Zepka said. Doing your homework Central East Middle School also approached the process last June as an organ ized force of parents and teachers. Their school counci l researched every candidate by calling staff and parents at their former schools. The school counc il wrote hundreds of questions and then selected the best ones for use in the candidates' interviews. They reached agreement with their cluster leader, Alice Reyes, for all meetings to be held at night to accommodate the parents. They requested and were allowed to have their entire school council observe the interviews. June Cohen, an elected school council parent at Central East Middle School, said, "If we hadn't approached this as a strong group, we would not have had the
same clear high standards. We agreed from the beginning that we would not accept a mediocre principal. We said we wou ld keep on looking and interviewing until we found a great one." Peggy Sears, a teacher from the Gideon School, said that it is the makeup of the selection committee that is crucial. She has been through r.he process three times in the last few years. "We had a big committee, the building representative and a teacher representative and a non-teachjng staffperson," Sears said. "In addition we had the Home and School representative, another active parent in the school and a community representative. If you have a good group, you feel ownership of the process." But Sears cauti oned, "After seven or eight interviews they all sound so sirni-
pal of Cooke Middle. Parents at Stearne have a different but equally serious criticism of the process. They feel they got railroaded . Katherine Javis, an active grandparent, remembered feeling that the union representative held all the power and the parents were strung along . Parents were told by their region al superintendent that the rule was that any side could veto a candidate with one vote. She said the union representative at Stearne kept finding reasons for disliking each candidate. The representative kept saying, "We can't live with that person." Javi s sa id the parents were so worn down by the day-long interviews , they fina lly agreed to the union's choice . After that she recalls with bitterness that the union representative bragged open ly to the staff that they "got over on the
Involvement of parents sets in place a relationship of accountability.
Maria Velez, active parent at Central East Middle School, is an elected member of the school council. Council members took the lead in picking the principal they wanted. Jar. They all read your school's plan, and they know what to say. And at times you fee l it's scary that there isn' t a bener quality of people to in terview." Problems in the process Even with all the formal steps spelled out, the selection process doesn 't insure that the school community will have its recommendation honored. At Cooke Middle School the sitebased selection committee recommended Dr. Joanne Caplan for their principal. They went through the whole interview process in June, only to be told by Deputy Superintendent Jeanette Brewer's office that Dr. Caplan had not been given a "waiver" to apply for the position. The selection committee, made up of Cooke parents, commun ity leaders and teachers remains baffled and angry. They keep pointing out in a barrage of letters to the superintendent and school board that the list of eligible applicants that incl uded Dr. Caplan came from Dr. Brewer 's own office. Presently, Dr. Caplan remains on ly as "acting" princi-
parents." Similarly the parents at Sheppard School feel the process of si te-based committees doesn 't leave enough room for parents to take their time and reflect on a decision after the interviews. W hile they feel they may have gotten a good principal, they felt rushed and pressured to make a decision qu ickly. The idea of empowering the school community to make the important choice of their school leader is a good one, but it is also clear that it is important to know al l the options, organize your forces, and learn from the experiences of those who have gone through it. Official selection policy There is a forma l policy govern ing principal selection with roles for parents and community spelled out. According to the School District of Philadelphia document, "The Principal Selection Process, May 1994", there are clear guidelines for three different principal selection processes that lead to the appointment of a school principal. The three processes are:
•School-based formation of a si te selection committee, •The principal transfer protocol process, and •The "challenge school" alternative selection method. Of the three processes, the schoolbased se lection process provides the on ly input to choose a principal by comm uni ty, staff and parents. The second option is a transfer that is at the discretion of the District for a variety of reasons which do not include local consultation. In the third process , a principal is moved to a low-functioning schoo l that is designated a "challenge school."
School-based selection The purpose of the school selection committee, according to the School District document, is "to reach consens us on the names of three candidates, in order of preference, to be recommended to the Superintendent of Schoo ls for consideration and appointment action. " Candidates for principal jobs who want to be interviewed by school-based committees come from a "pool of eligibles ." The pool is made up of both presen t administrators and those who have successfully completed a principal examination. The composition of the school selection committees must include the Regional Superintendent (now equi valent to the Cluster Leader), "a representative of the facu lty [usuall y the Phi lade lphia Federation of Teachers Building Representative], an officer of the Home and School Association, business and community representatives and any other teacher, parent and community representative designated by the Regional Superintendent [now the Cluster Leader]." Members must agree to keep all information confidential. The selection committee is in structed to go through an orientation session to define the tasks at hand and set the process. This step is vital to introduce the parents to the procedures, dynamics and unwritten rules. Steps in the committee's work include: l) developing criteria with which to judge all candidates; 2) exercising the right to screen all resumes and exclude any candidate who does not fit their criteria; and 3) interviewing candidates that meet their criteria. At this point, " the committee must reach a consensus on the names of three candidates, in the committee's order of preference, to be recommended to the Superintendent of Schools." The site-based selection process sounds good on paper. But parents, community and staff need to be aware of how much power in the process they actually hold. In understanding that power, they will then have a better idea of their freedom to use all their options. A different problem faces parents and teachers when they are stuck with, a "dog," a bad principal. The only option open to them is to build enough grassroots pressure to force an eventual re location. Long-term improvement in the schoo ls requires a formal process for parents to influence school leadersh ip on a day-to-day basis, rather than for their voices to be ignored except at times of transition. With talk of accountability and student achievement, many feel it's high time for the District to institute real reform and empower school communities to make their own choice about the leadership of their schools.
Un paso hacia el poder Viene de la p. 1 y Central East Middle School, quienes frecuentemente pasaron por ese proceso. creen que al seleccionar a una directora de escuela la mejor manera de resguardar los intereses de la comunidad es entrar en el proceso como una fuerza organizada.
prej ucio que ella llame "de 9 a 5", porque todas las reuniones son realizadas de dfa y sin previo av iso suficiente para los padres que trabajan de dfa, y que tampoco se ofrece apoyo con los niiios durante el proceso. "Ellos dicen que nos invitan a participar, pero es siempre muy dif]cil el acceso para nosotros."
Asegurarse que sepan los criterios
Hacerse la investigaci6n
Antes que el proceso oficial comenzara, los padres de Roxborough High empezaron por escribir cartas a la Junta Escolar, a lfderes politicos electos, y al superintendente para asegurarse de que todos supieran que los padres de famil ia estaban alertos. En esas cartas ellos definian claramente cual era el criterio para seleccionar el/la nuevo/a director/a, ya sea que la carta hubiese sido escrita por una mama en lo individual or a nombre de la asociaci6n de padres (Home and School). La comunidad de escuela de Rox borough declar6 que querfa un director/a conocedor de asuntos de curriculum , que conociera su comunidad, alguien que no le tuviera miedo al sindicato de maestros en casos en que este estuviera eq uivocado , alguien accesible por los estud iantes, los adultos y las maestras/os, y finalmente alguien que estuviera dispuesto a que se le exija de manera publica su responsabilidad. Resultado: obtuvieron al director que querfan. Sin embargo, Pat Zepka, una madre de Roxborough High sefial6 una deficiencia en el proceso de selecci6n . Ella dijo que aunque el proceso incluya a los padres , "no esta diseiiado para que podamos participar". Dijo que existe un
En Central East Middle School t:ambien un grupo organizado de padres y maestros manej6 el proceso de igual manera en Junio pasado. El Concilio Escolar de la escuela investig6 a cada candidato hablando con el personal y las madres de familia de las escuelas donde habfan trabajado anteriorrnente. El Concilio Escolar escribi6 cientos de preguntas y luego escogi6 las mejores para usarlas en las entrevistas con los candidatos. Hicieron un acuerdo con la Lfder de! 'Cl uster', Alice Reyes, para que todas las reuniones se hicieran de noche para que todos participaran. Tambien exigieron, y se les perrniti6, que todo los miembros del Concilio Escolar de la escuela pudieran observar las entrevistas. June Cohen, una madre y miembro del Concilio Escolar de Central East Middle School, dijo que "si no hubieramos participado en el proceso como un grupo fuerte , no hubiesemos tenido los mismos estandars. Nos pusimos de acuerdo desde el principio de que no fbamo s a aceptar a un director/a
"Si no hubieramos participado en el proceso como un grupo fuerte, no hubiesemos tenido los mismos estandars."
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mediocre. Nos propusimos continuar buscando y entrevistando candidatos hasta que encontramos uno muy bueno. Peggy Sears, una maestra de Gideon School dijo que son cruciales los miembros det comite de selecci6n. Ella ha participado en el proceso de selecci6n tres veces durante los afios mas recientes. "Tuvimos un comite grande: el representante del sindicato en la escuela, un maemo representante y un miembro del personal que nos da clases," dijo Sears. "Tambien tuvimos a un representante de la Asociaci6n de Padres (Home and School), orras madres activas y un representante de la comun idad. Si uno tiene un buen grupo, uno se siente duefio de! proceso." Sin embargo, ella advirti6,"EI peligro es ta en la cantidad de entrevistas q ue se hacen. Despues de siete u ocho todos parecen iguales. Los candidatos teen el plan de mejoramiento de la escuela yen base a eso saben que deben decir. Y a veces uno siente que da miedo ver que no existen mejores candidatos."
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Problemas en el proceso Aun cuando los pasos formates son claros, el proceso de selecci6n no garantiza que se respete la recomendaci6n final de comunidad de esa escuela. En Cooke Middle School, el comite de selecci6n de esa escuela recomend6 a la Dra. Joanne Caplan como la elegida. Ya habfan participado en todo el proceso en Junio para que al final la oficina de la superintendente adjunto, Jeanette Brewer, !es comunicara que la Dra. Caplan no tenfa autorizaci6n para aplicar para la posici6n. El comite de selecci6n compuesto de padres, lfderes comunitarios y maestros todavfa se sienten confundidos y enojados. Ellos contmuan sefialando por medio de muchas cartas dirigidas al sup.ermtendente ya la Junta Escolar que la hsta de los candidatos elegibles y que mcluye a la Ora. Caplan vino de la oficina de la Dra. Brewer. Actualmente, ta Dra. Caplan continua en su posici6n de drrectora " interina" de Cooke Middle. Madres de Stearne tienen una crftica acerca del proceso que aunque diferente es de rgual manera muy serfa. Ellos sienten que fueron manipulados . . Katherine Javis, una abuela activa smtr6 que el representante de! sindic~to de maestros tuvo el poder en sus manos y que a los pa_dres/madres basicamente se les conducra en cierta direcci6n. A las
madres el superintendente regional les dijo que cualquier participante podia eliminar por meclio de un veto a un candidato con un voto. Javis dijo que el representante del sindicato siempre encontraba razones para descalificai a cada cand idato. El representante siempre decfa que "no podrfamos vivir con esa persona". Las madres estaban tan cansadas por las entrevistas que duraban todo el dfa que finalmente aceptaron la predilecci6n del sindicato. Ella record6 con amargura que despues el representante de! sindicato se jactaba ante el personal de la escuela abiertamente por " haberse impuesto por sobre las madres". Asf tambien los madres de la escuela Sheppard sienten que el proceso de comites de base local no permiten el espacio suficiente para que las madres refleccionen sobre su decisi6n despues de las entrevistas. Aunque sienten que quizas ya obruvieron un buen director de escuela, tambien sienten que se les apur6 y se !es presion6 para tomar la decisi6n rapidamente. La idea de darle poder a la comunidad de la escuela para tomar una decisi6n importante para escoger su lfder es muy buena, pero tambien esta claro que es igualrnente importante saber cuales son las opciones, organizar sus fuerzas, y aprender de las experiencias por las que han pasado otras personas.
El procedimiento formal de selecci6n Hay un procedimiento formal y bien definido que gufa la selecci6n de directores de escuela y que incluye el papel formal que deben jugar las madres Yla comunidad. De acuerdo a un documento de! Distrito Esco lar de Philadelphia, "El Proceso de Selecci6n de Directores, de Mayo de 1994", hay indicaciones claras para rres procesos de selecci6n diferentes para asignar a un director de escuela. Estos tres procesos son: • la fortnaci6n de un comi te de selecci6n de base local , • el proceso de transferencia de un director de escuela, y • el metodo de selecci6n alternativa para escuelas en estado de escepci6n. De los tres procesos, el de base local provee la unica oportunidad para escuchar cuaJ es el sentir de la comunidad, el personal de la escuela Ya las madres/padres de familia.EI segundo :nstercero se refiere a un protocolo de tr ferencia bajo la discreci6n de! Disrrrto por una serie de razones las cuaJes no incluyen consultar localmente. Y el tercero trata de Ia transferencia de un director a una escuela de bajo rendimiento
"Un paso" continua en la P· 7
Mas 'clusters', pero menos dinero por Shawn Poole En medio de! debate y alguna confusi6n, el sistema de "clusters" (en Ingles), el cual es un elemento clave en la agenda Children Achieving, comenz6 sus operaciones oficiales a nivel de toda la ciudad con el comienzo de! nuevo aiio escola.r. Todo e l Distrito Escolar de Filadelfia esta ya reorganizaclo en 22 "c lusters" (grupos) con base en diferentes vecinda.rios. Cada cluster consiste de seis a cliez escuelas elementales, de dos a cuatro escuelas llamadas de nivel medio, y las escuelas superiores integrales a las que asiste la mayorfa de los estudiantes de los vecindarios. Cada cluster es supervisado por una oficina localizada en cada vecindario. El objetivo cleclarado del sistema de clusters es mejorar las operaciones diarias de cada escuela a traves de una reorganizaci6n de sus recursos y de asignarle el poder de decisi6n a una estructura local ode vecindario. Tambien aspira a mejorar la comunicaci6n entre las escuelas elementales, las de nivel medio y superiores, a las que envfan sus estudiantes sucesivamente. Previamente, cada una de las seis oficinas regionales grandes tenfan el control de 30 a 40 escuelas, lo cual con frecuencia hacfa la tarea de supervisi6n casi imposible. Muc hos padres , maestros, y estudiantes se sentfan perdidos al tener que tratar con una burocracia tan grande. Se introdujo e l sistema de clusters bajo la promesa de que este fba a hacer que los estudiantes, los padres y los maestros participaran decididamente en las decisiones de una esc uela. En cada escuela se ha estado organizando una especie de Concilio Escolar, formado s por personal escolar, padres, y de nivel medio y superior, por estudiantes. Tambien se habla de e legir conc ilios a nivel de cada cluster.
Estos primeros seis recibieron un presupuesto operacional completo que provefa de personal, entrenamiento para maestros, materiales especiales, trabajo comunitario y apoyo especial administrativo para los maestros nombrados como faci/itadores. "Los 16 clusters nuevos tienen mas o menos la mitad del dinero y el personal que recibieron los primeros seis," dijo la Dr. Jeanette Brewer, Superintendente Adjunto, "simplemente porque no hay dinero. Vamos a tratar de mantener los primeros seis clusters con su presupuesto completo porque esos so n nuestro prest1gio - esos c lusters van a poder mostrar lo que se puede hacer si la reforma Children Achieving rec ibe el financiamiento completo". Los 16 clusters nuevos oficialmente comenzaron a funcionar este otofio, con lfderes de cluster y un personal de oficina incompleto. Sin embargo. debido a los cortes presupuestarios, cada cluster no tiene un Coordinador de Recursos Familiares y los facilitadores que ayudan a mantener una continuidad curricular desde kindergarten hasta el grado 12. Asi
Aunque la reestructuraci6n administrativa solo es un aspecto de una reforma mas amplia, la convers i6n de las regiones a cl usters ha recibido una atenci6n desmedida. Algunos piensan que 1a controversia ha pe1jucidado la implementaci6n de otros cambios indispensab les. Los crftico s dicen que los clusters representan otra capa de administraci6n mas , consumiente de! presupuesto para e l sal6n de clase. Los que apoyan los clusters dicen que se ha eliminado una gran cantidad de empleo en la administraci6n central, tratando de demostrar que la reorganizaci6n genera un sistema descentralizado, no otra grada mas . De manera significativa, en su primer
un representante de los maestros (usualmente el representante oficial de! sindicato de maestros), un miembro de la Asociaci6n de Padres (Home & School) , representantes de comercio y de la comunidad y cualquier otra maestra, padre de fami lia y representante comunal designado por el Superintendente Regional o actualmente Lider de un C luster. Los miembros de! comite deben comprometerse a la confidencial idad de la informaci6n. El comite de selecci6n recibe orientaci6n para definir sus operaciones y su funci6n y establecer el proceso. Este paso es muy importante para familiarizar a los padres con los procedimientos, dinamicas y reglas sobreentendidas. Los pasos d~I proceso incluyen: primero, des.arrollar las bases sobre las cuales juzgar a l,os candiclatos; segundo, ejercer yl derecho (le re,visar los resu,m es para excluir a cualquier candidata/o que no 1\en~ \osrequisitos; y tercero, entrevistar a los cand idatos que sf llenan los
requisitos. Aqui "el comite debe llegar a un consenso en cuanto a los nombres de tres candidatos, en orden de preferencia, para ser recomendados ante el Superintendente de Escuelas." El proceso de selecci6n local suena muy bien sobre el papel, pero las madres de familia, la comunidad y el personal de maestros , deben tener claridad acerca de cual es su cuota de poder en el proceso. Una vez entiendan cuanto poder poseen, entonces !es sera mas fi'icil entender cuanta libertad tienen para escoger entre las opciones. A los padres y maestros Jes plantea un problema differente cuando tengan a aguantar a un director malo. No hay opci6n otra que desarrollar la presi6n de base para forzar que se traslade. El mejoramiento a largo plazo de una escuela requ iere de un proceso formal en el cual los padres y madres puedan influenc iar al director de la escuela de! momento y no ser restringidos hasta que \Jegue un momenta de transici6n.
La mayoria de participantes de Los primeros seis clusters veian Los clusters positivamente.
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tambien, estos 16 clusters no disponen de presupuesto completo operacional ni tienen los fondos para entrenamiento de personal que se le proveyeron a los primeros seis clusters. El Distrito Escolar esra buscando activamente el financiamiento adiciona1 para lo s nuevos clusters.
Depende de su punto de vista.
aiio de operaciones, la mayorfa de participantes de los primeros seis clusters vefan los clusters positivamente, de acuerdo a evaluaciones hechas por e l di strito escolar y el llamado Greater Philadelphia First. La verdad es que la estructura de los clusters tiene que obtener el apoyo de los maestros, los estud iantes y los padres de famil ias que todavfa permanecen desinformados o sin la confianza de "otro" gran esq uema de reforma. Para los escepticos, y en real idad para cua1quiera a quien le interese la calidad de la educaci6n de los nifios la pregunta es la misma: "iC6mo es que esta nueva estructura va a mejorar la experiencia de los nifios en el sa lon de clase?" Es importante que Ucl. se ponga en contacto con el cluster de su vec indario y Jes comunique los problemas de su escuela. En la pagina 9 de este nlimero aparece una Jista de oficinas y Ifderes de cluster de todos los 22 clusters. Tambien Mganos el favor de compartir sus experiencias, tanto positivas como negativas, con este peri6dico. Traducci611 por Manuel Portillo
El Distrito esta buscando el financiamiento adicional para Los nuevos 16 clusters.
Grandes planes, poco dinero. La conversi6n a los clusters fue designada originalmente para incluir a todas las escuelas del sistema. L imites de presupuesto, sin embargo, forzaron a que el Distrito solo iniciara seis clusters durante de! verano de! 1995, incluyendo los clusters de Audenreid, King , Olney, Strawberry Mansion, Wash ington, y West Philadelphia.
Un paso hacia el poder Viene de la p. 6 por causa de ser designada como en "estado de escepci6n".
Selecci6n de base local El prop6sito del comite de selecci6n, de acuerdo al documento de! Distrito, es "obtener el consenso sobre tres candidatos en orden de preferencia, para recomendarlos al Superintendente de Escuelas para su consideraci6n y decision final." Los candidatos a c\irector q ue quieren ser entrevistados por comites de base local provienen de una "lista de elegibles". La lista esta co!Jlpue?ta de personas que ac.\ual1T,1ente trabajan como directoras/e.s y de gente que ha. comple, tado el examen. La composici6n de! los co!J;\ites de selecci61\ c;ie 碌J}a escuela jncluye1Jra) .: Superinte.noqenJe R:'gional (rn estos dfas el equiva!e'nte es el Uder ~e un Cluster),
Siempre que hablamos de respo nsabilidad publica y del exito estudianti l, mucha gente siente que ya lleg6 la hora de que el Di strito instituya una reforma real y Jes autorize a las comunidades escolares para escoger los Ifderes de su preferencia en cada esc uela. Traducci6n por Manuel Portillo
Riegue las noticias Ayude a distribuir Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Usted puede ser parte de! equipo que di stribuye School Notebook a traves de la ciudad. Copias estan disponible para la distribuci6n en su escuela, lugar de trabajo e iglesia. Estan disponible para un evento p(1blico, una reuni6n en la' escuela o en un centro comunal. Favor de llamar al School Notebook, _95 1-0330, si esta 'interesado en fcfrmar pane de! equipo.
~PA~G~E~s ______________________________________..,.:s~c~H~O~O~L~N~O~TlE~B~O~O~K;_,. __________________________________________~
Cluster system goes citywide but lac] by Shawn Poole Amidst continued debate and some confusion, the "cluster" system, a key part of the Children Achieving agenda, began offic ial operation s c ityw ide with the start of the new school yea r. The entire School District of Philadelphia is no w reorganized into 22 neighborhood-based c lusters. Each c luster consists of six to ten elementary schools, two to fo ur middle schools, and the comprehensive high school that most ne ighborhood students eventually will attend . Each cluster is overseen by a clu ster office located in the neighborhood. T he cluster system 's stated goal is to improve dayto-day schoo l operations by reorgani zing resources and decision-making power into a more locally controlled structure. It also aims to improve communication between elementary schoo ls and the middle and hig h schools that they feed into. Previo us ly, the District 's six large regional offices were each responsible for thirty to forty schools, often making the task of supervising them an overwhelming one. Many parents, teachers, and students fe lt lost when dealing w ith such a large-scale bureaucracy. At the cluster level, increased involvement in decision-making is made possible by e lected school counci ls consisting of staff members, parents, and at the middle and high school level, stude nts. Elected cluster councils are also planned .
Big plans, small budget The conversion to clusters in itially was designed to include all schools in the system. Budgetary constraints, however, forced the District to bring only six " model" clusters into operation over the summer of 1995. These were Audenried , King, Olney, Strawberry Mansion, Was hington , and West Phi ladelph ia cl usters. These first six received a fu ll operational budget that provi ded for staff, teacher training, special materials, community o utreach and special support staff for teachers called fa cilitators. 'The 16 ne w clusters have about half as much money and staff as the first six ," noted Dr. Jeanette Brewer, deputy superintendent, "simply because the money is not there. We ' re going to keep the ' pilot' clusters fu ll y funded because they're our prize they'll be able to show what can be done if Children Achieving is fully funded. " The 16 new clusters officially began operation this fa ll , w ith cluster leaders and partial cluster office staffs chosen for each. None currently has a family reso urce coordinator, although s ome money is available to develop limited links to services in the community. They have only ha lf the proposed number of faci li tators to assist in assu ring curriculum continuity from kindergarten through grade 12. Also, the 16 have reduced operating budgets and staff development funds. The School Di strict is actively seeking addition al funding fo r these new clusters.
Depends on your vantage point While adm inistrative restructuring is but a part of a broader reform agenda, the change from regions to c lusters has received a disproportionate amoun t of attention. Some feel the controversy has slowed implementation of other needed changes. Critics claim the clusters represent yet another layer of administration, diverting spend ing from the classroom level. Cluster supporters point to the large-scale elimination of positions in the central ad ministration to show that reorganization means a decentralized system, not just another tier added on . Significantly, in their first year of operation, cl usters were viewed positively by most participants in the first six model c lusters, according to evaluations by both the School Di strict and Greater Philadelphia First.
Winning friends, influencing policy The fact remains that the c luster structure must gain the support of teachers, students and parents who rema in uninformed about or distrustful of "yenmother" grand reform scheme. For skeptics, and indeed for anxone concerned about the quality of chilc\fen '.s education, the question remains,'"How w ill thi s structure improve the experience of children in the classroom.?
The Clusters Germantown
Gertnantown H.S./Lankenau GirlsH.S. Pickett M.S ./ABLE Roosevelt M.S. Emlen Fi tier Fulton Henry Houston Jenks, J.S. Kelly Lingelbach Logan Pennell Wister
Rox borough Roxborough H. S. Saul AVT AMY Northwest Cook-Wissahickon Dobson Levering Mifflin Shawmont Widener Memorial
King King H.S. Central H. S. Leeds M. S. Lewis M.S. Wagner M.S. Day Edmonds Ellwood Hill , J.E./Freedman Howe Kinsey McCloskey Pastorius Pennypacker Prince Hall Rowen
Fels Fels H.S. Mastbaum AVT Camell Creighton Finletter Franklin Elem. Lowell Ziegler
Strawberry Mansion H.S. Strawberry Mansion M.S. Rhodes M.S. Allen, Ethel D. Blaine Douglass Gideon Hill , L.P. Whittier
Gratz Gratz H.S. Dobbins AVT/Randolph FitzSimons M.S. Gillespie M.S. Bethune Cleveland Dick Duckrey Kenderton Peirce Elem Pratt Stanton, M.H. Steel Walton Wright 81
Overbrook Overbrook H.S. Beeber M.S. Shoemaker M.S./ABLE Bluford Cass idy Daro ff Gompers Heston Lamberton Mann Overbrook Elem. Overbook Ed Center
University City Uni versity City H.S. Su lzberger M.S ./ABLE Belmont Blankenburg Drew Leidy Locke McMichael MYA Powel Rhoads Wash ingt~n, M.
West Philadelphia West Phi ladelphia H.S. Parkway H.S. (all sites) Miller H.S./M.S. Sayre M.S ShawM.S. Barry Bryant Comegys Hamilton Harrington Huey Lea Wilson Elem.
Bartram H.S. Pepper M.S. Tilden M.S. Turner M.S. Anderson Catherine Harrity Longstreth Mitchell Morton , Patterson Penr~se r
South Philadelphia H.S. BokAVT Thomas M.S. Vare M.S. Bregy - Fell Girard/GAMP Greenfield · Jeriks; A.SL Key ' Palumbo [; "• SQuthw~k . · 1
AUdenried H.S. aarra«M.s. Peirce r.f.S./ABLE Alcorn AJthur chi Ids
Durftaln t.1clili111ieL smith Stanton, E.M.
Directory of cluster offices
t lacks adequate funds
Washington (CHAIN) Washington H.S. BaldiM.S. LaBrum M.S. Rush M.S. Shallcross ABLE Academy Com ly Decatur FitzPatrick Frank Greenberg Hancock Loesche
Northeast Northeast H.S. Wilson M.S. Crossan Farrell Fox Chase Moore Rhawnhurst Solis-Cohen Spruance Fels ,els H.S. abaum AVT Camell :reighton Fin letter nklin Elem. Lowell
sarranM.s. Peirce 1'f'.S./ABLE Alc:Orn AJ111ur Childs purtian1 , 1>1ciiJanieL 5111ilh . 5130100. E.M.
Notebook. • Audenried Cluster Office 427 Monroe Street, 3rd Fl. (19147) Phone: 351-7228 Cluster leader: Frances Williams • Bartram Cluster Office 67th St. and Elmwood Ave. (19142) Phone: 492-568 l Cluster leader: Ricardo Curry • Edison Cluster Office 2603 N. 5th Street, 5th Fl. (19140) Phone: 291 -5680 Cluster leader: Ruben Flores
William Penn Penn H.S. Bodine H.S. Carver H.S. Elverson M.S. Wanamaker M.S. Clymer Dunbar Ferguson
Listed below is information on the cluster offices and leaders for all 22 clusters. We urge you to make contact with your neighborhood cluster staff, engage them in the concerns ar your school, and share your experiences, both positive and negative, with The
Olney Olney H.S. Carroll H.S Central East M.S. Clemente M.S. Cooke M.S. Barton Birney Cayuga Feltonville/Hom McClure Morrison Olney Elem. Taylor
Furness Furness H.S. CAPAH.S. Phi la. Regional H.S. Jackson Kirkbride McCall Meredith Nebinger Sharswood Taggart VareElem. Washington, G. Elem.
Lincoln Lincoln H.S./Swenson Meehan M.S. Allen, Ethan · Brown, J.H. Disston Forrest Holme Mayfair Pennypack Pollock
Frankford H.S. Harding M.S. Bridesburg EdmundS' Hopkinson Lawton Marshall Smedley Stearne Sullivan
Edison Edison H.S./Fareira DeBurgos M.S./ABLE Stetson M.S. AMY At Martin Elkin Fairhill Hunter Polter-Thomas Sheridan Welsh
Kensington Kensington H.S. Conwell M.S. JonesM.S. Penn Treaty M.S. Adaire Brown , H.A. Cramp Douglas Hackett Ludlow McKinley Moffet Richmond Sheppard Webster Willard
Franklin Franklin H.S. Franklin Learning Ctr. Masterman H.S./M.S. Boone H.S./M.S. You1h Study Center Stoddart-Fleisher M.S. Vaux M.S. Bache-Martin Kearny Kelley Meade Morris Reynolds Spring Garden Waring
The District has been divided into 22 "clusters" centered ori ~ the comprehensive high schools. Many funqi.ons once performed by the central and regional offices have been assigned to the clusters.
• Fels Cluster Office Mayfair School St. Vincent & Battersby Sts. (19149) Phone: 335-5655 (Temporary location and phone #) Cluster leader: Jan Gillespie • Frankford Cluster Office Mayfair School St. Vincent & Battersby Sts. (19149) Phone: 335 -5655 (Temporary location and phone #) Cluster leader: Joan Miller • Franklin Cluster Office Stoddart-Fleisher Middle School 13th and Green Sts., l st Fl. (19123) Phone: 351-7405 Cluster leader: Gaeton Zorzi • Furness Cluster Office 427 Monroe Street (19147) Phone: 351-7445 Cluster leader: Arthur Rubin • Germantown Cluster Office Leeds Middle School Mt. Pleasant & Wool ston Ave. (19150) Phone: 248-6640 Cluster leader: Santee Ruffin • Gratz Cluster Office L.P. Hill School 32nd St. and Ridge Ave. (19132) Phone: 684-5 132 Cluster leader: Anita Williams • Kensington Cluster Office 2603 N. 5th Street, 4th Fl. (19133) Phone: 291-5680 (Temporary location and phone #) Cluster leader: Nilsa GonzalezRodrigues
• King Cluster Office Leeds Middle School , Room 8 Mt. Pleasant & Woolston Ave. (19150) Phone: 248-6684 Cluster leader: Linda Silverberg • Lincoln Cluster Office Swenson Skills Center Red Lion Road E. of Roosevelt Blvd. (19114) Phone: 961-2066 Cluster leader: Christopher McGinley • Northeast Cluster Office Mayfair School St. Vincent & Battersby Sts. ( 19149) Phone: 335-5655 Cluster leader: Barbara Braman • Olney Cluster Office Front St. & Duncannon Ave. (19120) Phone: 456-5595 Cluster leader: Alice Reyes • Overbrook Cluster Otli!2e Leeds Middle School Mt. Pleasant & Woolston Ave. (19150) Phone: 248-6644 or 6645 Cluster leader: Arrnita Sims • William Penn Cluster Office Wanamaker Middle School 11th & Cecil B. Moore Ave. (19122) Phone: 684-8487 Cluster leader: James Clements • Roxborough Cluster Office Leeds Middle School Mt. Pleasant & Woolston Ave. (19150) Phone: 248-6640 (Temporary -new phone: 248-6217) Cluster leader: Deidre Farrnbry • South Philadelphia Cluster Office 427 Monroe Street ( 19147) Phone: 351-7030 Cluster leader: Emilio Matticoli • Strawberry Mansion Cluster Office L.P. Hill School (Suite 3) 32nd St. and Ridge Ave. (19132) Phone: 684-8980 Cluster leader: Karen DelGuercio • University City Cluster Office 4909 Chestnut Street (19139) Phone: 47 l-83 JO (Temporary- new phone: 471-2271) Cluster leader: Janet Samuels • Washington Cluster Office (CHAIN) Knights Rd. and Chalfont Dr. (19154) Phone: 281-5903 Cluster leader: Linda Gotlieb • West Philadelphia Cluster Office 4909 Chestnut Street, Rm. IO (19139) Phone: 471-8334 Cluster leader: Janis Butler
Voter action for state funding The public school children of Philadelphia are shortchanged when it comes to school funding. To bring attention to this fact, the Coalition to Close the Gap will be distributing information at the polls on Election Day, November 5, and launching a postcard campaign aimed at state elected officials. Volunteers are being recruited for this effort. The coalition was formed last year to challenge the gap in school funding between city and surrounding suburban public schools. Philadelphia public schools are now estimated to receive $1,926 less per student than the average suburban school. Average class size is 1O students higher in Philadelphia. Postcards distributed at polling places .will urge state legislators to increase funding tor public schools. T9 volunteer on Election Day, contact Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth at (215) 563-5848.
FALL1996 SCHOOL NOTEBOOK
Teachers' union agreement subject of debate
New contract: Key to reform or locked in status quo by Eric Joselyn Witb the ratification vote of a new four-year agreement by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFf) membership on August 29, a contentious negotiation process that stretched over the summer formally came to a close. The overa ll response to the settlement, among PFf members as wel l as District Jdministration, was one of relief - a ; trike had been avoided , school would Jpen on time, and learn ing and teach ing would get underway .. Before the ink was dry, however, both he Di strict and the union leadership were claim ing victory, a victory at the ~ xpen se of the other side. Spokespersons for both sides agreed, however, that the : ontract represents a step towards : hange. There are indeed changes in the new agreement, though not exactly of the amount or nature of changes sought by he two sides. (See box below.) But how will these changes affect those in the middle: students and their families? Does the labor agreement nean a step towards achieving the quality education so long denied to them? To begin assessing the impact of the
agreement on students, the Notebook posed several questions that form a key part of tlie reform debate to the administration, the PFf leadership, and some classroom teachers. Will the contract improve the teach ing our kids receive? "Yes ," says Barbara Grant, spokesperson for the School District. She states, "For the first time we have contract language that links a.teacher 's performance to a teacher's pay." From the administration 's point of view, this is the pivotal provision in the contract. The PFf conceded to a provi sion linking pay increases for union members to satisfactory evaluations conducted by administrative personnel. Across-theboard as well as "step" (years of service) raises are denied to teachers rated " unsati sfactory." If subsequent evaluations are satisfactory, across-the-board raises are restored retroactively. While lost step increases are not recovered, it is significant that about 70% of teachers are currently at the top step, and therefore are not subject to this income loss . Earlier contract agreements have
Key elements of PFT contract •Lengthens school day: 19 minutes added to the school day. The total number of school days for students was reduced from 185 to 180, but there is an overall increase in instructional time. • Adds 1O minutes at the start of the school day at elementary schools for teachers to arrive before students. •Allows for an increase in the number of night meetings for parents, from two to three , at the discretion of the principal at each site. • Links pay increases to satisfactory evaluation by denying across-theboard and "step" wage increases for staff rated "unsatisfactory." Acrossthe-board raises are restored retroa9tively if PFT member achieves a satisfactory rating in subsequent evaluation. • Creates a new Peer Intervention program for PFT members seeking improvement of their job performance. Participation in the program is confidential and purely voluntary. Details regarding the number of participants, schedules , and sources of funding have yet to be determined. • Expands existing agreements on function and composition of school councils from the initial 67 target schools to include all schools. Retains the councils' 51% majority for PFT members. • Provides one-time bonus for all PFT members of 3% of current salary in November, 1996. Increases wages by 3% in January, 1998, 4% in Aprif, 1999, and 4% in April, 2000. • Increases District's payment to the PFT's Health and Welfare fund by modest amounts. •Establishes monetary (dis)incentives that wi ll increase the number of PFT members enrolled in managed care medicai plans. This creates substantial saving in District's costs.
Will the new teachers' union contract affect teaching and learn ing ? established that two successive unsatisfactory ratings result in dismissal. Grant contends, "Whi le it's not all that's needed, [the new contract] is a significant step towards real accountability." The District's perspective is not shared by Brian Marr, a social studies and reading teacher at Julia de Burgos Middle School. "Most of the teachers I know are working hard against high odds. The threat [of withholding raises] may fri ghten some, but that's not what really motivates improved teaching." What does Marr believe would be more effective? "It 's simple: direct administrative support, teachers work harder when they're given more support." Others echo these sentiments. Support, not punishment, is what teachers need, according to PFf spokesman Hal Moss. "Under the [new policy] teachers feel the administration is coming after them. Any time you tell teachers they'll be held responsible if their students attend or not, it's a punitive plan. " What about peer intervention? A feature of the new agreement that is based on positive models from other urban school systems is a peer intervention program,,P\OPO.se,d by the union during negotiations, this plan is significant in that it offers union members an active role in assisting fellow teachers. Current policy and practice are geared towards pushing "bad" teachers to another school, or occasionally out of the system. As designed, participation in peer intervention is purely voluntary, and names of parti cipants will not be made available to administrators. This program is still a long way off, its fi nal design to be determined by a joint committee of PFT and administra-
Will the contract change the way the schools are run, altering the equation of who has decision-making power? This, like previous contracts, designates 20 hours annually for staff mee ting time. However, principals are now able to designate up to JO of the 20 hours to be used for staff meetings without the consent of the building committee of the umon. Administration spokesperson Grant feels the new rule " will allow a principal to meet with staff to enhance teaching and learning." This isn't the view of teacher Marr. "Giving principals control of our time is a step in the wrong direction. In my school, early dismissal time allows for us to work together developing our team teaching, refining and improving the curriculum. Staff meetings run by the principal take away from that. [The I)ew policy] seems contrary to tbe spirit of refom1 that promised to return power to those working directly with tbe kids." Will the contract change what our students are taught? The short answer is, "No." The District has been involved jn an extensive project towards developing and implementing standards which cou ld have significant impact on the material covered by our students. But this process takes place outside of the framework of the contract. Will the contract free money for the District to spend money on aspects of reform? The contract takes advantage of savings resulting from shifting an increasing
See "Contract debate" on p. 11
· · uauhnahuac
Fight racism and poverty. Improve your school and community. Join the Philadelphia Student Union. The Student Union is a diverse group of young people committed to fighting the prob lems that face us. We organized la st year 's student wa lk-out to get more funding for publ ic sc hools . Thi s year we wi ll be co ntinuing to work hard on this issue and many others. The Student Union is offering a si·xteen week leadership development course for teens. Participants will: I) Learn to understand social problems. 2. Lea rn leadership skills. . 3) Organize rallies and other events. 'The gro up meets on Saturdays from 1:00 to 3:0'0 at 1809 Sprii;1g Garden St. 'Pizza an_d tokens a're provided. · : ' To join or for more information ~call us at 751~9934.
tion. Details, or even general outlines , at this point are unavailable.
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• 25 years experience in foreign lapguage )ns~rµction in Spanish • College cred its avai lable Call ,Beri l,.ariccia .f or informa'tion · ·O'r 'a free brochure,; (215) 1
1.. .. _"'-~·--,.-------... - ... ,.. ____________
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j';;dge Smith sent to the sidelines
School funding case taken over by PA Supreme Court by Liz Lenton
Will the courts order the state to give our schoo ls the money they deser~e? 10 Like a TV drama, the tables turn each episode: now the situatwn IS doubtful , . but the final scnpt has not yet been wntten. In August, public education in Philadelphia took a giant step closer to receiving needed funding when Commonwealth Court Judge Doris Smith ordered the state to pay $48 million to support the city's education reform program. Just three weeks later in September, however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Smith 's decree and took control of the case from her. Recent court ruling The central issue in the case is the fact that African A merican and Latino students in racially isolated schools do not have the same opportunity for education as their white counterparts. The court considered this inequality to be a fail ure on the part of the School District. Since the District said it did not have enough funding from the state to improve educational opportunities, the court expanded the case to include an investigation into whether the state gives enough money to educate Philadelphia's
Contract debate Continued from p. 10
With the ratification vote of a new four-year agreement by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) membership on August 29, a contentious negotiation process that stretched over the summer formally came to a close. The overall response to the -settlement, among PFT members as well as District administration, was one of relief - a strike had been avoided, school would open on time, and learn ing and teaching would get underway.. Before the ink was dry, however, both the District and the union leadership were claiming victory, a victory at the expense of the other side. Spokesperso ns for both sides agreed, however, that the contract represents a step towards change. There are indeed changes in the new agreement, though not exactly of the amount or nature of changes sought by the two sides. (See box below.) But how will these changes affect those in the middle: students and their families? Does the labou agreement mean a step towards achieving the qua!- 路
Parents Union's Resource Center welcomes parents to
visit our library Come find out about your
311 5. Juniper St. Rm.602 Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 546-1166
school ch ildren. "It was a bold move for Judge Smith to broaden the case to include funding issues," said Deputy Mayor Manny Ortiz, formerly Director of ASPIRA, an intervenor in the case. City left Off the hook Important also in Judge Smith's rulin g was the fact that she agreed with the City 's contention that it is unable to come up with additional tax money to fund the schools. In detailed presentations during June, City and state attorneys attempted to persuade the judge that they had lived up to their funding obligations. The City poi nted to its shrinking tax base and the damage increased taxes would cause to businesses and property owners. The state's arguments ce11tered on the amount of money already provided to Philadelphia,_the power delegated to the city government to provide for the schools, and charges of mismanagement and waste in the school administration. Judge Smith 's ruling sided with the City and School District and found the state lacking in its commitment to our children. Current status The Supreme Court has not ruled out ity education so long denied to them? To begin assessing the impact of the agreement on students, the Notebook posed several questions that form a key part of the reform debate to the administration, the PFI leadership, and some classroom teachers. Will the contract improve the teaching our kids receive? "Yes," says Barbara Grant, spokesperson for the School District. She states, "For the first time we have contract language that links a teacher's performance to a teacher's pay." From the administration's point of view, this is the pivotal provision in the contract. The PFI conceded to a provision linking pay increases for union members to satisfactory evaluations conducted by administrative personnel. Across-theboard as well as "step" (years of serv ice) raises are denied to teachers rated "unsatisfactory." If subsequent evaluations are satisfactory, across-the-board raises are restored retroactively. While lost step increases are not recovered, it is significant that about 70% of teachers are currently at the top step, and therefore are not subject to this income loss. Earlier contract agreements have established that two successive unsatisfactory ratings result in dismissal. Grant contends, "Wh ile it's not all that's needed, [the new contract] is a significant step towards real accountability." . . The District's perspective 1s not shared by Brian Marr, a social studies and reading teacher at Julia de Burgos Middle School. "Most of the teachers I know are working hard against high odds. The threat [of withholding raises] may frighten some, but that's not w?,at really motivates improved teachmg. What does Marr believe would be more effective? "It's simple: direct administrative support, teachers work harder when they're given more sup-
echo these sentiments. Support not punishment, is what teachers need, according to PFI spo.kesman Hal Moss. "Under the [new pohcy] teachers
the possibility that the state will fund school reform in Philadelphia. And while the state is claiming victory over the question now that the Supreme Court presides over the case, such claims are premature and not grounded in reality. Attorneys in the case had anticipated that the Supreme Cou1t would make the fina l ruling. "There is no way that the Supreme Court was not go ing to ru le on this issue," said Michael Churchill of the Public Interest Law Center, attorney for the intervenors, "and it is whol ly appropriate that they do rule on this most impoitant ~inancial issue rnncerning the funding of~ducation for ch ildren in our city." I "In fact," 'says Maria Quinones, Executive Director of ASPIRA, "by overturning Judge Smith's order and taking over the case, the Supreme Court is essentially expediting what promised to be a long drawn-out process of appeal. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will recognize in the evidence the need for additional resources for the public schools of Philadelphia." Quinones emphasized, "This is just a first step in leveling the playing field for all children in Philadelphia public schools, but especially for poor and minority ch ildren." Status of Judge Smith's earlier orders Now that the Supreme Court has taken jurisdiction over the desegregation case, it is unclear whether the District is obligated to carry out her previous orders. The most recent order was in April of this year, but earlier orders
included full-day kindergarten s and early roster " leveling" that are already in place. Manny Ortiz believes that the reform s al ready approved by the judge will continue. However, he is concerned that the Di strict may move forward on a more limited basis on other parts of the reform agenda directed toward the racially isolated schools - "perhaps solely on an experimental basis or as a series of pilot projects," he suggested .. Churchill is a bit more optimistic. "The only part of the order that was interrupted is the funding part. There is no reason to believe that the earl ier part of the order affectin g school programs will not go forward as planned." Next steps The state Supreme Court will request briefs from the attorneys invol ved in the case sometime this fall or early next year. The Court will meet next in late October and then again in early December. Since the Court has not yet identified the issues they want the briefs to address, it is unlikely the Court will hear oral arguments in October. A December date is more likely. One development with a possible bearing on the case is the retirement on July 3 l of "liberal" Supreme Court . Justice Robert N.C. Nix, Jr., originally from Philadelphia, after 12 years as Chief Justice and 24 years on the bench. While Governor Ridge has appointed a replacement, professor of law John A. Maher, Senate Democrats are expected to try to block his and any other Ridge nominee's confirmation.
w:H~a 1 G- E-Ts-trlrA
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...........i l) ANIEL IVI. ,TELLEP
Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martm
During fiscal year 1995. The Pentagon agreed to pay Lockheed Martin $850 million in "consolidation costs." The Pentagon also paid S100 million in bon~ses to the top executives of Lockheed and Martin Marietta for successfully completing the merger of the two giant military conllactors.
The budget ax has fallen hard in Washington . Funds for social programs, incl uding welfare and public education , have been cut by a hostile Congress. But alongside the ax is a shovel: massive amounts of our tax dollars are thrown at some of the country's wealthiest citize ns, while our students do without textbooks and sit in classrooms with broken windows. In 1994 th e United States spent $104.3 billion on corpo rate welfare while spending only $14.4 billion on social welfare programs . Federal aid to corpo ration s and wealthy individ uals includes bailouts , export promotions, loan guarantees , debt forgiveness , below-cost sales of government services, interest-free financing , and other benefits. These "wealthfare" programs, along with military expenditures and payments to bondholders who have financed the military expansion, place a significant strain on the federal budget. Social welfare programs, by contrast, account for a tiny percentage of the national budget. Wom en's International League for Peace and Fre edom (WILPF) has developed a series of posters and trading cards that examine "wealthfare" policies. Excerpts are reprinted here . For information on receiving either the posters or cards, call WILPF at (215) 563- 7110.
Repair needs of each building evaluated
Price tag to fix up schools estimated at $765 million by Patricia Lowe
Philadelphia's sc hoo ls require over
~~~~.' ~~:~;rNTARY sc:11~Ls ~~
lor.g awaited facilities audit released in A ugust that descri bes the physical con-
Allegheny Allen, D. Ethel
$ • 1 378 $2:009 $2,030
The study is based on a survey of all the schools and prov ides cost estimates for the l abor and materials needed for repairs. It was prod uced by Perks Reutter Assoc iates, an engineering con suiting consortium, and i s entitled
Arthur, Chester A. Bache-Martin Bache-Martin, W. & E. ~:~~·n~~~~· John Belmont Bethune, Mary Mcleod Birney, Gen. David B. Blaine, James G Blankenburg, Rudolph Bluford Bregy, F. Amedee Bridesburg Brown, Henry A. Brown, Joseph H. Bryant, William Cullen Carnell, Laura H. Cassidy, Lewis C. Catherine, Joseph Cayuga Childs, George W. Cleveland, Grover Clymer, George Comegys, Benjamin B. Comly, Watson Cook-Wissahickon Cramp, William Creighton, Thomas Crossan, Kennedy C. Darott, Samuel H. Day, Anna Blakston Decatur, Stephen Dick, William Disston, Hamilton Dobson, James Douglass, Frederick Drew (Walnut Center) Annex Drew, Charles R. Duckrey, Tanner Dunbar, Paul Lawrence Durham, Thomas Edmonds, Franklin S. Edmunds, Henry R. Elkin, Lewis Ellwood Ellwood Annex Elverson , James Emlen, Eleanore. Fairhill Farrell, Louis H. Fell, D. Newlin Feltonville Feltonville Annex (Home) Ferguson, Joseph C. Finletter, Thomas K. Filler Academics Plus FitzPatrick, Aloysius L. Forrest, Edwin Fox Chase Frank, Anne Franklin, Benjamin Fulton, Robert Gideon, Edward Girard, Stephen Gompers, Samuel Greenberg, Joseph Greenfield, Albert M. Hackett, Horatio B. Hamilton, Andrew Hancock, John Harrington, Avery Harrington, Avery Annex Harrison, William Harrity, William Hartranft Community Center Hartranft, John F. Henry, Charles W. Heston, Edward Hill, J. E./Sampson Freedman Hill, Leslie Pinckney Holme, Thomas Hopkinson, Francis Houston, Henry E. Howe, Julia Ward Huey, Samuel B. Hunter, William H. Jackson, Andrew Jenks, Abram Jenks, John S. Kearny, General Philip Kelley, William D. Kelly, John B. Kenderton Key, Francis Scott Kinsey, John L.
$2,110 :; ·~~~ $ •131 2 $3:901 $2,484 $2,257 $2,154 $3,013 $2,462 $2,604 $1,218 $1 ,238 $1 ,143 $3,234 $2,218 $1 ,635 $1 ,612 $2,000 $2,577 $2,508 $2 ,022 $1,988 $1 ,826 $1 ,655 $1,992 $1,461 $845 $2,359 $1 ,331 $3,457 $3,193 $3,348 $2, 153 $3,809 $1 ,979 $2,403 $2,162 $2,184 $1 ,254 $3,135 $2,232 $1,433 $1 ,541 $760 $3,675 $1,914 $1,583 $1,745 $2,463 $1,211 $960 $2 ,852 $1 ,715 $3,786 $3,098 $2,537 $1 ,331 $1,025 $1,145 $3,008 $1,792 $1,557 $1,391 $2,305 $1,719 $1,705 $1,555 $1,438 $2,263 $591 $2,522 $2,147 $1 ,812 $2,474 $2,155 $1 ,685 $1 ,230 $1, 156 $2,289 $1,162 $3 ,316 $880 $4,180 $1 ,538 $1 ,874 $1 ,363 $2,467 $1,991 $3,130 $5,804 $1 ,712 $2,717 $3,229
~~~~:l~.f the School District's 257
Facilities Co ndition Assessment, Final Report. The impetus for this comprehensi ve school-by-school maintenance needs survey came from the November 1994 order of Commonwealth Court Judge Dori s Smith in the 25-year-old school desegregation case.Judge Smith ordered the School Di stri ct to "conduct an immediate facilities assessment of the racially i solated school s to determine repairs and maintenance needed. " High points of the findings The results of the assessment are overwhelming. Of the $764,863,000 repair bill , approx imately $ 137 million is needed for exterior repair, $205 million for system repair, and $269 million for interior repai r. The average amount needed for an individual sc hoo l site to meet standards is just over $3 million. A listing of need-
ed repairs fo r a particular school should be available f rom the school's principal.The School Di strict says a more comprehensive, multi -page report for each school will be on fil e at the Pedagogical Library, Rm. 302, 21 st and the Parkway. Some positi ve news: the report did find the Di strict's buildings " for the most part to be ... structurally sound. " This findin g is seen as resulting from a past investment strategy that focu sed on sealing roofs, windows and doors to protect the insides of the buildings. The report al so found that repair needs are spread evenly across the entire district. In a letter to the school board, District Managing Director Clarence Armbrister observed, "The School District remains woefully short of what i s needed to address the $764,864,000 of repairs identified in the report. " The Di strict currently has budgeted only about $ 100 million annually for major improvements, maintenance and repairs. Putting Phil adelphia 's situation in a national perspective, Managing Director Armbrister cited a recent report by the US General Accounting Office, Conditions of America's Schools, stating that "the nation 's schools need about $112 billion to repair or upgrade. facilities to good overall condition. " The big picture The School District chose to survey all of its faci lities at a cost of $2.7 million rather than to confine the survey to the 138 racially i solated schools specifi ed in Judge Smi th's order, because the School Di strict had not done a comprehensive di strict-w ide school-by-school repai r needs assess ment in 30 years. The survey al so created a computerized data base that will allow the Distri ct to keep better track of the maintenance needs of all of its buildings. T he project began with the development of " maintenance and construction standards" for buildi ngs. The standards were developed in 17 maj or categories
See "Facilities report" on p. 13
92 25 66
71 69 26 83 29 71 87 72 38 37 59 92 65 72 59 66 102 87 31 85 67 27 26 66 73 23 43 31 42 62 66 56 1 44 28 64 86 47 72 23 39 0 66 70 28 37 72 88 70 74 66 98 36 67 47 34 80 59 44 37 46 31 26 27 26 28 69 O 67 83 1 28 88 25 16 32 44 69 69 82 32 86 71 99 72 74 30 26 34 97 80
Repair cost Age (in thousands) 70 $1 ,771 Kirkbride, Eliza B. 23 $849 Lawton, Henry W. 82 $2,551 Lea, Henry C. &Annex 33 $1 ,773 Leidy, Joseph 67 $2,185 Levering, William 40 $834 Lingelbach, Anna L. 31 $2,327 Locke, Alain 29 $1 ,818 Loesche, William H 72 $2,188 Logan, James 24 $1 ,139 Longstreth, William 0 $318 Longstreth, William Annex 82 $1 ,489 Lowell, James R. 25 $659 Ludlow, James Comm. 69 $1 ,885 Ludlow, James R. 72 $2,539 Mann, William 86 $1 ,280 Marshall , John 47 $2,922 Mayfair 85 $2,392 McCall, Gen. George A. 40 $1,586 McCloskey, John F. 80 $1,802 McClure, Alexander K. 59 $1 ,759 McDaniel, Delaplaine 26 $2,078 McKinley, William 80 $4,073 McMichael, Morton 59 $2,229 Meade, Gen. George G. 65 $1 ,894 Meredith, William M 59 $1,972 Mifflin, Thomas 80 $6,251 Mitchell, Weir 22 $356 Moffet, John 44 $1,887 Moore, J. Hampton 30 $2,463 Morris, Robert 72 $2,157 Morrison, Andrew J. 24 $1 ,664 Morton, Thomas G. 71 $1 ,966 Nebinger, George W. • 95 $1 ,906 Olney Elementary 29 $3,351 Pastorius, Francis 75 $2,400 Patterson, John M. 87 Peirce, Thomas M. $3,959 $2,357 69 Pennell, Joseph 66 Pennypacker, Samuel $1 ,832 $1 ,303 24 Penrose $1,247 34 Pollock, Robert B.
Average cost Elementary Middle school High school Grand Total: Potter-Thomas Powel, Samuel Pratt, Anna Prince Hall Reynolds, General John Rhawnhurst Rhoads, James Richmond Rowen, William Sharswood, George Shawmont Sheppard, Isaac Sheridan, Philip H Smedley, Franklin Smith, Walter George Solis-Cohen , Solomon Southwark Spring Garden Spruance, Gilbert Stanton, Edwin M. Stanton, M. Hall Stearne, Allen M. Steel, Edward Sullivan, James J. Taggart, John H. Taylor, Bayard Taylor, Bayard Annex Vare, Abigail Walton , Rudolph S. Waring, Laura W. Washington, George Washington, Martha Webster, John H. Welsh, John Whittier, John Widener Memorial Widener Memorial Garage Willard, Frances Wilson, Alexander Wister, John Wright, Richard Ziegler, William H.
$2,262, 000 $4,098,000 $5,201, 000 $764,863,000 $2,069 $1 ,020 $2,925 $2,074 $2,805 $2,868 $1,000 $2,894 $2,623 $1,795 $8,483 $1,558 $3,649 $1 ,612 $1 ,928 $3,456 $1,984 $1,410 $5,658 $1 ,871 $1 ,956 $1,606 $1,258 $1,686 $2,733 $3,025 $503 $2,151 $2,182 $884 $3,143 $3,947 $1,287 $1,719 $2,275 $1 ,738 $142 $2,335 $1,441 $3,370 $1,560 $479
MIDDLE SCHOOLS Amy, at James Martin $2,206 Baldi, C. C. A. $3,044 Barratt, Norris S. $6,029 Seeber, Dimner $4,814 Beeber-Wynnefield $1,240 Conwell Annex $809 Conwell, Russell $2,136 Cooke, Jay $2,994 Cooke, Jay Annex $543
27 35 42 23 69 47 36 67 58 88 67 94 96 68 71 48 85 68 46 70 37 29 23 66 79 88 0 93 95 39 59 86 28 30 83 43 0 89 37 40 91 39
103 22 68 63 63 1 70 73 1
(' R~~air co~t ) Age in
~:~~~}~~~JEe~~i:ua:e $:rn~ -
Harding, Warren G. Jones, John Paul
Meehan, Austin Peirce, Williams. Penn Treaty Pepper, George Pickett, Clarence Rhodes, E. Washington Roosevelt, Theodore Rush , Benjamin Sayre Pool Sayre, William Shaw, Anna Shoemaker, William Stetson, John B. Stoddart-Fleisher Sulzberger, Mayer Thomas, George C Tilden, William Turner, John Vare, Edwin H. Vaux, Roberts Wagner, General Lou is Wanamaker, John Wilson, Woodrow
$1 ,758 $1,946 $4,707 $1,774 $5,665 $3,416 $3 ,512 $4,570 $494 $6,538 $4,1 04 $6,061 $6,088 $3,239 $1,905 $3,437 $4,297 $4,014 $5 ,847 $4,538 $3 ,990 $2,881 $2,998
HIGH SCHOOLS Audenried, Charles Y. $3,889 Bartram Commercial Annex $214 Bartram Field $294 Bartram Freshman $3,878 Bartram Garage $238 Bartram Human Serv. (Catto.) $1,358 Bartram Motivational $1,327 Bartram, John $5,440 Bodine, William W. $2,355 Bok, Edward $6,950 Boone, Daniel $1,662 Carroll, Charles $1 ,643 Carver, George Washington $2,465 Central East (Olney Annex) $1 ,280 Central East Annex $19 Central High & Athletic Field $7,074 Dobbins-Randolph Skills Ctr. $1 ,799 Dobbins, Murrell $9 ,581 Douglas, Stephen A. $1,317 Edison, Thomas A $2 ,090 Fels, Samuel $6,458 Frankford $6,731 Frankford Field $743 Franklin Learning Center $3,894 Franklin, Benjamin $4,495 Furness, Horace $6,936 Germantown $4,405 Germantown Ath letic Field $868 G'town/Lankenau Motivational $1,131 Girard Annex (Poe, Edgar A.) $1,721 Girls $6,484 Gratz Automotive Academy $109 Gratz Grandstand $207 Gratz Pool $178 Gratz, Simon & Athletic Field $9,228 Kensington $2,902 King, Martin Luther $3,041 Lamberton, Robert E. $4,308 Lincoln-Fox Chase Farms $385 Lincoln-Swenson Skills Ctr. $4,835 Lincoln Field/Pool $390 Lincoln High Annex $236 Lincoln, Abraham $5 ,089 Mastbaum, Jules E. $3, 180 Masterman, Julia R. $3 ,249 Miller, E. Spencer $2,167 Northeast $8 ,514 Northeast Field $449 Olney $5,874 Olney Field House $252 Overbrook $4,852 Palumbo/CAPA $5 ,858 Parkway School-Gamma $2,979 Penn , William $7 ,070 Phila. Regional $1 ,834 Roxborough $4,868 Roxborough Field House $344 Saul, Walter B $2,819 Shallcross, Thomas $2, 754 South Phila. $5,758 South Phila. Field $1 ,606 Strawberry Mansion $5,542 University City $11,250 Washington , George $9,397 Washington , George Field $224 West Phila. $4, 130 West Phila. Automotive Acad $196 West Phila. Field House/Field $562
91 69 69 72 72 1 22 41 23 23 67 68 22 26 24 72 28
0 46 73 69 79 70 72 75 69 25 73 59 67 37 68
1 1 1 1 35 1 57 72 58 69 73 47 61 0 57 20 58 67
9 42 80
1 87 38 82 81
0 23 81 38
0 0 0 69 79 24 47
0 19 0 26 45 67 63 29 39
1 70 66 61 22 89 72
0 38 67 40
1 32 24 34 1 84 1 1
-Accountability plan unveiled FALL 1996
Continued from p. 1
over the two years but not reached their target;
tors: schools ' attendance rates, their "high-absence rate" (the percentage of students absent more than 18 times in a year), and their retention rate (the rate at wh ich students fai l to movy forward in
• "Declining" schools have not improved or are doing worse than the baseline year and face " intensive rating of staff; "
grade level.). . . In addition , hi gh sc hools wi ll be reviewed for their " persistence rate" the proportion of students who graduate on time four years after entering ninth
•"Academically distressed" schools have fai led to meet their target in two consecutive two-year cycles and face both inten sive rating of staff and possible reorganization.
grade. Using baseline data from the spring of l 996, each school is being informed in October of an average performance target for the 1996-97 and 1997-98 school year. At the end of what is called a "twoyear professional responsibility cycle," in the summer of 1998, schools will be categorized based on how well these test scores and other measures compare to the target set by the District. There will be five categories: • "Distinguished" sc hools have exceeded their target and receive monetary rewards; •"On target" schools have met their perfoimance target; •"Improving" schools have improved
"School review teams" will work with all three categories of school s that fail to meet their targets. The annual performance targets for schools are set with the aim of advancing scores steadily toward the same "finish line" - the ultimate goal that every school in the District within J 2 years will achieve a 95 % proficiency score on the Di strict's scoring system. Schools that are starting with low scores will therefore have more gro und to cover eac h year to reach their an nual target than schools that are starting closer to the fini sh line. Each year a report card will be issued for the District and for each school , Hornbeck says. The report card will identify schools in the order of most
improved to least improved and show how well each schoo l is moving toward its performance target. The Phil adelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) has denounced Hornbeck's plan in the media and at meetings set up to expl ain the plan. PFT leaders argue that it is unfair to expect schools to meet these targets with the current inadequate level of resources and add that it is "damaging" to the school s whose students are peiforming poorly to be given a negative labe l. PFT members have also said these procedures and the sanctions in the new contract are focu sed on teachers and serve to set them up as scapegoats. Teachers have expressed the concern that middle level administrators and princi -
pa ls may not be subjected to the same level of oversig ht, the threat of dismissal, or the denial of wage increases. At the top leve l, Horn beck and the top Di strict adm ini strators in his cabinet do have a " pay for performa nce" system that will link their sa lary in future years to how well students in the Di strict overall are performing on standardi zed tests and other measures . Public schoo l famil ies have frequentl y rai sed demands for accountability and an improved learning enviro nment, and will likely we lcome the promised information abou t trend s in student performance. But there has been little d isc ussion with parents or community members to date on Hornbeck 's overall accountability plan.
Report from the street
Summer youth action by Seth Oberman Throughout the summer while many were trying to chill on the beach, student and youth activists were hitting the streets. Members of the Philadelphia Student Un.ion, United Youth Action and -the YoungO;i7umunist League, U.S.A., assembled a coalition to educate the public a11d build support for the City Council bill sponsored by Councilmen Angel Ortiz and David Cohen to delay tax cuts and direct the savings to the schools. Building upon the tremendous momentum from last $pting's Cif.X Coi.incil demonstrations, youth were determined to'keey up the pressµre throughout the summer. Things kicked off when students showed up to pledge support to the teachers at their strike authorization v6te lastJuue. From there, working relations were formed with individual members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers who were committed to the fightfor
Facilities report Continued from p. 12 such as heating, ven'tilation and air conditioning system s; roofs; masonry; concrete; fin ishes, like plaster and paint; plumbing and e lectrica l systems. Tbe condi tion of "movables," such as desks and other furni shings, was not surveyed. At the School District's request, the survey focu sed primarily on the repairs that would be required to fix broken items or replace fa ulty systems . It did not include any items that wo uld be considered "upgrades". For exampl e: •If a school bui lding already has an outdoor hose bib and outdoor electrical outlets (which facilitate graffiti removal), the in spection team would spec ify repairs or replacements needed. But it would not recommend any outdoor fixtures for older buildings that lacked them in the first place . •There are no recommendations in the report for the installation of new airexchange systems in older buildings Wllh gravity-fed ventilation systems that have been closed off, or partially closed off, because of asbestos or other con-
funding. The group contacted community activists in Germantown, North Central Philadelphia and West Philly and air.angecl street comer speak-outs. Organizers collected. and mailed postcards demanding that council members wbo had not yet declared their support for the OrtizCohen funding package do so immediately. Response on the street was tremendous. More than 1200 postcards were collected, along with enough financial contributiol)s to cover the postage to mail them . The Hospital Workers Union, Local ll 99C, got into the act as well, taking responsibility for the signing and mailing of some 200 postcards. The summer's experience succeeded in establishing a youth-driven coalition that is set for the long haul. Better than any civics class, the effort gave students mi idea of the work and responsibility required to bllild a genuine democracy. cems. A school wou ld get a new ventilation system only if it needed a new heating S¥Stem (or air conditioning system m some newer buildings), wh ich would include a ventilation system of its own. •The teams did not inspect or include any recommendations concerning t~m porary trailer type c lassroom s, despite the fact that these structures often have heating and air quality problems. •Air quality and soundproofing issues per se were not addressed in the report. Dealing with issues such as noise abatement in concrete block gyms and allpurpose rooms (w liere peak noise levels frequently exceed 95 decibels) would req uire an upgrade or add ition of a soundproofing system. Perks Reutter Associates from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, headed a team that . included l 2 other architectural and engineering fum s; Turner Construction, a_ Ph iladelphi a company, was also a maJOr con sultant. Greater Philade lphia First's all-volunteer Task Force on Management and Productivity establ ished the sco_pe of the audit and assisted the School District ill rev iewing proposals for its performance.
Public school students active in Positively to the Point, a dance company of the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center in South Philadelphia, strike a pose in preparation for a performance in Melbourne, Australia, this past summer.
MAKING SENSE OF THE MEDIA A Handbook of Popular Education Techniques by Eleonora Castano Ferreira and Joao Paulo Castano Ferreira Making Sense of the Media is a lively, user-friendly popular education handbook for teaching crit ical analysis of the medi a. It is designed for classroom use in any group setting, including high school , adult literacy, ESL, labor, and comm unity organizing. The lessons in Making Sense of the Media empower students by developing t heir ability t o critique the messages presented by the mass media t hrough adverti sing, pol itical campaigns, news, soap operas, sitcoms, and melodramas. Students develop their own medi a, such as pu ppetry, com ic books, and other popular storytelling forms as tools for learn ing and problem-solving. Based on the popular education techniques of Paulo Freire, Making Sense of the Media draws on students' own experiences to develop their creativity, imagination, and critical skills. $17.00 paper/128 pp. ($3.00 P & H)
MONTHLY REVIEW PRESS 122 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 '
New policies ignore input
Hornbeck isn't listening by Ilene Blitzstein Poses Last July the Phi/ade/pifia Inquirer reported that Rhonda Lauer, an inspiring administrator and educator, resigned from the Philadelphia School District. The Inquirer quoted Lauer as saying Superintendent Hornbeck had made "half-hearted efforts ... 'to win the hearts and minds of those who could make Children Achieving work most effectively: teachers and parents."' As a parent and teacher of Phi ladelph ia school children, I must agree with Lauer's statement. Many of my colleagues , as well as many parertts, were thriJled when Hornbeck became superi ntendent because he said that he wanted direct input from those dealing directly with children . But although he includes parents and teachers in various workshops, he rarely in stitutes policy based upon their input and continues to adhere to on! y his own agenda. I offer the following examples: •The C.W. Henry School, which my children attended during Hornbeck's first year, is integrated both racially and economically, and the students have demonstrated high achievi ng levels on standardized tests . The school had three full -day kindergarten classes, eac h with a full-time kindergarten aide, thanks to desegregation funds. Yet these funds were reduced, despite community meetings and letter-writing campaigns. Some parents even left the city because of what they perceived as the shaky funding to thi s jewel of a school. Why didn't Hornbeck follow the spirit of the
Children Achieving plan and listen to the community? •This past year the system for obtaining substitutes was centralized. Before this new system was in effect, Cramp Elementary School, where I teach, never had diffic ulty finding substitutes . The same ones kept coming back because the students, staff and principal were supportive. T he substitutes knew the school and its procedures well. The system now runs with substitutes called from the centralized office, which is not fam iliar with them or the school. Now the few substitutes that will even choose to come to the school change daily. Thjs new system undermines the ' learning comm unities ' that Hornbeck wants to create. • The Special Education department in the old Central East Region was run by an able administrator who understood the complicated federal and state regulations and funding formulas. Four years before Children Achieving, she had already arranged the region into a cluster-like system, at no additional cost to the District. This entire system, however, was dismantled this past year. Why wasn 't her excellent program studied and replicated, instead of being changed with no one placed at the helm with her level of knowledge and experience? • This year Philadelphia Young Playwrights, the Foundation for Architecture, and the Institute for the Arts in Education have lost funding . These programs are but a tiny portion of the entire
READERS' VIEWS Phi ladelphia budget. Hundreds of teac hers have va lued these programs so much that they chose to work many hours after schoo l with no extra pay because such initiatives directly affect student learn ing. Under these programs students made academ ic gains, th us demonstrating the value of using arts to further education. These programs have a positive effect on the morale of the teac hers and help to keep them striv ing to improve student achievement. These programs and other teacher-generated projects are what teachers would choose over system
reorganization. With limited funding , it seems that most of the budget is earmarked for Hombeck 's agenda rather than the stated
des ires of the community. Teachers need to see more monetary support for direct services t.o child ren a nd less support fo r new middle-manageme nt position s such as faci litators, teach ing and learning coordinators, and assistants to cluster leaders, among others. I have listened to Hornbeck's words and attended his Sunday forums . I have attended C ity Council meetings and written to my state legislators. My children have participated in marches to support funding for public education. I trul y want children to achieve in Phil adelphia public school s, but I also need to feel that my superintendent has listened carefully to the " hearts and minds of teachers and parents."
Teachers need to see more monetary support for direct services to children.
Our students, our schools are treated unjustly
Where are the parents? by Ollie Nasir For the most part, we parents in the inner city do not stand up for our children and our schools. This situation is disastrous, especiall y during these times when our children and our schools are experiencing pressures that were unheard of 30 or 40 years ago . These pressures threaten our ch ildren's and our schools' health, well-being and, most important, our ch.i ldren's lives. We often say, "Children are our most valuable possession." We also say. "High quality learning institutions are essential." Unfortunately, the follow ing true story clearly illustrates that we contrad ict our own words. When he was a senior at Overbrook High school, my son's class went without a math teacher for over two months. During a routine inquiry about his school day, he informed me that retirees and non-teaching assistants had replaced his math teacher. My son said the fill-ins admitted that they were not teach ing the co urse because they were not qualified to do so. He said one of them had stated , "I am here to 'baby-sit' and be a 'warm body.'" In my effort to correct this situation, I telephoned the vice principal at Over-
brook and visited the Office of Senior High Schools. In addition, I visited the head of the Math Department at Overbrook. She confirmed my son's report and told me: • The board of education explained that they were unable to honor her request because teachers were unwilling to come to inner city schools. • The board had not responded to her frequent requests for textbooks, paper, and other
reasons that our schools are in disrepair and lack basic supplies. As for the parents' lack of involvement, they blame time restraints, professional challenges and fatigue. My response to their rationale is simple. There is no reason for us not to rise to the occasion when our children and our school s receive unjust treatment, particularly when it is so destructive and far-reac hing. When we passively accept discrim ination, apathy, or ineptness from contracted individual s and organizations, we add " insult to injury" to our children and our sc hools. With respect to absentee parents, I believe we spend so much time and energy tiling care of what we believe is urgent that we overlook what is actually · important. This point is supported by the time and energy that we spend to seek out technicians to maintain and care for our homes, automobiles and other material possessions. Likewi se, it is supported by the amount of time and energy we devote to our professional careers and other
Our children and our schools d . nee Supporting parents ... now.
Items. •Other than myself, no parent had inq uired or complained about the absence of a math teacher. • The school mails a large number of report cards to the children 's homes because most parents do not attend parent/teacher night. That evening I reflected upon my earlier conversation with the head of the Math Department. One question lingered on my mind: "Where are the parents?" Some people reason that the Shortage of teachers in inner city schools is directly attributed to racial di scrimjnation. They also maintain that administrative insensitivity and incompetence are the
business endeavors. Yet we devote negligil)le amounts of time and energy to our children's school life and participating in our schools. Consequently, we are not aware of the school-related concerns and challenges our children face daily. Similarly, we do not attend school activities and schoolrelated public meetings . Accordingly, we are unaware of existing or proposed conditions that do and will adversely affect our children and our schools. As a result, if and when we do learn about these cond itions, we are unfamiliar with individuals and agencies that can help us correct them. Moreover, due to the " urgent things," we neglect to take the time to find out who and where the people and agencies are. Time is something we cannot replace. Our children and our sc hools need supporting parents ... now. Children are our most valuable possession and high quality learni ng institutions are essential to their growth and development. Saying the words is not e nough . We must stand up for our ch.ildren and our schools and, whenever it is necessary, we must stand in front of them!
What's your opinion? School Notebook welcomes your letters, reviews, or opposing viewpoints. Please send to Public School Notebook, 3721 Midvale Ave. Phila. PA 19 129. .
[ddfl»@@J&i Swinging the ax in Harnsburg
Act now, or feel the pain by Lan_ce Haver . Governor Ridge 1s_approachmg next year 's state budget with a meat cleaver, handouts and a pack of feel-good staternents. Unfortunately, the meat cleaver is hanging over the heads of our children, the hando uts are for the wea lthy business interests, and the feel-good statements neither heal the suffe ring nor put books in our children 's classrooms. But un less we organize now to demand fundamental changes in state policy, taxation and how we fund education, there wil l be no alternatives offered to the governor 's attack on basic human needs. To grasp just how serious the attack on poor and working fam ilies is becoming, we have to understand five basic points . • First, Penn sylvan ia has one of the most unj ust tax systems in the country. The state has a flat income tax where a fa mil y maki ng $20,000 a year pays the same rate as someone making $200,000. Why is this system unfair? Because when the whole tax burden is figured (sales tax, S income tax, property tax and others), poor and middle income • residents pay a much I'. f; greater portion of their income to the J J government than the wealthy. The poorer you are, the /Jigger the tax /Jite. To counter this situation, the income tax needs to be "progressive" - the rate increases as a person's income rises, similar to the federa l income tax. Those who have more should pay more .. As things stand now, not even Ronald Reagan himself advocated such a blatantly unfa ir tax system. · ·second, the state forces local school systems to depend on real estate taxes for a large percentage o f their budgets . In reality this means that the richer the community, the better the schools. The "Close the Gap" Coalition has proven th is point by showing that, on average, schools in the suburbs spend nearly $2,000 more per student per yem than schools in the city. On average, each suburban classroom has $60,000 more per year to spend. Just imagine what our schools could do with another $60,000 each year for each classroom!
•The third problem is created by the state's decision to use counties as a way to organize governments. Counties, like school districts, vary greatly in size and wealth and do not cover an entire economic region. As a result, the suburban counties can offer lower taxes to entice businesses and wealthier families to move a few blocks to escape the city's taxes . And yet the businesses and families that move still benefit from the city's mstitutions and cultural resources. • Fourth , Governor Ridge has refused to honor the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's order that the state pay for the county courts. If he V.'ere to follow the law and honor the Court's ruling, there wou ld be another $100 million in the city budget to use for the schools and other projects. • Fi nally, Governor Ridge's gifts to big business will cost the state $649 milli on dollars in tax revenues - money that could have and should have been used to fund schools and social programs throughout the state Ridge reduced the corporate income tax from 12.25 % to 9.99%. Then to balance this handout, the governor and state legislature cut, in in real dollars, $150 million from the education budget. eliminated medical assistance for the working poor, cut mass transit by $100 million, welfare by $83 million, and millions more from other "safety net" programs .. As bad as this year is and will be. unless we act. it wi ll get worse. The governor 's give-aways to big business do not create jobs. In fact. the five businesses that received the largest gifts from the governor all significantly cut their work force in the last two years. What the tax gifts do, however, is create pressure to further cut social programs next year. That 's right- the governor has given the well-to-do the gift that just keeps giving. By the year 2000, the gifts to big businesses will cost the taxpayers of Pennsylvania $754 million a year. And now Governor Ridge is standing with hi s meat cleaver raised, waiting for this year's budget and aiming at our schools. Why at the schools? Because that's where there's money left to cut! Drastic cuts in the state education budget will hu rt city and rural schools equally hard, a fact that is sometimes overlooked. And the truth is that unl ess we recognize that a child's Jiving conditions make it easier or harder for a child to attend school and learn, we will allow the governor and his people to successfully divide and con-
Community speakout: 'Children Achieving' still unclear
Parents have many questions
R'd , • l ge give-aways to big b • d USllleSS 0 llOt Create b h JO s. T ey create pressure h . ,[
or urt er cuts programs.
Educators ! Get your
1997 Asian/ Pacific American Calendar • Jam-packed with landmark events in Asian Am erican history. • .Photos of Philadelphia's diverse Asian American communities.
Asian Americans United 801 Arch Street Philadelph ia, PA 19107 (215) 925-1538 $10 for each calendar plus $3 shipping. Call for special;.. '. member and bulk rates.·
A recent report /Jy a panel of experts gave the Children Achieving agenda overall high marks, /Jut it also noted many people remain confused a/Jour the program. Do you have any questions about Children Ach ieving?
alud Mohammed, caregiver, Dobbins High School: '·I guess the question is how do you get any information about the program? I have attended several meetings and did get a little information , but nobody seems to know very much. There shou ld be infornrntion available at each school and a way to contact someone if you do have questions." herrie Williams, parent, Hartranft and Wanamaker Middle School: "The only question I would have about Children Achieving is when is it going to take effect? Al l J read about is how this plan is supposed to work, but everybody seems to be fighting over it. The state and the City don't want to pay for any changes. The teachers say it won't work and everything just seems to be the same. Mr. Hornbeck cannor make this plan work unless people believe in it. How does he do that?'" scar Fields, parent, Turner Middle School: "I don't really know very much about the program. My question would be who is responsible for
next year's budget is introduced, education advocates should meet
school districts. . Unless we act now, the fu ture is too easy and pamfu l to predict Lance Have1 is the Educarwn D11ecIOI af theC011sume1 Educa/W/1 ai1d Pi otectw n Assouation (CEPA)
arilyn Jenkins, parent, Birney and Cooke Middle School: ''There is confusion because there is little or no information disseminated. The School District needs to find a better way to get the information out to as many parents as possible and make sure they understand how things will work and what the changes mean to their children's education and to them personally. The school s and the Home and School do not do a very good job. People are naturall y res istant to change. and it will take time for them to adjust."
~ ~ . _ MEMBER Cf: /NTERJMT/cmJ. SHOTOON KARATE FfffRATION -~ , ~ IJAPAN Ym.7E ASSOC/AllON
Philadelphia Shotokan Karate Club 222 Soufh 45fh Sf. LJniV. City _... ~---~ 215-222-9382 ~~ \ \ - - · , ~ Jenkintown Shotokan Karate Club ·~ 1 • '.},I \ (\/d V. R / / ' , 413 V/I rork oad / ~/ \ \. 215-885-4290
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issues that unite n ual and urban schools, workmg people and the unemployed We must work together to find a fair system of taxation. We must demand a system that equaJJy funds all siudents and takes the pressure off economically distressed
with other advocates to plan a "people 's budget" campaign that addresses the
,e NON-~Rom ORGANIZATION ~
getting the info1mation out to parents?" ofia Edwards, parent, J.B. Kelly: 'There is a lot going on with the Children Achieving agenda: school councils , teacher acco untability, siandards. and a number of other components, and my confus ion is how do you make it all work ." arolina Hyde, parent, Rush Middle and Washington High Schools : "'The confusion is because nobody knows about the plan. Everyone has a different answer for the same question. Teachers say one thing. principals say another, and all of a sudden everyone is acting like parents are so important. If they li stened to parents in the first place, the schools would not be such a mess and there would not be all this confu-
', - •
Chief Instructor Te uki Okazaki
'-. ""'.', ruy ~ ~'
PA GE 16
'A chance to strut their stuff'
Kids love to dance This past spring over 500 K-6 students participated in d ~ce residencies, a special set of workshops led by visiting instructors, at the Momson and Disston Elementary Schools. Built on movement education concepts and running 60-90 minutes, the dance sessions took place in cfassrooms, auditoriums and gymnasiums. The dance artist carried a boom box, drums and percussion instruments; she used visual aids and a bag of cassette tapes to encourage the students to use thelf bodies and imagmations to find personal express10n. Each s ie n sst ended with a rousing free dance - an open, move ent explorat10n - where students could really strut their stuff. h
Tex t: Anne- Marie M ulgrew Drawings:Morriso n fi rst and six th graders
--~~ Here's a sample of what the Morrison School first and sixth grade classes had to say at the end of the workshops last spring: " We learned how to echo our names in a dance and make a dance hooked together. We had a marvelous time all fo ur weeks. " - -Steven Stotts, 6th grade "I like putting my body into shapes ." --Rebekah LaRose, 1st grade "I had a marvelous time dancing and learning . ... We got to see the wild side of everyone. I managed to use my head and pretend that I was a b!,rd, let. loose and I began to dance .... I had the potential to be and do anything! --Linda Lee, 6th grade
District-wide oratory contest winner
New laws belie 'nation of immigrants'
Girl it ain't easy
Welfare policy changes threaten our students
"My grandmother who was one of the greatest bein gs I' ve ever known used to say, 'I am a child of God and I'm nobody's creature.' T hat to me defmed blac k women through the centuries." - Maya Angelo u. T hese words of the esteemed poet, Maya Angelou, reflect both the pain and the strength that have been a part of black women 's lives since we were bro ught to this continent more than 400 years ago. We began this journey chained,confmed to the bowels of slave ships, stripped, probed and sold on auction blocks. We were bro ught here like animals and were worked and beaten like any of the other chattel that produced the cotton , rice, indi go and tobacco to fuel a grow ing nation. B ut for that 400 years, women like Maya Angelou's grandmother knew that they WERE NOT creatures , but were cherished children of God. My mother, like countless other mothers, grandmothers and aunts, passed on this same message to me. The kno wledge that, no matter what, as a child of God, all things are possible. Maya Angelou 's grandmother used these words to ward off the hate that she encountered in Hope, Arkansas, and women before her used them to remmd themselves that they were loving, good women and not, as Janey Crawford 's grandmother said in Zora Neale Hurston 's Their Eyes Were Watching God, "the fron t end of a plow." Sometimes I need these words to remind myself of who I am - a child of God, and what I will be - a good productive person . I use these words to ward off the MTV images of half-dressed girls not much older than my own 11 years. I use these words to block the sound of "Ho" and "B itch" flung casually on the buses and subway trains I ride to school everyday. GIRL IT AIN'T EASY. Maya Angelou knows that. Her grandmother knew that. My grandmother knows th at. She told my mother and my mother told me. GIRL IT AIN 'T EASY. But on October 16 , my father 's birthday, he joined my uncle, cousin and a milliori other African American men in a gathering in Washington D.C. T here they pledged that I will not have to use the strengths passed on to me by my mother and grandmother and milli ons of long dead African American women to protect myself from the hurtful words and disrespect of men who look like my kin. A million African American men pledged respect and in doing so, they acknowledged too that it sure ain 't been easy. But I am so lucky. Now I have their pledge of help, my mother's words, my own strengths and the heroic example of so many other African American men and women. The poet Sonia Sanchez wrote a poem for an address at Spelman College. In it she promises that " l GET BETTER" or in Swahili : Ebe yiye. Ebe yiye. Ebe yiye. For we have the tools now. We have the skills and the power. We have the love of self and of our people to make it better. Ebe yiye. Ebe yiye. Ebe yiye. For you Mama dear. For you Mama Sukey moving in and out of plantation doors. For yo u Mammy Teena toi ling in the noonday sun . For you young Mama strutting you big legs down !25th Street in Harlem. For you Lil B its, throat cut in a Chicago alley for a fix . Ebe yiye because of our love . Our unity, our strength. Our wil l. These two sister women , these Spelman sister women, prom ise you it'll get better for you. and me. Ebe yiye. Ebe yiye . E be yiye. Ebe yiyeee. WE BEGIN. -Pela H .M. Lindsay, 6th grade , Masterman School African American Oratorical Cor1tes1 wi1111e1; February 1996
by Debbie Wei A number of pieces of state and federal legislation have been proposed or passed recently targeting immigrants in general and non-ci tizens in particular. These bills have created confu sion about what the law is, and some are having an impact on Philadelph ia public school students and their families.
State restriction overturned A new state welfare law in Pennsylvania, Act 35, cut off all general assistance and related services, like foo d stamps, to non-citizens. The bill targeted legal immigrants, who may hold green cards but have not gone through the naturalization process to become citizens. After the bill was passed, many immigrants saw their benefits cut. But the provision requiring citizenship has now been ruled unconstitutional. Anyone whose general assistance was cut off or whose application was denied because of the citizenship clause should have been contacted and their back benefits should have been restored. If a family has not been restored, they can make an appointment with the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) immediately to get benefits restored. For a copy of in structions on how to submit an appeal, contact Debbie Wei, Office of Curriculum Support, (2 15) 299-8912.
Federal benefits lost Under the new welfare legislation
signed by President Clinton in August, legal immigrants will probably not be able to receive SSI and food stamps unless they are veterans. Refu gees are eligible for assistance only during the first five years they are here . Immigrants who become ineligible for benefit s will lose those benefi ts in the month after their next eligibility review. The review will happen within one year. Anyone whose SSI or food stamps are cut has a right to a hearing.
Schools open fo all Undocumented children and yo ung adults still have the same right to attend public primary and secondary schools as do U.S. citizens and permanent residents. T he Supreme Court has ruled that schools may not require parents to disclose or documen't their immigration status. They also may not require Social Security numbers from students. Students without Social Security numbers should be assigned a number generated by the school. Adults without Social Sec urity numbers who are applying for a free lunch or breakfast program on behalf of a student need onl y indicate on the application that they do not have a Social Sec urity number. No student may be denied admission to school on the basis of undocumented status or lack of a Social Security number.
Request for volunteers HELP MONITOR PHILADELPHIA'S .Sl"ElOIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM The Local Task Force for 路tl)e Right to Edl:ICCition, t he state-mandated committee that monitors special -education in P hiladelphia, is asking for volunteers to participat e in. the on-site' observation路路 of special education programs for the 1996 to 1997 school year. No prior exper~ence or advanced education is necessary. Training consists of a few hour$ of instruction provided by the Parents Union. Wtiether you can p articipate in one session or in many, we need and welcome your assistance.
For furthedntormation: contact Local Task Force co-chairs Kevin Muszynski, (215.) 4.83-9397, or Hana Sabre e, (215) 242-9501.
Volume 4, Number 1