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Chester teachers
Fran Santoleri and Bonita Davis are continuing to teach
despite their district not having money to pay them.
(NEA Today)
How's this for a crisis in American education? One school district outside of Philadelphia is going broke. Straight-up broke. The Chester Upland school district has already laid off 40 percent of its teachers and professional staff and about half of its support staff, raising class sizes to 40 students. The district has no superintendent and teachers have not gotten raises they were supposed to get. And now the district does not have money to pay its teachers. At all. It is, in case you hadn't noticed, the middle of the school year. What happens to students when the schools just stop paying their teachers? What happens to the teachers who are suddenly without paychecks?

These teachers plan to keep working without pay as long as they're able to do so:

“We need the students to know that we’re here and we’re not abandoning them,” [elementary school math teacher Sara] Ferguson said. “We need them to know they’ll have some place to go.”

Educators say the fear of being abandoned is running rampant among students, many of whom have learned about the district’s financial hardships through news reports and community chatter. As students walk past the shuttered businesses and abandoned homes that dot many of the streets of Chester, they are reminded daily that people sometimes leave. The city has lost 12 percent of its population since 1990, and kids worry that  teachers and support staff will be next to go.

“That’s why we have to keep showing up,” said middle school math teacher Fran Santoleri. “It gives them stability.”

Not giving these students stability? Massive cuts in education funding by the state. Poverty—"More than 70 percent of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches." Crumbling school buildings. And with teachers facing their own economic struggles, it's unclear how long they will be able to keep showing up every day having lost their already below-average paychecks, no matter how dedicated to their students they are. When the state abandons students, there's only so much individuals can do to mitigate the damage.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 09:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Hippie and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is something we've given thought to (9+ / 0-)

    at my household, since we are two educators in a public system continuously imperiled with budget cuts.

    My salary is so nominal, it's not even worth discussing. It's more like gas money at this point.

    My SO and I have talked about what we would do if cuts were made to our Department, since they have been, and since other Departments have been absorbed.

    News of further economic crises just came in via email this week, due to Jerry Brown's "temporary" austerity, or whatever he's doing... it's killing us here and honestly, I don't think voters care, or whatever his idea is to turn the economy around on public education in California.

    So we've talked about it a lot. About teaching without pay. We would continue to do this as well if needed. We have even talked about it with some other faculty who agree. If the students need teachers, we are teachers and will teach. For free. We don't want students to go punished.

    There were mandatory furloughs, but these don't work in education very well. They hurt students, not the administration or others who can pressure for increased funding.

    I really respect what these teachers are doing and understand why. Especially at this level; our elementary schools and secondary schools are also shutting down more than is comfortable. Many summer schools have been cut. Curricular changes are incessant.

    Schools need funding.

    But teachers will find a way regardless of Governmental incompetence in this regard to provide public educational services. Compensation should be double what it is, but it looks so often to be nothing. But we cannot abandon our students.

    Our ELL program was cut last year so I tutored students on a volunteer basis. That was exciting; I had no training in it but learned quickly.

    •  It's really tough. (12+ / 0-)

      You don't want to set the precedent that teachers don't need to be paid. Yes, people teach because they love it and are committed to their students, but as a society we can't rely on that, for so many reasons. But at the same time...when it comes down to situations like what you describe and what's going on in Pennsylvania, what else can people who are committed to students and the importance of education do?

      •  This is the crux of the matter (7+ / 0-)

        Setting precedent versus standing by your ethics to not disbenefit students. It's a "but, but, but..." situation all around and just isn't ideal.

        It's terrible all around.

        We work, sometimes, seven days a week. My husband had well over 100 students last year (in our discipline, this is a lot).

        He is required to serve in all of these administrative capacities as well, and also to do volunteer work, and to do advising. He's making barely over minimum wage when it works out. A big blow for him since his colleagues often make near double what he does given the change in economy.

        The whole thing is bad. I do not  know what the correct resolution needs to be. But we need one. Sounds like that's common these days in education.

        •  If you continue to teach, how will (13+ / 0-)

          the parents - the voters - understand what is being done to their children's educational system?  I don't want to sound callous, and I'm asking myself, seriously, how else to get people incensed enough to toss the politicians out of office who are doing this terrible thing to their children?

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:17:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the parents, largely (5+ / 0-)

            will view teacher complaints with skepticism, since they have been indoctrinated by the media to be suspicious of teachers. And the parents won't do anything sensible like voting for more funding for schools, stopping privatization of education and cleaning out ideological school boards, until it is too late.

            "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

            by azureblue on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 08:31:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  In my humble opinion... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          myboo, Maverick80229, dhcallahan, dash888

          this case of obvious government incompetence actually goes a long way in illustrating the intrinsic need for grassroots, people-powered government -- as opposed to [Republican] corporate-controlled government.

          When the state abandons students, there's only so much individuals can do to mitigate the damage.

          If it isn't already, I'd bet on this community (and other communities around the country finding themselves in similar predicaments) turning blue this year.

          America cannot stand much more Republican policy.

          That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. ~ Aldous Huxley

          by markthshark on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:53:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I couldn't blame them if they left. (3+ / 0-)

        A commitment to students doesn't keep the heat on, or food in the cupboard.  It doesn't keep the rent or mortgage paid.  Maybe they can do this for a month or two, but in the long term, they'll have to leave, unless they're willing to live out of their cars.

        And in a way, if "austerity" is enacted, people have to see the consequences... otherwise, it worked, right?

        •  That's what I feel like is happening (6+ / 0-)

          here in California. Schools are just shutting down, at all levels, and then what?

          And the tax payers aren't concerned from what I can see. It makes the news, but it's not an "issue" here much in too many voters' minds. I'm not seeing enough activism surrounding this at all here. Voters seem defeatist after eight years of the Gubernator, like "Oh well, no money in the coffers, and we're all going to rot besides."

          The apathy is stark at times.

          So as you're saying, people have to see the consequences. And then also, they have to care and get upset. That is, to me, what isn't happening, and where austerity isn't going to work to fix California's educational budget; I presume this dynamic is in play across the Country to varying degrees.

          What would work better is vigorous thought about raising funds through other means: taxation changes, changing things like Prop 13, new revenue sources (legalize it), less funding to the LEA and PIC system, less funding for deportations, and so on. It's not the budget that is the entire problem here; it's priorities.

          •  *nods* (3+ / 0-)
            So as you're saying, people have to see the consequences. And then also, they have to care and get upset.

            What do you think is in play that this isn't happening in California?  Is it that school systems are local, so the wealthier ones are just fine?  Is it that the wealthy send their kids to private schools anyway?  Is it racism?

            Or, is it just fatalism?

            •  One reason the Right Wing (7+ / 0-)

              has been so keen on getting Christian Private Schools built all over the place.  

              The right and fundies would love to see Public Schools fail.  It's part of the War on Education.

              And then for the teachers it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't.   But it's all of children who lose out in the end.

              "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

              by Damnit Janet on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 10:09:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well, that's a good question (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cai, Damnit Janet, Just Bob, bigrivergal, bkamr

              If I knew the answer, I think I'd know better how to address voters here since I cannot personally understand it; it really makes my blood boil.

              I think it's a complex thing. This is just my digging now into the people who I know in my community who seem to not be up in arms about the schools shutting down. I think a lot less people have jobs, so they are okay staying home with their younger kids: I believe home schooling is strongly on the rise with many who are unemployed, and because it feels good to be with your kids, especially if you're out of a job and are a second-earner, then there's that factor.

              I think wealthy districts aren't hit much and many do send their kids to public schools. And the ones that are hit don't have much voice, politically, since they're almost always economically most deprived in the first place.

              I am also 100% sure that there is some kind of anti-intellectualism toward schooling in some of the more backwoods parts of California that doesn't value any type of literacy or book learning at all. I've heard a LOT of disparaging remarks about school from my ex, who values my son's schooling only and solely for serving as childcare and for making my child obedient. We have been in fierce arguments about this because I moved school districts to get my child into a better one, twice now. The ex believes in vocation from a young age. I don't believe he owns any books at all. He's in the trades in a high-capacity position, basically, and was working from eighth grade on to support his family (not kidding). Made it through school with D's and summer school. Sees no point to it at all. Thinks my job is bizarre and pointless. All his friends are similar. And they make more money than we do... FWIW.

              So that kind of attitude has got to have something to do with it as well.

              Just anecdotal. Not an analysis of any real sort. I'm curious about the cause as well. I have noticed a devaluing of literacy all around though, which has also been documented in some studies. So maybe there's something to that.

              •  *to private schools... typo N/T (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cai, bkamr
              •  Thank you for the elaboration. (3+ / 0-)

                One college professor of mine had a theory that college itself had a hand in the rise of anti-intellectualism in this country, as anti-intellectualism was on the rise as more people went to college.  

                She pointed out that too many professors would ask you to write a paper making grand new conclusions about something you'd only been studying for a semester.  As if you could come up with something new and true to say about something after three months.

                She said she felt that led to students feeling like frauds, and generalizing to find the whole project of academia suspect.

                For this reason, she basically forbade us from having theses in our papers.  It was rather refreshing.  

                •  That's a mixed one for me (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cai, Just Bob, bkamr

                  I was just contemplating the notion of what students were capable of writing yesterday, since I was working on writing prompts for this upcoming Semester. And while my course is themed, I realized I was overshooting at one point, and was probably going beyond where they were ready to go for the final essay; happened last year with this class, so I was scaling that assignment back -- haven't quite gotten it reconceptualized yet though.

                  I think college does sometimes fuel anti-intellectualism (this is a really controversial statement to make, mind you, although I feel strongly about it) not due to requiring advanced or thesis-driven work. I think because it can amount, at times, to Professors proselytizing their personal cosmologies a bit much, or trying to veer the class not through exploration but to unified conclusion which is totalizing.

                  I won't clutter this diary up with these thoughts. However, I know that it's easy to get students on and off board with a class if you try to lead them somewhere forcefully and get annoyed when they don't go there with you. I don't blame them either.

                  Then again, my classes are more Philosophical and analytical than content-knowledge based.

                  I wouldn't drop thesis for anything because if you cannot signal to your reader what you're going to say, they often quickly grow bored and may even doubt your ethos, although I can also see how, if taught ham-handedly, it could seem like an absolute turn-off. Many of my students do walk in with that attitude and then, when given better ideas about the function of a thesis, or any of the other elements introduced, like the function or logic behind grammar, for example, they become much more interested in using it since it is no longer a "rule" but then a personal tool to be adapted to ones' purposes.

                  Also, students always do feel like frauds. So do many Professors. I believe that comes from the notion in the academe that there is some quantifiable level of knowledge that one ought to have, or even can have, which is in turn supported by reductive assessment models which permeate the University. Once you teach students to see quality and not quantity, they become much, much more comfortable as students and understand that they cannot be measured, stamped, weighed, and filed away as "adequate" or "inadequate."

                  •  My professor was talking about subjects (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive, bkamr

                    where a lot of background would be needed to say something new.  e.g., the history and religion of Tibet.

                    It was much more possible to write theses in subjects like English-language literature, where you could focus in on one aspect of one text or two texts, or even one sentence of one text.  

                    •  Ah yes, intensive research papers (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bkamr

                      Disciplinary difference. I'm supposed to teach Writing Across the Curriculum, but this gets tricky when my training is solely in English. I focus mainly on critical thinking and persuasion and "safe" academic conventions. And we work on research skills too, but mainly as an end in and of themselves for students. Textual analysis ideally requires really strong background knowledge too, but only at a higher level (some 300 and all 400; some would argue that it should be reserved for Grad students producing original work -- I'm more rigorous).

                      But you're right here that close textual analysis is sufficient, generally. Or close critical analysis of a concept. I'm more Critical Theory than Lit-based, but have been lucky to have a really broad range in my training.

                      Teaching outside of your pedagogy is really hard. One of the things that, if I ran the University, I would absolutely implement would be a flat foundation course in Writing in the disciplines in which any student will be graduating. Period.

                      Because while I can assign a paper on the example you give to bolster research skills, without enough knowledge myself, I'd have a very tough time assessing the veracity of a paper on the topic of Tibetan Religion and would have to do a ton of research. I don't think it's unrealistic though to ask upper division students in a major to do that at all. But if it's a GE course? No way and not fair.

                      My pet peeve is instructors who hold non-majors to their personal disciplinary standards and dock them if they don't adhere to these! Happens all the time. Students always come to me with writing from other classes during office hours because I'm willing to look over it. Obviously, these skew toward papers they are wrestling with. The most common reason they're wrestling, it seems, is because instructors are applying different standards to what is "good writing."

                      I just read a really interesting study on assessment in Higher Ed which showed this roundly to be true. And then you are adding the point of students being expected to acquire too much knowledge for a given chunk of time, much self-acquired. I hold that is suitable for upper division courses in a major (and am a bit of a bear about research and rigor), however anything otherwise, what precisely is the goal? I occasionally have taught GE English classes, and my expectations are way, way different than for courses in the major. Even for Seniors. They won't have the same background. I can't imagine how I could literally torture students outside of English with Theory; many students in the field can barely grasp it.

                      Great points. Sorry to be verbose.

                •  no (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bigrivergal, bkamr

                  I'm sorry, but history doesn't support your professor's thesis here. Anti intellectualism has a long history in the US (e.g.: the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s). There was a huge growth in "scientism" (if you will) after WWII with the corresponding huge increase of college-educated citizens. Contemporary anti-intellectualism results primarily from two inter-related factors: (1) corporate dominance of the media; and (2) "dumbing down" university curricula in response to the consumer model of higher education.
                  Growth in college attendance and graduation rates led to the closest thing we've ever had to a true democracy in this country - something the corporate rightists couldn't stomach. In response they have spent much of the last four decades attacking professors, academia in general, and - even more broadly - the concept of research and knowledge.
                  Anti-intellectualism has many strands in the American tapestry. The fact that the current version is subsidized by NewsCorp and GE doesn't change that.

                  •  Don't need to go back that far (0+ / 0-)

                    Remember how W was praised because he "felt" and "went with his gut"? And how both his opponents (Gore & Kerry) were derided as being "intellectual" which led to them being "elitist"? How W was the guy you wanted to drink a beer with? Of course, W was such a fuckup that as soon as people had the chance in 08 they said "Fuck it, I'm going with the smart guy this time around."

                    A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

                    by METAL TREK on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:26:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I'm concerned, and it certainly does (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive, bkamr

            make the news in my affluent city. There just isn't full agreement about whether it is bad enough to get mad at Sacramento about it... or if we can just "hunker down" and "make do" and it will somehow get better.

            A reconsideration of prop 13 is long overdue.

            What's PIC?

          •  NIMBY (0+ / 0-)

            As long as it's happening in somebody else's district it's not a problem. That's the only explanation I can think of.

            A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

            by METAL TREK on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:11:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Conflicted (6+ / 0-)

          I don't want the kids to feel abandoned.  But that is what this country has done to them all.  We've walked away from them.  Most of the times they are home alone because we all need to work to pay the bills and keep the 1% filthy rich.

          Our priortites are so bad right now that when there is a day off from school so many working parents get upset about "what will I do about my kids since there's no school today?"

          We just had a school levy fail here.  One that was sorely needed.  It just boggles my mind.

          We as a country do not care about kids, really, and it shows.

          I think with the schools, it's all or nothing.  Either pull up up your bootstraps and continue running on empty or  Nation Wide Strike in support of all the students needs.  It's the only way this will become THE issue.  This country would come to a grinding halt.  

          "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

          by Damnit Janet on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 10:02:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Some teachers simply can't do this (6+ / 0-)

        It's not that they don't want to continue teaching the students, it's that they don't have a financial buffer.  I know in my home, we live paycheck to paycheck since my husband took a 50% pay cut a few years ago.  If my school district stopped paying me, we would have no electricity or food within a fairly short time.  That's a reality for many educators.  I don't make a bad salary, but we require two salaries to live.

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 09:57:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And like I said above, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Damnit Janet, mahakali overdrive

          I can't blame you for that a bit.  

          I wonder how much of the disregard for what teachers do has to do with sexism and outdated gender rolls.  

          What I mean by that is, do people subconsciously see teachers (particularly female teachers, particularly in the younger grades) as basically performing mothering roles?  And undervalue/dismiss the value of mothering, as has long been the case in our society?

        •  Of course, and some of these teachers (0+ / 0-)

          in Chester aren't going to be able to keep it up for very long at all. Hopefully, their sacrifice buys a little time for the district to find an answer, or for enough public pressure to build to get the governor to act. But, no, I wouldn't expect it to continue for very long because no matter how much the teachers involved want to be there for their students, at a certain point they just won't be able to.

        •  Hungry kids mean you have to find another way to (0+ / 0-)

          feed your own family.  The Grocer, electric company, water company or heating contractor won't give you  "BREAK" just because you are teaching their kids for free.

    •  {{{{MO}}}} Thank you so much for all you (4+ / 0-)

      are doing.  I hope things go okay for both of you.  I can completely understand why those teachers are staying.  I just can't begin to imagine abandoning my students, either.

      Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

      by bkamr on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 09:50:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you and your husband (0+ / 0-)

      What is happening in education is crime.

      At age 65 I occasionally grow weary of fighting against the politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, who continually bash us to score points with the electorate.

      It is people like you, the teachers mentioned in the article, and the wonderful staff at my school that keep me going.

      Thank you once again.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:19:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And following the links to find out how this (8+ / 0-)

    could happen ... ? oh. yeah.

    As Chester Upland’s finances go up in smoke, the district finds itself in the unenviable position of turning for help to the man who lit the match – Governor Tom Corbett. Corbett cut $860 million from public education, ignoring warnings that poor districts, which lack a tax base to offset aid cuts, would be disproportionately affected.

    Corbett’s “let them eat cake” education budget has wreaked havoc in low-income districts across the state, and shortchanged Chester Upland by $8.4 million this year. Compounding that problem, nearly 45 percent of Chester Upland’s funding is used to support two charter schools.

    Except, the kid's won't eat cake.  In the linked story, many may not eat at all if the schools close their doors.

    And the greedy teacher's union and their greedy members are working for nothing for the sake of their kids.  As a proud NEA member and teacher, this story made me cry, and I can totally understand why those teachers are planning to show up for their kids.

    I am so proud of my union brothers and sisters, and I have NO words scathing enough for Corbett.

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 09:28:30 AM PST

    •  huge budget cut! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bkamr

      Sounds like Chester may not be the only community affected.

      Maybe teachers and students should plan a field trip to Governor Corbett's office.

    •  and makes Corbett seem racist bigot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein

      since Corrupt Corbett CUT the largest amount of Education $$$$ to punish Large Minority School Districts in PA by as much as $2500 per household (32% cut in state aid) like in this Chester Upland district.

      but large Majority White school districts in PA saw cuts as little as $87 per household or 1%.

      -- If only PA could Recall their bigot asshole Gov and some State Legislators. the only hope may be Patrick Murphy as PA AG who could prosecute all of the Corbett corruption.

      Stop Wall Street Greed now - Demand change - Occupy Wall Street Occupy Everywhere.

      by PAbluestater on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:39:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Luckily in Ohio (0+ / 0-)

      our overreaching Republicans in the legislature and the governor's seat proffered a bill that would have hit the high-performing, upper-middle-class districts with a sledgehammer. They are back-pedaling in disarray. But yes, the budget in Ohio just slammed the schools too, even though our big-spending governor swelled the budget by $5 billion. He also increased the allocation to failing for-profit schools whose owners make large donations to the Republican Party.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sat Jan 14, 2012 at 11:33:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Horrendous! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bkamr, mahakali overdrive, cai, Just Bob

    But it's happening all over.

    We just lost TEN teachers at our school but we still have the Marine Recruiters in the cafeteria every damn day.

    All the money in the world to KILL children but not enough to EDUCATE them.

    Seriously, America, is this the best we can do?

    Why this isn't on the Rec list is beyond me.  Incredible diary.  Thanks!

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 09:43:03 AM PST

  •  No one on School Board or Administration cares! If (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Damnit Janet, cai, Just Bob

    economy ever recovers, Principals and Supertindents will get a raise, maybe even back-pay, but teachers will ger NOTHING, not even a thank you.  Been there, done that and I speak from experience.  No one in leadership of that school will ever recognize the sacrifices these teachers are making.

    •  But how does the economy recover (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster

      without an educated work force? Will we have to issue H1B visas for bus drivers because no one knows how to read traffic signs and driver's manuals? What happens when workers can't understand safety regulations when operating machinery? Who is going to come up with the complex answers to the problems facing us? The Baby Boomers are fast approaching retirement (those who can afford to retire at least), and the Gen X crowd isn't that far behind. My oldest niece, born in the early days of Gen X turns 44 this year, and is starting to think about retirement in 20 years (ironically enough, she's a teacher but so far her district is still afloat; they get good tax money from Lawrence Livermore Labs and assorted high-tech firms and she's got one of the highest seniorities in the district). Who's going to pick up the slack?

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:34:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Time out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Maverick80229

      Many admins are clueless and drink the Kool-aid. Too many do not respect the profession. But there are those who do.

      I spent 30 years in the classroom before becoming an administrator. When we were forced to cut back, we all took cuts and the admins took the biggest hits, as we should. My total income decreased by 25% this year. Again IMHO that is as it should be.

      My point is that we are in this together.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:39:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In my district (0+ / 0-)

        they cut 20 teaching positions and a .2 administrator.  It is very clear that admin is more important than teachers.  Glad to hear there are places that think differently.

        Not all those who wander are lost.

        by Leftleaner on Sat Jan 14, 2012 at 06:27:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  When are we going to fight this? (0+ / 0-)

    We can't expect people in a certain job to just continue working without pay.  It's insane to ask that of any employee no matter what job they are doing.

    But this is about our kids!  Some of our children attend school so they can EAT one meal a day.  For some, they would wither away and probably die without schools and teachers.

    But honestly, why can't we see that this is a part of the WAR on our CHILDREN and EDUCATION?

    We've seen it coming and have continued to insist that a particular group of people keep pressing on despite the fact that most pay for things out of their own pocket while they can't pay the rent.  

    You don't ask others to sacrifice what you yourself would not do.  That's ChickenHawk.  ChickenChalk?

    The Right and the Fundies are winning this fight.

    When do we fight back?  How?

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 10:16:54 AM PST

  •  Chester has been one of the most impoverished (0+ / 0-)

    places in Pennsylvania (and the country)since I was a child. They have always been the last in line for funding. Entire generations have been lost there due to lack of education & jobs. No grocery stores results in poor health. People rarely find a way to crawl out of the poverty. It's just an awful place.

    I always believed large regional corporations/companies should adopt a school in these types of areas to invest in the communities and the people. An educated workforce benefits all of us in the long run. It adds to the tax base while reducing numbers from assistance programs. Isn't that what we want?  

    Corporations sponser everything from race cars to charity balls. Why not send the money directly where the need is most urgent and beneficial to our communities and economy?

    Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

    by GrannyOPhilly on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 10:32:37 AM PST

    •  Would be better if the government (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob, Odysseus

      would do what it exists to do and educate these kids without schools having to rely on corporations.

      •  We're at a place right now where that isn't (0+ / 0-)

        happening. Let the corporations kick in. They can train future workers so they don't have to "rely" on foreign workers or outsourcing.

        We have several engineering schools in Philly. Area students are hired as college interns at various corporations during the summer and may be hired after graduation. Same thing with the medical industry - internships lead to opportunities.

        My friend owned a tool & dye company. About 20 years ago he had such a hard time finding workers, he went to dozens of school in the area seeking high schoolers not college bound. He offered them apprenticeships with pay til graduation & full time jobs afterwards if they worked out.

        I do think the private sector has an opportunity and a responsibility to work with government when needed. Especially these days when so many people are suffering due to the corporate greed & failed republican policies of the last 30 years.

        Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

        by GrannyOPhilly on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:00:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporate sponsors (0+ / 0-)

      They only sponsor things that make them money, or that make them look good! If "THEY"cared about people, we would ave no such place in America.

      Dedicated to Labor History and Issues!

      by Working Class Heroes on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:02:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All about getting rid of the DOE doncha know (0+ / 0-)
    •  DOE ? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Damnit Janet

      All about privatizing schools, doncha know? Bush & NCLB set the WHOLE thing up!

      Dedicated to Labor History and Issues!

      by Working Class Heroes on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:04:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sort of (0+ / 0-)

        it's about turning out non thinking laborers, with just enough education to work on an assembly line. The rich are educated to be CEOs,  managers, and directors, and employers of the laborers, so they get a better education. Don't want those laborers going to college, they might get some ideas about moving up out of their station in life..

        "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

        by azureblue on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 08:39:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not there yet, but..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, Odysseus

    NC is on a similar pathway.  The 'honorables' in Raleigh refused to extend the 1 cent sales tax for schools, a measure that was popular across party lines, but of course the new TeaOP can't see any tax that's not worth cutting.  Bottom line is that NC loses $1 BILLION dollars in education budget this year.

    I have a saying for every time a student (or friend or relative) asks "why don't we do XYZ in schools?".  My answer is "Your tax cuts at work."

    As much as I support my students and love my profession, I will be walking out the door the minute my payments for my professional services are cut off.

    They've already frozen salaries.
    My per-pupil budget to teach science for the year is approximately $3.50
    I easily spend $500 of my own money each year to supply my classes.

    Enough is enough!

  •  Good people (0+ / 0-)

    This is, of course, one of the main reasons why towns, states, and the Feds have been able to cut funding for all sorts of public services, while not having to face any real blowback. These are jobs that are largely held by people who are doing them because (a) they know the jobs need to be done, (b) they like doing those jobs, and (c) they have some human empathy in them.
    As a human being with an elementary-school-aged child, I applaud the decision to keep teaching. As someone who teaches in a public institution, I recoil in horror from the necessity of making that decision.

  •  This needs to be in every Democratic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Damnit Janet

    campaign commerical: "This is what happens when you elect Republicans."

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 01:44:11 PM PST

  •  Pennsylvania Constitution (0+ / 0-)
    Public School System
    Section 14.
    The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.

    Public School Money Not Available to Sectarian Schools
    Section 15.
    No money raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.

    http://www.pahouse.com/...

  •  Those greedy teachers are ruining Amurika!!! nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  PREDATORY CAPITALISM (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whatGodmade, waiting for lefty

    That republicans fight so hard to protect is the cause of this.

  •  Will Admins Still Micromanage Teachers? (6+ / 0-)

    if I were working for free, I would tell them to shove their NCLB curriculum.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:23:34 PM PST

  •  Summer school (7+ / 0-)

    Last spring, the original plan here had been to eliminate summer school.  Then, no need to pay teachers, cool rooms, buy lunches, etc.

    Then, the wife of the owner of the local paper started digging into how many children in our community depended on free breakfasts and lunches for their sole source of nutrition.  

    Because of the articles she wrote, the teachers mobilized & argued with the school board.  They offered to teach for free, if the district would assure that the other expenses were covered.  The federal student lunch program covered the food costs.  The district worked out a deal with the electricity provider on a reduced rate for the electricity when the schools were open.  And they came up with a way to offer a daily stipend for any teacher involved with summer school.

    This fall, the reporter then looked at how these student were surviving on the weekends during the school year.  Each weekend, they were being sent home with a backpack of food for their family to eat, donated by people in the computer.  She's now spearheaded a campaign to fund the backpack meals and extend them to the summer.  Right now, one of the local businesses is holding a raffle for a garden shed at $5/chance, with all of the proceeds going to the backpack campaign.

    (She's a trained reporter/journalist in her own right, married to the great-grandson of William Allen White. Plus she's the daughter of a retired community physician who has been at the forefront of the local campaign to end childhood food insecurity.)

  •  Unfortunately, Republicans will use this as... (6+ / 0-)

    ...proof that there is no need to pay teachers...because we'll work for free.

  •  I really think there is a desire among (5+ / 0-)

    a certain faction of the Republican party to get rid of mandatory public education, and replace it with a for-profit model. I'm sure there are bills ready and waiting in the ALEC file cabinets.

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

    by SottoVoce on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 07:44:41 PM PST

  •  Some history (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whatGodmade, cactusflinthead, Matt Z

    "In 1994, Chester Upland was named by the state as the worst-performing school district in Pennsylvania. The district had a multimillion dollar deficit and its decision-making ability was taken over by the state. "
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    It's not as if their troubles began because state funds were cut this year. And it's not as if the charter schools came into existence to compete against a competent school system.

    •  It is not the only district that was underwater (0+ / 0-)

      If the state took it over they have the responsibility to keep it afloat until they get back to better footing. Wilmer-Hutchins in the Dallas area meets similar criteria. Mismanagement and a big fat deficit led to the state taking them over. Lots of poor black kids with no where else to go had to depend on of all people Goodhair and his minions to settle things out. It is not the teacher's or the kid's fault. It is the state's responsibility to pony up the bux to keep it all going and fix it.

      Putting on the spectacles of science in expectation of finding an answer to everything looked at signifies inner blindness. -- J(ames) Frank Dobie

      by cactusflinthead on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 09:48:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  no, it isn't as if the charter schools came into (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dash888, dsteffen

      existence to compete against a competent school system. it's as if the charter schools came into existence to suck public money into the private profit channel, thus further damaging the local economy AND the local education system.

      their troubles began when their poverty got the better of them. it's the same damned story as always, and bringing other ideological talking points into it is pointless.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:35:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the Education Establishment (0+ / 0-)

        were competent, if it were able to do all those fine things it promises would be the result of teacher education and certification, of money for specialists, for increased numbers of administrative staff, then you might have a point. As it is, and was, the Education Establishment was not able, so charter schools started up and some of them have done well. And I remind you that the absolute rock-bottom, piss-poor, thoroughly inadequate performance of the public schools long predates the charters. And I'd love to see a genuine explanation of "their poverty got the better of them."

         As I have repeatedly suggested on these boards, it's time to scrap the current system(s) of education and start from scratch. If that means nothing but charter schools, fine. If it means nothing but public schools, fine. Except we already can see that the latter have had a terrible run for our money.The one absolute certainty in all this is that simply throwing money at this school system has not worked, and I see no reason to imagine that it will solve the problems now.

        •  Any scheme that involves privatizing -- and (0+ / 0-)

          in particular, corporatizing -- the public education system is a bad idea.

          Period.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jan 14, 2012 at 10:02:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

            I imagine everyone should just take your word on that. After all, public education has just gone from strength to strength.

            •  No, everyone shouldn't take my word on it. (0+ / 0-)

              Everyone should figure it the fuck out.

              Privatizing the education system is nothing -- nothing -- but another raid on the GDP by the 1%. It's the inevitable result of the need for our economy to continue returning X% annual growth to their exponentially growing assets -- they are ever-growing predators constantly prowling for new prey. That you fantasize the problems with our education system are rooted, not in the fundamental nature of our social organization -- and in particular with the endemic ever-spreading poverty that characterizes our Best Country On Earth -- but in whether there is a profit-motive and an overpaid executive class sitting on top of the endeavor, says everything that needs to be said about you.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jan 14, 2012 at 04:53:19 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  But at least (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whatGodmade

    (snark)
    At least the Job Creators get their tax break.  That's what it's all about, isn't it?  I mean, why should THEY pay to educate these kids after all, what's in it for THEM?
    (/snark)

  •  This is how the revolt starts (4+ / 0-)

    The rich get richer while schools close. The students are left to fend for themselves and many turn to crime, and start looking for rich targets. They see elected officials lying and stealing and getting away with it, and they ask themselves, well, then, if they can get away with stealing, then why not me? And since they have no education and are unemployed, they will do what they need to, to survive.

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 08:27:45 PM PST

  •  Way to care about our kids (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cactusflinthead, Matt Z

    This shit pisses me off more than anything - Same as taking parents right to discipline their kids and then wonder why teen pregnancy and gang violence and drugs are up. Finding genuine caring teachers that get paid are getting more rare these days - but take away their pay ...

    Kudo to these PA teachers

    but it is just bull shit from the government to cut education spending and expecting US to improve??

    more and more leading to class warfare

  •  PA authorities have abandoned us - esp children! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PAbluestater

    Education in PA is ultimately the Commonwealth's duty under the state constitution. Gov. Corbett (former PA AG) has totally abdicated his responsibilities. We desperately need a new constitutional convention in PA. Our governmental structures are NOT serving our best interests - and our children (who are our future) are being given the shaft. We have the nation's largest and most expensive full-time legislature (plus a multitude of boards, etc. staffed by the unelected). When the legislature isn't tailoring bills for special interests, they're quickly throwing together new legislation to preempt or invalidate local ordinances - whether on business or industry, transportation, zoning, or the environment. State law severely restricts options for our town councils and other local elected bodies by prohibiting, statewide, local autonomy in seeking new sources of revenue. PA residents have no meaningful say in our state. Fundamental reform is no longer something to simply talk about - at this point, IT'S A MUST. I commend the teachers of Chester for their commitment to their students and the community. If only we'd see similar commitment from those in Harrisburg. I won't hold my breath.

    OWS (Occupy Pittsburgh) - REAL MOVEMENT of, by, for AND from the people!

    by waiting for lefty on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:08:55 PM PST

  •  Teachers are worth nothing. That's the message (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midnight lurker

    being sent and there should be enough shame to go around from government to those demanding more tax cuts.

    "There's been a little complication with my complication"

    by dash888 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:20:10 PM PST

  •  Of COURSE they'll keep teaching. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midnight lurker

    Hell, they'd PAY for the opportunity to plant all their EEEEVIL liberal ideas in our children's heads. In fact, George Soros probably IS paying them, it's all going into their swiss bank accounts. I mean ... just look at those two thugs in that photo.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 10:30:45 PM PST

  •  Something doesnt add up (0+ / 0-)

    How can you have dedicated teachers like that and be out of money?
    Where did the money go?

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