This source talks about how the district, in winter of 2012 proposed a 37 school closing effective because of financial reasons. Some information it includes is how a lot of neighborhoods and parents of the district are outraged and sad to see the district take this turn of events. In one of "Public School Notebook's" Podcast in December, information and stats were given on the school closings. I will be using the Podcast's comments on what's problem this is creating for much of the Philadelphia neighborhoods. This source is reliable because it has real responses and reasons for the school district 37 school closings.
. "School District of Philadelphia Facilities Master Plan: Summary of Recommendations ."cbsphilly.files.wordpress. CBS (Philly), n.d. Web. 19 Feb 2013. <http://cbsphilly.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/school_district.pdf>.
This source is helpful in ways as it shows the School District of Philadelphia proposal and overall plan for the school transformation. The document claims to help the school district as it will benefit the future of students. One of the benefits, is that the district choose to merge lower test scored schools, together the two merging schools can raise test scores. Also with the amount of kids transferring into charter schools the school district claims to not be able to run its current budget with the empty facilities. Thus they claim their budget and learning environments need to change.
Jackson, George. "Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan Responds to the SRC's School Closure Recommendations.". Philadelphia: Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, 12 Dec 2012. 1-1. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <http://pft.org/Page.aspx?pgid=51>.
This source talks about how the district, is destroying the traditional neighborhood schools of Philadelphia, with proposed a 37 school closing. Some information it includes is how it's not surprising to see the district do this as they have use same tactic of defunding. I will be using the letter as the teacher prospectives, and their comments on what's problem this is creating for much of the school districts neighborhood. This source is reliable because it has real responses from the president of the teachers union of philadelphia on the school district 37 school closings.
Snyder, Susan. "Hite promises changes to Philly school-closings plan." Philly.com. Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 Feb 2013. Web. 19 Feb 2013. <http://articles.philly.com/2013-02-12/news/37060928_1_closings-school-district-school-reform-commission>.
This source talks about how the district's Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., promising changes within the district to lower the deficit of the budget. With proposed a 37 school closing, he claims the district will save 28 million over 5 years. I will be using the source as the Superintendent prospective, and his comments on the pro's of his plan. This source is reliable because it has real responses from the Superintendent of the Schools District of philadelphia.
Interview with Mrs Laufenberg - How have you or your co workers within the Philadelphia school district, been affected by the budget of the district?
Budget cuts have caused a number of decisions to be made that affect teachers. First, at SLA we needed to cut the budget and decided to reduce the number of Spanish classes taught by a teacher, replacing it with Rosetta Stone. While this was not a great option, the budget left us few good options. Additionally, the school has been running without a librarian for over two years. This loss of resource for the teachers and students is noticeable and leaves us with a void for creating a vibrant space for media exploration. Finally, the constant cuts have forced transfers, layoffs and shuffling of staff throughout the district that generally destabilizes the functionality of all district schools, which in turn makes it a less effective space for teachers to work with students.
- When you heard of the 37 schools closing in the district, what was your reaction on this, and why was that?
I felt like the number was high. I was concerned about the confusion, pain and chaos that it will introduce into so many school settings that are already having difficulty with positive momentum. I also wondered what other creative alternatives we could be pursuing so as to avoid this large number of closures.
I am always concerned when neighborhood schools are on the chopping block for closure. Many times the school is the anchoring institution in the neighborhood and the loss of that can affect the entire neighborhood.
- Having worked in the school district of Philadelphia, over the years what would you change about the district decisions in choosing it’s leaders and making financial decisions?
I would like to see the district and the union be much more transparent about the decision making processes that impacts so many of Philadelphia's residents. Since the SRC is not elected, there is not true responsiveness to an electorate and I think that it has led to some poor communication and transparency. I will say, that as of late, I am encouraged that perhaps the district is headed in a more positive direction under the leadership of Dr. Hite. In terms of choosing leaders, I think Philadelphia is a particularly challenging place to hire for... huge district with massive money trouble. Not many people are going to have a resume that speaks to our serious needs.
- (Answer only if you have background outside the district) Having worked outside of the school district of Philadelphia, what differences have you notice about school districts outside of philadelphia?
I have worked in three other school districts in three different states and they were all quite diverse. Each state has its own set of policies and procedures and then as it bubbles down to the local level, even more variety occurs. One major difference was that the governing boards were elected in every other school system. Having a school board that is responsive to the electorate is important, in my opinion, and not having that in Philadelphia creates a set of issues. Philadelphia is by far the largest district I've worked in and navigating the large bureaucratic tangle at 440 is exasperating. There will always be levels of bureaucracy, but the version I find in Philadelphia was particularly challenging to interact with.
One thing I enjoy about Philadelphia is the ease with which an experienced teacher can transfer into the system and be compensated for their years of teaching experience. This was not the case in two of my previous districts. Additionally, our health benefits were superior to those that I was extended in my previous teaching placements. Finally, the overall level of monetary compensation far exceeded the levels in my other districts.
I joined the district and stayed through some incredibly tumultuous years. I am hopeful that with a new superintendent at the helm, the district will start to stabilize and start functioning like an effective public service.