Pennsylvania is one of only six states to use teacher seniority as the only factor considered when making layoff decisions. On May 9, the Senate passed HB 805 to correct this problem.
Commonly referred to as “last in, first out” or “LIFO”. A seniority-based system often results in the most effective teachers being let go. According to the co-sponsorship memo, the most effective teachers are laid off 80 percent of the time. This is why we see so many stories about a “teacher of the year” being laid off for budget reasons.
Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-199), the prime sponsor of the legislation and a Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania member, summed the up the situation in a recent interview:
“Pennsylvania has an archaic law that says if a school district would need to furlough teachers for economic reasons, they cannot let go of the teachers that are the worst performing teachers. Instead, they have to go by blind seniority,” said Bloom. “It’s about time that our local school districts would have the ability to make a smart, rational decision to make sure the best teachers are in the classrooms with the kids.”
Despite the absurdity of the LIFO system, Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated that he will veto the legislation. If he follows through with that threat, the Governor will once again be siding with the teachers’ union. Wolf has repeatedly stated that one of his goals is to have “schools that teach.” If that is truly the case, how can he not be for schools having the ability to consider teacher performance in the unfortunate event of layoffs?
Target Bathroom Policy Bad Business — Target Corp., April 19, declared that men with severe emotional issues can use the ladies’ bathrooms at its 1,800 discount retail stores and its stock has since dropped $2.65 per share.
More than a million people have signed a boycott petition against it.
If the organized boycott ended tomorrow the business’s future would still be bleak.
The vast majority of those who use the stores are women. People — especially women — don’t want to be in places that creep them out.
If one saw a mouse scamper across the floor of a restaurant one would never return no matter how much one had patronized it in the past.
So imagine a woman seeing the equivalent of a 200-pound mouse in lipstick and a wig and fishnet stockings scamper into the stall next to hers.
If you have Target stock sell it while you can.
And in a related issue, Montgomery County’s Springfield School District has opened its girls rooms to boys who say they feel feminine.
Hippette Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hacker says it was done because a junior at the school was afraid to use the boys’ rooms.
So now the 14 and 15 year old girls, many of whom are just as insecure about their bodies and the changes occurring in them as he, get to share their private space with him.
And maybe other males trying to make a big prank out of it.
With cellphone cameras.
Really stupid people are now running our institutions.
The Fairness Center filed another lawsuit, Feb. 24, on behalf of taxpayers against ghost teachers. Officially known as “release time,” ghost teachers are being paid by taxpayers to conduct union business. The most recent lawsuit addresses the Allentown School District where the union president has collected more than $1.3 million in salary and benefits since the year 2000. When you add in the state portion of her pension, the cost goes up even further. According to a news report on the lawsuit, teachers’ union presidents haven’t had to step foot in a classroom since 1990.
The cost to the Allentown School District, while substantial, pales in comparison to the $1.7 million ghost teachers collected from the Philadelphia School District in 2014. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers also enjoys a rent-free office provided by the school district. An article published by Watchdog.org details some of the political work undertaken by union bosses at taxpayer expense:
“Hillary Linardopoulos, who has not taught in a classroom since 2009, ‘coordinates much of our political activism and legislative involvement,’ according to an op-ed penned by union members that endorses its current leadership team going into an upcoming internal election. Since leaving the classroom, her taxpayer-funded salary has almost doubled to $91,156.”
Legislation to eliminate ghost teachers was introduced last August. The General Assembly should shift the cost of union operatives from taxpayers to the unions. Furthermore, given the blatantly political nature of the work, there is no excuse for forcing taxpayers to subsidize the activity.
Defies Measurement Screening At Villanova — Defies Measurement, a film revealing how the worship of standardized testing is ruining schools, will be screened, 7 p.m., Feb. 2 in the cinema at Villanova University’s Connelly Center.
Among those featured in the film is a Lower Merion parent.
Pro-education activist Joanne Yurchak of West Chester is strongly promoting the movie.
“It is time to start thinking about opting as many children out of these standardized tests as we can,” she said. “Some parents are actually putting up yard signs to publicize this issue and I have been told that folks who come to the screening can take one home.”
James Wigo Bonus At RTM — The Rose Tree Media School Board just voted to give Superintendent James Wigo a $6,667 performance bonus.
Wigo’s base salary is $181,001 — at least as of 2013-14, the most recent record at OpenPaGov.org. Note that does not include benefits like health care or the obscene pension he can look forward to getting.
So why does he need a performance bonus? Is his base compensation package really not enough to ensure top performance?
In the private sector, bonuses are a way of divvying up profits hence they make sense there. They make no sense for non-profit like the Rose Tree Media School District. Wigo is more than — far more than actually — compensated with his base package. We are, in fact, quite confident RTM can find someone who would work just as hard and perform just as well if not better with half of Wigo’s compensation package.
What the RTM Board did was not just pointless — Wigo would have quit if he didn’t get the bounus? LOL — but thoughtless considering Pennsylvania’s budget turmoil. Did you know that RTM gets about 15 percent of it’s $94.76 million budget from the state?
Wigo should — no must — give this bonus back. It’s the only decent thing to do. It’s just a drop in the bucket to this very rich man and it would set an necessary example of leadership.
Principal Steals Christmas — You’re a mean one, Ms. Kim.
Eujin Jaela Kim, principal of PS 169 in Brooklyn, has banned any mention of the word Christmas and has replaced the holiday with “winter celebration.”
She has also stopped the Pledge of Allegiance, replaced Thanksgiving with “Harvest Festival” and has taken down historic murals.
If she hates America so much why is she living here? Is it just for the money? Well, New York public school principals have it kind of sweet.
Rather than get mad at her, though, look to make lemonade from this lemon. If parents had the power to choose their schools very few would send their children to schools run by the likes of Ms. Kim. We doubt few would want to touch her even with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. Fight for charter schools. Fight for school vouchers. Fight the corrupt educational monopoly.
The school year is less than a month old, but there are already two districts where teachers are on strike. There also are at least two more districts were teachers have indicated they’d walk out by mid-October. Teachers from Shamokin and Line Mountain Areas are out of the classroom. In both cases, the teachers’ unions are demanding more.
The PSEA negotiator at both school districts is Mark McDade, who makes over $100,000 per year. The situation was neatly summed up in a letter from the Line Mountain School Board:
“It is apparent, by the Association’s last proposal, that the Association has no desire to settle these negotiations . . . Based on McDade’s leadership of 5 other local Teachers’ Unions toward strikes, regardless of how much they are being offered, it is obvious they just want more!”
In Shamokin Area, the School Board offered teachers $9,000 in salary increases over the next three three school years. The Line Mountain School Board was even more generous. Some teachers there would have seen their salaries increase by over $17,000 by 2020. Higher salaries also mean higher pensions. A multi-billion dollar funding shortfall in the pension system means taxpayers all over the state will be picking up those costs.
Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states where teachers may hold students’ education hostage to extract a higher salary and better benefits than the taxpayers who are covering the tab. We also lead the nation in teachers’ strikes. It would appear we are on track to keep that title.
The black clouds of Hurricane Katrina had a pretty bright silver lining.
Drastic measures were required after the storm hit a decade ago to get the children of New Orleans back in the classroom so the public education system — which was one of the nation’s worst — was scrapped and replaced with one based on charter schools.
By every measure things have gotten better.
Naturally, the stooges of the teachers union are upset but then they really don’t care about the kids now, do they?
If a decentralized, parental choice based charter school system can improve education for poor black kids it can certainly do the same for middle class white ones.
“…I’m in this spot where I have to call the school that failed my kids and re-enroll them…I’m heartbroken over this.”
That quote comes from Amy Millar via a Philadelphia Inquirer story on the State Education Department’s recent action to “clarify” what services cyber-charter schools can offer. According to the article, two of Ms. Millar’s children have special education needs. However, her children have flourished at the Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter School (Ed Plus).
What did Ed Plus do to bring the wrath of the state education bureaucracy down on their heads? They offered their students services like art, gym, and “face-to-face” learning opportunities at their learning centers. In other words, they looked at the needs of their students and provided for them. The State Department of Education evidently frowns on the hybrid model used by Ed Plus. As a result parents like Ms. Millard will be forced to send their children back to schools that were failing to meet their needs in the first place.
Although the Governor purports to want “quality” education for all. His administration’s actions in this and other cases clearly illustrate that is not entirely accurate. The Governor’s interest is in making sure that his patrons at the teachers’ union are happy and that there is as little competition as possible in the public education sphere.
If the Wolf administration was interested in ensuring every child received a quality education, they would be applauding Ed Plus. Furthermore, they would be examining what that school is doing differently and seeing how it might be replicated in other schools. The Department of Education should be looking at how they could make it easier for others schools to provide the same education experience. Instead, they seem more interested in erecting barriers to a quality education.