Teachers at CAPA demonstrating for full funding
The decision of the Philadelphia School District to seek Supreme Court approval for scrapping collective bargaining and unilaterally imposing so called work rules is a dangerous course of action that will not help us overcome the crisis in our schools.
While Superintendent Hite promotes this action as necessary to insure that every student gets “the right teacher with the right skill-sets to support quality learning”, the District has presented no evidence that universal site selection and elimination of seniority will lead to this outcome. Roughly half the positions in the District are already filled by means of site selection with mixed results. PCAPS believes that improved professional development and competitive compensation that could attract and retain good teachers is a course that would improve teaching and learning. But the District instead calls for cutting compensation and attacking due process rights that teachers across the state, including those in the highest performing schools, have had for decades.
While the District has made seniority the main target in its public statements, it also is calling for giving principals control over teacher prep time, modifying the caps on class size, eliminating contract language on ratios of counselors to students and other measures that have an impact on student learning. Getting the Court to approve the District’s authority to unilaterally dictate the non-economic part of the teachers contract is likely to lead to imposition of terms that will not only drive good teachers out of the District, but lead to further understaffing and cut backs in services related to instruction and school safety.
Moreover, as a labor-community coalition we are concerned with the District’s rejection of collective bargaining and their embracing privatization as the road forward. The current announcement includes a decision to privatize substitute services through competitive bidding. Philadelphia’s working families see the shrinking number of union jobs and the continual downward spiral of wages as a major issue and so do we.
Parents, students and teachers at Cooke Wissahickon protesting split classes and lay offs of staff.
PCAPS wants a contract that is good for students and fair for teachers. What the District is pushing fails on both counts. We call upon our elected officials, and our candidates for public office, to speak out, demand the District bargain in good faith, launch a serious effort to get school funding instead of attacking school workers.