A Phillie Teacher

I was a starry-eyed teacher from New Jersey. Now I work for Philadelphia Public Schools.

Dead Man Walking

Posted by aphillieteacher on May 15, 2010

Our superintendent got a $65,000 bonus last week. What for, you might wonder.

So does everyone in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

Apparently it is none of our business. Arlene’s contract states that she if she met certain unknown benchmarks, by a date that no one could know and  measured by data no one will ever see, she would get a big check compliments of the taxpayer.

Sweet deal, isn’t it?

Here is a letter from a teacher in our district. I am professionally in love with this man. And I also fear for his career:

Posted on Mon, May. 10, 2010

Re: “Ackerman gets $65,000 as performance bonus,” Tuesday:

Sandwiched between two prestigious houses of higher education sits the mammoth civic failure that is University City High School. Having passed the metal detectors and x-ray machines, one may glimpse the gaping holes in its asbestos-filled ceilings on the way to classrooms where teachers do not have enough books for their students. School plays are canceled because of a lack of funding. Attendance rates hover at 70 percent; proficiency rates below 10 percent. Violence is a daily occurrence. There is more than enough blame to go around: Burned-out teachers who teach via worksheets, administration officials who wall themselves off in their offices, students who lack ambition, parents who defy understanding with their lack of involvement.

It is incomprehensible to the point of insulting that the head of a district in which a University City High is sadly the norm could possibly receive a pay raise for having met all expectations for school performance. Such an act is indicative of the low bar set for public education. On behalf of our schools, children, and indeed our city, it would behoove Arlene Ackerman to demonstrate some humility, and proclaim that when all city students attend schools of which they can be proud, schools in which even elected officials would gladly enroll their children, only then will performance goals have been met.

Zachary F. Wright

Teacher, University City High School

Philadelphia

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2 Responses to “Dead Man Walking”

  1. ricochet said

    The rank and file is being decimated (in the truest sense – we are losing another 10% of our pay AND 10% of our peers) but the bigwigs get money for achieving WHAT?

  2. To be a teacher right now an be very demoralizing, and stuff like this is just another example of why it’s hard for teachers to feel that administration is on our side.

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