Hite’s Action Plan 3.0 has established “specialized networks, each requiring distinct expertise, management, oversight, and resourcing.”
At George Washington High School, an already volatile situation escalated when a teacher was viciously attacked by students earlier this month. In schools across the district, many students have yet to be assigned a full-time teacher. The School Reform Commission approved a $34 million contract to outsource substitutes, and although the year began with an 11 percent fill rate and has yet to exceed 30 percent, the SRC has refused to cancel that contract. A recent Philadelphia Public School Notebook article told the story of one Northeast High student who carries a seven-subject roster but, as of last month, has only three full-time teachers. Students have been assigned report card grades for classes in which they have learned very little, if anything. Not surprisingly, disciplinary problems have increased significantly.
Teachers covering classes lose their daily preparation period and must use their own personal time to prepare lessons, mark papers, call parents and consult with staff. The bare-bones budget — once a crisis, now the new normal — has forced them to take on many roles including nurse, counselor and custodian. Yet the SRC continues to threaten them with the loss of their contract and with it all workplace protections.