On Feb. 27 2017 Kristen Graham wrote “that Constance Clayton, the former longtime Philadelphia School District superintendent would be honored on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) as a citizen of note, as an African American whose contributions have made the state better.”
“I did not do this alone,” were her first comments.
Clayton felt that others shared the award – the 170,000 children in the school system when she retired, the 25,000 employees who worked under her, many of them teachers. She said. “I did not allow people to speak disparagingly of teachers – many of them are in there at 7:30 or 8 a.m. every day, and they use their own money to pay for supplies.”
Clayton is very upset about shortages in today’s city classrooms – There now are just eight librarians left in the school system. “Inexcusable,” she said. “And I don’t know how you delete art and music and have a comprehensive curriculum.”
Today is the era of fast food teacher preparation called Relay and fast food student curriculum – which includes scripted learning and blended learning.
Philly education is having its own form of the Cultural Revolution that China had in the 1960s – those with little or no experience in education, e.g. DeVos, make the decisions about the children of America. Maybe that’s why we still have 4 charters operating by Universal and Aspira who have been called unfit for renewal last April but still get to continue operating?
The days of Clayton– Then the superintendent worked to find ways to fund our public schools, to improve all her students’ ability to learn. I taught under her and felt her support and sent my children to Henry School during part of her tenure. Their school had a nurse, counselors, a librarian, art and music teachers. Today we have a superintendent whose first allegiance is to look for more ways to turn public schools over to charters, to move staff around and break up school communities rather than take care of the public schools he is charged with improving through fairer funding, maintaining buildings, and respect for teachers.
In my post retirement teacher career I work with charter and public school students. Have you never wondered why parents who teach at the charters choose to send their students to public schools like Henry School? Maybe because the teachers have more experience, maybe because the curriculum is not scripted, maybe the discipline is child friendly, maybe because the public schools always include the ESL and special education students?
Clayton stated that people like to say they’re all about children,
“But I’m tired of the rhetoric,” said Clayton. “We have to have demonstrated support that they are.”
Those were the days and I wish all the students and teachers of today could experience what it feels like to have a superintendent and school board who by their actions, put the children first.