Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Lisa Haver: When School Choice Means No Choice in Philadelphia


Superintendent William Hite allowed parents at two North Philadelphia schools to vote on whether to allow a charter company of the district’s choosing to take control of the schools.

Lisa Haver, retired teacher in Philadelphia, points out that that families in Philadelphia have experienced closures of their local public schools, leaving them no choice but charter schools.

“Two years ago, Superintendent William Hite allowed parents at two North Philadelphia schools to vote on whether to allow a charter company of the district’s choosing to take control of the schools. Parents at both schools voted overwhelmingly to remain public. Thus, in 2015, parents and students at three more district schools were given no vote, but simply informed that their schools were to be placed in the Renaissance program. The choice had been made for them.”

The goal of “choice” is to give parents no choice at all.


Retired teacher Lisa Haver and librarian and library advocate Deborah Grill



Philadelphia Puts Out Call for 5,000 Subs


Dr. William Hite Jr appears to have engaged in breach of contracts for teachers and staff in every district he has worked in. 

Philadelphia has hired a search service to hire 5,000 substitutes.

“Whether you’re a recent college graduate looking to work your way into a full-time teaching position, a retired teacher interested in getting back in the classroom, or someone looking to make a positive contribution to the development of children, Source4Teachers has a place for you. We offer health insurance and other benefits including a 401(k) plan and opportnities for various bonuses. Plus, working as a substitute is extremely flexible –how frequently, when and where you work is entirely up to you,” the SubinPhilly.com website says.”

This could happen only in a district that doesn’t care about education or children. This could happen only in a district that serves poor Black and Hispanic children in which transparency and accountability is next to none existence. It would never happen in a ritzy white suburb in America.

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Charter schools do not equal education reform.


David Hornbeck was superintendent of schools in Philadelphia from 1994 to 2000. During that time, he approved 30 charter schools, hoping they would improve education for the city’s students. Twenty years later, he admits he was wrong.

Now he realizes that charters are not education reform. They are a change of governance. They get mixed results.
“In some evaluations, charter schools overall actually underperform regular public schools.”

Baltimore sun writes:

As Philadelphia’s Superintendent of Schools, I recommended the approval of more than 30 charter schools because I thought it would improve educational opportunity for our 215,000 students. The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong.

Those advocating change in Maryland’s charter law through proposed legislation are equally committed to educational improvement. They are equally wrong. New policy should not build on current inequities and flawed assumptions, as the proposed charter law changes would do.

Mixed academic results: Charters, on the whole, do not result in significant improvement in student performance. It’s mixed at best. In some evaluations, charter schools overall actually underperform regular public schools.



Philadelphia: Parents United Wins a Major Victory for Transparency.


Dr. William Hite leadership which appears to lack proper transparency and accountability has left Philly School District in poor shape. 

The civic group Parents United and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia have been fighting the School Reform Commission for access to secret documents created by the Boston Consulting Group as its “reform” plan for the Philadelphia public schools under Dr. William Hite leadership. The plan was shared with district officials and the foundation that paid for the report, but was not made public. The groups just won a victory and were able to review the report, see the list of schools that BCG wanted to close, and see how flawed BCG’s projections were. Of course, BCG wanted to privatize as much of the district’s schools and operations as possible.

>>> Read more 



SRC takes contract fight to Pa. court


Dr. Hite

HARRISBURG – With much at stake, lawyers for the School Reform Commission on Wednesday asked a panel of five Commonwealth Court judges to affirm their power to cancel the Philadelphia School District teachers’ contract.

The law that created the SRC acknowledged that in times of distress, the commission must have at its disposal special powers, argued commission attorney Mark Aronchick.

“The polestar is the children, not the protection of some collective bargaining interest that protects the interest of teachers,” Aronchick told the judges.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers lawyer Ralph Teti said the SRC lacks the authority to abrogate its contract.

“I think they overstepped their boundaries greatly,” Teti said. “Their view of it is, if we have a contract on Monday, we can cancel it on Tuesday.”

The SRC wants to make teachers begin paying a portion of their health-care costs, a move it said would save $54 million annually. Those savings would be sent directly to cash-strapped schools, officials said. Teachers would pay from $72 to $700 a month depending on their salary, the plan they choose, and their family status.

The district had hoped to make changes to 11,200 PFT members’ health care effective Dec. 15, but a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court injunction halted those changes for now.

On Wednesday, the Commonwealth Court judges peppered both sides with questions around their central arguments, and about their interpretation of Act 46, the state law that created the SRC.

Several judges, including President Judge Dan Pelligrini, noted that the SRC had negotiated four contracts with the union since the commission was created in 2001. If the SRC can simply impose terms, Pelligrini asked, what good are the contracts?

“Why would anybody enter into any negotiations with you?” Pelligrini said, adding that he thought the SRC was relegating the union to “a meet-and-discuss unit rather than a bargaining unit.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20141211_Phila__school_district_takes_its_case_to_Commonwealth_Court.html#B0dM2E9ZyDGiMerW.99




William Hite Jr took the same nonsense to the Philadelphia School District from Prince George’s County. In the above scenario, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (P.F.T) must tendentiously make known that, Unilateral contract cancelations are illegal everywhere in the United States.  While further contributions to member benefits package may be reasonable, they must be part and parcel of collective bargaining along with raises, step increases and most importantly, working conditions. As is told, the district’s fiscal instability was not of the teachers’ making but of the School Reform Commission  (S.R.C)’s as a forensic audit of district financials would surely establish. Teachers and other staff members sacrificed much more over the years and have thus done their part. It is not incumbent upon P.F.T. to be held hostage either by Ackerman or Hite’s mistakes or anyone else’s.

Funding priorities have often missed the point while S.R.C. behavior missed the form. Law suits and further short-term cuts will solve nothing. A fairly negotiated resolution will so rooting out waste and abuse in Bill Hite’s morbidly top-heavy central administration is essential.

Philadelphia once had great schools. They can be so again once Corbett, Hite, Nutter and Green wise up and treat people fairly by negotiating in good faith. The folks have legitimate grievances and deserve better.


Hite’s 10% pay cut reinstated in the middle of the night.


“What kind of leader would resume his regular salary while the teachers’ contract is in question and our children go without? Not the kind of leader Philadelphia’s students deserve.”Alison McDowell a district parent and member of Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools said recently concerning Dr. William Hite Jr (Pictured above).

IN FALL 2013, Superintendent William Hite Jr. announced that he was taking a 10 percent pay cut in keeping with the fiscally challenged district’s theme of “shared sacrifice.”

He said that nine top administrators also would take pay cuts. That didn’t happen, but Hite consented to a $30,000 salary reduction amid tough union negotiations, a budget shortfall and fewer resources available in schools.

It turns out that Hite’s share of the sacrifice had a shelf life of one year. His cut was restored in October under an amendment to his contract that returned his annual base pay to $300,000, according to a November 2013 document released by the district this week to the Daily News.

Many Sunshine Law advocates believe that the change to Hite’s contract violated the law, but the district says it’s on solid legal ground.

Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel with the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, said the amendment was official business and should have been handled in a public meeting.

“Creation of a contract or a change to an existing contract is ‘official action’ under the Sunshine Act, which can only take place at a public meeting and only after an opportunity for public comment,” Melewsky said. “It is required by law.”

The district says its process followed the law.

“The addendum for the contract was a voluntary reduction that he requested himself for one year,” said district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

“It is the opinion of the General Counsel of the School District of Philadelphia [Michael A. Davis] that it did not need a vote from the School Reform Commission for a voluntary reduction,” Gallard said.

Negotiations over salary are exempted from the Sunshine Law and can be discussed in executive session, Gallard said.

But public discussion should have taken place before a vote on the amendment, Melewsky and other advocates contend.

Hite signed the document Nov. 26, 2013. It also was signed by then-SRC member Wendell Pritchett and by current commissioner Feather Houstoun. Davis and a witness identified as Kathleen Gallagher also signed the amendment.

Gallard said the document was not released to the public, but added, “It is a public document.”

Terry Mutchler, executive director of the Open Records Office in Harrisburg, said: “Taxpayers are entitled to know about the actions their public officials are taking. But when you’re doing something like this, acting in secret, it adds to the decay of public trust.”

“Evidently, ‘shared sacrifice’ expires after 12 months,” said Alison McDowell, a district parent and member of Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, an advocacy group suing the district claiming a Sunshine Law violation occurred at the SRC meeting at which members voted to nix teachers’ health benefits.

Read more >>> Philly.com





Chief Board of Education Legal Counsel Abbey Hairston and architect of Maladministration in PGCPS District is also the personal lawyer to William Hite Jr. The saga involving Dr. William Hite Jr begun in Maryland schools after he run away from a troubled situation involving public corruption and mismanagement of public resources under the directives of Ms. Hairston above. 


This is a call for action. Call your elected officials now, the unions and the media. A proper investigation will tell us who is responsible for this calamity and, therefore, who should lose their jobs. While talking to your elected officials, request Mr. Rushern Baker III resign and to take responsibility for this mess. Demand an end to this fraud and the madness!

Unless we are collectively extremely careful, Prince George’s County and School District of Philadelphia can fail. At the heart of the current condition is fear and despondency that has gripped both Districts. Corruption is a particularly major but unquantified issue in our economic threats. We intend to address this comprehensively on the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.

Many local government supporters and even some officials respond to criticism from those they deem the opposition by asking for ‘solutions’. The opposition is not a think tank for the local government led by Rushern Baker III here in Prince George’s County. If the local government has ran out of ideas it should reach out to experienced Prince George’s county citizenry of integrity to help or stand down.

The People of Prince George’s county and Philadelphia school Districts deserve better.



Teacher is knocked down to the floor under Dr. Hite Leadership.


Video still showing that on Thursday, November 6, 2014, a substitute teacher was knocked to the floor at Bartram High. The teacher suffered a concussion. It was the third staff assault at the school in a month. 

A teacher at Bartram High School was attacked by a student and suffered a concussion this week after being thrown to the ground in an incident that was captured on video and widely shared on social media.

It was the third such assault in a month at the violence-prone school, which in recent months had made some strides in safety that teachers say seem to be eroding.

This week’s incident happened Thursday afternoon, when a student attacked a substitute teacher who had asked him to leave a classroom earlier in the day, Philadelphia School District officials confirmed.

The student waited for the teacher and threw the 68-year-old man to the ground. The student fled, and the school nurse attended to the teacher, who was later taken to a hospital.

In an interview Friday night, the teacher, Pewu Johnson, a Liberian immigrant with deep roots in Philadelphia and its schools, described the attack.

He said he had a run-in with his assailant early in the day when the boy behaved “inappropriately” with a female student, and he ordered him to stop.

Later, during seventh period, the teen found Johnson and angrily tried to block his way.

“He grabbed me, then lifted me up, then dropped me on my back, on the floor. I became unconscious. I wasn’t hearing anything. My eyes were closed,” Johnson said.

He said he had intense neck pain and was bleeding from his elbow, and ended up spending hours at the hospital.

He isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return to work, he said, adding that he was still quite sore.

>>>Read more at philly.com




Under Dr. William Hite leadership, teachers are being knocked down unconscious by students at a rapid rate in Philadelphia School District. There is no transparency and accountability under his watch. The whole school district is in big debt. Breach of contract is the order of the day. Same kind of scenerio he is repeating from his years in PGCPS District. Read more >>> Education advocates are poised to take SRC to court over lack of transparency


Judge temporarily bars SRC from imposing terms on teachers’ union.


Some of the Teachers who came out to stage a protest last week.

A Common Pleas Court judge Monday granted the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ request for a preliminary injunction to halt the School Reform Commission from imposing changes to teachers’ health-care benefits.

After hearing nearly four hours of testimony, Judge Nina Wright Padilla issued the short, verbal order from the bench without elaborating.

Her ruling prevents the SRC – at least for now – from implementing the broad changes it approved when it voted Oct. 6 to cancel the PFT contract and require union members to contribute to the cost of their health-care premiums beginning in December.

The PFT had asked for the injunction to maintain the status quo while the courts take up the larger issue of whether the SRC had the legal authority to do what it did.

“The judge’s decision – we’re pleased with it,” PFT President Jerry Jordan said moments after the Padilla issued the order. “We hope it will end here, but we’re pretty sure it won’t.”

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the SRC will appeal to Commonwealth Court.

“We expect this to be just one of many legal steps we will have to take,” he said. “We are now moving on to the next.”

The district said in a statement released later that it was disappointed with the results of the hearing.

“The School District expects to ultimately prevail in the courts and will pursue this matter forcefully, for the cause is urgent and the children of Philadelphia cannot continue waiting.

“The changes temporarily placed on hold by [Monday’s] injunction are estimated to save more than $200 million in the next four years. These are crucial resources for the children of Philadelphia.”
Read more at Philly.com


Some of the Teachers who came out to stage a protest last week.


William Hite Jr Breached teacher’s contract in the middle of the night in Philly School District.