Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Letter from "Your Future PPS Educators"

Letter making the rounds, addressed to Lane et al:

"During these dire times in education across the nation, but especially in the Pittsburgh Public School District, we- the newly hired- are in great despair about the future of our careers. We understand the painful need to downsize while we are constantly being reminded of "equity" in the Pittsburgh Public School system.

To that end, we are also prepared to collectively take to task LEGALLY any favoritism,(be it racially motivated or politically driven), or nepotism in jobs or positions that are kept or created for staff, academic coaches, teachers or administrators while dismissing others with the same years of service or educational background.

Please be assured of our continued committment and respect for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, but that we expect the same in return.

Equity for all!

Your Future PPS Educators"


Anonymous said...

Love it! Lane and etal have a history of not listening to teachers, parents, nor the community. I doubt very much if she and her girls would care what the future educators have to say, much less read the letter.

I give them credit though for trying (whoever they maybe).

Anonymous said...

Sounds like things are about to heat up. I was wondering when the educators were going to get in on the action. So far they are just laying down and taking it and im suprised.

Anonymous said...

What does et al mean?

Questioner said...

Oh it means hoping not to have to type in the other recipient names- French, Lopper, Sauer, Ittigson, French (again), Yonek, Brentley, Esposito-Visgitis.

Anonymous said...

ok thanks, I had never heard that word before. Has there been any responses?

Anonymous said...

Is there much Nepotism in the distict? And if so who?

Anonymous said...

So let me understand this . . . these newly hired (low seniority) teachers are demanding that PPS follow the rules in the CBA by the book for any furloughs (which are inevitable - nothing Dr. Lane can do about that)?

Hypothetically -- So in the classroom across the hall from one of these 'future PPS educators' is a marginal veteran teacher that is doing the same work (for twice as much money). These newly hired teachers demand to be furloughed BEFORE teachers that have more seniority (but in every measurable and non-measurable way are ineffective).

Maybe I am missing something. I thought newly hired teachers might care a little more about 'impact' over some archaic 'years of service' rule. They are really shooting themselves in the foot don't you think.

Questioner said...

It sounds like they are concerned about discrimination based on race or political positions, and about preferences for friencds and relatives of decsionmakers.

Anonymous said...

Favoritism and nepotism are issues that came up in discussion among parents when RISE was being explained to us. I can see how it is a concern when additional cuts are anticipated, too.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:40,

LOL! Measurable?!!!!!!!!!! Don't you mean contrived?

You obviously drank the kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

"Payola" discussion makes me nervous. Shouldn't someone of some authority or oversight have investigated that already? Nepotism is much more verifiable.

Questioner said...

Deleting the payola comment. If anyone has any evidence of a real issue, there is a state school fraud hotline that can be contacted. Tips can be given anonymously.

Remainder of post from Anonymous:

"Nepotism? In the district? Seriously?!!

Fink's entire family and extended family are employeed by the district. Colaizzi's son is a permanent substitute at Brashear. Hazuda had her daughter-in-law hired immediately after being elected to the board. Her daughter was on the waiting list to be hired for years before Hazuda's election.

I could go on, but that is just a tidbit example of nepotism in the district.


Corruption, Corruption, and Corruption are the three words to describe the school district"

Questioner said...

Re: relatives working for the district- it would really be necessary to have more information. Is it really that difficult to become a permanent substitute teacher- are there many applications for this? And totally legitimately, a mom w/ experience on the school board COULD have a few useful things to tell the applicant about how to handle the interview.

Anonymous said...

I think that these hard working rookie teachers know that at least if seniority is followed- it might be there for them too. There is a sense of fairness about straight seniority. I think they have seen with rise-- it isca set- up for favoritism. And if there is no seniority-- what are people paying dues for? We all know stories ofvthe" unfair" where youngvand old sat through interviews on both sides ofcthe table only to find out that indeed -- displaced teachers had to be placed first. But somehow these fools proceeded andcthen hadcto rescend appts. Why not place the displaced-- and then let people apply for what was left? Because they really thought they had the power to shuffle people in and out of schools. These junior staffers are puttingvthem on notice-- play fair

Anonymous said...

There was a recent baord meeting where jody spolar mentioned a number of people on the elegibility list, 2000 maybe for FT positions? Was there some kind of proposal to hire people to work on the list? There was a meeting within the last year where Mrs. C. asked several question about HR practice that seemed beyond curiousity.

Anonymous said...

At the recent Board Meeting, Jody Spolar was asking for money to hire a firm to continue the interviewing process for hiring additional teachers even though there are 2000 currently on the "waiting list".

Hiring a firm to hire when they anticipate laying off 400? ?

So, the total 'waiting' for work in PPS, a district that is closing even more schools in the near future, will be 2,400 plus. . .?????

How many more applicants does PPS need on a waiting list that they must hire outside of the district, a firm, to do that??? (I wonder to whom this firm is connected???)

Also wondering when PPS started hiring other firms to do the application/interview process for a job within PPS? That used to be the job of the Human Resources Department? What, then, does HR do?

Does anyone at Central Office do the job they were hired to do or do they just hire a consultant or outside firm to do it for them?

How can this happen? Is anyone minding the 'store'???

Anonymous said...

The initial application process for last year's career ladder positions was handled by an outside agency as well. This agency assigned "scores" to applicant answers on essay questions. Applicants were not told that, however, and so any references to things specific to the District were met with lower scores. I, too, would love to know what those in HR are actually doing if their jobs are being sub contracted to outside sources.

On a related note, I understand that applicants for this year's career ladder positions are few and far between. Perhaps this has something to do with the humiliating experience of the interview process that occurred last year. Veteran teachers, with proven track records and a history of academic success, were passed over for rookies with only a few years under their belts. These rookies are receiving an additional $13,000 this year in their roles as CRIs (Clinical Resident Instructors). The initial plan was that these teachers would "train teachers" at Brashear. When, however, the teacher academy idea went belly up, the CRIs were left to teach (like every other teacher in the high schools) and still collect their raises (in some cases, with REDUCED schedules!). I would LOVE to see some reckoning of how those teachers earned their pay. I would also like to see some documentation that proves that they have lived up to their "highly effective" status.

Finally, and again related, teachers who have been teaching for at least the past three years in core subject areas received today a VAM score. It's vague and obscure, but basically teachers received a score that compares their students' achievement on a series of tests to that of other teachers' students. The tests being used were originally introduced by Kaplan at a series of in-services where teachers were assured that they would be formative, not summative. In other words, teachers were told that the testing was to drive the instruction--to show where the curriculum needed to be "tightened up". Alas, however, the scores are now being used as part of a rating system that may eventually be part of a teacher's pay rate. I tell you all of this as a way to perhaps encourage disclosure of these ridiculous scores. Surely the CRIs hired last year will have steller VAM scores, right? Uh huh.

Questioner said...

Re: "basically teachers received a score that compares their students' achievement on a series of tests to that of other teachers' students"- what kind of series of tests? Not all grades take PSSA's. Are students taking some other test at the start and finish of each year?

Anonymous said...

I am assuming that the test scores Anon was referring to are the results of the CBA's, Curriculum Based Assessment. You cannot tweak a curriculum according to PSSA's.

However, again central adm reveals its true colors.... What color represents liar? They have no plans to change the curriculum.

I have relatives moving to Pittsburgh. Believe me, they will not be sending their children to PPS.

Ashamed to Work Here said...

Anon 8:04:

Don't forget that HR's management team was significantly expanded since the start of Gates as well.