Philadelphia’s Broad-trained Superintendent William Hite offered the district’s employees an insulting contract: pay cuts up to 13%, benefit cuts, longer school days, and no pay increases until 2017. After 2017, any increases would be “performance-based,” dependent on the principal’s recommendation. Seniority would be abolished, as well as any payment for advanced degrees. See here and here

In addition, schools with more than 1,000 students would not be required to have libraries or librarians. No more counselors. No limits on class size. The district would no longer be required to provide teachers lounges, water fountains, etc.

This is the most insulting, most demeaning contract ever offered in any school district to my knowledge. The terms seem more appropriate to a prison than to a school, although it seems that both teachers and students are treated as wards of a cruel, harsh state. Who would want to teach in such a district that cared so little for students and teachers?

Is this what Dr. Hite learned at the Broad Superintendents Academy? Crush the workforce?

Didn’t anyone ever tell him that teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions?

Leaders of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said his members would never accept such demeaning terms and predicted many would leave for districts where they were treated with dignity.

District officials defended their proposal:

“Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn said he could not comment on ongoing labor talks, but said that the school system “actually values teachers as the most important resource in our district. We are committed to providing teachers with a set of working conditions…that will actually in the long run make Philadelphia a place that people will want to come and work.”

“Under the district’s opening proposal, issued Friday, the PFT’s 15,000 members — 10,000 teachers, plus nurses, counselors, secretaries, aides and others — would take pay cuts ranging from 5 percent for those who make under $25,000 to 13 percent for those who make over $55,000.”

Who will want to teach in a district that offers less pay, fewer befits, longer hours, no libraries, no counselors, no place to sit and rest between classes?

There was no discussion of reducing the pay of the superintendent, William Hite, who is paid $300,000 yearly and is surrounded by a coterie of six-figure assistants, including Deputy Superintendent Kihn ($210,000),

On another topic, Superintendent Hite plans to close 29 schools. A new study shows that the receiving schools perform no better than the closing schools. The closings do nothing to improve education for the students. Are they intended to save money or to make room for more charters (even though many of the charters in Philadelphia are low-performing or are under investigation for financial irregularities)?

With this contract and the proposed closings, the School Reform Commission and Superintendent make clear that their goal is to end public education in Philadelphia.