Thursday, May 10, 2012

AFT PA Offcial Helped Sell Out Philly School District

A pox on Jerry Jordan and especially former President Ted Kirsch of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for allowing the Commonwealth of PA to take over the School District of Philadelphia.

A special mention to the wife of Ted Kirsch who had the second Charter School in Philadelphia; especially so since Ted was still "advocating" for the rank and file of the PFT as our President.

Please note Ted Kirsch, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, quit the very next day after Paul Vallas left Philadelphia for New Orleans to assume leadership of the PA AFT.
----- Message from Philadelphia teacher to NYCED News listserve

 How many incidents do we need to show that teacher union leaders are in bed with the enemy? So here is Ted Kirsch, the President of the Philly union whose wife opens a charter school and then he becoems head of the state AFT. I don't know anything about him but I will bet he is an ally of Randi and Mulgrew and crew. Thank goodness for CORE in Chicago as the lone bulwark against handing over our public school system to privatizers. And of course the amazing parent activists connected to Parents Across America, with Helen Gym (see below) in Philly as a great rep.

I remember meeting someone from the Philly union at the AFT convention in Seattle who was an undercover dissident and told us how similar the union leaders there were to Unity Caucus. Yes, there are Unity Caucus Klones all over the nation – VichyitesQuislings. If you are not aware why I use these terms go and check them out.

I am more and more convinced that those who stay on the sidelines inside the union are in essence supporting the Unity sell-out because silence is used by Unity as evidence of support. [AD: MORE meets in an open and democratic process this Saturday at CUNY -- help build a democratic alternative to Unity.]

Later I'll post some of my back and forth tweets with Randi Weingarten which might make you pull your hair out.

Here is the full post.

Dear Leonie,

Thank you for putting this on the listserv again.

Special thanks to my dear friend Helen Gym of AAU for being one with whom the powers that be must reckon.

A pox on Jerry Jordan and especially former President Ted Kirsch of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for allowing the Commonwealth of PA to take over the School District of Philadelphia which passed Act 96 which prohibited ONLY Philadelphia teachers from striking; an unconstitutional law gone unchallenged since 1996.

A special mention to the wife of Ted Kirsch who had the second Charter School in Philadelphia after St. Sen. John Perzel's wife right after Act 22 was passed; especially so since Ted was still "advocating" for the rank and file of the PFT as our President.

Please note Ted Kirsch, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, quit the very next day after Paul Vallas left Philadelphia for New Orleans to assume leadership of the PA AFT.

Thanks for the millions spent on outside consultants, outside unaccountable District SRC's, (School Reform Commissions), unaccountable CEO's brought in to privatise the School District and their buy-out packages for them and their cronies who promoted and protected them against us at our expense.

Thanks for selling off the School District's valuable Art Collection to persons unknown, our headquarters in an Art Deco building and refurbishing a former plant that printed TV Guide magazine and making District Headquarters into something reminiscent of "HBO's Series 'Oz.

Thanks for ignoring highly successful Philadelphia Public Schools, (Central High and Masterman) rated top schools in the US over and again.

Thanks for wanting to close primarily schools with African-American schools who have been successful since before NCLB because Universities and Realtors have plans to gentrify the neighborhood they occupy and not because they are failing schools.

Finally, thanks for giving whatever crumbs that were left to Charter Schools who squandered them and used them for self-aggrandizement and enrichment.  This is why we teachers have to buy paper, printer toner, software to protect our students from thinking all is not well.

After all the money spent, the sole alternative is to dismantle the School District of Philadelphia; and so it goes.

At LEAST, I kicked serious tail today for my final observation. My kids came through like the best ELLs in the world. Love them.

Here is a post by Helen Gym on the PAA web site:

Dear parents and PAA colleagues:

It’s taken me a while to talk about what’s happening in Philadelphia because of the destructive forces threatening public education in our city.

In case you haven’t read the news, Philadelphia’s Chief Recovery Officer – a gas industry executive paid $150K over six months – hired the Boston Consulting Group for a cool $1.4 million to create a “Blueprint for Reform”. The Blueprint sets out a five year course of action which calls for closing one-fourth of Philadelphia’s schools, 40 alone next year (64 total), placing 40% of students into charters, and dividing up the remaining schools into NYC-inspired “achievement networks” run by third party operators under a five year performance contract.

There are of course the standard union-busting threats, the exclusion of parent and community voices, and the consolidation of political interests, large charter operators, and voucher supporters. There is also terrible shock and awe rhetoric to silence Philadelphians into accepting this plan. Our Mayor for example said the school district was on the verge of imminent “collapse” and said the plan was something Philadelphians needed to “grow up and deal with.” Our Chief Recovery Officer just last week stated that schools may not open in September unless Philadelphians funded the plan with $94 million in increased property taxes.

And all of this is happening in a state where a Republican Governor has slashed $1.1 billion from public education in the last two years.

Parents United is up and running and working with clergy and community groups across the city. Last night over 1,000 people gathered for an education dialogue at one of Philadelphia’s most influential churches. Our radio ads with our teachers union will start running this week. We’ve reignited a Protect Public Education Coalition of student organizing groups, labor and others to work on City Council and launch a media campaign. But of course we’re outfunded and fighting an uphill battle against local and national forces that have completely lost their moral compass about the public in public education.

We’re asking for your help to publicize what’s happening to almost 200,000 children in public and charter schools here. Philadelphia is the poster child for the disasters of national education reform – we’re reeling from a state takeover, EMO’s like Edison Schools, privatizing and contracting out, unchecked charter school growth, massive education budget cuts, and constant turnover in leadership. We’re not unlike many cities across the country, but we are quite possibly the largest city to date to propose an effective dissolution of public education in the name of so-called “reform.”

Below is some basic reading. Feel free to share and spread the word.
Thanks everyone!
Helen Gym, Parents United for Public Education
parentsunitedphila@gmail.com

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