The School Reform Commission of Philadelphia recently voted to close 23 schools across the city - a massive undertaking that is supposed to save millions of dollars in the long run, but will actually cost almost as much as it should save this upcoming year due to transition costs. In Chicago, 54 schools are now slated for closure and the citizens are fighting a battle that will involve a large rally quite soon. On top of all this, evaluation systems based on assumed-to-be-correct math are being proposed across the country, including New York City, many with threats against teachers if they are not implemented.
What is missing in all this?
My answer: true dialogue involving teachers.
In Philadelphia, the School District leadership is talking directly to the Union representation with little input from those who will be affected by it most: the teachers. Perhaps more organizations should pay attention to what we think we need so that we can do a better job. That would truly be professional.
So, in the interest of fairness I would like to share a response from a local teacher organization called Teachers Lead Philly. I have been attending their meetings for months and have enjoyed learning and discussing with fellow teachers where exactly our profession should go. Most recently they surveyed hundreds of teachers across the city and shared their data and conclusions here. Check it out.