Yesterday I mentioned the stunning layoff notices to more than 3,700 teachers and other key employees of the Philadelphia School District, a story that was tossed down an Orwellian memory hole, partly because it was dumped on the Friday of an especially busy news week and partly because in the past pink slips have been used fairly successfully as a negotiating tool. But this time, it feels like an end game, and a lot of dedicated teachers and school employees feel that way too.
This picture at top is Ms. Cohen (that's what it says), a science teacher at Paul Robeson High School (whose namesake would be spinning in his grave if he knew what was happening in Philly), She is one of the Faces of the Layoffs from the Teacher Action Group, seeking to put a human face on some very inhuman actions by our so-called leaders. Check them out, and then check out this letter that Harvey Scribner, a teacher from the Crossroads Accelerated Academy whose pink slip was accelerated over the weekend, addressed to the school district, Here's an excerpt:
Since coming to the District, I found equipment when there was none, I created curriculum when there was nothing, I did without when we needed supplies. I broke up fights. I sent kids to class when they wandered the halls. I worked two summer programs and took the extra step to complete training when the District did not think it was needed. For the last four years, I have struggled, alongside the most courageous and honorable people I have ever worked with, to teach the students, feed the students, clothe the students, protect the students, and lead the students. For this dedication, and for the dedication of my brothers and sisters in education, we are now rewarded with this? A District that lets us go, a union that shrugs its shoulders, a city that sleeps, a state that remains deaf, a federal system that demands more and offers less. The real crime is to the neighborhoods and blocks in Philadelphia that cry out for something better to anyone that would hear, and that sound is lost in the overwhelming symphony of thundering apathy on all sides.