Live from Council: Keeping teachers in Philly

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Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. has had a steady hand while trying to navigate the school district's financial challenges.

City Council's education committee will conduct a hearing today on keeping teachers in the Philadelphia School District. Expected to testify are officials from the school system, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and a number of educators themselves. The hearing was called at the behest of City Councilwoman Helen Gym, a frequent district critic.

Important context: the PFT earlier this month rejected a contract offer worth roughly $100 million from the district, as I reported today. Philly teachers have gone without a contract for three years, and without a raise for four. PFT president Jerry Jordan said the district's offer was a nonstarter: while it included so-called step raises of 5 to 8 percent, it did not make teachers whole for the years they've gone without step raises. And while it offered bonuses to teachers working in hard-to-staff schools, it would not pay teachers for earning advanced degrees. (Virtually every other district does that, and Philadelphia traditionally has, as well.)

Follow along.