District, Teachers Headed for Likely Showdown

Bill Green takes SRC chair, urges changes in teacher work rules.

Superintendent William Hite on Tuesday signaled, again, that the district is headed toward a showdown with the teachers union over work rules in the teachers contract, the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

“Because we’re approaching the second school year, we don’t have time to continue with the status quo and the status quo for how we assign staff to schools,” Hite said.

“We’re . . . beginning to make those decisions for next year. The action plan we’ve been talking about over the last several days – it’s much harder to implement, in fact, if we’re operating with the current rules and structures. Part of that is gaining more flexibility, and that’s what we’ve proposed to the PFT.”

Hite and new School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green want freedom to assign resources away from underperforming and failing schools—both public and charter. They’ve said previously that work rules that assign more freedom and protections to teachers with more seniority are hindering their plans.

Green said last week he was ready to use the SRC’s powers to unilaterally impose new contract terms—with new work rules—on the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Such action is thought likely to provoke a lawsuit, however, and possibly even a teachers strike, though PFT leader Jerry Jordan hasn’t publicly tipped his hand on the matter.