Friday, June 10, 2011

Didactic Means.

Discovering Dropbox, I eagerly proposed an exchange to a friend. My music library full of The Supremes and Temptations, I craved more than Motown's mainstream pop sensations. I wanted raw affect. Old school soul. I sent her some Hendrix; she sent over Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. A concept album of a cyclical nature. A classic. One I'm embarrassed to have just become intimately acquainted.
"Can't find no work, can't find no job my friend. Money is tighter than it's ever been. Say man I just don't understand what's goin' on across this land. Ah, what's happenin' brother? Hey, what's happenin'? What's happenin' my man. You see? Let's... let's save the children. Let's save all the children."  - What's Happening Brother/ Save The Children
Gaye evokes pathos, teaching a lesson that drew attention to society's more troubled, chronically unvoiced realities. Realities where the leaders of tomorrow suffer because lessons of yesteryear have yet to be mastered.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) on March 8, 2011 proposed what he described as a "reality-based budget" that cuts spending 3% to close a projected $4 billion deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1.The Republican governor's plan includes reducing state funding to universities by about 52% and eliminating 1,500 state jobs, or 1.8% of the total, largely by leaving vacancies unfilled. The $27.3 billion budget doesn't call for any tax increases. Instead the state will seek pay freezes or decreases for its employees and will request they contribute more to medical-insurance costs.

Facing an "unprecedented" fiscal crisis, the Philadelphia School District in late April stated that it could shed 3,820 employees -16 percent of its workforce - and is planning for more painful cuts, including losing full-day kindergarten, officials state.

On June 6 the Philadelphia School District sent out 3,024 lay-off notices. Teachers at Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia were handed baleful slips midday; some in front of their students. Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said he had never witnessed such disregard for employees. "The way they decided to go about it is not at all showing any kind of respect," he said. "It was a poorly thought-out way to lay off people."

The notices were sent to 1,523 teachers and 490 people who work in the district's central office, according to a news release. The district said it had to make the move in order to present a balanced budget to the School Reform Commission.

However Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox ordered a court injunction, rescinding the dismissals. Still, about 1,500 other employees lost their jobs as part of the effort to plug a $629 million budget gap. A hearing next Tuesday will determine whether the court will agree with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' argument that school-district officials violated the union's collective-bargaining agreement by exempting 200 "Promise Academies" teachers from the layoffs.

The temporary lay-off abeyance does little to attenuate those affected, for their career security is at the whim of a soft economy and a transient state budget. The collateral and ancillary effects of such disparage denigrates amelioration efforts concerning the state of public primary and secondary education. High-density urban centers like Philadelphia with its own bevy of institutional pedagogical ailments can expect these recent events to impact the achievement efforts of the chiefest beneficiary. The students.

I studied economics.
I'm a product of the Philadelphia public schooling system.

Policy and fiscal appropriation determine outcomes, but where is empathy?

Empathy for undervalued teachers, for the upward mobility of next generation?

I wanted raw affect. Old school soul.

Now I'm just wondering What's Going On?

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