Philadelphia Teacher Union Officials Fail Math Challenge

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union officials take $45 million from the Commonwealth, but fail to accept concessions in contract negotiations.  They are working to line their own pockets with forced dues instead of working to improve math scores in the school district.  Another example of how “it’s all for the kids. . . ”  Maura Pennington has the story at

 DOES NOT COMPUTE: The Philadelphia school district received $45 million from the state, but Jerry Jordan and the PFT want it to magically multiply.

Not only did 4 out of 5 of its school district’s students fail to achieve proficiency in mathematics, according to the most recent biannual assessment by the U.S. Department of Education, but the president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Jerry Jordan, this week displayed difficulty with simple division.

To approve a $2.4 billion budget for 2013-2014, the SRC laid off 3,783 Philadelphia school district employees in June, including 676 teachers. Just before the start of the school year in August, $50 million of emergency funding from the city allowed the district to rehire 1,600 of those employees.

On Oct. 16, Gov. Tom Corbett authorized the release of more money to Philadelphia, despite a lack of anticipated concessions from Jordan and the PFT.

This one-shot grant allows for the re-employment of 400 district teachers, counselors and administrators, leaving a balance of almost 2,000 workers whom Jordan insists must return to their posts.

However, even hiring back the teachers alone would exceed the limits of this most recent infusion of cash.  The average combined salary and benefits of a middle school teacher in Philadelphia, according to this year’s budget, is $114,000.  At that rate, quick mental division makes it apparent that $45 million could satisfy the PFT’s request for fewer than 400 teachers.

Though money seems to be flexible, Jordan and the PFT are not, as they continue to resist a new contract.  Three months into the academic year, the union still is in negotiations with the school district and the city’s schools remain in crisis.

“The PFT math doesn’t work,” State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said. “It’s a little disingenuous for the president to be calling to bring people back to the schools when the PFT themselves are unwilling at the negotiation table to free up resources to do that.  It’s unfair to the students, to the schools, and to the SRC to be hiring people based on one-time savings. These are the kind of budget gimmicks that got the district into trouble in the first place.”