Philly's Teachers Return After a Hard Summer

In her Philadelphia Inquirer column, Annette John-Hall welcomes pubilc school teachers back after a summer of budget shortfalls and tough labor negotiations.

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In her Philadelphia Inquirer column, Annette John-Hall welcomes public school teachers back to the classroom after some survived a round of summer layoffs.

When we last checked on Philadelphia's public school teachers a few months ago, the situation was, to put it mildly, a hot mess.

More than 1,000 teachers had received pink slips, casualties of the district's $650 million budget gap. Simultaneously, there was the drama surrounding the 174 teachers who were laid off in favor of their supposedly exempt Promise Academy colleagues, many of whom had far less seniority.

Oh, and there were still 1,300 teaching positions yet to fill.

Is it me, or does it make any sense to dismiss 1,260 teachers when you have even more slots than that to fill?

The district tried to explain that the decision was based on a number of factors, including preliminary budget predictions and projected fallout from the beef between the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the district.

I checked back at district offices Tuesday, where more than 100 teachers were getting their assignments. While things looked just as chaotic, it was a good kind of chaos. Among teachers and staffers there seemed to be a sense of anticipation and, quite frankly, a long-overdue peace.

Read Annette John-Hall's entire column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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