Our least-consulted experts on education

“The Philadelphia School District is facing a projected $430 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year. As a result, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has asked her administrators to prepare contingency plans for a massive budget cut. There will undoubtedly be a significant impact on students and staff in the city’s schools.

To soften this impact, administrators could ask teachers what support they need in classrooms and what they can do without. Teachers are ultimately held accountable for student learning, so it would make sense if they were consulted on the budget overhaul.”

This is an excerpt from my commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Our least-consulted experts on education”.  Please click here to read the entire article.  You can respond or provide feedback by clicking on the comment button below.

Thanks for reading.

–Christopher Paslay

10 thoughts on “Our least-consulted experts on education

  1. Mr. Pasley, it’s like you crawled inside my brain! I have been saying exactly what you wrote for years! I would add that I don’t understand why school boards are comprised of mostly non-educators! Why?????? I think that the sorry state of public education can be attributed to such horrible policies set by politicians. As a teacher, I feel like I am more than qualified to give suggestions, etc. as to what schools/students/teachers/administrators need to be successful. Alas, I don’t think it will happen in my time.

  2. I want to congratulate you for this article. I have been working in developing a People Science for engaging people from all walks of life in authentic dialogue for designing the policies affecting their social sytems, such as schools, and communities, and health facilities, etc. One of the Axioms of the science is the followin:

    •The Engagement Axiom: Designing social systems, such as health, education, cities, communities, without the authentic engagement of the stakeholders is unethical, and results in inferior plans that are not capable of implementation (Hasan Ozbekhan).

    What is happening with educational policy by disregarding the voice of the teachers who are intimately affected by those policies is criminal.

    If you or other would like to learn more about the People Science visit:


    Alexander N. Christakis, PhD

  3. I am about to begin my student teaching, and final semester, at PSU with goals of moving into and working in inner city Philly, the number one issue with this being a lack of funding to hire new teachers. I read this article in the paper and couldn’t have felt more frustrated with the state of affairs I am walking straight into. If teachers don’t start piping up where they can we’re not going to get out of this downward spiral of misinformed policies.

    Your article led me to your blog, add one more to the readership.

    • Jessie,

      Good luck with your student teaching assignment. It’s great that you want to work in urban education. Here’s one small tip to keep you motivated: focus on the students and try not to get discouraged by the outside political nonsense. It’s great to have a voice, but don’t let the policy issues get you down. If you can reach just one kid a day, you’ve done your job.

      Thanks for reading.

      Chris Paslay

  4. Your commentary was right on target. I have taught in Philadelphia for 20 years and can only say that I have seen the system become progressively worse and the students needs woefully under supported. The reports of rising test scores do not tell the true story of education in Philadelphia.

  5. My husband brought me this article yesterday while I was enjoying a day off due to the snow. I had hoped it was an article on some wonderful place to travel to next summer. Instead it was this amazing, truthful and heartfelt article that rings true for most educators today. I have taught in Cheltenham for almost 30 years and have watched this same thing happen here. The classroom teachers plate just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. We do it all and some days I feel like I can’t catch my breath. We do everything and are held acccountable for everything. Our budget is being cut and not once has anyone asked us how they could save some money. If they would ask we could tell them. We are the ones in the classroom each and every day teaching, reteaching, keeping pace, differentiating, teaching second graders how to use scan tron sheets for tests, and the list goes on and on.
    Good for you for putting this into words and thank you for validating my thoughts and feelings.

  6. I am a teacher on the suburbs. I am going to copy your editorial and hand it out to my friends. You hit the nail on the head. I have worked in several other professional careers and have never been treated so poorly as since I have become a teacher. No other profession would stand for it.

    Collectively, we need to begin speaking out strongly, just as you have done, in order to DEMAND that we teachers gain input into our own professional lives. Many of us would trade $ for the chance to have a voice.

    Well done!

  7. Fabulous article. I have taught in the district for years as well as outside the field and completely agree that no other profession would put up with this. I think you need to send this to newspapers across the country.

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