by Christopher Paslay
To demoralize Philadelphia’s hardworking teachers even further, the District should consider ten addendums to its recent contract proposal to the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Last week, the Philadelphia School District made a preliminary contract proposal to the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Noted education scholar Diane Ravitch called the proposal “the most insulting, most demeaning contract ever offered in any school district” to her knowledge, and added that “the terms seem more appropriate to a prison than to a school, although it seems that both teachers and students are treated as wards of a cruel, harsh state.”
According to documents circulated by the PFT (I urge everyone reading this to click here to read them for yourselves), the District wants to: cut teacher pay by 13 percent; eliminate all raises including “step” increases and raises for educational attainment; eliminate counselors and librarians; raise class sizes and the length of the school day; and nix teachers lounges and water fountains, among other bizarre, draconian measures.
My response? Is that all you got, guys? You can sink lower than that! Here are 10 addendums to the District’s already absurd and farcical proposal to make it that much more demoralizing to Philadelphia’ hard working educators:
- Use of Air
School District-owned air, e.g. air circulated through District-owned furnaces and/or air conditioning units, shall be breathed by teachers free of charge during school hours and District sponsored conferences, such as Report Card Night; teachers, however, shall contribute $20 per hour for consuming District Provided Air (DPA) during non-school hours.
- Dental Plan
Any veteran teacher with 35 or more years of service, and who has a gold and/or silver filling in his or her teeth, shall have it extracted by the District, without the use of Novocain, with a rusty pair of pliers.
- Doctor Visits
Teachers shall be required to take the place of parents and take each of their students on three (3) annual doctor visits, including: a comprehensive yearly physical; a diabetes screening; and a tuberculosis test. Each visit shall be paid for by the teacher.
- Gas “Reimbursement”
Any teacher who uses his or her own gas to transport children to a school-sponsored event shall no longer get reimbursed for fuel. Rather, the teacher shall be required to report to 440 N. Broad Street on Saturday and Sunday mornings and on national holidays, and instead pump (“reimburse”) the gas of District administrators.
- Pay Raises
Teachers shall receive an annual cost of living raise, step raise, and educational attainment raise; as used herein, the term “raise’ shall mean being physically “raised” off the ground by the neck with a rope or piano wire.
Landline based phones, as well as cellular phones, shall no longer be provided to teachers by the District. Campbell’s Soup cans, tied together with fishing line, shall replace traditional District phones, but will be purchased and assembled by teachers.
Teachers who need to urinate and/or move their bowels during school hours will be limited to one (1) bathroom break per day, subject to RRAT (Rest Room Accrual Time); there will be one toilet per 50 staff members; the rule If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down will also be in effect and enforced via bathroom security cameras.
- Unsatisfactory Records
Teachers with an unsatisfactory record shall be required to fasten his or her employee file around his or her neck with either 1—an iron staple; 2—garlic cloves; or 3—sheep intestine. The file shall remain around the employee’s neck for a minimum of five (5) years.
- Use of Reasonable Force
Teachers may use reasonable force in the event of a physical attack by a student or hostile staff member so long as they lead with their face and use either their head, chin, cheek, nose, eyes, and/or mouth to launch the counterattack.
As used herein, the term “work” shall refer to all the physical, social, and emotional labor required to effectively run District schools; as such, teachers shall be required to do all of the “work,” and the District shall be required to do none of the “work.”
As Sinclair Lewis once said, “There are two insults no human being will endure: that he has no sense of humor, and that he has never known trouble.”
The District’s recent proposal to the PFT is both: laughable, and full of trouble.