Letters to the Editor (July 17, 2013)

Philly pub­lic school teach­ers need to suck it up

As much as I hate to see any­one lose a job in this eco­nomy, why do teach­ers in the Phil­adelphia school dis­trict think they should be im­mune to the ef­fects this eco­nomy has had on mil­lions of oth­ers?

Maybe they thought that by be­com­ing teach­ers, they would be guar­an­teed jobs for life. But demo­graph­ics have changed. There were not as many chil­dren born after the last of the baby boomers in 1964. There­fore, you have few­er people to have chil­dren, so there will be few­er in the fol­low­ing gen­er­a­tion. Also, many are mov­ing out of the city. Can you blame them? So now the city needs few­er schools, teach­ers and ad­min­is­trat­ors.

Just be­cause someone be­comes a teach­er, it doesn’t mean he or she should or will be guar­an­teed a teach­ing job for the rest of his or her life. If keep­ing the school dis­trict solvent means lay­ing off teach­ers, ad­min­is­trat­ors and sup­port staff, then so be it. And stop with the phony al­tru­ism about how the lay­offs will hurt the chil­dren. The less money spent on need­less build­ings and per­son­nel could mean more money go­ing to new books and oth­er learn­ing ma­ter­i­als that will be­ne­fit the chil­dren.  

Teach­ers seem to be the only pro­fes­sion­als who send their people to Har­ris­burg to rally for new taxes in or­der to save their jobs. Well, we’re sorry for the loss of your jobs, but suck it up like every­one else. Fig­ure out how you can use that edu­ca­tion and ex­per­i­ence in an­oth­er way to make a liv­ing.

Peter Di­Gi­useppe


A suc­cess­ful day in Lawn­crest on Ju­ly 4

The Lawn­crest Ju­ly 4th Com­mit­tee would like to take this op­por­tun­ity to thank every­one who helped make our 2013 Com­munity Cel­eb­ra­tion a safe and suc­cess­ful event. 

Our en­tire day, from the morn­ing parade to the fire­works at night, was only made pos­sible by you — the neigh­bors, busi­nesses, friends, churches, re­l­at­ives and vo­lun­teers who gave dona­tions and time to make the cel­eb­ra­tion hap­pen.

We would like to thank the Collins Fam­ily Shop-Rite, which has played a ma­jor role in see­ing that the fire­works were a part of our activ­it­ies, and to the fol­low­ing T-shirt spon­sors: Brandon & Hollinger Real Es­tate, Pil­grim Baptist Church, Friendly Cob­bler, Rings Drugs Ltd., State Farm In­sur­ance (Gary Wink­ler), St. Wil­li­am Seni­or Cit­izens, Crest-Lawn Me­mori­al Amer­ic­an Le­gion Post #832, Phil­adelphia Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on, In­teg­rity Real Es­tate, Camp­bell Fu­ner­al Homes, Mr. D’s Plumb­ing, Sum­mers Heat­ing and Air, Cardone, Wo­men’s Club of Lawn­crest, Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter, state Rep. Dwight Evans, Al­len Tires and Ser­vices, Friends of Lawn­crest Lib­rary, Memory of “Mr. Ol­ney” (Gene Mans­do­er­fer), Salerno’s Pizza, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, Jim’s Auto­mot­ive, state Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen, Bar-Kay Jew­el­ers, Blakes­ley’s Auto­mot­ive, Coun­cil­wo­man Mari­an Tasco, Lawn­crest Com­munity As­so­ci­ation, PNC Bank, Cres­centville United Meth­od­ist Church, Dot Galla­gh­er Fam­ily, Boaz & Ruth Inc., Life Cel­eb­ra­tion by Givn­ish, state Rep. Mark Co­hen, New Star Auto Col­li­sion, The Phil­adelphia Prot­est­ant Home, Soltan & Dougherty Coun­selors at Law, Prince of Peace Luther­an Church, Beth­any United Church of Christ, Lawn­crest Re­alty and Rising Sun Plaza.

This year, Michel’s Bakery sup­plied free baked goods, and Otto Schmidt Flor­ist provided flowers for our parade mar­shals. 

A few new sup­port­ers were Rally Mo­tors, Rita’s Wa­ter Ice, Acme, Path­mark, Wawa and the Collins Shop-Rite, wicho provided wa­ter to the parade par­ti­cipants.

Thank you to all the groups who made the parade a suc­cess and to the new groups that joined us, to our mil­it­ary, po­lice and fire­men, and Scout Troop 563. Once again, Uni­ver­sal Auto Club and An­tique Cars was a huge at­trac­tion.

It was an ex­cep­tion­ally hot day and we ap­pre­ci­ate our flea mar­ket stands, vendors and dunk tank vo­lun­teers.

We hope we have not for­got­ten any­one, but we prob­ably did, so please ex­cuse us and ac­cept our sin­cere thanks.

We would also thank the North­east Times, Tom War­ing, Tom Stig­lich, the Pub­lic Re­cord, www.neast­philly.com and the loc­al ra­dio and tele­vi­sion net­works for get­ting the word out.

Our theme for 2013, “Rid­ing in­to the Fu­ture,” only happened with the help and sup­port of all who wished to carry on the tra­di­tion.

Now we look for­ward to 2014 and our 99th an­niversary. Let’s make it hap­pen with your sup­port.

Have a safe and happy sum­mer, and thank you to every­one.

The Lawn­crest Ju­ly 4th Com­mit­tee

If you do the crime, you must do the time

We all know that crime is run­ning rampant in our city. Pris­on is aw­ful. I worked as a cor­rec­tion­al of­ficer in East­ern State Pen­it­en­tiary, and be­ing locked up is aw­ful.

Be­ing locked up from 6 p.m. un­til morn­ing drives you stir-crazy. If you have claus­tro­pho­bia, then you’re a can­did­ate for go­ing stir-crazy. You look around you and you see walls and bars. You’re locked in, can’t re­treat. You scream; they pad your cell so oth­er in­mates don’t hear you. 

How these people can come back after be­ing re­leased and go­ing through that is bey­ond me. Of course, every­one doesn’t go stir-crazy. So, re­mem­ber, all you people out there, do not com­mit a crime. East­ern State is closed now, but it’s open for tour­ists and it’s es­pe­cially a good place to go Hal­loween night. I worked there a year and a half. It was time to go.

Jerry Foglia Sr.


Il­leg­al im­mig­rants will boost Demo­crats 

I stared at the polit­ic­al car­toon in dis­be­lief that showed a Tea Party mem­ber build­ing a wall to stop what I as­sume are Mex­ic­an il­leg­als from cit­izen­ship and then read the let­ter to the ed­it­or on how we need to al­low them to be­come cit­izens be­cause our fam­il­ies were more than likely im­mig­rants as well.

I don’t know about your fam­il­ies, but mine came to this coun­try leg­ally, through prop­er chan­nels ac­cord­ing to the im­mig­ra­tion laws, not sneak­ing across a bor­der some­place to have a baby to an­chor them­selves with­in our bor­ders. You can find both my moth­er’s grand­fath­er and my fath­er in the books.

In case the bleed­ing-heart lib­er­als and vote-hungry-for-the-next-elec­tion Demo­crats haven’t no­ticed, the term is “il­leg­al im­mig­rant,” not “res­id­ent ali­en.” This ad­min­is­tra­tion is plan­ning to re­ward people for break­ing the law to either bow to pres­sure from groups that have a large tie to the il­leg­als or to make sure they do gar­nish a whole new group of Demo­crats.

Yes, im­mig­ra­tion laws need to be fixed, but fixed in or­der to do away with the ar­cha­ic an­chor baby law and guar­an­teed med­ic­al treat­ment for il­leg­als, and to stream­line de­port­a­tion of those who break the law. 

I voted Demo­crat the last elec­tion, but I won’t make that mis­take again.

Heza­ki­ah Lev­in­son


Il­leg­al im­mig­rants should fol­low the laws 

John Mc­Greevy is cor­rect in that all ex­cept Nat­ive Amer­ic­ans are des­cend­ants of im­mig­rants, but I think he is miss­ing the point.

The is­sue is not the law-abid­ing people who come here and fol­low the pro­ced­ures to ob­tain cit­izen­ship. The prob­lem is with those who come here il­leg­ally and think that they have rights.

Just the fact that they don’t enter Amer­ica leg­ally and don’t ap­ply to re­main here leg­ally shows that they have com­plete dis­reg­ard for our laws and no re­spect for our coun­try.

It’s not only in­sult­ing to the coun­try, it’s a slap in the face to the im­mig­rants who fol­low the reg­u­la­tions and go through the pro­cess of be­com­ing leg­al cit­izens.

Linda States

Pennypack Woods

Don’t ri­dicule rat lov­ers 

I would like to re­spond to Jerry Briggs of May­fair’s let­ter of June 19, con­cern­ing the Black Death caused by rats. You have the right to dis­agree with Philly Rat Res­cue, but it is not ne­ces­sary to ri­dicule an in­di­vidu­al’s be­lief. Every liv­ing thing on Earth has a reas­on and pur­pose for ex­ist­ing. The next time you write in, just stick to the facts and stop your grand­stand­ing.

Bill Tin­ney


Study short­changes Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity edu­ca­tion school 

Re­cently, Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity, and in par­tic­u­lar the School of Edu­ca­tion, re­ceived neg­at­ive pub­li­city based on the Na­tion­al Coun­cil of Teach­er Qual­ity (NC­TQ) study of teach­er pre­par­a­tion pro­grams in the United States. As a pro­fess­or, now re­tired, who served proudly as a mem­ber of the fac­ulty in the School of Edu­ca­tion at Holy Fam­ily for 19 years, I was shocked when I read about their find­ings, es­pe­cially in light of re­cent re­search of my own in­volving former stu­dents who now work as edu­cat­ors in area schools. My re­search dir­ectly con­tra­dicts NC­TQ’s con­clu­sions about the qual­ity of pre­par­a­tion in Holy Fam­ily’s pre-ser­vice teach­ing pro­grams.

Last Oc­to­ber, my former stu­dents re­ceived a let­ter from me ask­ing if I could come and vis­it with them in their schools. Al­ways curi­ous about what kind of teach­ers or ad­min­is­trat­ors my stu­dents had be­come, I wanted to see them in ac­tion and to in­ter­view them af­ter­ward.

I knew from my years as a mem­ber of the fac­ulty that we set clear goals for our pre-ser­vice teach­ers, based on rig­or­ous Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Edu­ca­tion stand­ards and the mis­sion of the uni­versity. Goals in­cluded pre­par­ing teach­ers to meet the chal­lenges of di­verse classrooms, en­gage chil­dren as act­ive learners and work col­lab­or­at­ively with col­leagues and ad­min­is­trat­ors. My re­search pur­pose was clear: to see how well we had pre­pared our stu­dents to be­come edu­cat­ors. From Oc­to­ber to June of this year, I ob­served and in­ter­viewed a num­ber of Holy Fam­ily gradu­ates. Al­though self-se­lec­ted, par­ti­cipants were a rep­res­ent­at­ive sample of gradu­ates from the School of Edu­ca­tion. Today, some of the gradu­ates are teach­ers; some are prin­cipals; and some hold su­per­vis­ory or spe­cial­ist po­s­i­tions.

All are highly com­pet­ent pro­fes­sion­als demon­strat­ing that the School of Edu­ca­tion was suc­cess­ful in meet­ing our goals and pre­par­ing stu­dents to be­come edu­cat­ors. Meet five Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity gradu­ates:

Shawn McGuigan, MEd, class of ‘97, is the prin­cip­al of Samuel Fels High School in Ox­ford Circle. When Shawn took over as prin­cip­al, Fels ranked on the Phil­adelphia school dis­trict’s per­sist­ently dan­ger­ous list for nine years. Work­ing col­lab­or­at­ively with his as­sist­ants and the fac­ulty, Shawn’s tough but fair ap­proach soon paid off and Fels was re­moved from the list after his first year as prin­cip­al. Asked if he would change any­thing about Holy Fam­ily’s School of Edu­ca­tion and the way he was trained to be a teach­er, Shawn replied, “Noth­ing. Hav­ing strong, sup­port­ive teach­ers made the dif­fer­ence…the hands-on, pro­ject-based cur­riculum did a lot to pre­pare us.” Shawn is com­plet­ing his first year as a doc­tor­al can­did­ate in Edu­ca­tion­al Lead­er­ship at Ar­ca­dia Uni­versity.

Can­dice Wells Sa­saki, MEd, class of ’04, teaches second grade at Cap­tain James Lawrence Ele­ment­ary School in Bur­l­ing­ton City, N.J. Dur­ing the les­son I ob­served, Can­dice pre­pared the chil­dren for Read­ers’ Theat­er, a lit­er­acy strategy that builds speak­ing and listen­ing skills dur­ing the re­tell­ing of a story. She de­scribed her style of teach­ing as “ hands-on and stu­dent-centered with lots of move­ment” for the chil­dren and “strong classroom man­age­ment” on her part. Evid­ence of Can­dice’s com­mit­ment to ef­fect­ive teach­ing is her work to­ward na­tion­al board cer­ti­fic­a­tion. This ad­vanced teach­ing cre­den­tial is an hon­or awar­ded after a rig­or­ous, peer-re­viewed pro­cess that demon­strates a teach­er’s skills in ad­van­cing stu­dent achieve­ment. From what I saw, I have no doubt that Can­dice will earn na­tion­al board cer­ti­fic­a­tion.

Elena Man­ning, MEd, class of ’99, is com­plet­ing her first year as prin­cip­al of Yard­ville Ele­ment­ary School in Hamilton, N.J. Pre­vi­ously, Elena taught fourth and fifth grades and was named Teach­er of the Year for the Hamilton School Dis­trict. She also served as a middle school math and tech­no­logy coach and as a data coach. Asked to de­scribe her style of ad­min­is­tra­tion, Elena calls her­self a “ser­vant lead­er.” Her job is to be in the classrooms every day, ob­serving the chil­dren. Wheth­er she is fix­ing a pro­ject­or or shar­ing in­struc­tion­al web­sites, Elena provides the teach­ers with the tools ne­ces­sary for ef­fect­ive in­struc­tion.

Gary Stevens, BA, class of ’04, has taught fifth grade so­cial stud­ies and sci­ence at St. Jerome Ele­ment­ary School in Phil­adelphia for nine years. Asked to re­call the teach­ing styles of fac­ulty in the School of Edu­ca­tion, Gary de­scribed us as hav­ing en­gaged stu­dents in hands-on, in­ter­act­ive learn­ing in­fused with tech­no­logy. In the les­son I ob­served, Gary did just that with his stu­dents. He used an in­ter­act­ive game on the SMART board to re­view stu­dents’ map­ping skills.

Cath­er­ine News­ham, EdD, class of ’97, owned, op­er­ated and taught in her own day care fa­cil­ity while at­tend­ing Holy Fam­ily. After gradu­ation, she be­came a teach­er for the Bris­tol Town­ship School Dis­trict for 12 years. Cath­er­ine now serves as the Su­per­visor of Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion K-5 for the Centen­ni­al School Dis­trict in Warmin­ster. Asked to de­scribe her style of ad­min­is­tra­tion, Cath­er­ine says she is flex­ible and team-based, adding that, “The best edu­ca­tion I had was at Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity…the course work and con­tent was spot on.”

These former stu­dents and oth­ers I in­ter­viewed are all proud to be gradu­ates of Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity. I am proud of the work we did as the fac­ulty in the School of Edu­ca­tion to pre­pare them to be ded­ic­ated, ef­fect­ive pro­fes­sion­als. NC­TQ has got it all wrong. Just ask the ad­min­is­trat­ors and col­leagues who work col­lab­or­at­ively with Holy Fam­ily’s gradu­ates in hun­dreds of area schools every day.

Phyl­lis Wolf Galla­gh­er, EdD

Pro­fess­or of Ele­ment­ary and Early Child­hood Edu­ca­tion (re­tired 2010)

You can reach at .

comments powered by Disqus