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AFFT in TribLive: System-focused bureaucracy is tying teachers’ hands

AFFT Pennsylvania Director Keith Williams was featured in TribLive on Apr. 3, 2020.

Anyone who has stood in front of a classroom knows: You must adapt to succeed. The coronavirus crisis has proven that flexibility is king when it comes to essential skills for teachers.

Like the rest of us, teachers are being forced to adapt to statewide school closures and local quarantines. As individuals, educators are handling this new reality with professionalism and flair. Take New Jersey kindergarten teacher Jill Hammel, whose graceful switch to Google Classroom allows her to send notes to parents, track schedules or videoconference her kids to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Every teacher wants what Hammel has: the option to improvise, and the tools to do so. Unfortunately, Philadelphia teachers were forbidden from improvising new solutions in this crisis — even though they live right across the Delaware River from Hammel’s school in Cherry Hill.

The School District of Philadelphia banned all credit and graded instruction when coronavirus shut down schools, and prohibited the use of digital technology to help maintain continuity for students. They’ve completely tied teachers’ hands.

Why? Because while individual teachers are ready to pivot at a moment’s notice, the institutions that manage their workplaces are out-of-date, system-focused and encumbered by bureaucratic processes.

Read the full article on TribLive.

Americans for Fair Treatment

Americans for Fair Treatment is a free, membership, non-profit organization designed to help public sector workers exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of coercion from unions.