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School District of Philadelphia ends controversial "leveling" process

School District of Philadelphia ends controversial process known as "leveling"
School District of Philadelphia ends controversial process known as "leveling" 00:27

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The School District of Philadelphia is getting rid of "leveling," the controversial process that reassigned teachers to different schools every fall, Superintendent Tony Watlington Sr. announced Tuesday. 

The school district said it will reallocate up to $8.8 million from its central office to fund the discontinuation of leveling in any schools or classrooms after the beginning of the school year. 

"Research shows that the single most important factor in a student's academic achievement is having access to an effective, highly-qualified, and stable teacher over time. The next factor is effective, stable principals," Watlington Sr. said in a news release. "We are committed to investing in and protecting our classrooms from budget cuts, to the extent we can. We have taken the following financial responsibility measures, which include reducing central office budgets without laying off employees."  

Within the past year, the school district said it met with students, families, staff, and elected officials to discuss leveling and the budget for the next school year, including a City Council hearing with Council Majority Leader Katherine Gilmore-Richardson and Education Committee Chair Isaiah Thomas. 

With leveling going away, the school district said it will implement improvements and increase outreach efforts to students and families over the summer to get more accurate information about enrollment heading into the 2024-25 school year. 

"The decision to eliminate leveling is a sound one and a very welcome one. It will allow both children and staff important stability at the start of the school year that will help set the trajectory for a strong year. Over the years, we have worked to mitigate the challenges set forth by the process of leveling." Jerry Jordan, the President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said in a statement. 

"To know that the District recognizes and appreciates the importance of a stable staff is significant. Every child in every school needs and deserves a highly qualified, certified teacher from the first day of school. It is imperative that we get this right for our young people. We can and must do more as a District and a city to ensure that we have fully staffed schools, where together, educators and students can thrive," Jordan said. 

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