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September 12, 2011


21st century education reform remains the stumbling block; Archdiocese
doing everything possible to keep students in classrooms

negotiating teams from the Office of Catholic Education and the Association of Catholic Teachers met last Thursday evening, all day Friday and have continued to meet today. On Sunday, proposals were exchanged but the Association of Catholic Teachers did not want any face-to-face discussions with the full Archdiocesan Negotiating Team. The Archdiocese is also disappointed that the Association is still asking for a 14.5% salary increase over three years the same amount they requested on September 4 before the strike.

While the Office of Catholic Education presented proposals that addressed the teachers' concerns about job security while maintaining our academic priorities, the Association has still not seriously discussed any substantial items regarding educational reform and advancement. The contract in question is one for both the present and the future.

As stated previously, the Office of Catholic Education is committed to achieving an agreement that will provide the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing 21st century learning environment and provide its school families with the educational excellence they rightly respect and deserve. We are affirmed
in this resolve by the overwhelmingly supportive correspondence received from parents and school administrators over the past several days.

The current strike did not affect academic schedules at any of the 17 Archdiocesan high schools last week and overall student attendance was recorded at 94%. Students completed previously planned orientation programs. The schedule followed was the same as if teachers had been in the building. Should the teacher strike continue into next week, all schools are expected to open as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. Standardized testing that had been scheduled for later in the month will
be administered to freshmen and sophomores at this time. Parents are asked to check individual school websites for updated scheduling information. The Office of Catholic Education is making every effort to minimize disruption to the academic year and bring a speedy resolution to the strike. We are anxious for our teachers to return to the classroom as soon as possible.

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Editor's Note: The contract currently under negotiation will affect approximately 800 lay teachers. In the five-county Philadelphia region 16,502 students attend 17 Archdiocesan high schools (as of the 2010-2011 school year). For a complete list of schools in the Archdiocese, please visit

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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