Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bonuses in Wilkinsburg

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post Please

This in today's Post Gazette.

By Clarece Polke / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Elementary principals Tanya Smith, of Turner Elementary, and Rosalind Fisher, of Kelly Elementary, will receive one-time bonuses from the Wilkinsburg School District for improved School Performance Profile scores for the 2013-14 school year.

The school board unanimously approved the bonuses for the principals at Tuesday night's legislative meeting. The scores were released in November by the state Department of Education.

Turner Elementary saw one of the highest score increases in Allegheny County of 12.9 points, for an overall score of 68. Ms. Smith received a bonus of $1,500. Kelly Elementary saw an increase of 6.5 points to 62.9. Ms. Fisher received a bonus of $1,000.

The SPP score is based largely on student performance on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, state-required end-of-course Keystone Exams, and the amount of growth shown by students in one year.

Board director Richard Bradford suggested the board also recognize teachers who showed significant progress in their classrooms. Superintendent Dan Matsook proposed hosting a breakfast for teachers at both buildings.

Mr. Matsook has attributed the improvements, in part, to efforts from elementary teachers to use data-driven decisions in their instruction.

"They did something that's very important and very phenomenal to us," Mr. Bradford said. "Yes they had leadership at the building level, but the teachers did the work at the front lines."

The improvements at the elementary level contrast with persisting struggles at Wilkinsburg High School. The district is working to improve academic achievement at the high school, where no students tested proficient in biology last year. The school saw a 1.7-point decrease from the previous year with a score of 34.6, the lowest score in the county for the second consecutive year."

Westinghouse evacuated

Word is that Westinghouse students were evacuated this morning to the Y but have now returned to the school building, due to a bomb threat.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Letters and editorials about A+

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"This is a comment about the latest (1/26) "opinion letter" about A+ Schools in the P-G. More A+ PR.

"Does anyone else find it strange that there is an almost monthly (or more) article, opinion letter, editorial piece, etc. praising or thanking A+ schools in the PG? There are countless amazing foundations, advocacy groups, charitable organizations, and educational partnerships with a long history of serving the Pittsburgh community. Why don't we see an endless stream of love letters and thank you notes for ANY other group? 
Is the work of A+ schools so life changing that citizens are compelled to stop what they doing and compose a written thank you note that simply must be shared with the entire city? 

When was the last time you thought something was so amazing or helpful, you said to yourself "I must stop what I'm doing and write a letter to the newspaper! The city of Pittsburgh needs to hear about this!" Now think about how often someone is compelled to do this for A+ schools?! Really??!! 

I think not. This is a well documented Gates Foundation strategy called "astro turfing" or fake grass roots support. This Gates funded group drums up community support for his "school reform" using cherry picked data to play on the emotions of a public they largely consider too ignorant to dig deep enough to question the numbers or logic. Too further influence the public, "opinion" letters and "editorials" are ramped up whenever the public begins to ask questions (as in Chris Potter's article 2 weeks ago) or to sway public opinion to support Gates style reforms. 

As we approach contract negotiations and the public becomes more aware of A+ schools and their shady practices, there will likely be a rise in these types of letters and other desperate measures to influence (brainwash) the public." "

Teacher salaries

Anonymous wrote:

"P-G article regarding teacher salaries.

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2015/01/26/Pittsburgh-teachers-pay-schedule-examined-as-contract-talks-begin/stories/201501260006

One of the people responding to this article talks about needing a pay cut. I hopes he doesn't mean a teacher pay cut. We need fewer administrators at the top making the high salaries. Start the cuts at the top! PPS has more chiefs than Indians. I would like to see the total numbers of students, teachers, and administrators. We are top heavy. Put these administrators into the classrooms and lower class size. Oh, only the administrators who actually have real hands-on teaching experience. They don't all have that in their resume.

As we get closer and closer to the end of this contract, expect more articles making it sound like our teachers are paid too much. The P-G will continue to be the mouthpiece for PPS' PR."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Instability in school leadership

Anonymous wrote:


"New post please
PG censorship. The PG keeps removing comment from article
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/letters/2015/01/23/Stability-of-leadership-is-a-key-factor-in-Pittsburgh-and-other-school-districts/stories/201501230071

keeps removing comment below since last night

You are correct, but instability is the GOAL of the Gates and Eli Broad style of reform that PPS succumbed to! Our superintendent, many of the central office staff, and consultants are Broad school graduates as was Mark Roosevelt. Without a doubt, a Broad trained person is being groomed right now to take Linda Lane's place if we don't wake up and do something about it.

The goal of this reform is to create instability and disruptive change. As evidenced by the decline and demise of PPS, this is an awful strategy for school reform. The Broad's academy actually pays to place its trainees in urban schools to create a charter market.

For financially struggling school districts, the Broad Foundation’s offer of trained personnel or services for a free or reduced cost is extremely appealing, and creates a “pipeline” of individuals with the same ideology who can be installed in central office positions.

Eli Broads, Bill Gates, and their foundations believe that public schools should be run like a business. One of the tenets of this philosophy is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.

Does this sound like a good way to run a school? But go ahead and try to fight it. The union, the mayor, A+ school and others sold the public and the children down the river for this "generous" Gates money.
Now central office is overrun with Broad trained staff who will do anything to preserve their six figure jobs. They continue to surround and protect themselves by hiring more like minded Broad's graduates, while the continuous change and restructuring in our schools weakens the ability of parents and teachers to unite and resist their disastrous "reform" agenda.

Many cities involved with the Gates money have figured this out already and some have gotten rid of Broad trained superintendents and staff or refused Gates money. Pittsburgh is catching on, hopefully before it is too late. This is what the money bought us. It never touched the kids."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Career training

 What if PPS had spent the money used on consultants and experiments that amounted to nothing in this way; imagine a refurbished, centrally located Connelly:

"After about two decades of a typical curriculum in its middle school and high school, Boys Town is overhauling its class offerings to refocus on Father Flanagan’s original vision of vocational classes, which are increasingly in vogue. Now, they have a fancy new name: career-readiness courses.
“If I can get these kids some skills and a tool belt, they can walk out of here the day they graduate and get a job,” said Chuck Lambert, who teaches Boys Town’s two new construction classes. “They can survive...

The public school system in nearby Grand Island built the $5 million Career Pathways Institute, an old warehouse now outfitted for instruction in welding, general construction, information technology and manufacturing."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/us/boys-town-skilled-labor-vocational-courses.html?ref=education&_r=0

 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Task force update

From the PG:

The mayor's education chief, Curtiss Porter, has resigned and " the task force ended its first year with agreements to cooperate further on areas including public safety, out-of-school time programming, community schools, school funding and marketing the excellence of education in Pittsburgh."

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/01/16/Curtiss-Porter-resigns-as-Pittsburgh-government-s-education-officer/stories/201501160203