Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pittsburgh Promise expands statewide

Starting next year, Promise funds can be used at private colleges, universities and trade schools state wide.


Anonymous said...

This is a great change- once that will make the Pgh Promise a real reason to choose PPS.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Great news indeed. Bucknell, Grove City, W&J, Allegheny, etc.

Now, no need to stop at the PA border.

What about Kenyon, GW, WVU, VPI?

YSU is giving a discount to residents from Allegheny County.

Herman Munster said...

A real reason to choose PPS? Are you joking?
Inflated grade policies. Horrible, apologist curricula. Discipline trouble.
Yup, I can just see the influx of the suburbanites coming across city borders.
Just a question: does anyone here really understand how the Promise works? Does anyone understand that you apply--and accept--your various FAFSA opportunities and then the Promise makes up as much if not all of the difference???
Apparently, the media doesn't think this is necessary info.

Questioner said...

Well, it's not a reason for every family to choose PPS unconditionally. As always it is necessary to choose your school/program carefully and weigh your options. But it definitely puts a finger on the scale in favor of PPS (or a PPS charter), at least for those already living in the city. And even after the FAFSA process, it seems likely that most families would receive some significant benefit from Promise funds, given that there is often a "parent amount" to pay and given that books and living expenses are now covered.

Herman Munster said...

Questioner, you are right in your assertions. Any money is good money. Here are the points--
1) Parents or students are not going to come out after finishing their college careers without owing money for those studies. My simple point is that many people--media included--tend to think of this as a "free education."
2) Is it proper to use this endeavor as the linchpin for an entire administration--to the point where all of the failings or questionable decisions are forgotten? Is it right to gear everything within the district in a direction that places all kids on the "pathway to the promise", even if it means inflating grades to get them there??? Isn't this tactic at odds with the idea of academic integrity?
I simply think of PPS as now being a corporation, with Mr.Roosevelt as CEO and a great deal of emphasis placed on P.R. Is it impossible to remember the business of educating our students to be world class members of society, regardless of what they aspire to???

Questioner said...

The Promise definitely shouldn't be the answer whenever concerns are raised, especially because we'll have to see how things go on a long term basis- will future superintendents be able to raise this kind of money? UPMC's yearly pledge depends on matching funds equal to 1.5 times the UPMC contribution.

But in the meantime- for $40k, those looking for a free education should be able to find SOMETHING that will work well for them!

PSCCer said...

Shortly after the Pitsburgh Promise was announced I wrote a little blurb and included it in a summary sheet for my elementary school PSCC meeting. I remember the main idea as "principals will not be sitting at their desks on the last day of school in June writing checks." I wish every mention of The Promise reminded readers of the minimum academic and attendance requirements. Yearly, the minimum increases.

Questioner said...

Isn't the academic requirement just increasing from 2.0 to 2.5, which will be more than taken care of by the new 1-5 grading scale that tends to raise D averages to C and C averages to B?

Anonymous said...

Questioner, you understand what's going on. The idea is---let's hang our hats on the only thing which can be applauded, the Pittsburgh Promise. And let's work around the problem that a great percentage of our kids don't give a hoot about their grades, don't do homework, don't study for tests--really, don't lift a finger.
There ought to be an investigation into these people.
This is supposed to be about education. A school district inherently must have a system of evaluation of students. Isn't anyone else sickened that the system in PPS has been watered down as it is.
Can you imagine what admissions reps at Pitt, PSU, Duquesne and WVU...among myriad others...thinks of us?

Questioner said...

Part of the idea seems to be that if these kids that don't care about their homework, tests or grades see a future, they'll have a reason to care.

But, the new grading system seems likely to move along some of those who still don't care, Promise or not.

It will be important to obtain accurate information about what happens to those who use the Promise money. If too many are dropping out or wasting it, standards may need to be tightened.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Motivation comes from both the carrot and the stick. The "Pgh Promise" is carrot.

The Pgh Promise is exactly what Pgh is famous for, SMOKE. (Not a good thing.)

The mission of the PPS is to educate K-12ers. The Promise is MOSTLY about college. That's classic. Baseball coaches say, "Don't take your eye off the ball." It fits. The Promise takes our eyes off the ball for HS Reform.