Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Magnet enrollment plan discussed

From today's Tribune-Review:


Annette Werner said...

PURE Reform will have a more complete discussion of this meeting. However, one significant piece of information is that not many people made it to the Tuesday meeting- a reporter, a principal to be, a school board member, the A+ Schools director, and at most 6 parents. Scheduling of both of these meetings during spring break with one of one of the dates coinciding with two religious holidays, makes participation more difficult, as does the fact that neither meeting is in a central location. Still, it would be good to see more people make the effort to attend Thursday's meeting.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Teleconference - and/or telephone conf call - would make sense. Then we can listen via a podcast.

It would be easy.

An advance agenda and some data would be most welcomed too. What are the talking points / issues to be talked about.

Annette Werner said...

The PPS magnet page is at

but I'm not finding the proposed changes listed- maybe I'm missing something. It seems like this would be important information to post. Will try to get a summary done soon.

Questioner said...

The PPS presentation has basically been posted on PURE Reform's announcement page; go to Announcements, April 7 event and click on PURE Reform report. Impressions and information from this particular meeting are still to be added.

This information is quite time consuming to go through. Review in advance definitely would definitely make the "public roundtables" on April 7 and 9 more of a chance to offer input rather than just hearing about what is being proposed.

Questioner said...
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Annette Werner said...

Should applicants get an additional chance "weight" for coming from a PPS, or will this discourage/lock out/ fail to attract students from private schools and outside the city (ie, contrary to what the Pgh Promise is intended to do).

Should behavioral standards be any higher at a magnet than at a feeder pattern school, or should magnets be required to deal with behavioral issues just as other schools do?

If other "magnets" are marketed and have the same application rate as the sci tech school did it may be very difficult to obtain a place in a magnet. This may leave students in Highland Park, Bloomfield Garfield, etc. much more likely than they have been in the past to have be assigned to feeder schools in a neighborhood that is further away and/or in which there are few others of the same race. What can be done to create more diverse options?

An issue came up re: the Allderdice engineering program and students thought to sign up for the program just to go to Allderdice but with no real interest in engineering. Reportedly, students who complete a year in the program can stay in the school even if they drop engineering. Perhaps these students should be assigned to return to home schools.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Should behavioral standards be any higher at a magnet than at a feeder pattern school?


I think behavior needs to be better at all schools.

Don't want to dumb down grades AND behaviors.

Discipline and expectations are important keys that are not being delivered. At one point a few years ago Mark Roosevelt said that discipline was to be of prime importance -- next year. That statement was a joke, by and large.

Mark Rauterkus said...

It was asked, in a loaded type question....

What can be done to create more diverse options?

Make more options. Create viable options -- not tinker with the application process.

If you want options -- then move more and more to an all option district.

We want better options. Carrick and Brashear are options, for instance. They are "diverse" enough. But neither are great enough.

A simple, cost effective, way to make additional diverse options for families of Pittsburgh is to flip one failing school into an all girl campus and another failing school set up for only boys.

If you want more "diversity," well, that's a different matter. For more diversity in the city you'd have to recruit more students with white skin color. That would be a false goal.

I don't want, as a goal, more diversity. I want more student knowledge. More learning. More education.

Diversity isn't Pgh's problem.

Choice selection today are a problem as the school one attends is too often dictated to where one lives.

"Feeder patterns" at the high school level could be eliminated and the diversity of magnet choice would climb greatly.

If you rest your head in a bed in the east and want to go to Langley HS (in west) -- fine. What's the harm in that?

We're not sure if that is the end game or not.

If all the schools are going to be made available to any student, regardless of where he/she resides, then let's put that vision onto the table and settle on that philosophical switch, first / next. Then we can figure out how to allow for the application process to be conducted.