Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Turnover at ALA's

Article from today's PG reporting that per the district, high turnover at the ALA's was expected.


Mr.Rigor said...

Wow. Welcome to the Roosevelt PR machine with Joe Smydo acting as mouthpiece, as usual.

Here's a couple of quotes that are simply laughable:

"Some of the people who left weren't cut out for an ALA," Mr. Nath said. "It's very rigorous. It's a fast-paced environment."

Rigorous? You mean like out-of-control rigorous, Jim?

And then this whopper....

"District Superintendent Mark Roosevelt last night said turnover is to be "expected and not feared." He said it's common for high-performing urban schools to have high turnover, in part because some staff members find the expectations or workloads are not for them."

This, coming from a man who has never been in an urban classroom by himself--is complete comedy. "High performing", Mark? What can you be thinking? Who are you fooling?

Questioner said...

The paper has to report the adminstration's position- it doesn't mean that (and doesn't really matter if) the reporter agrees or disagrees. The characterization of ALA's as high performing could be investigated more thoroughly, though.

tired tparent said...

"high performing" keep repeating it an maybe it will come true.

Anonymous said...

Investigated, Questioner? By who? The PG? This administration OWNS local media.

cynicalparent said...

Have to agree that investigative reporting seems to mean asking the district to give them numbers and printing them and then asking the district what those numbers mean and then printing that.

Investigative journalism is near death, unless it's already gone.

cynicalparent said...

From the article: "Christiana Otuwa, the assistant superintendent who oversees the academies, emphasized that many of the teachers who transferred did so only because of declining enrollments."

Umm, isn't this another (important) part of the story? If these are such excellent, fast-paced, rigorous schools why is the enrollment declining -- shouldn't parents be trying to get more kids in? We've been told over and over how great this K-8, different curriculum, longer day and year is -- but parents pulling students (or not choosing that school) and teachers leaving seems to be giving a different message.

Questioner said...

Meanwhile the environmental charter school has a waiting list and we are not hearing anything about high turnover there.

Another good topic for investigation: how does performance at this charter school compare to performance at the ALA's, taking into account student improvement as well as end results?

Yeah, Right said...

Questioner, way to divert the conversation. Seems like you want to continually wish to play devil's advocate. The topic is not charter schools but rather, the "vision" of a dumping ground for poor-achieving and poor-behaving students called "ALA's".
Maybe you ought to visit one. Mr.Roosevelt won't...unless he has bodyguards.

Questioner said...

The thought was just that high performing schools do not necessarily have high turnover.

Maybe the subtext of the administration's comments, though, is that high poverty schools with high performance goals will have high turnover. Does that have to be the case? Does the high turnover make it more difficult to attain those goals?

PURE's links page contains articles suggesting that part of the solution is to avoid concentrating poorer students in a school. To the extent we can diversify and make schools attractive to a range of Pittsburgh students that in and of itself may help. But can ALA's attract a range of students?

Mark Rauterkus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Rauterkus said...

I have never seen the attendance figures for the ALAs in the early school year start.

One of the big 'attractions' to the ALAs is a longer school year. However, the figures for attendance in the month of August have never been reported.

I have a hunch that the early school year start at ALAs is a total flop.

My proof is the hidden attendance figures from the district.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Article: ALA are "models for other district schools."

Humm. Is that a model for schools in other districts?

Is that a model of what not to do?

I've learned a lot of lessons. Some are what to do. Others are what not to do. ALAs are good examples of the later. The best lessons in that realm are learned by watching -- not by doing.

Here is a lesson: CHURN does not equal PROGRESS.

"Hard work" (reminds me of the G W Bush skit on SNL.)

Schools, of all places, need to be places to work smart. Hard work, it seems, is more about a labor camp. Chain gangs gotta do "hard time / hard work."

Not to knock the teachers. And, I understand teaching is hard work. But, golly. Choose your words well. And, remember what you said in the past. This whole story is a new spin. Those teaching staffs were not to turnover. And, that was a goal of Mark Roosevelt. That's accountability. Own up to it.

Anonymous said...

All so true!

Let's have "no excuses" instead of spin.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of blame to go around and it starts, as usual, with the short-sighted thinking of the non-educators who run PPS. This was a bad idea from day 1.
The turn-over rate has a great deal to do with a couple of factors. Originally, many, many teachers nearing retirement opted for spots at the schools. The thinking was that the extra $6000 a year would pad their retirement pay and to hear Roosevelt talk of the idea, these unruly kids were going to be made to see the light.

Secondly, many, many displaced teachers ended up at ALA's when that is all which was available. Can you blame them for wanting to look elsewhere when given the opportunity.

That said, I agree. Principal Nath's comments are great hilarity.