Monday' s PPS press release quotes the PA Secretary of Education as stating:
"Six years ago it appeard as though Pittsburgh schools were in an irreversible downward spiral."
However, reports from 2003 and 2005 do not seem to show a downward spiral.
See this RAND report for 1997-2002 page 17 showing an upward trend in PPS scores and a narrowing of the gap between PPS and state PSSA scores:
See also this 2005 report by the Council of the Great City Schools (page 24):
It would probably be helpful to compare progress between 2001-2005 and 2005-2009, also taking into account demographic changes that may have taken place during that period.