Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Public hearing/ protests re: treatment of black students

From the PG:



Questioner said...

PURE Reform's testimony from yesterday's public hearing has now been posted. Topic were "For this we paid a half a million dollars?" (about the facilities plan) and transparency (or lack thereof).

Go to the purereform.com website, announcements tab, and click on "PURE Reform Report" under the November 16 date.

Questioner said...

More on the public hearing. There was an unusually large number of speakers, and the room was filled to almost standing room only. The general mood was frustration and at times anger.

Board President began the hearing with a brief statement asserting that students including black students have made achievement gains.

A parent spoke complaining of harsh treatment her child received in an in school suspension room. Several parents spoke in support of retaining the current structure for the montessori school. A parent of a graduate spoke seeking more support for the French elementary magnet. Two sci tech students spoke in support of the "sci tech" name for their school. A local businessman spoke about issues with the PPS purchasing department. A parent spoke in support of retaining Fulton. A sister of a Carrick HS student spoke about a range of problems, including only one restroom being open, a security guard smoking near the school doorway, and her sister, who had transferred from another state, being placed in a lower math group because she had not taken PSSA's. Then a speaker from the Regional Equity Monitoring Project and six speakers from the NAACP discussed shortcomings of PPS relating to education as a civil right and school closings. The chairman of the black political empowerment project called the 30.5% racial gap in reading and 27.3 % gap in math "absolutely unacceptable" and called the even greater HS gap "a blueprint for disaster for the African American community." The director of Acorn spoke against school closings and about the high cost for a facilities study when a prior study was already available and when supplies and services, particularly related to music training, were being cut severely. Several speakers mentioned raises in the superintendent's salary at a time when deep cuts are being made. Mark Rauterkus spoke about looping and coaches (his testimony is posted on his blog).

Questioner said...

KDKA coverage:


Questioner said...

One other speaker- a committee man for the 11th ward spoke forcefully against the closing of Peabody HS.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Loved the comments about an "expensive fig leaf" and the other about "lipstick on a pig."

Do you think the Pgh Promise Board should suspend Mayor Ravenstahl from his ceremonial role there (with the Pgh Promise) in light of his new dream / promise to tax college tuition?

Questioner said...

People shouldn't be suspended from or kept off of boards, committees, etc. based on their positions on issues. More problematic is when a board or committee member has a conflict. The mayor ran into this issue himself when he complained that the board evaluating his proposal to tax college students included current and former college administrators.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Should I jump to the Nazi counterpoint (famous in internet discussions) now or later?

I just posted about no time like the present on my blog.

Here is the thing. We don't allow those that abuse children to take care of our kids. That is a protective measure, understood. part of conventional wisdom.

The tax on tuition, something that Luke defends and hatched himself, moves one way. That direction is at the polar opposite of where the Pgh Promise is moving. It is counter productive squared.

Help like that, we need to scorn and live without.

Questioner said...

It's a little different from child abuse. Child abuse is not a position on an issue, and it is illegal. In addition, the mayor could argue that a tuition tax will in the long run be best for students by supporting a healthy city; the same could not be said for child abuse.

Mark Rauterkus said...

It is different, of course.

But, the tuition tax is illegal as well.

The tax on students goes to support the retired city workers, not a healthy city. We rob from the young and give to the retired.

Questioner said...

But, if new ways are not found to support retired city workers the money will come out of other city services. It would be better to present and debate alternatives than remove the mayor from boards.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Luke is in the boat and rowing the wrong way.

The sins of yesterday need not be paid off with the dreams of tomorrow.

Rather than cut off the future, just don't pay the past. JUST being the big word there.

That is the discussion not being dealt with. Chapter 1 = patronage. Chapter 2 = money for nothing. Chapter 3 = winning elections and keeping power. Knock yourself out with those debates.

The only way Luke stays where he is and got where he arrived is because of the old guard.

GM had legacy costs too. PAST workers who got paid for nothing makes life impossible unless the gov comes to stimulate.

If I'm on the Pgh Promise board and Luke wants to make the job impossible, in spirt and in terms of real losses to the program, then I'd show him the door.

Luke's talking about $15M per year. The Pgh Promise was to build to $150M forever.

That means in a decade or so, the Pgh Promise is gone. They only churned. That's what I mean as counter productive squared.

lisa said...

if there is going to be a tax on college students, then WHY is it not the same amount for each student? How does a CMU student use so much more in city services than a Pitt student? Making the tax 1 percent of tuition just fosters more anger towards the tax. The 52 dollar emergency services tax is annoying, but at least its the same for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Note to Mark, you're mixing apples and oranges here. I'm no fan of Mr.Ravenstahl and less of a fan of his tax proposal, but this is no time to play politics. It's always about the money.
The issue shouldn't be confused, however. Someone has said that UPMC, its director and leadership should be the ones targeted first and foremost for taxes and I can only concur. One need only look at the monster which is UPMC to understand that health care overhauls are sorely needed.
Yet, 1% of annual tuition is not going to jeopardize the Promise.I abhor the tax idea, but let's be honest.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I am being honest.

What is an apple and what is an organge to you? Prove something in the post.

$15M tax per year = sucked from college spending

Pittsburgh Promise = college spending

In its life, the Pgh Promise = $150M = 10 years of tuition tax.

Apples & apples. $ & tuition. Subtract 1. Add another = Minus wins before you (& Luke) know it.

Bottom line. The tuition tax deflates the Pgh Promise. Tuition tax will wipe the Pgh Promise away.