Monday, November 2, 2009

School closing recommendations to be made today

From the PG:

"...schools and buildings DeJong Inc. recommends closing will be identified at a 5:30 p.m. meeting of the school board business and finance committee."

"Parents United for Responsible Educational Reform says it will demand ample opportunity for public input and documentation of how DeJong arrived at its recommendations. Also, group member Annette Werner of Shadyside said that when the district translates DeJong's report into a course of action, officials should present an entire plan rather than roll out pieces one at a time."


Questioner said...

The article says

"...the administration won't recommend closing a high-performing school or program just because it is located in a deteriorating building. The district could repair the building or move the school or program."

- However, Schenley was a high performing school and its Spartan program was high performing. Yet both were closed.

Annette Werner said...

According to the parent hotline the Title IX audit report will not be ready until mid to late November. It will be important to leave time to carefully consider this report before making decisions about schools.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I got an email that the Title IX audit for sports will come in early December.

An extension was given to the one who had the contract to perform the audit.

Frankly, I don't think that the audit was anything more than a delay tactic anyway. I know what it is going to report. And, it isn't good. So, there really is little need to have that delay tactic delay the 'progress' any further.

kananymous said...

Questioner, could it be that lessons were learned from the closing of Schenley?

Mark Rauterkus said...

Yes, that news in the article was like a Pittsburgh Earthquake!

"... won't recommend closing a high-performing school ..."

HUGE news. Huge.

That's change.

But, and there is always a but -- what about South Vo Tech? South was a low performing school. But, the kids at South were in school. The kids at South were high performing in terms of baked goods, fixing cars, doing heating & air conditioning, bending pipe, etc. There are performances and then there are performances. Oh well. Hope a more global view is part of the measures -- not just high performing schools in one test.

kanonymous said...

I don't think there is any deliberate delay here on the audit. I think the analysis was a bigger job than anticipated. We also have to remember PPS stepped up and volunteered to be the focus of the audit.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Title IX audit by Peggy Pennepacker started last school year that was supposed to be released (results) this past summer?

Questioner said...

Yes, that's it. So often these reports are delayed and there is no explanation as to why.

In addition to the Title IX report-

the facilities report was to be released in July.

the report by a second consultant on 3 asbestos plaster schools was to be released in May.

If the consultants are falling down on the job there should be monetary penalties built in. Since these same consultants so often produce timely work, though, it is difficult not to wonder about the timing of releases.

Anonymous said...

Mark is right - the Title IX audit is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. We all can write the sugar coated report. City League athletics are in a decline and many coaches (particularly men coaching multiple sports, especially girls' sports,)are only doing it for the money and there is no accountability. Our females are being cheated. There needs to be a major overhaul. Too bad Bill Gates isn't into sports!

Questioner said...

Re: "Could it be that lessons were learned from the closing of Schenley?"

Let's hope so! One important lesson is not to allow these decisions to be made on a rush basis. Sufficient time should be taken to make well-thought out decisions with plenty of input, and assertions that immediate decisions must be made should be examined carefully.

Lessons might also be learned from what is happening with proposed library closings. For example, it might be most cost effective to have, say, only 10 branches, and transport people to the nearest branch (for example by providing bus vouchers); but other considerations weigh against that approach. Some of these same considerations are likely in the context of schools. An independent audit when information is questioned might also be a good idea.

Mark Rauterkus said...

An indie audit when info is questioned might be good. With the Title IX audit (in sports) there is no question.

Dan Onorato's slogan fits here: Paralysis of Analysis. It was a ploy to do nothing when something needed to be done. The audit was used as an excuse for not doing anything last year and again this year. That's a two year free pass.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Just back from the meeting and presentation.

Was told that the entire audit from the consultants should now be online at the site.


Two big holes in the plan: academic performances / programs. And, what is NOT there was not seen. So, auditoriums, gym spaces, ball fields, swim pools are still in need of another audit.

Board member R. Taylor did make me smile when he said that the kids need places to play.

But, those holes are what they are and are not blind spots. The evaluation and overall report is heavy. Big data. Big coverage.

Even a doughnut has two holes (by design), by design. One is in the middle on the top and the other is in the middle on the bottom.