Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A+ schools questions plans for reconfiguration

A+ Schools Program Info


A+ Schools strongly advocates that the Pittsburgh Public Schools provide more information on the proposed high school reconfiguration plan in the form of at least one community briefing before voting on any part of this plan.

We observed the June 21st Education Committee meeting, reviewed the materials and met informally with administrators and we believe many important questions are still left unanswered. In fact, we submitted a list of questions to the administration and school board to try to gain a better understanding of exactly what is being proposed.

Our questions and concerns fall into the following categories:

(+) Choice: What is the intended model of choice PPS is trying to achieve and by what mechanism will families be asked to chose?

(+) Equity: How do the proposed plans contribute to the district's vision of equity - policies based on the belief that effort creates ability and with the goal of eliminating the achievement gap?

(+) Alignment: How are the CTE, EET, and Excel 9.12 plan aligned operationally to achieve the same goals?

(+) Feeder Patterns: What are the implications for school size based on the proposed changes in the East End feeder patterns?

We would expect that parents and other stakeholders would have equally valuable, important and possibly different questions and concerns. Tell us what questions you have. We urged the district to create time for those questions to be surfaced and addressed and to build public support for whatever changes are pursued.

While high school reform planning has been going on for three years; the specifics of the current plan have only come to the general public's attention in the past few weeks. We commend the district's efforts to engage a group of stakeholders in developing this plan, but more public understanding and comment is essential. Further, the planning group consisted primarily of East End interest and the changes presented impact the entire district.

A plan of this size and scope deserves a thorough public vetting prior to a legislative vote by the school board. We urged the school board to convene at least one, but preferably several community information sessions before voting on any portion of this plan. More information will allow the community to offer meaningful feedback at future public hearings.
A+ Schools
Questions regarding the Excel 9-12 Plan:
What is the intended model of high school choice that PPS is trying to achieve and by what mechanism will families be asked to choose?
• What is the combination of feeder/magnets/CTE/other programs that PPS is trying to achieve?
• What is the final version of high schools that PPS plans to have by 2015? For each secondary school, what is the configuration, academic program, magnet program, CTE program housed in the school?
• What is the mechanism for students to choose magnets other programs? What is the choice mechanism for each CTE regional cluster? How can these be aligned for parents/families to navigate through them easily?
• If a student feeds into a school with a CTE program, is that student automatically enrolled in the CTE program?
• If Robotics is no longer a magnet and it is housed in the IB School, which is a magnet, how will students that are not part of the IB School be able to access Robotics?
• Currently Oliver, University Prep, Langley and Brashear are listed as partial magnets. Will those schools remain that way or will those magnet options be eliminated or replaced?
In what way is the district’s policy regarding equity reflected in the Excel 9-12 plan?
• How does this plan work specifically towards closing the achievement gap?
• If Oliver is the only feeder school in the north side and the only drop-out/ credit recovery school in PPS how will other students in the city be able to opt-in to Oliver? Is there evidence that the feeder pattern for Oliver has the highest concentration of students at risk of dropping out?
• Is it equitable or lawful to make a single-gender school (Westinghouse) the default choice for a select group of students?
• In what way is the CTE programming in each regional cluster easily accessible to ALL students?
• If Westinghouse is a single-gender school with consumer sciences and health CTE programs, how can we ensure gender equity in those CTE programs while not undermining the qualities of a successful single-gender program?
What is the rationale for changing the east end feeder pattern to be Negley Ave?
• How is Milliones considered under-enrolled when it was intentionally created to serve a specific number of students in the district? Were the residency projections wrong or did fewer students choose Milliones than expected? Moving forward, how can we ensure that enrollment projections for new schools are as accurate as possible as to not create under-enrolled schools?
• How do plans for Uprep change with an expanded feeder pattern since it wasn’t intended to have that large of a student population?
• University Prep was planned before there was consideration for students from the Westinghouse or Peabody feeder pattern. It is currently listed as a partial magnet in the district. What work has been done to ensure that University Prep has enough room to accommodate the entire proposed feeder pattern west of the Negley Ave while remaining a partial magnet? If choice is open to students from both the former Peabody and Westinghouse feeder patterns for University Prep, how can we know that all students who choose University Prep will fit?
How is the proposed CTE plan, the EET plan and the Excel 9-12 plan aligned?
• How is the proposed CTE plan, the EET plan elements (including the extra period accounted for in the collective bargaining agreement and career ladder roles) and the Excel 9-12 plan aligned?
• Who is responsible for managing the conjunction of these plans and coordinate their joint implementation?
• How will the proposed “extended day and extended year” at Oliver be addressed in collective bargaining?
• Perry, Langley and Brashear were targeted for transformation and will be implementing RISE, the Promise Readiness Corps and focusing on Teaching and Learning Environment; however Carrick was left off of any list and it is in Corrective Action 2 (while Langley and Brashear are only in Corrective Action 1) and the transformation strategies are part of the EET plan that are supposed to be implemented in every school. Was Carrick left out intentionally or was it an error? The same question applies to Allderdice where the EET plan was also planned to be implemented.
• If Oliver and Westinghouse are targeted for turnaround and half the staff can stay and there must be new leadership in the building, in what way will those teachers be chosen to stay in accordance with the priorities in the EET plan?
• The CTE program proposal in March stated that roughly 10% of students in a district enroll in CTE and that the entire CTE program was intended to serve between 600-800 students. If feeder schools with CTE programs automatically enroll students in CTE, does the CTE program have the capacity to offer programming at that scale? Conversely, if the anticipated enrollment in CTE is 600-800, how can we ensure that we are offering a full complement of programming in each region while making best use of our funds?
• What makes the Health, IT, Business and Finance and Culinary CTE programs at Oliver different that the CTE programs in the east and west/south cluster for Oliver’s programs to be named career academies?


Anonymous said...

Excellent questions raised by A+ schools.

Anonymous said...

Excellent questions-they are valid and legitimate. But. Our superintendent MR will have all the answers for the enclosed questions with a big pow-wow with the Union. They are HIS-MR- 2010-201 contractual goals for him to acquire his bonus money next August, 2011-this is not a publicity stunt-they are valid and legitimate questions. Nevertheless, this is a setup in some circles from the academic communities’ viewpoint and perspectives. He will attain his bonus money this August.

A* --- just as Rand Corp and Great Schools seem to be watchdogs‼?? As the universities around the US and Canada- state they are funded right hands for urban school districts at the present times with their means to attain data to suit the research to validate for the correct power structure.

Funded by grants and monetary monies for research from political rich people like Gates-Pittsburgh Foundation, etc. They are consultants in reality not necessarily real watchdogs.
Look at last August how they A+ walked hand in hand with MR and –we the PPS made AYP-but with a growth model variant in place to make AYP.

This is where a fine-line crosses regarding research, money and power-this blog is a true watchdog of the PPS

Mr. Lopez from our PPS management work for Great Schools in his career stints in Detroit or Michigan?

Show me the money trail-there is always two sides to research.

Questioner said...

The questions are pretty tough, though- for some of them it would be difficult to come up with a good answer under the current proposal.

Questioner said...

Another discussion of reconfiguration- including the recommendation by the Open East End Panel- will take place on radio station FM 88.3 WRCT Ebony Voices tonight from 6:00 - 7:00.
Listeners may call in with comments to 412 621-9728.

Anonymous said...

The questions from A+ really cover a lot of territory but surprise me just the same. The "endorse the plan" campaign waged prior to the union vote might have signaled to some that A+ had drunk the koolaide.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lopez from our PPS management work for Great Schools in his career stints in Detroit or Michigan?

I wonder-I did not place under that blog entry about the recent Great Schools news release-or gender-specific blog entry.

Anonymous said...

QUESTIONER STATE D UNDER BLOG TOPIC--Possible vote on reconfiguration on July 21"
“A good start for truly obtaining public opinion is to hold a meeting about the plan that has been proposed. Instead of dividing participants up into small groups to just discuss issues among themselves, actually take questions from the community. Answer questions and address concerns about the plan. Be open to revising the plan.”
July 21, 2010 1:14 PM

This sounds to mean like divide and conquer posturing –control the question and answer-limited feedback. Cute little small groups allot crowd control and verbal control. The small group concept is an appeasement -it is the academic answer for power control and lack unification efforts by grassroots movements. When, I was in one small group-I felt alienation because this is supposed to be a LARGE GROUP MEETING. Appeasement –

As you notice no changes or adjustments to the proposed plan-it is still the PPS Management Plan, ONLY the elected Board Members can comment, and yes, THEY will vote for the superintendent and Union Plan-because this is a JOINT ENDEAVORS . A+ worried about teacher placement at the schools and concerned about CTE high school faculty-they have been drinking the Kool-Aid and eating the bait.

They will be the unified front-Tarka and Roosevelt-“two peas in a pod”.

They will be like heroes to academic communities around the country.

Betcha next week they will be running their publicity tour-having unfired answers to all A+ questions-with ease, poise with all aspects of the media present shining the light upon their rationale answers.
However, they will never jointly take questions and answers at a big town hall style meeting.

Just asking -how many of our big management at the PPS facility and Union -they do make huge salaries- - have purchased tons of stock in Gates companies in private undisclosed accounts-off limit to public filing and probing since PPS agreement. It was found in one state Board members were approving contracts for curriculum contracts while quietly and privately investing their own money in the curriculum company’s stock on the market. This is not meant to be a serious accusation. I do believe the powers that are running our district in varied organizational levels are true, fair, and decent individuals. Just because they are making the decisions does mean any implication of whatsoever.

But, the Mighty and the rich and powerful all have the hidden accounts. Many feel that can be a conflict of interest-look at our Senators and other elected officials. In regular corporate companies, this could be devastating.

Oh, add the parenthotline not answering-unavailable this week.

Anonymous said...

The A+ Schools questions are excellent! Two more for serious consideration:

The “ACHIEVEMENT GAP” between Black and White students EXISTS to an egregiously unacceptable degree at ALL PPS High Schools including Allderdice and Carrick. SPECIFICALLY, how does the PLAN address that disparity?

What CHANGES in the DESIGN and DELIVERY of instruction/programming __ and in PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (for ALL professionals) are a part of the Reform and Reconfiguration Plans that will remedy the inequities and disparities that currently exist for Black students?

Anonymous said...

Great questions posed by A+ Schools. I hope the school board is asking the same ones! I follow A+ Schools work very closely and I think that they are exactly the kind of watchdog organization that every school district needs to have.

First: They use supportable facts to make arguments. They do not pose questions or draw conclusions based on their personal views or relative to any single school- we need that reminder that it's not about us, it's about the whole system.

Second: They are independant. They do not always agree or disagree with the district. They also don't take positions on specific people- it's not about Mark Roosevelt, it's about kids. Some examples are:
1. A+ said the achievement gap is widening in reading and PPS told us something different- that was not an agreement
2. A+ supported the empowering effective teachers plan AFTER they did their own research (of which I've read)- that was an agreement- however, A+ also said they'd be monitoring the implementation over time to make sure PPS does what it says it's gonna do.
3. A+ doesn't talk about AYP becuase they don't think it's a good enough measure of if a school's good or not- that's a disagreement with PPS

Third: They tell us informaiton about PPS that we can't get from central office. Some examples are:
1. A+ has uncovered some big inequities in ways that PPS supports kids with their School Works project and have had CONSTRUCTIVE conversations with the public about what's important for kids and what we're missing
2. A+ releases informaiton on student achievement every year in their annual report that PPS does not share on their own

Fourth: They're accessible and they work really hard and do high quality work in response to what people want to know about. I've been to community meetings that are well planned and well thought out where everyone got to participate. They've answered every question I've asked them and then some. I've given suggestions for things to include in their eblast and they've listened.

I agree that no organization is perfect. However, I moved here from another district where we had nothing like an A+ Schools and we should be thankful they exist in Pittsburgh. The public had no information and we had no way of hearing another opinion other than what the district wanted to tell us.

Yes, they're funded by foundations in is every service or nonprofit in the city! Who would you rather them be funded by? the district? national funders who don't have a stake in the success of PPS? Your tax dollars? Your pocket? Your conspiracy theories are crap! If you seriously think that's a problem, then maybe you should volunteer to help them fundraise. A+ Schools doesn't deserve your suspicions.

Time and energy spent on conspiracy theories is time and energy you can't spend on doing actual work on behalf of kids. Put down your "I hate Mark Roosevelt" sign because it's not constructive and won't do anything to create solutions in this district.

Anonymous said...

ARE you for real Anonymous? You must be related to A+ somehow. It is rare that they ever disagree with PPS and the administration and the crap they hand out. A+ is so in bed with PPS that they all know each others sleeper numbers.

Anonymous said...

When did PPS hire PR person to post here?

Are you the same one that put the misleading/lie "Most recently our district was ranked 7th in the nation among public school systems in large U.S. cities in the Greatschools "Best cities to live and learn 2010 report"? It was on that really expensive glossy paper school calendar I got in the mail.

Pardon my skeptism, and for the record, I do not "hate" (what an immature choice of words) Mr. Roosevelt, I don't know him. I disagree with him though.

Anonymous said...

Your comment just illustrated my point about Mark Roosevelt- you said you don't agree with him. PPS is not the same as Mark Roosevelt. I don't agree with him either- I value community and people much more than he does. I think he's smug and elitist.

However, some of PPS' plans do deserve some support- not all- but disagreeing with him shouldn't be an automatic disagreement with every initiative the district proposes. Again, it's about strategies that will work for kids- not about your disagreement with a person. I'm not sure how a plan for putting quality teachers in front of students that need them is an idea that anyone could honestly oppose.

Also, please explain how any foundation (Gates or otherwise) benefits from sinking money into failing public school systems? In your conspiracy theory, exactly how do people make a high enough return on their investment that it would make your theory any way plausible? Using actual facts would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...July 21, 2010 5:28 PM As another Anonymous poster I do not hate Mr. Roosevelt-I also do not like what is going on under his tutelage. In addition, what an immature choice of words just like the other poster stated in reference to Mr. Roosevelt. Also, I disagree with him.

I met Mr. Roosevelt at Heinz Hall when the Arts community had a celebration and it happened to be on his birthday-they had cake for him. That was a few years ago-early in his career with PPS District. Again, our whole family met him. He seemed pleasant, cordial, polite, and courteous. However, we knew it would be inappropriate to take him aside and have a conversation-he is not an approachable person-let’s say because of the circumstances of the event. I do not want to imply anything for Anonymous said...July 21, 2010 5:28 PM to take as a conspiracy theory.

I believe in positivism-but sometimes you need to see the other side to get realism towards positivism. That is the basis of true energy for appropriate change.

I do live and work in this city that means I pay employee taxes to PPS school distgtrict and pay real estate taxes.

I dislike your use of conspiracy theories-I am worried about our children-they are our future-and yes, it is about our children-so please handle and/or pardon our skepticism-I pay money to this district-they creatively know how to spend it-in many ways. I have the right to question-I am a stakeholder, a taxpayer and in the present PPS District environment known as a corporation-due the PPS culture of management structure----- A stockholder of the PPS School District Corporation located as the 341 S Bellfield Avenue Headquarters.

Exhausted said...

As a PPS teacher, I will say this: A+ schools and their ilk are impediments to me. Period.

They do classroom learning no practical good and only serve as another layer of insulation between central administration and classroom reality.

While I am desperately trying to keep my classes on track, A+ schools - and their ilk - are generating reams of data for everyone to "analyze".

I can't tell you how many in-services I've been to where we were given data tables and told to "analyze" them.

Sorry, it's all just a huge smokescreen to cover what's really going on: disruptive, often-criminal "students" are wrecking this district.

Funny that we never see data tables on actual teacher assaults.

Anonymous said...

UPMC benefits with the Promise start-up because UPMC was having trouble with the way they were paying their taxes-it was a way for them to acquire tax deduction in a charitable way. Moreover, not be investigated by the than government in charge. You can go back to purview and review the historical information through press releases regarding UPMC and suddenly the partnership with PPS This marriage and partnership is great charitable chord. I do like This relationship. UPMC is also one of our largest employers in this region. UPMC created a creative way with their tx problems!

Sure many of the PPS Initiatives are great in varied aspects. We like those aspects for our children.

But let us look at the money- I guess we are not rich-here-but Gates, Broad and others want to make a difference in society-but it is also charitable tax deductions. They are billionaires-When you are that rich-it makes sense with your money to acquire power in government. They are making a difference in US society. They are gaining control of our government within the Education sector-directly influencing the educating methods of our children. Classroom instruction and methodology.

Nevertheless, there is a big difference-than giving money to help cover the costs for a new school library or help the children in other situations.

Let’s say their money are not DONATIONS.

Questioner said...

Remember that if the Gates Foundation donates 40 million, that is less than 10% of the yearly PPS budget of 550 million plus- but the Gates Foundation has a disproportionate voice in deciding what experiments the District should try. Most recent initiatives are exactly the ones favored by Gates.

Questioner said...

"Disagreeing w/ Mark Roosevelt" may be shorthand for disagreeing with a certain approach for running the school district rather than any particular decision- ie, issues with transparency, public involvement, and the basis on which decisions are made.

Questioner said...

Re: crowd control and verbal control via the small groups- note that at one session, a representative from the group could comment to the whole room on just one problem/ issue with the ideas the district was considering- but it had to be paired with a solution to the problem. Making it difficult to explain why an idea should be rejected. And, placed in charge of each group was a member of the district's handpicked committee.

Mark Rauterkus said...

My rant on this thread and topic is here,

Summary: FOCUS already.

Questioner said...

While there are a few rants, the overall view expresed on this thread seems to be appreciation to A+ Schools for pursuing questions that need answers. It can be expected that once A+ receives responses, it will determine which issues to focus on.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Or, put another way:

It can be expected that once A+ receives responses, it will be too late to do anything but cry a bucket of tears.

I take the positive approach. (giggle) I see the cup / bucket as half full already. :)

Anonymous said...

Creating additional criteria for children to be accepted into “popular” schools will only result in “good” schools getting better and those not-so-good schools getting worse. Is that what we want??? Unfortunately, it is too late for “choice” in Pittsburgh. PPS High Schools have deteriorated over the past five years___ with little evidence that those in charge know how to improve educational quality or equity.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Yes! That is what we want.

The aim is for good schools to get better. That is one goal. The good schools are not yet good enough. (Some have told me that NONE of the PPS schools are worth a darn, but I don't buy fully into that position.)

With a no feeder pattern HS policy, any kid who desires can get into a good school.

Now we might have a good school or two or three -- (CAPA, IB, +), BUT only CERTAIN KIDS can get into them. (via audition @CAPA, language @IB, lottery @ SciTech).

Excellence for all.

Not, good for some.

Then, without the feeder patterns, the not-so-good schools now will get worse in that they will empty of students who want to get an education at a place that fits them.

Lets say that NOBODY would choose to go to DROP OUT FACTORY #1 -- then it would close for a lack of students or else the PPS would work VERY HARD to re-do the school into an attractive model to retain and recruit students from the neighborhood as well as from throughout the city.

Remember, all the schools in the city are less than half of what they used to be. Ten thousand students are now absent from PPS -- forever -- with no end in sight.

So, people are really leaving the city already and have been.

The model of subtraction of students (as students vote with their feet) and closing more schools with new forced feeder patterns is keeping Pgh on the downward spiral. It is all about the management of decline.

PPS has been closing schools anyway. I say that some schools might need to close if they are doing a poor job and none choose to attend there.

Schenley's closure was a forced one as people wanted to go there. That is the wrong way to close a school. PPS can shift feeder patterns and do what it wants.

Given this real world example of Westinghouse with its single gender classrooms, what if they built it and nobody showed up? FINE. To another degree, what about U-PREP. How many would be there if it was an OPTION among all the other schools throughout the city.

If PERRY HS gets its act together -- it could be the hot school for students as it was in the past. Kids all around the city wanted to go to Perry and cried for a week if they didn't get in back in late 80s, early 90s. If Perry flounders as a school, it will drain itself of its students / customers.

If CAPA HS is in such demand, why not expand it? Recently it absorbed more grades 6-7-8 with the closing of another high demand Rodgers. That was a move and not an expansion. If CAPA is working, -- it has the best scores - then DUPLICATE it. Replicate it. Repeat what works.

I would not have a problem turning Westinghouse into CAPA ver 2. More might go there, with a proven model, than would go to single gender classrooms.

We need the district to act in a way that is more about customer service. FEEDER PATTERNS prevent the consumer centric thought cycle from being a part of the PPS culture.

Feeder patterns allow the district to yank the students and families around at will, and on a whim because some are not going to move from the house they live in nor lie about residency.

Finally, if we give folks who buy a house in the area of a school, say, DROP OUT FACTORY #1, the option of sending their student to ANY SCHOOL in the city, then there is HOPE that the neighborhood would get new investment. City-wide benefit occur with the ending of the feeder patterns. DEPRESSED areas can't rebound in Pittsburgh while PPS forces kids into schools that are DROP OUT FACTORIES or are NOT a good fit for that student.

New investments demand guarantees and positive public fixtures, not shifting sands foundations of feeder pattern shifts.

I predict an economic revival in the city-wide housing market with the removal of the FEEDER PATTER policy.

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

Much of what is offered in previous blog(s) is acknowledged by those familiar with what has been successful in Pittsburgh. So, how longer must children wait to get to quality schools as opposed to being the quality that improves the schools? We are further away from that goal over the past five years, not closer!

Reconfigurations? Does moving children around constitute a “plan” for improving education in Pittsburgh schools? Or is therein an ‘inference’ that PPS admits to a lack of capacity to educate ALL of its children in any place?

Anonymous said...

Much of what is offered in previous blog(s) is acknowledged by those familiar with what has been successful in Pittsburgh. So, how longer must children wait to get to quality schools as opposed to being the quality that improves the schools? We are further away from that goal over the past five years, not closer!

Reconfigurations? Does moving children around constitute a “plan” for improving education in Pittsburgh schools? Or is therein an ‘inference’ that PPS admits to a lack of capacity to educate ALL of its children in any place?

Anonymous said...

Much of what is offered in previous blog(s) is acknowledged by those familiar with what has been successful in Pittsburgh. So, how longer must children wait to get to quality schools as opposed to being the quality that improves the schools? We are further away from that goal over the past five years, not closer!

Reconfigurations? Does moving children around constitute a “plan” for improving education in Pittsburgh schools? Or is therein an ‘inference’ that PPS admits to a lack of capacity to educate ALL of its children in any place?

Anonymous said...

Eliminating feeder patterns is not a solution. The number of students that fit in the schools percieved as good (IB, CAPA..etc.)is set to a limited amount. Therefore, there are students that no matter how much they want to vote with their feet, can't becuase there isn't enough room for their body in the school. Free market economy and school choice can't be compared with limited capacity at the top.

When the battle against enrollment decline and schools being under capacity is fought by attacking the drop out rate, then we might make a difference in the district. 50% of black males drop out of school and 40% of black females- if those students were retained, that would almost double the school population! Then we can talk about the supports needed to make sure they're successful.

Anonymous said...

50% of black males drop out of school and 40% of black females- if those students were retained, that would almost double the school population! Then we can talk about the supports needed to make sure they're successful.

Well, they don't drop out in elementary school -- so you're not going to double the school population based on having more kids in 4 of the 13 years of schooling!

The way you retain those kids is by HAVING THE SUPPORTS FIRST! Students need to be supported all the way through -- you can't just wave a wand in front of a high school student and make them stay in school, go to class and be motivated to learn. You have to have set up a system of supports that has gotten them to the point entering high school ready and able to learn and then continue to support them there.

Anonymous said...

The most effective "supports" can be provided within any classroom. It happens, now__frequently, in many good schools with good staff.

Anonymous said...

The most effective "supports" can be provided within any classroom. It happens, now__frequently, in many good schools with good staff.

Maybe we're talking about two different things? You can't have it both ways -- that we have a really high drop out rate and that it frequently happens that students are well-supported in the many good schools with good staff. Those two things don't go together!

Now I'm not saying that there aren't plenty of schools with good staff, but I am certainly saying that we still have a huge drop out rate DESPITE that and we need to find more ways to keep kids in school.

And I can tell you from experience that even students with all the pluses coming in (supportive parents who value education, in schools with good staff and special programs to fill their needs) -- need far more support and guidance, especially guidance counseling for college than can be given when counselors have huge numbers of students.

Anonymous said...

It bothers me that kids that live outside of PPS can go to CAPA. Granted, they have to pay full tuition, but they take precious few spots from kids that live in Pittsburgh. Just another choice for people with money.

Anonymous said...

The "support" in classrooms reference was not necessarily applicable to all PPS classrooms, but classrooms (anywhere) with similarly underachieving student populations who have "support" sufficient to render student success in academic achievement and graduation rates. The bottom line is that if it's doable in even one place it can also be done here___ in PPS.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Drop out reduction occurs when the student drops into a second high school. And again when a student drops into a third high school. And if needed a 4th school too.

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th reistart are impossible with a feeder pattern system. So drop out stay high.

Drop outs and support are different issues - apples and oranges.

Many at former South Vo Tech had already quit another school or two.

Some kids just don't fit into their feeder pattern school - for 100s of reasons without any knock about the support.

Different strokes for different folks. Let freedom ring.

Anonymous said...

Mark R-forget the feeder patterns and open enrollment this Board will not even listen to your ideas-some are great and should be considered.

We as parents need to position ourselves to be heard.

Our Superintendent has been here for 5 years. The only words that are constant and simultaneous Roosevelt and Reconfiguration in all aspects of the PPS system from curriculum, schools academics, school grade level configuration, school closings and combining neighborhoods or just neighborhood schools for the rationale of money to receive Foundational grants, now Race to the Top Money and all Sorts of Obama stimulus money.

My children are still young. I agree with some aspects that he has brought to the district at the elementary levels. However, I feel for all parents that are going through this entire high school configuration-as stated divide and conquer at the meetings I attended. I am very concerned citizen-I am appalled by how the Board is handling this Reconfiguration Program. Alienation is evident when it comes to the parents as a community. We are a unification of all the Board districts.

However, we are not treated as a whole. We need to be a whole-one for all-and all for one. That should be our motto.

I will reiterate-I am shocked at how Roosevelt handles the community strand of leaderships of the National ISLLC strands as a school administrator- an educational leader who promotes the success of all students. Now all of us can state yes and no for this strand by stating, he has achieved it or not.

Standard 4 — Community Collaboration of the ISLLC strands

A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.

The administrator has knowledge of:
• emerging issues and trends that potentially impact the school community
• the conditions and dynamics of the diverse school community
• community resources
• community relations and marketing strategies and processes
The administrator:
1. high visibility, active involvement, and communication with the larger community is a priority
The administrator believes in, values, and is committed to:
• schools operating as an integral part of the larger community
• collaboration and communication with families
• involvement of families and other stakeholders in school decision-making processes
• the proposition that diversity enriches the school
• families as partners in the education of their children
• the proposition that families have the best interests of their children in mind
• resources of the family and community needing to be brought to bear on the education of students
• an informed public
• relationships with community leaders are identified and nurtured

MR has achieved many of the above in relationships with local businesses, power bases; politicians-but not with the parents and in the parent communities. He has kept that level to his management team and definitely to his Chief of PR. This is his choice-maybe he feels they communicate effectively for him. Suggested Artifacts for S

Standard #4: student volunteer groups; partnerships with outside agencies.

My concern A+ is a political arm receiving the same foundational monies as our PPS district. Yes, from the Pittsburgh Foundation, etc. It is very hard for their research not to be biased in many ways-when A+ receives their paychecks from the sources. Roosevelt is a genius with PR having Lisa Fischetti as his Chief right hand person-she is paid handsomely and makes him-when necessitated-look great. I give him credit surrounding himself with a Chief of PR like her.

For me, I can not stand one more glossy mail publicity-it is a waste of money from the Chief of PR.

Anonymous said...

I just forced myself to watch the board meeting last night. I have watched very few and I was shocked.

*Not holding a I hate Mark Roosevelt sign, (Nor am I into conspiracy theories), but OMG is he King? Mark Brentley asked him to attend a meeting with the East End parents, and it became a huge deal, a motion and a debate, and he just sat there mute! I honestly kept thinking, he is on TV for god's sakes, he is going to say, "Of course I will agree to meet with them, let's figure out a time."

NOPE! He sat there, and the board members all decided it would not be a good use of his time??? (Can I type WTF? here?)

I thought he represented the city, and was paid by the city. (I did have to LOL a bit when 3 or so board members mentioned he wasn't the best informed or qualified for the meeting! They didn't get their own punchline.)

I am also shocked at the lack of maturity and professionalism this board and administration has. Ms. Collazzi (Sp?) really needs to work on her eye rolls and laughing at others, along with others on the board. I have never been a huge fan of Mark Brentley, but he is starting to sound like the only one that won't lie down and take this without a fight.

That was a boring,disrespectful and an eye opening webcast. We are in trouble.

I wish Survivor was on!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing the difference between seeing the board in action and reading about it in the newspaper or hearing a little tidbit on the news, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I find all the praise for A+ raising these questions funny. In their article, they say that they are concerned about the lack of detail in the plans of the district. However, A+ had no prolem at all throwing the teachers under the bus with their "Empowerment" postcards they sent to residents in the city, urging them to sign a petition to get the teachers to accept the new ideas of the district, even though there were (and still aren't) any details on how they plan to institute the idea.

Mark Rauterkus said...

This board DOES listen to my ideas. I'm sure of that.

Thanks for the kind words about some of my ideas being "great."

Some on the board are in favor of lifting all feeder patterns in high school. Sherry H (board member) was asking questions about this to Mr. Lopez at a recent meeting -- hard hitting questions. Not fair to her that Oliver may get Vo Tech (CTE) in some disciplines that students in the South Hills won't be able to choose to attend because of their home address (FEEDER PATTERN PROBLEM).

So much for 'all for one, one for all,' when you tell me to forget the idea that I champion -- among others with some who do agree.


BTW, I was the one who told the Open East End Pannel that we needed to roll up our sleaves and really consider single gender schools. That got the thumbs down from a couple there, sadly, and it didn't really surface as it should have. Big mistake. One who discounted my quest to open the can of worms of single-gender schools told me recently he was sad about that and we should have given it a full and honest discussion back then.

I feel that the removal of the PPS feeder patterns and a shift to an all choice model is something that is getting delayed because of the community's stuck in the mud mindset. (broad stroke sin - forgive me) I think Mark Roosevelt and the administration would go there ASAP if more public support was made known.

Finally, feedern patterns make no sense. There has not been a single, logical objection to the removal of HS FPs that makes sense so far.

Feeder patters are part of the A+ questions. We can't forget that issue, among the many others.

We DO need to position ourselves to be heard! "End HS Feeder Patterns in PPS."

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am still watching the BROAD meeting, not the Board meeting. Mark Brentley represents all of us-now.
I would love to do a standup comic act on our BROAD meetings-sorry Board-bring in Jay Leno and Comedy Central. This Board is funny as all heck.

At this meeting- my favorite is Sumpter in the Eiffel Tower with his wife and another woman from Hillsbourgh School district gushing over the Gates foundation. Hillsbourgh School district was also approved this year from the Gates foundation. Suddenly all three met thousand a miles away from here and they all have Gates Foundation in common. He was standing between them with their gushing comments about Gates.Hmm! Did they all book on the Gates Tour Services for a week in France. Just kidding about them booked and paid by Gates Tours. I do not want a conspiracy theory started here. Strange topic to be discussing going up in the Eiffel Tower Sumpter’s wife is a lovely lady and that is a true fact-sorry to imagine that scene in Paris. He described it so descriptively with verbs, adjectives and ohhs and ahhs.

Yes, the little Red Head Lady and oh her prompts for the Chief of PR and Roosevelt-she is like Letterman’s Orchestra Leader. Or Carson’s=”Here’s Johnny.” She deserves a caricature with Peanuts. Sorry-she never misses a beat.

Colazzi-sorry about the spelling-yes the roll of the eyes and the way she shifts her eyes and with her glasses on her face- that look is priceless. She seems to be-as the kids would say in slang- not the BROAD President -it is still Isler.

Colazzi still has not made it her regime or pardon the word mark as the President.

They are so cooing, giggly and gushy-so yucky-they lack professional demeanor and seriousness of their representation as elected officials.

I have noticed they seem always to have new eyeglass frames on some the PPS staff-they must have a deal with an optical company.
But, I can digress more-but love to hear from others-and their takes.

We can start a Comedy Central skit hour.

Too bad the Post Gazette cannot do a parody or cartoon of their meetings.

Anonymous said...

I agree the Sumpter story was quite awkward, in that they were discussing serious matters in an impoverished area public school district. Paris, France (or Hilton) and Bill Gates are not the first thing that comes to mind. I was hoping he would pull out free copies of the children's book Madeline for the room!

I did have a different take on his comment regarding his wife's opinion of Gates. She is a principal right? I thought he looked nervous, and his tone of voice and body language implied she was not thrilled with it. I don't remember, nor can I paraphrase what he said when he was discussing her. I just had a different take on how It came across.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 21 6:27 pm

If I knew you, I'd buy you a drink!

Kudos :)

winky said...

Mark, I want to be sure nobody gets confused by your last post, South Hills kids can definitely still avail themselves of a CTE education in disciplines that will be eliminated at Brashear. They just have to agree to be full-time students at Oliver to do so.

I don't know how many previous models Gates money supported in terms of education reform, I am familiar with the small schools initiative and what we are attempting with trying to "stepford" teachers, perhaps the next idea will be the winner.
If I had to suggest a career choice for a kid starting college I would follow the thought provided by Anonymous 3:28 and push a kid toward social work and guidance counseling.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous July 22, 2010 9:57 PM.

I only drink water with slices of lemon and lime. Remember drinking in Pittsburgh has the SIN tax attached. Moreover, I just do not drink.

I hope I am not ranting in your opinion or being uptight to you because the antonym for kudos is criticism, censure, disapproval, reproach, disparagement, condemnation, denigration, blame, denunciation.

Listen it is hard for a family with three children to pay the taxes as residents of the city of Pittsburgh and the employee tax-plus this high school configuration mess.

Some of our friends have found the suburbs as a possible answer for high school because they sre thinking of sending their children to private schools- if they stay in the city-under all this reconfiguration. They as parents are not interested in CAPA or IB. If they move to the suburbs in the northern region of our county-they will save private tuition and save the employee tax they pay as city residents. They see it as a big savings with having three children and with having jobs to commute.

This reconfiguration is an issue for a lot residents that have children that are ready to go into middle school a 6-12 configuration with in two years.

Anonymous said...

Yes we pay extra taxes to live in the city, the question is why? I do not take public transportation because I do not need it, However I do go to the parks a lot.

The public schools are less than stellar, and I fear are going to decline with some exceptions. Allderdice will survive if you look at Mark Raukwhatever's ideas, or my silly misinterpretations of them. Only the best will survive, cream rises to the top, schools should be competitive. Crappy schools are ok under this plan because they will close.

Where do the struggling students go when all the competive schools are filled up? Prison high, or we don't care anymore high?

By the time kids are in high school it is too late, the community has to help, people need to care and the superintendent needs to get off his faux throne and meet with the community. He never does, he sends out his minions. (yes, that is a tongue and cheek Despicable Me reference.)

I was so excited about this city 2 years ago, and now I feel it was all hype built on a house of cards. It is like when that really cute guy/girl you dated was too good to be true.

Anonymous said...

One has to be curious when the superintendent does not step up and say he'll meet with concerned citizens. In previous rounds of reform he was all over the place in our communities. A casual passer-by might conclude he has less faith in the plan that he should.

Anonymous said...

Rumors are stating the superintendent will start his goodwill tour on AYP and his agenda around July 29th. He is the mystery man.

In addition, yes the crappy schools will close. His core rationale will be the low scores for Westinghouse. He will build his agenda around that core element. Close the crappy schools throw the schools as cards in the air and let us take it.

I am sure Tarka will be beside him. Only the media and select invited few will be invited. A set propaganda event. Sorry, about the terms and descriptive. But, what is-is his world. He is like a rare breed. He reminds me as a Czar in historical terms. I feel he can go back to the grassroots and work this out with the communities. Maybe, he will invite one or two people that disagree to be in the audencice-I believe invitation only set in a school or event setting. Doom and gloom as his rationale-CTE is mandatory by state and federal laws-respectively.

Someday look at the Purdons-sorry about the spellings on the Pa web site of Education. I wonder if Ms. Werner of Fine will be invited and will the school Board and select Principals be there.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Wonderful Q from above:

Where do the struggling students go when all the competive schools are filled up? Prison high, or we don't care anymore high?

Humm. We care.

We need to work hard to make sure that the 'competitive schools' are able to expand. Then they won't fill up.

Building capacity (bricks/mortar) isn't the real issue. PPS has buildings and plenty of room.

(Past rant) Expansion of 'competitive schools' was one reason I wanted CAPA to expand into the other floors of its downtown building -- but to NOT fill with grades 6, 7 and 8. A bigger CAPA as a downtown HS with expansion made more sense.

Then PPS would have needed to make TWO middle school replacements for RODGERS, such as at Knoxville (south) and another East school if not a fix-up of Rodgers.

EXPAND what works!

We should be talking about a CAPA-styled program moving into Westinghouse, given that CAPA is popular and it is working. How about a CAPA with sports, and even a CAPA where the kids get to switch their major if they want or a CAPA where the kids get a MINOR. Then CAPA Downtown can be specialized and CAPA east (at Westinghouse) can be more well rounded.

But, again, there should be no feeder patterns.

The IB School needs to be able to expand too, and with the move to Peabody, that might be better able to occur. But really, an expansion onto Reizenstein building with a second gym, auditorium and cafeteria would have been more ideal than uprooting and fitting into Peabody without windows, etc. The Reizenstein physical space is expandable. New classrooms could be added there are there is plenty of land.

I hear that the sizes per grade at the IB school (Pgh Obama) might have been pushed to 200 as a goal rather than 150 as a limit. ??

There are spaces at IB now -- but students need to want to work hard and have a background of languages before admission.

PPS must allow for expansion without dropping in quality.

A serious issue is "struggling students." Some are smart but don't conform in a specific school setting. They struggle with others. Some do struggle with learning and doing their work so as to advance.

One tactic is a willing transfer while still on good academic / behavior standing. Too often we shift expelled and suspended students from building to building -- AFTER they've blown up / melted down. If PPS didn't force them into a school setting with the feeder pattern enslavery, then they might opt elsewhere once they figure out that 'this place isn't right for me.'

Restarts to different schools while on good terms (and prior visits of consideration) should be encouraged as a way to prevent drop-outs and ejections.

As for PRISON High, we've already got one of those. Is it at capacity? I don't know.

Closed in the past PPS Connelley and closed PPS South Vo Tech were warm, family-like schools that gave support and kept kids in school and became places where kids gravitated too. Those options were places for some who might be called 'pluggers' to flourish. Gone from our landscape, sadly. That 'Gateway School' might be part of the answer too. ??

Anonymous said...

200 per class at IB? What happened to "small schools"?

Anonymous said...

Read more:

One sectional Quote from article∷ Research shows much of the academic achievement gap between low- and high-income youth is tied to summer learning options, and kids without summer activities can lose up to two months of academic progress before the school year starts. To address that, the city district started an all-day, free camp for middle schoolers this year called the Summer Dreamers Academy, which boosted summer program registration from 800 to 2,300 students.

The camp, which is budgeted to, is scheduled to shut down after next summer when the stimulus funding ends, said Cate Reed, the district's project coordinator for strategic initiatives.

Well, my son is at Camp King, they already had three good physical fights at this site-the Camp Site Director, and his crew cannot manage this site. The money is wasted at the site that could have been put to better use. Site Directors; make $8500 and teachers $6000.

The money for afternoon activities should receive funding-this site is a serious joke-because of the people in charge-they are afraid of the Black students. $4 million to $5 million annually just another waste of money and they never use the current research-just like-Where is the research for the past 5 years on our ALAS. King has been always a disaster for 30 years. And they are furloughing teachers. They take research and good old RAND and what happens 5 years of waste-I wish President Obama could see the waste.

But, they should have had a diversified Site crew to deal with this Section of our city-my son goes to a magnet-the only selection for some North Siders. The kids call the site Director Dork and the Dorkers- and some of the Camp Coordinators just plain nasty the students and the teachers. Only the male Camp Coordinators are braking of the fights. Not the teachers.
However, as a parent even when I pick up my son-you should see the disorganization of the kids and the buses.

Why waste this cost $4 million to $5 million annually so 2011 another cost of $4 million to $5 million.

Mr. Rauterkus you are right-but look what happened this summer with their territorial setup of the Camps. They wasted majority of the 5 million.

Why do you think I send my son to a magnet school-oh my and what about high school? This does not happen at Allegheny Traditional and listen it is a waste-when I will hear wait till next year to work out the quirks!!! When they sre closing schools and cuttin student programs and class size.

Anonymous said...

First off, I believe it is 150 per class at IB.
Second, God help us if the board puts any credence at all in what Mr.Rauterkus conveys.

Exhausted said...

Mark R,

You said "EXPAND what works!", then you added "CAPA is popular and it is working".

You're right, of course and CAPA is working out just fine.

But just why is CAPA working?

Is it because they are implimenting the latest "research-based" curriculum or anything like that? No.


Now, if the board has the guts to somehow expand that, every school will do just fine.

But if they don't, all the fancy and expensive programs will come to nothing.

It would be like building a palace on quicksand.

Please comment on this if you will, Mark.

Anonymous said...

It is frustrating, my son scored in the exceeds or whatever the category is called in science. I think this was in 4th grade, and it might have been foresight or PSSA, I don't recall. He wrote a long thoughtful essay to get into Sci-Tech, is in the gifted program and he didn't win the lottery, for next yr.(6th grade.) I called the district for ideas and was told send him to Obama. WHY? They seem to be missing The point of what a magnet school is. They are not interchangeable. foreign language and science are not quite the same thing.

Sad thing is nobody read the essays.

Questioner said...

For the application, students just have to do an essay and as long as it is done selection is just by lottery. So the thoughtfulness and quality of the essay doesn't help them to be admitted and may just make them more frustrated when they realize how much they would like to go to the school but cannot. And a problem with just going to Obama is that they lose their place on the waiting list for the science school.

Anonymous said...

Where did the 200 number for Obama come from? Did someone realize that they've set it up so that students only leave the school in later years not enter it? They'll have to accept more students in the earlier grades to end up with 150 graduating. May happen at sci-tech too, depending on how seriously they take their own format.

Don't know the exact numbers, but don't think the highest grade at Obama has even 120 kids in it and there are still two more years to go -- the hard IB years.

Questioner said...

If there is a serious thought of keeping 200 kids per year that would be 1400 kids; and at the time of the move out of Schenley the district said the capacity of Peabody was 1100. Maybe there are some offices they can move out- now they seem to be saying the capacity is a little greater- but then, keeping middle school separate from HS requires more space. And so far it looks like robotics is staying at Peabody (there are reports that kids not enrolled in Obama will be required to go to home schools in the morning).

Questioner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any serious thought that you can keep all the kids all the way -- that doesn't happen in any school. But, the difference in an ordinary school is that kids can come in at any time, any level. That's less true for a program like IB (or IB if it means anything).

Maybe it's accept up to 200 in 6th grade (clearly they have spots if they're offering them, who knows how many they have for 6th grade, if it's even close to 150), knowing you'll lose some from year to year and then up to 50 robotics kids per year in HS...that would work out to 200 a year, but the robotics kids wouldn't be using any of the other facilities in the building besides what's already there for them.

Anonymous said...

I posted this comment on another topic on this blog.

A Broadie is an individual that goes through the same training as Roosevelt. Non-educational background from the private sector. They usually lack diversity-and come from well-bred backgrounds.

Depending on your generation-preppie-yuppie or whatever.


She Reed in charge of the magnets.

My kids are at Camp Peabody-another camp with issues-the term boring is a very polite word for what my kids call it-yucky-they are gifted and found the morning time so mundane and yucky.

This Eddie Wilson is a jerk to our parent PTA group because he created the Dreamers chant. At a televised meeting -where many parents watched regarding the potential school reconfiguration for Peabody the guy got on TV via Agenda Review Meeting from a Board member asking him to do the chant. Well this Eddie person done the chant-he belongs in some other time of agenda-like 1910. It should have been a clue to me-another Broadie.

Like go back where you came from-very outdated and lacks the urban experience-this site has good activities in the afternoon-but not worth the money when we are closing schools and cutting staff.

Without the good afternoon activities as they advertise, as free-taxes are still being spent-nothing is free.

Roosevelt could have used the money to really work on a better transition for middle school-aged students.

The good or bright kids are quitting camp-if their parents have other alternatives for them.

And we all know that this Dreamers Program will get rave reviews. They will conjure this up-the Broadies.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link about the Broad superintendent "academy."

As they describe it, "successful" business people (which they do interpret pretty broadly) attend a "10 month program" to learn to be superintendents.

Read the tiniest bit more carefully and you'll learn that it's one weekend a month and they continue in their current jobs.

So, it's basically a ten weekend indoctrination program that leaves you thinking you know how to run a large urban district and provide a quality education.

Mark Rauterkus said...

As to 200 at Pgh Obama, I floated that # in one of my postings. It isn't "confirmed" -- but we're talking about expansion, etc. I had heard it in one meeting perhaps with non PPS folks -- but it is not a valid nor new policy.

This months PPS Board handouts has this:

Pittsburgh Obama
In 2009-2010 = grades 6-10, 621 students

In 2010-2011 = grades 6-11, 774 students


How accurate is unclear. ??

So, it seems to be around the 150 limit as a top end per grade at Pgh Obama.

It would be great to chart PPS attrition at each grade in each school in a detailed and accountable way with open data.

Anonymous said...

Mark Rauterkus you work for our PPS school district? Now working in the Summer Dreamers Academy??

Sure, you are going to give rave reviews.

It is only human.

You must keep your job.

Are you doing this as charitable time-I hope they are paying you.

Now, I can understand your positivism and your understanding of Roosevelt’s vision in varied blog situational discussions located here at this blog site.-

let's say you have to or must do it or you can lose your future PPS job opportunities.

Please do not take this as slam against you-I would never give even rosy opinions about this Broadie group at the Board or be their PATSY-as the old timers said in 1910.

Mark Rauterkus said...


Now, if the board has the guts to somehow expand that, every school will do just fine.

But if they don't, all the fancy and expensive programs will come to nothing.

Global nods from me.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I work for a provider this summer, not really a PPS employee.

In 2009-2010 I filled in as a coach as a volunteer in 1 sport and got a single pay check in another sport as I filled in for another coach had a baby.

You might be seeing something as I didn't give rave reviews to Summer Dreams. Reread.

I posted in the other thread, "I am not going to slam the Summer Dreams camp. But, it is nice to see some discussion unfold about it."

Please, Anonymous, don't put words into my mouth. I say enough myself. =;0

Anonymous said...

I tend to think Mr.Rauterkus is a legend in his own mind. It's been put to him by more than a few people here that he needs to get out of his little Obama world and spend a great deal of time in schools that tend to scare people around the district before he makes comments. (I especially liked his comment about Perry in this regard. Clearly, the man has never been there.) Until then, his comments are just about as on point with the realities of the district as other ivory tower types. He fits in perfectly.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Does it feel good to bully, Old-Timer style, on messenger rather than message, posting under Anonymous, repeatedly?

FYI, I get around plenty.

Schools that tend to scare people around the district ... say what, Anonymous? Sorry if fear defines you.

BTW, history knows that Perry Traditional Academy and SOUTH Vo Tech were early city-wide high school magnets. CAPA has been around for quite some time too. A while ago, Perry was THE "popular school."

Old Timer, tell us the start dates.


Here is a ROOSEVELT mind quote for ya -- to ponder for the weekend.

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Anonymous said...

Does it feel good to bully, Old-Timer style, on messenger rather than message, posting under Anonymous, repeatedly?

FYI, I get around plenty.

Schools that tend to scare people around the district ... say what, Anonymous? Sorry if fear defines you.

BTW, history knows that Perry Traditional Academy and SOUTH Vo Tech were early city-wide high school magnets. CAPA has been around for quite some time too. A while ago, Perry was THE "popular school."

Old Timer, tell us the start dates.


Here is a ROOSEVELT mind quote for ya -- to ponder for the weekend.

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

July 23, 2010 11:38 PM


Oh my someone went there. I did not have the privilege of meeting Eleanor Roosevelt, but to even refer to her the same breath regarding Mark Roosevelt is beyond the Quayle. She has so many quotes one can toss around, but many of them are about celebrating individuality.

I like this one:
Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I don't want to get in a quote off, I was just trying to put the Eleanor v Mark in perspective.

I'll do the polite thing and end with a quote from Mark Roosevelt's great grandfather.

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad."
-Theodore Roosevelt