Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mark Roosevelt's report card

On the October "Start a new post" Anonymous wrote:

"Roosevelt's report card

Someone posted numbers here that were not quite as rosy as this report card states. Where are they getting the achievement gap data?

They didn't give him a glowing review, but I thought it was generous in many areas.

There is an comment board with the article. I don't have the knowledge of the numbers to reply."


Questioner said...

This seems like a pretty fair evaluation from a reporter who in the past seemed to lean in favor of MR.

The constraints of the report card format (a grade for "Math," "English," etc) seemed to prevent an evaluation of areas of major importance, such as overall student achievement (as opposed to the racial achievement gap only).

Questioner said...

This is also one of the few publications to acknowledge that "parents complained that the administration's unwillingness to renovate the [Schenley] building stemmed from the district's desire to begin radical high school reforms district-wide."

- While all schools can improve, why eliminate one of the strongest schools and the one high school building that attracted 100% enrollment, when district wide high school reform has not yet reached the most underenrolled and underperforming schools? Especially since this reform has yielded a new, underenrolled and underperforming high school.

Anonymous said...

Below are the listed the GAP %
between Black and White students
in PPS for 2009 and 2010. Would
you call this improvement?


2009 2010



Allderdice H.S. 44% 47%

Brashear H. S. 30% 36%

Carrick H.S 26% 45%

Perry H. S. 36% 13%

Schenley H. S. 34% 8%

Oliver, Peabody, & Westinghouse have less than
40 White students at the 11th Grade. Therefore, the Department of Ed does not include scores for sub-groups less than 40.

Anonymous said...

This blog does not do columns. So each row of achievement gap numbers should be headed with 2009 (left) and 2010 (right) consecutively.

Questioner said...

An improvement over what? What was the gap in 2005?

And is the 2010 gap at Schenley only 8%, or is a number missing?

Allderdice has the greatest gap, but Carrick had a huge increase in the gap. These are the schools that per DLopez are not part of the current reform efforts since they showed "improvement."

Anonymous said...

I only went back three years on the GAP. The chart shows the last two. As indicated the blog does not do columns.

Here are two of the last 3 years for NON-ALA K-8 schools where there were sufficient numbers of Black and White (beyond 40) for PDE to publish the calculations.
2009 2010
Alleg Elem 17% 36%
Alleg Trad 15% 10%
Greenfield 35% 28%
Liberty Elem 26% 20%
Linden Elem 18% 35%
Mifflin Elem 27% 20%
Minadeo 39% 40%
Morrow 16% 11%
Phillips 12% 20%
Montessori 31% 45%
Schaeffer 21% 20%
Schiller 14% 10%
South Brook 26% 18%
Spring Hill 20% 23%
Sterrett 32% 25%
Stevens 16% 10%
Westwood 16% 23%
Whittier 22% 15%

All other K-8 Schools have small/no populations of Black students.

Questioner said...

Maybe A+ Schools can give us more information on how they concluded that the gap is decreasing.

Anonymous said...

The Achievement Gap Chart does NOT list schools with an ALMOST ALL BLACK or WHITE student population.
PDE does not calculate for subgroups of less than 40.

Anonymous said...

Last year A+ School personnel stated that they measure Black Students against the WHOLE/TOTAL (Black and White) to calculate the Achievement Gap_____instead of Black compared to White.
I have no idea WHY___since Black are a part of the WHOLE so you are comparing them in part against themselves, which certainly narrows the gap??????

I hope that they will see this and respond re: how they are calculating the GAP this year!

Questioner said...

When the district measured performance of the ALA's it compared the ALA's to the rest of the district. A consistent standard would help.

Anonymous said...

There is CERTAINLY a CONSISTENT STANDARD for measuring ALAs against NON-ALAs as whole schools including all demographics and subgroups_____NONE excluded.

However, when comparing ACHIEVEMENT GAPS, one can only use Black compared to White figures, which are only available from PDE when the subgroups are at least 40 students.

These are two DIFFERENT GOALS!

P.S. I will send you the ALA comparisons as soon as I take them out of the EXCEL chart that I gave to you at a previous meeting.

Questioner said...

Just as you can compare the proficency rate of members of a particular group to the proficiency rate for all students, OR to the proficency rate of students who are not members of the group-

you can compare the amount of progress of members of a particular group to the amount of progress made by all students as a whole, OR to the amount of progress made by students who are not members of the group.

Anonymous said...

By the way, when the DIstrict released the PR stating that (even though the ALAs were among the 10 lowest achieving K-8 schools in the District) ALAs were
"SUBSTANTIALLY OUTPERFORMING" other District Schools, when you did the Math, it revealed that the ALAs progressed one-half of one percent (.5) more that the NON-ALAs.

That was only because schools achieving at 70% many have gone up 1% pt. while an ALA at 20% went up 2% pts, thus, they had TWICE the progress of the high-achieving school, but remained among the lowest 10 PPS schools with 80% of the CHILDREN NOT PROFICIENT and NOT ACHIEVING!!!

This is how PPS PR spins data to appear successful; the fact of the matter is that ACHIEVEMENT has been serious decreasing over the past five years while most PA schools are increasing in Math and Reading proficiency scores!


Anonymous said...

To Questioner:
WHY would you want to compare one group against the whole that contains that same group also?

That would only result in a FALSE comparison_____why compare a group against itself even in part? What would be the legitimate rationale for such a comparison?

Questioner said...

We are getting away from the topic of MR's report card. The intent was just to point out that there is not a consistent practice in how student comparisons are presented, and that there is the possibility that the choice of one method or the other may be influenced by the conclusion that PPS or others are hoping to reach.

Anonymous said...

It is somewhat disconcerting to me that there are some who still cling to the idea of Schenley somehow re-appearing at its old building in Oakland now that Roosevelt is packing his gear. I think the closing was outrageous, but I've moved on. The closing of Fifth Avenue, South High and South Hills High were outrageous, too.
The district has maniacs in positions of leadership. At some point, the Schenley thinking has to be pushed to the side. Sending the incumbents on this school board on their way, then in short order, the assistant superintendents, should be the main focus.

Questioner said...

Facilities issues remain unresolved. Buildings close, buildings open. Superintendents come and go but we need good, permanent long term solutions for how schools should be configured We are not there yet.

Anonymous said...

My biggest issue is with Civics. The definition is broader than gap achievement to me. My first thought was MR's disconnect with the city, students and parents. The school board in a large part has followed his lead.

My rep happens to be the president of the school board. I don't recall her visiting the school, Minadeo, other than making a cameo appearance for a few auditorium events. A few years ago I actually saw her & spouse (seated mid-row no less), get up and leave in the middle of a child's performance. Keep it klazzy Kollaizzi!

Wiki defines civics: Civics is the study of rights and duties of citizenship. In other words, it is the study of government with attention to the role of citizens ― as opposed to external factors ― in the operation and oversight of government.

Roosevelt and the current administration have not engaged the citizens. They make decisions, agree to sit through 3 minute per person nag sessions once a month. They don't listen, it is already a done deal. We are "white noise" regardless of our skin color. He gets a solid D- in my book. He did good PR, so avoided an F.

Anonymous said...

"Educator challenges city to demand more from their schools"

FRIDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2010 10:08

According to Perry, the Pittsburgh Public School System ranks 471 out of Pennsylvania’s 500 schools.

“That’s last place in case you’re not paying attention. You hear people say it could be worse. I don’t want to be there if it’s worse,” Perry said. “When I tell children that they can make the most of any school, I’m kind of lying to them. You must begin to look at the fact that all across the country schools are popping up that are changing children’s lives, everywhere but here.”

Questioner said...

The article doesn't say who or what rated Pittsburgh 471 out of 500 in PA. Do the rankings correlate with the percentage of poor students?

The speaker (who heads a charter school) points to teachers as the main source of the problem, but does that make sense- is there a reason that PPS would have teachers that are on average much worse than the rest of the state? Or that PPS would have teachers that are on average much worse than the teachers at Pittsburgh's Catholic and private schools? Unions are mentioned but even small districts (such as Bethel Park which has been in the news) have unions.

Anonymous said...

My experience with a number of different school districts as well as independent schools has been that city teachers have been BETTER than suburban teachers.

The most important factor seems to be the motivation of the students themselves.

Anonymous said...

I am very impressed that dr. perry was able to immerse himself in the pittsburgh education experience so completely that he spoke in absolutes.

Anonymous said...

Motivating students is a critical component for successful teachers.

Teachers must be able to motivate students____good teachers have always been able to do that, especially with students who need it the most.

Anonymous said...

Check the BUSINESS TIMES over the last few years. PPS has been in that range____plus or minus a few ranking digits.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Perry's low ranking of PPS as 470 out of 500 is absolutely consistent with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's ranking and identification of PPS as Corrective Action !! 3rd year and among the 30 Districts in the State that had to undergo "Quality Reviews" prior sending PA Teams into districts for "turn around."

PPS has been identified for the last three years as one of LOWEST ACHIEVING districts in the state of PA.

ALL of the DATA FACTS are available on the PDE sites. Do the research.

Questioner said...

when it comes to motivating students than teachers in the rest of the state?

Can teachers who are required to follow a set curriculum at a set (unreasonably rapid?) pace motivate students, especially those who are the least motivated?
If so- these teachers are the real supermen and superwomen!

Anonymous said...

YES! TEACHERS are the real SUPERMEN and SUPERWOMEN, particularly when they do not have a "superman" for superintendent.

It's a "whatever it takes" approach to educating children to high standards___80% to 90% levels.

Check the demographics and performance levels for Franklin Square Elementary and Middle School in Baltimore City, Maryland. Terry Patton, is the Principal.
She gave an "amazing" presentation at the University of Pittsburgh, Langley Hall, on Thursday evening___OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Yesterday (Friday PM) she presented in PPS.
She had been invited more than a month ago to present to ALL PPS K-8 Principals at Weil Elementary School.

The PPS District sent invitations to 30 PPS Principals.

Sadly, the ONLY PPS principal in attendance was the hosting Weil principal.

So. so sad! This principal has raised achievement in Math and Reading to the 85-90th proficiency.. It was once the LOWEST achieving school in its district in Maryland.


I SUGGEST that we recruit the Baltimore City principal to apply for PPS SUPERINTENT. SHE IS A TRUE EDUCATOR! IMPRESSIVE in every category!

Questioner said...

Is there any reason she would want to leave Baltimore for a place where no new ideas are needed?

Anonymous said...

Was that meant to be sarcastic, discouraging, derogatory or to cast aspersions? In which case, she nor anyone else would WANT come here.

Seriously, I don't know if she'd be interested. However. given what she has accomplished, it seemed a possibility that she could be ready for the PPS challenge_____and given such responses it would be a challenge!?!i

Personally, I'd like to see a leader ready for a challenge____with energy, commitment to ALL children, successful experience and expertise with our under-served populations_____but most of all the BELIEF that in can be done despite obstacles.

Questioner said...

Not meant to be derogatory, etc. In all seriousness many have expressed the preference for a caretaker, and agree with the current superintendent that we will not need anything new or different.

Anonymous said...

Okay/ Yes, you are right but all of the evidence points to the need for a true leader___ with experience, educational competence, vision, commitment, passion and BELIEF for/in the capability of RAISING ACHIEVEMENT _____ as opposed to raising money.

Questioner said...

MR didn't seem to lack for a belief in his ability to raise achievement. There just should have been more evidence-based methods behind that belief.

Anonymous said...

I would disagree_____there is NO comparison between those who truly BELIEVE and MR.

You will know it when you see it______though you do not see it often.

Those few that I have seen____leave you with NO DOUBT____ and the proof is in the extraordinary results accomplished in less time than MR's tenure in PPS.

(There is not a single person in MR's administration that comes even close to those that I have seen who leave you with NO DOUBT.)

Questioner said...

A new and expensive marketing campaign is being rolled out based on the idea that "We believe" in the teachers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the projected consultant fee to Veritas went from $28,000 to $390,000 in anticipation of this new marketing campaign?????

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake, MR was brought here for one reason and one reason only - money. Student achievement was never on the agenda. As you have read over and over again, there really was minimal change in student achievement in his 5 years here.

Now he is leaving and he has raised $80 million. The sad, sad thing about that money is none if it goes to services for the students. It is an $80 million dollar bandaid that still does not address the true needs of the students we serve.

Until we get a leader that is willing to step up and give resources to create programs that directly impact our students, you are not going to see a big change. We need mental health staff and programs in EVERY building - in a much larger capacity than it is now. We need to bring back programs like carpentry, plumbing, etc. as 60% of our work force are non-college degree jobs such as those.

MR did NONE of that. His leadership has driven people out of this district. They got tired of trying to be heard and simply left. Many, many teacher predicted this exodus a long time ago.

So what are we grading our "Legend" Mark on? Fundraising - A,
Making himself look good in the media - A,
making the teachers feel inadequate - A,
contributing to morale being at it's all-time low in the district - A,
causing the downfall of the union - A,
Being a good,solid educational leader who has impacted students in a positive way - BIG, FAT "F".

He did nothing for our students, our parents, or the staff of this district. NOTHING.

Questioner said...

The answer to any complaint will always be: The Pittsburgh Promise.

But, it is too soon to know at this point the extent to which the PPromise will affect the percentage of entering 9th graders who go on and finish a post-secondary program. Or how much money will ultimately be raised for the PPromise.

Anonymous said...

The promise is useless if the students can't meet the criteria. Soon students will have to pass the new state test to qualify, which will make it even more difficult.

Also I thought a big part of the promise was to Increase enrollment. That failed.

Questioner said...

Like most of the initiatives over the past 5 years, the idea has some promise but it was not well thought out and not well executed.

Anonymous said...

You can blame MR for the downfall of the District, but not for the foils of the union. Tarka just continued the downward spiral started by Fondy when he joined forces with the AFT and AFL-CIO.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't surprise me to see foundations like UPMC direct the Promise people to expand their philanthropic efforts to private schools within city boundaries. After all, corporations embark into the area of philanthropy because it is good PR, and UPMC is all about PR.
At that time, we'll have a good look at the Roosevelt legacy---and his failure.
There's no doubt in my mind that this is why pressure is being ramped up at the high school level this year. Pull up those PSSA scores at the 11th grade level, or else.

It's nice to see that someone else has recognized the idea that Fondy essentially folded his tent at the end of his tenure, God rest his soul. We'll never know why, of course, but since many of the old guard had retired, it seems to me that people like Fondy and Tarka have just said, oh well, I did right by my people.