Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Booing incident said to have taken place at U Prep

Keeping this issue current:


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Anonymous said...

The original post:

Anonymous said...

"Parents should call the Parent Hotline and complain and demand an investigation. Demand that someone just publicly deny or affirm it one way or the other. A common MO is to simply give no answers, to not reply to questions, to simply not respond. That tactic will only work if parents let it work."

And while youre at it, call your school board members too. They're elected officials as well.

alldone said...

Pittsburgh Milliones/UPrep resides in the district represented by Mr. Sumpter. It would go a long way if he were to publicly state the incident did not (or did) happen.

Sidebar---I could not for the life of me find UPrep listed under a boardmemeber's name and then found it as Pittsburgh Milliones. This is okay, but it shines light on the fact that the website/s is/are pretty, but not always accurate. Staff directories contain names of retirees, calendars are not up-to-date, upcoming events seem to be non-existent in some buildings, etc.
Note: some buildings do a phenomenal job, for example, Schenley/Obama.

This further points to the liklihood that we do not devote staff hours to keeping building level sites up-to-date or there is no process in place to do so.

Anonymous said...

On the Teacher Message Board, Contract News (Teachers for Change) Someone stated that they called some who teaches at U-prep and confirmed it happened. Pretty much as stated before. At a "Elite" monthly assembly.
One of the newly elected union members is going to look into it.

Questioner said...

What is an "Elite" monthly assembly? Do all schools have them?

Anonymous said...

The Principal was Empowering the Teachers

He Should be Terminated, or better yet put into a classroom

He is a horrible example for children, he realy should be let go

Anonymous said...

What was this Principals bonus last year?

Anonymous said...

Terminated? His attitude is applauded by many at Bellefield. Wake up!

Questioner said...

Also consider contacting your watchdog A+ Schools.

Anonymous said...

A+ Schools, I would hardly consider them a watchdog. They supported Roosevelt & his reforms, paper tiger

Anonymous said...

Way to be politically correct, Questioner. Watchdog??? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

More information coming in that the principal has been required to apologize for the incident. But that's it.

Anonymous said...

I would like to judge his apology and would like to see him post it here. If this was a verbal "i'm sorry" it just is not enough. I would also like to see an explanation on just why he thought the boo tactic was a good one. Not long ago the hand signal L was in wide use to call LOSER and when I saw it I wanted to break somebody's fingers. Boo makes me feel just as angry in this case because it seems to have been premeditated.

anon656 said...

To be clear I am a parent not a teacher of any kind. I needed to say that to avoid anyone condemning a teacher for having thoughts of breaking anyone's fingers.

Anonymous said...

Did he apologize to the whole school, like the booing incident was whole school? He needs to tell the students WHY he was wrong, apologize to teachers in front of them, remind the students that it's their actions that count.

Just like it's his actions here that will count.

Anonymous said...

Hey Questioner....does this finally verify the fact that there are teachers here who actually tell the true story about what is going on????

Questioner said...

It hasn't been a matter of doubting the story- it's a matter of providng evidence to those who ask whether commentators are just spreading rumors.

Anonymous said...

All teachers need to invest in Flip camcorders to cover these issues and save their jobs. TV will respond to inflammatory video, sadly very few people read the paper.

Tweet you tube and post videos so there is nowhere to hide. They already tape PPS board meetings that are embarrassing & unprofessional.

This district is so beyond messed up, might as well call them out before the last life raft has only enough for the select few. The rest of the staff and community is left to keep their heads above water while the kids that have the
skills survive, and the ones that don't suffer. PPS is sending kids life preservers made from sponges. Too bad the kids are getting the shaft and being weighed down further by the weight and burden of the sponges.

The cream, (Broad, Gates, certain admin) rise to the top. It reminds me of the classic lifeboat ethics question: It is clear who is last to be saved here. The poorest, lowest acheiving children and families that are left behind. The board, board members, admin and others are simply not in touch with the city, and I do not recall many, if any community meetings that were on a large scale that were not for PR spin.

Mark Roosevelt visited less than 1/2 of PPS schools over 5 years. Lane can look like a hero if she skids by and sees a few more with big press behind her. Basically a D- C- will make her appear incredible. They aim low and win.

Anonymous said...

*added to note I don't know if this incident happened, but from what I know I would not be surprised if it did.

Teaching at PPS has become an unkind, unwelcoming, unrealistic, and mean spirited environment, which is something most teachers have a hard time wrapping their minds around. Most are trying to do their best, the teachers are not marionettes and the kids are not puppets.

Anonymous said...

This Principal should be fired bottom line, an apology, thats a slap on a wrist. Clearly this poor example of a man should not be an example for children. What precedent did he set for behaviorial expectations for these children. The Principal should be sent packing.

He acted like a child

He should be held accoutable, why is he special, fire him!

Inquisitive said...

An apology would be next to worthless.

I doubt very much that the principal would apologize to the teachers in front of the students, as he should.

And even if he did, the original message he sent to the students - that your teachers are garbage - has aready sunk in.

Anon 11:37 is correct. This is a firing offense.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the PFT and parents should at least demand the principal's transfer to a new (less high profile) school.

A written apology, a public apology in front of students -- that's all great and would be icing on the cake. But realistically, how can that principal effectively lead that school right now? Would you wnt to be a teacher and have HIM to your RISE evaluation?

Anonymous said...

The PFT is a Joke, they are a extension of the board. Tarka is gutless

He should be fired also

What would happen if a teacher told their students to Boo at other student who were recieving poor grades.

That teacher would be gone

Anonymous said...

’s Tribune Review:

????Westinghouse's single-gender academies to bolster opportunity????

The article quotes:
“The district has had success with single-gender classes in subjects such as math and science at Milliones, Peabody and Westinghouse. Administrators reported in May that students in those classes were more focused, their standardized testing scores had increased, and there were fewer out-of-school suspensions.”

YET, the standardized test scores in these schools are LOWER than last year and are the LOWEST in the school district.

WHY is the data always misrepresented in these news articles? Does anyone ever check the accuracy? It is online and accessible by the public!

62 to 75% of the students in these 3 schools are NOT proficient in Reading alone!

Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the coffee. Don't you think this is why Roosevelt left Pittsburgh before he had to send his daughter to a Pittsburgh Public School?

Anonymous said...

Hey Questioner,

I've read through this thread and the previous related thread also.

And I'm still quite confused.

Has anyone asked the people at the Board of Ed building for a comment regarding this booing incident? If so, what was the response?

Did the incident really take place or not?

Annette Werner said...

On Monday Dec 13 I emailed to principal Derrick Hardy asking if it took place and if there is other relevant information.

On Tuesday Dec 14 I forward my email to him asking if it was received.

On Wed Dec 15 I emailed to the Parent Hotline about difficulty reaching Mr. Hardy. The hotline said my question had been forwarded to him and gave me his phone number.

On Thur Dec 16 I left a message for Mr. Hardy.

On Fri Dec 17 I left a message for Mr. Hardy and emailed to the Hotline that I had not received a response.

Today, Mon Dec 20 I forwarded my email to Mr. Hardy.

It sounds like he does not want to discuss the issue!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Has anyone confirmed this story? It is ridiculous! Has any action been taken against Hardy?

Trying to get it out there -- said...

Yes, the incident (not a story) has been confirmed. Please feel free to email your favorite reporter of a local paper and ask what it takes to get some mention of this. They are certainly welcome to call the union to get a statement, they might be a little more willing to talk than the principal seems to be! They could email the bloggers and ask for leads on a teacher who was there who might speak off the record to confirm it. They might ask students.

Whenever I tell this story (except to teachers, who've heard it from people who were there and easily believe it), people are shocked. However, just like every other detail of the PPS it doesn't seem to truly exist until it's been in the paper. There're only so many people one person can tell...but more of us talking about it...

Questioner said...

Something the incident highlights is the range of attitudes within PPS. At one school, the problems of low achieving students are the teachers' fault; at another it's the system; at another it's no excuses and at still another the issue is barely mentioned at all. Take your pick as feeder patterns permit.

Questioner said...

And at another they quietly make AYP.

Anonymous said...

...and yet at all of them the administrators earned "pay for performance." What the press releases don't tell you is that the "bonuses" earned by the assistant superintendents and deputy superintendents themselves are a reflection of the bonuses earned by those they supervise.

Doesn't matter whether it is federal, state, local or private dollars, the system is being gamed to benefit everyone but the students they serve.

The parent hotline is just a means to control the flow of information. Don't hold your breath waiting for a response.

Good charter schools have figured this out. It is not the stripes on your vehicles or the gloss on your brochures that matters. Kids matter.

Anonymous said...

I have heard horror stories about what goes on at UPrep. The Union really needs to get involved over there.

Anonymous said...

to "Trying to get it out there":

Your post said that, yes, the booing incident did occur.

What leads you to make that statement?

I'm hoping that people will take action on this, but some sort of hard evidence is needed.

Questioner said...

People will not confirm on the record, only on a no names basis. There is also fact that the principal and hotline refuse to deny it. But did anyone shoot a video? Probably not.

Trying to get it out there -- said...

Anonymous10:05: I'm hoping that people will take action on this, but some sort of hard evidence is needed. << Yeah, that's what people here said!

It was reported to the union and confirmed by the union. I don't have (nor would I post!) name(s) of those reporting, but I do know that this happened and again, a blog is not the place for names!

Thus, the suggestion that people email, call or write to the Trib, the PG, and anywhere else you can think of and ask them to actually, you know, report a story! They will need to call the union, call the principal and ask for a comment, etc.

Couldn't hurt, while they're at it, to look at the suspension/disciplinary action rate at the school, too. This school was supposed to prove how they could reform a new school -- they said it couldn't be done at an existing school and that UPrep, with the University there to help and all, was going to shine.

Now, they're making similar promises about Westinghouse -- with a different set of changes/reforms. I'd love to see a nice, reported story about how it's all going up there, with this incident front and center.

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard I believe most of the teachers at U-Prep are miserable. I was told by one teacher that their teaching schedules are absurd 6 classes and "Activity" period plus a duty. Another teacher told me that the security guard sits in the main office all day on the computer while students run wild in the halls. Why doesn't the principal boo the security???

Anonymous said...

"Booing," as reported, for any circumstance certainly would be symptomatic of a tone, a mood, or an attitude that is very negative and demoralizing for the entire school community____ and more of a reason for the academic failure (only 37% proficient in both Reading and Math) at U-Prep than a consequence,

Anonymous said...

The district and the horrible union want this to disapear. They hope people will forget about this over break.

How Dr. Lane and Hazda handle this will show what's in store for for next three years.

They will probably do nothing, because there is not respect for teachers in this district.

Fire Hardy, he is poor example for children!

Anonymous said...

Fired! Ha! If PPS employees have learned anything it's that BAD behavior is rewarded.

Anonymous said...

Not Teachers!

Were the only ones held accountable.

Anonymous said...

I was told about the incident at U-Prep and then about this website. Needless to say I am reading these posts for the first time and I am appalled at this principal's behavior. It sounds like the booing incident is just the tip of the iceberg of things that are a mess over there. He is supposed to be an example to his students yet he bullies his teacher right in front of them.

Questioner said...

As surprising as this report is, the principal probably just got carried away and in that case, it's really not a firing offense. But if we don't speak out and object to incidents like this, it will eventually be "anything goes." It is also surprising that the principal would ignore inquiries rather than resolving the situation.

Everyman said...

Questioner, I have a lot of respect for you and for this site, but I've got to take issue with your "the principal probably just got carried away" statement.

The principal's action shows a fundamental problem with how he thinks, not a momentary slip of the tongue.

The principal did lasting damage here, to the teachers, and more importantly, to the students.

Who could blame a low-achieving student from that school now and forever blaming someone else, anyone else, for his or her future failures.

And remember, those students talk to students at other schools.

And who could blame a teacher from that school for saying the h*ll with trying anymore, I only get disrespected for my efforts anyway.

And those teachers talk to teachers at other schools.

At some point, Pittsburgh's slide will become irreversible, past the tipping point.

Major incidents like this one will, sadly, only accelerate this.

Anonymous said...

Everyman, I have lost a great deal of respect for the middle of the road, let's not upset the applecart approach to the proceedings that "questioner" and other regulars here continually put forward.
The contract news site is a friendly site for teachers. This bog is a continued bull session about the Schenley closure and how to get a few dads into coaching within PPS.
Let's face it....we're in this alone.

Anonymous said...

I get what Everyman is saying about lasting damage. Call it UPrep or anything you want to but as a middle school Milliones had a rep and actions like the principal's attempt at motivational speaking just allows the negative thinking about the building to continue. For those affected by the feeder changes, is this where you want your kid to go?

One could think that this tactic is taught at principal PD sessions.

On the issue of responsiveness, some of us have been fortunate enough to have had principals who get back to you and when we didn't, well, they report to someone too, don't they? Dr. Lane said as much at a parent meeting several years ago.

Don't be fooled into thinking the Parent Hotline is not useful, you can bet principals hate to see that number on their caller ID and if someone is not gauging responsiveness using PH data, they should be.

Everyman said...

Anonymous 3:53, I really don't think this site has a "don't rock the boat" mentality.

After all, it was from PureReform that I first learned about this booing incident. This is the only organization, to my knowledge, that has pursued the matter.

My gentle criticism is that many good people really don't entirely grasp the depth of the problems facing the district today.

And that's understandable. Unless you're in the schools daily, it's hard to get the entire picture.

And the district does have a mighty PR machine.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of ironic that we pay so much to be PR'd, isn't it?

Everyman said...

And let me add something.

In my 8:41 post I noted that many good people really don't have a full grasp of the difficulties this district faces.

Don't let this fact dissuade anyone from trying to improve the situation!

Gather as much information as you can, then do the best you can.

While it's not applicable to every situation, Churchill was on to something when he said “It is better to do the wrong thing than to do nothing.”

Questioner said...

But hasn't that Churchill approach been part of the problem at PPS- the idea that something, anything, needs to be done quickly, without worry about whether the result will actually be worse?

Everyman said...

Questioner, I have never seen the PPS administration as a we-had-better-do-something-fast outfit.

I don't think that their errors are due from simply moving too fast.

Their errors are from the assumption that they know infinitely more than any parent, any community leader, or any teacher.

Questioner said...

One example might be the sudden move of students into single gender classrooms in the Fall of 2009, without notifying parents or the Board. Now we are hearing that just separating girls and boys is not by itself sufficient, and that special training and preparation is needed; but at the time there was a rush to just put the change in place.

Another example is the ALA's- wouldn't it have made more sense to try out one ALA, be sure it worked and iron out kinks before expanding? But there seemed to be a rush to make instant changes. It was as if those in charge wanted to put something in place, show fast results and be gone.

Anonymous said...

Rather it was a huge business venture at national levels with vendors of all types, consultants, affiliates, Rand, Broad and Gates petsonnel, residents, partners, networks, PR firms, lawyers etc., that benefitted each financially and professionally as well as personally,It was never about advancing academic achievement for students. Our students were put at risk, as all adult agendas advanced astronomically,
Had it been pursued, investigatively, it would have resulted in a national scandal.

I only hope that its not too late to reverse the damage to Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Had it been pursued, investigatively, it would have resulted in a national scandal.

I wish! However, this is happening in most urban districts across the country. Part of the reason it's been able to go on so long is that each city seems to think it's unique.

At some point, there will likely be an expose, but Pittsburgh will just be one of a long list of cities duped into spending, spending, spending on every program, consultant, expert, and gimmick that came along.

Questioner said...

It is incredible the dichotomy of views that exist-

Compare the above understanding of the situation with this week's City Paper article, which claims that many people are happy with the direction of reforms to date and contains an overall impression of support for staying on the same path. It is like two different universes.

Unfortunately there is no evaluation of the actual results in Pittsburgh Public Schools of reforms to date. The reforms noted are changes to K-8 and 6-12 formats (but no evaluation on whether changing configurations had any real impact); the Pittsburgh Promise (which takes effect for students after they leave PPS and does not seem to have indirectly resulted in better SAT's, etc.); and the teachers' program (which has not opened and apparently not been piloted or tested yet).

Anonymous said...

If we all agree that action should be taken against the "booing" Principal - What is the next step? He doesn't seem to be taking responsibility for his actions if he's not even willing to return phone calls....

Questioner said...

How about if many people ask Board members to look into the situation? He is unlikely to ignore calls from Board members.

Anonymous said...

The problem is much bigger than one principal (or more) and one program (or more). Leadership, as a concept, has changed philosophically, psychologically and educationally). The wrong-headedness is becoming embedded systemically without challenge. The evidence is everywhere. but money and PR reign.

Anonymous said...

Questioner - 4:52

What kind of an evaluation is suggested?
Are not the publicly accessible results which continue to slide downward sufficient as an evaluatio?

When PPS is asked about evaluation of progress and programs, they hire another consultant who provides the "evaluation" they are paid to present.

The evaluation is in the achievement results or lack thereof; and those results are so shockingly poor that PVAAS and "growth" models are being supplemented to "predict" and "estimate" better outcomes in the future.

Questioner said...

To clarify- there was no evaluation in the City Paper article of results of reforms- the article presented comments in favor of continuing existing reforms without discussing how they had worked out so far.

Anonymous said...

"Just Got Carried Away"

The principal needs top be sent away, he needs to be sent packing. He will probably get a promotion in this upside down district.

Anonymous said...

New rumor circulating, that the University of California Pa, is not going to send student teachers in to the PPS anymore because of the one size fits all core curiculums.

If this is true, it sure sends a message

Anonymous said...

Chalk up points for California University----maybe its a step toward solving the Teacher Education problem.

Anonymous said...

Do not let Hardy off the hook, the district wants this to go away. This needs to hit the main stream media. This district and its cronies need to face the music.

Fire Hardy

Anonymous said...

I applaud Cal U--home of many PPS grads--for this slant. I would wonder if they are saying this to the prospective teachers, too.

As far as Hardy being fired, ha, what a joke. It will never happen. Hardy only said publicly what he is constantly bombarded with in meetings. Embarrassing for PPS and the PELA drones, but true. I mean come on, RISE is based on the idea that teachers are the problem.

If you're a teacher, you don't trust any administrator, period.

Anonymous said...

Hardy is getting nuttin for Christmas because he has been nothing but bad.

He should get a pink slip for Christmas

Old Timer said...

Through three decades of teaching, I can say that the best administrators that I ever worked with or knew of had themselves been teachers of distinction. They knew what it meant to be in the classroom. They knew kids. They knew the realities of urban education could not be taught in a university classroom or found in a college textbook.
And today, I can name these types of administrators that remain in PPS on one hand. These individuals, men and women, black and white, generally abhor what they have been treated to at meetings which are essentially PELA-driven. Their mentors and colleagues have been pushed out the door, and replaced by individuals who spent little if any time in the classroom.
And this my friends is the background sketch of literally EVERYONE below Linda Lane. What we have now is a mean-spirited, vindictive, female-driven district which now provides prefabbed curriculum that fails in every content area, refuses to listen to constructive criticism and seeks to oust those who publicly dissent or dare stray from said curriculum in any form, calling such teachers "ineffective" solely thanks to "curriculum fidelity."
I would love to place the key individuals behind PELA and this curriculum--disciples of this mindset--in a room with true teachers, past and present--and our region's most difficult students.
I would like to see who makes more inroads.
I would like to see who inspires, and I would like to see who the kids quickly tag as being phony.
Truly, I would love to hear the explanations for what is happening to teachers, to comprehend how loved, admired and award winning teachers with decades of experience are suddenly no longer effective.
I would love to know why John stopped speaking for these types of people--the ones who dedicated their lives to the kids--in favor of the Hardy's, the Lipperts, the Johnston's.
What a sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Old Timer,

I would like to add that "curriculum fidelity" is too often a subjective thing.

I am aware, as I'm sure you are, of teachers teaching essentially the same way, yet getting very different performance ratings.

This adds yet another layer of confusion and frustration to the whole situation.

Questioner said...

Old Timer, you raise many valid issues but the "female-driven" part seems irrelevant- why does it matter if the administrators in question are male or female? You are not suggesting that their gender is the souce of the issues you describe, right?

Anonymous said...

Questioner, I'm not Old Timer, but let me throw my two cents in.

I think it's odd that the huge majority of the top administrators are women.

The fact that they happen to be women is not what makes it odd. What makes it odd is the huge majority part

I would find it just as odd if the top administrators were mainly of any one subgroup (all former math teachers, all from the South Side, or whatever).

Questioner said...

Well, the chances are at least 50/50 that any particular administrator will be female; the odds are a lot lower that an administrator would be from the South Side or a math teacher. What is the size of the administrative group, and how many are female?

Anonymous said...

“Curriculum fidelity” or following the written script provided as required in PPS, will never be a good method, practice or strategy for education. The concept of “curriculum fidelity” defies “learning theory;” it defies “best practice;” and it defies the process of “education.”

Etymologically, the word education is derived from educare (Latin) "bring up", and related to educere "bring out", "bring forth what is within", "bring out potential" and ducere, "to lead".

Perhaps it is the case that current PPS administrators and “evaluators” have so little knowledge of “education” that they need to see “fidelity” to script to determine whether or not teachers are engaged in the educational process. Without a script, they don’t know what they are seeing perhaps because it is foreign territory.

It is truly a sad day in PPS. However, we can move forward to advise and support Dr. Lane in “reform” that takes us back to an “education” agenda where “curriculum fidelity” is dismissed as failing to meet the standards of a true education.

Old Timer said...

Questioner, yes...I simply think it is odd,that's all, that so many younger women are coming aboard...and with an anger.

I posted this on another thread, but I think it is appropriate here, too:

Anon, Questioner, your points are well taken. Please know this where both myself and undoubtedly most veteran teachers are concerned: until the Roosevelt Admin and the advent of Gates/Broad, I can honestly say that only a couple of principals/central admin types had 'adversarial' relationships with teachers. To most of us--teachers and administrators alike--we were fighting on the same side. The last five years has seen a complete paradigm shift in this regard, and it began with Gates, then empowered the university types at places like Pitt's IFL, groups heretofore looked upon as being out of touch with teaching in general, let alone urban teaching.
Now, boat loads of money have put these types of people in command, has pushed good administrators out to pasture and formed a new corps of administrator more in line with the very ivory tower thinking--that paints teachers as the impediment to good education--that was looked upon with disdain less than a decade ago.
Amazing, isn't it?
Not only is this type of thinking vindictive and accusatory in its approach, it is accomplishing nothing in terms of student achievement.
All it is doing is placing teachers under the boot of administrator, an individual who more often than not could not carry that teacher's planning book.
It's salad days for these types of individuals. Career ladders are built with them in mind at the PPS level, and one look at the list of consultants making thousands to maintain this plan is, again, amazing.
I cannot see an individual stepping up to question what this money has wrought. When you have a Mark Brentley sounding like a voice in the wilderness, when you have a Randall Taylor throwing up his hands and saying 'Enough', well, you realize what is going on.
Again, I personally like what I have heard and read about Linda Lane, pre-PPS. I simply don't expect her to ask central admin and the board to take a long, hard look at what has transpired. Not at 61. Not when she has no allies on board.

We've placed the least worthy individuals in charge of our schools via PELA. Sad as I am to say it, this is only the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Communities need to coalesce on behalf of children, education, and schools. Establish a process for meeting regularly with Dr. Lane and sharing the kinds of concerns shared on this blog ___ with concrete suggestions that remedy the concerns.

Community meetings should include parents, students, educators and concerned citizens. Clearly, the pattern set for the past five years has not worked well for the MAJORITY of school inhabitants_____teachers and students. There is NO DATA that supports what has been occurring in PPS.

Surely, Dr. Lane would like to exit her long career with evidence of success. Let's help her do that.

Anonymous said...

"Surely, Dr. Lane would like to exit her long career with evidence of success. Let's help her do that."

I second that. Regardless of her past associations, Dr. Lane does bring a new day to the district.

So let's give her a chance. She may well surprise us on the upside!

Anonymous said...

The naivete of the board and others believing that Dr. Lane brings a new day to the District truly scares me. She is not new to the District and is cut from the same fabric as Roosevelt. How long do we give her to finish off what Roosevelt came to do... destroy the District so that private and charter schools can move in and use taxpayers money without the accountability and federal regulations the public schools had to endure? Let's face it, the race to the top grant money is simply a payback to all the Progressive Democratic donors. The money is spent creating a different neo-riche class not improving student achievement nor closing the achievement gap.

Old Timer said...

Anon, I agree with some of your comments and others leave me cold.
I don't place any stock in the idea that Dr.Lane will be a force of change in the district for aforementioned reasons. In fact, her early comments lead me to believe just what you say---that worse is yet to come.
Can you imagine what will transpire should the new governor cut funds?
But to say this is a democratic idea is folly. Let's stay apolitical and relate your bottom line: this is a way for the government to get out of the education business, one step at a time, and in the manner you describe.
NCLB came sweeping in under Bush and it became apparent that no matter who was elected--Obama or McCain--dark days were ahead for teachers. This effort transcends political parties and is instead an initiative of Gates and friends.
And with that in mind, what has happened to urban education in Detroit, Kansas City, LA, Chicago and DC...and certainly Pittsburgh, is a precursor to what will eventually take place universally.
And certainly, John knows this too.
I've resigned myself to it. It's a speeding locomotive that cannot be stopped.
More troubling to me is the incredible pension problems on the horizon. With this in mind, research what Gates has said about ending teacher pension funding--not a pleasant thought for any new teacher--and realize just who Mr.Gates is and how the Roosevelts, the Lanes and company fit into the puzzle.

parent1 said...

I can't give up on the idea that at 61, with PPS likely to be her last job, Dr. Lane won't try to redirect the plan toward something more practical for Pittsburgh. I only listen with a parent's ear and don't pretend to understand it all, but the accolades being thrown in the direction of charters, the worries about funding, the ever increasing class sizes, makes me worry for all the kids entering school now. What might it be like in 10 years?

Old Timer said...

parent, I try to stay upbeat and positive at all times--it's the secret to life. Again, I appreciate the idea that we have a real educator in charge for the first time since Louise Brennen, but it's troubling that there are so many in positions of authority--high positions--within PPS--whom Orwell and Huxley would look upon as being dangerous to education. And if you understand the ideas that both men put forward, then you understand why I am so doubtful.
Since Dr.Lane's appointment, it's been business as usual. No let up in curriculum. No let up in teachers being placed on improvement plans. No let up in the vitriol being spewed by administrators.
I pray you are right, that she is merely taking the time to do inventory in a way.
But with so many millions empowering those in charge, well, I can only hope for a surprise for teachers in a positive regard.

parent1 said...

Wouldn't it be lovely to see Dr. Lane on the Today show in 5 years reflecting on what it was like to break from the master plan and buck the messages from DC by creating a district based on sound judgement and interpreting the needs of the students in Pittsburgh? I cringe all the time when the term "urban education" is used and wonder how all that is "urban" has become so generic. It is a lot easier to tap into the experts in PPS education than it is to pay for another survey or consultant. Some will be home from school until the second week of January, some are working in stores we have probably visited to shop, some went to visit former teachers as soon as they got back into town, some went to PPS sporting events. If you listen you might get pearls of wisdom like, "science teachers are normally really good teachers, because FIRST, they love the science." Really, if you want an accurate evaluation of the last 5 years talk to the 2010 grads. They have had enough distance and time to be objective.

Anonymous said...

AMEN to your comments _____the best I've seen in a very long time! Educators from Pittsburgh are among the best in the state and have risen to the highest levels at PDE and nationally. They have the knowledge, the commitment, the experience, the expertise with PPS children to, if approached and coalesced, will rush to the call of someone like Dr. Lane in an effort to turn around the sad state of educational affairs in PPS. Let's encourage her to reach out and surround herself with the best and brightest from Pittsburgh to form a TEAM, who will take PPS to its rightful place. Our kids deserve no less and have the intelligence to outperform any city in PA. Dr. Lane will need to make some hard decisions regarding much of what has recently put in place, but with the support of respected educators, parents, community and our students she could be on the Today Show in 3 years. We know enough as a community or learners to make that happen if we work as a TEAM.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and please continue to take every opportunity to do so!

Anonymous said...

What about U- Prep

Dr Lane is going to stay the course, thats why she was hired.

Do not forget about Hardy & U Prep


Anonymous said...

What good will it do anyone to harass Dr. Lane for what has yet to be seen or proven? What are the choices? Let's help her get free from the outright failure of the past five years. Do you have a better solution for proceeding on behalf of Pittsburgh students? If so, speak up! Lead the way!

And the long "booooo_"___what's that about? Are you following the rumored U-Prep lead?

Let's be solution-oriented, given the situation that exists! How about a fresh start with fresh thinking?

Old Timer said...

The incident at U-Prep was not rumored. It did happen.
Secondly, if you are asking for solutions, you have come to the right place. I know of many, many individuals who have myriad solutions that will benefit the students and are such that they will never see the light of day because they run counter to thoughts and agendas of big money, like that of Bill Gates.
When I read posts like yours, I am taken back to a time when truly, we all felt that each school employee played a part in moving kids forward. That time was 20 to 30 years ago.
RISE, PELA and the current vibe coming from administration itself runs counter to your commentary about solutions, I might add. It seeks to vilify, to demonize, to blame teachers for stagnant scores, and that's hardly a solution.
Lastly, I don't see any harassment of Dr.Lane taking place here. What I do read is doubt---doubt that she can break free of the big money and vindictive that surround her.
I hope and pray that I am wrong--not for me, as I am at the precipice of retirement--but for the kids in this district, the kids each teacher has dedicated his or her life for.

Anonymous said...

If you have "myriads of solutions" but give up before you start, then you are part of the problem______would you agree? If not, specific solutions and acting on them is required.

Anonymous said...


To Anonymous 1:31

What are you a Pela

I love hearing solutions from people who have spent less than 10 years in a classroom.

Nice freshmen philosophy 101 solutions.

Old Timer said...

Anon at 1:55, I am glad to see you are still on board with your signature________style.
Just where did you glean that teachers have "given up", anyway?
You are missing the point entirely. Many, many teachers cannot get their ideas before your kids because it is outside of "managed curriculum" and its very inception targets you as someone needing to be "improved."

What, do you think we are all making this up?

Anonymous said...

When someone says there are "myriads of solutions" but all of the words that follow infer that the
solutions run "counter" to admin, so nothing can be done____it indicates to me that some teachers have given up. They just go along with the program____why?_____if it is not working. Many teachers find ways to solutions. Many, many teachers (and some principals) do it their way and because they get results the administrative types back off and leave them alone_____for the most part. Don't be afraid to make your case and demonstrate results. The kids, parents, and community will stand behind teachers who get results.
I know that people are not "making it up" but it does appear that they are "giving it up."

P.S. This style___so to speak___ is often absent in responses

Old Timer said...

Anon, I cannot fathom what teacher would put faith in this comment, even though it comes from your heart:

"Don't be afraid to make your case and demonstrate results. The kids, parents, and community will stand behind teachers who get results."

You ask the salient question as to why teachers go along with the program. The answer is simple: we have seen what happens to teachers who voice concerns or deviate from the curriculum, no matter how bad it is. And it is bad, as it does not provide students what they need not only for testing, but for future years of education.

We have seen our colleagues placed on improvement plans.
We have seen administrators constantly observing them in the attempt to intimidate.
We have read board minutes and seen the terminations.
We have read those minutes and seen the resignations due to personal reasons.

Please walk a mile in our shoes. There is no union protection and in fact, union reps have stopped going to numerous buildings.

Who wants the bull's eye on their back?
Who wants to try to teach and contend with vindictive administrators?
Who wants to try to look for a job these days...especially if you have been in the district 15 years or more? Who will hire you?

This is the reality of PPS. I will continue to pray that Dr.Lane rights this ship.

Questioner said...

So if a teacher or principal had good results on last year's PSSA's, they can quietly ignore for the most part the managed curriculum?

Anonymous said...

No, I'd say if a school/principal had exceptionally better scores than any other school like them, they can make a case to continue doing whatever small things the district knows they are adding on that aren't part of the core curriculum. They still do the curriculum, they just try to tweak or add as much as they can.

They have to fight to do that and they know that if scores don't remain high, they (principal/teachers) will be the ones blamed, even if other, by the book, schools are still doing much worse.

There are not schools deviating greatly from the curriculum. There are a few places where principals and teachers work very, very hard to carve out some time and some ways to add in what's needed and missing in the curriculum. And yes, they are hassled at every step by the district.

The ALAs (minus the one with the gifted pilot program) and UPrep and those doing it by the district book...Well, you can look at those scores, too. Not at all impressive, not at all something to be imitated, one would think.

Which would a reasonable person choose? But this is not a district of reason at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I wish it was that simple, but it is not. With the advent of CBAs for the core curriculum, principals are concern about these scores too. So the desire to rush students through the entire managed curriculum is imperative to these administrators; regardless of deep, meaningful learning. It is not about the PSSAs anymore.

Anonymous said...

I've seen it happen and heard it said many times and it certainly seems better than the alternative_____"for the most part"_____is a strategic observation. Deliberately flying in the face of "clipboard" wouldn't be recommended.

Most teachers are more than smart enough to pull it off if they really want to_____undercover.

Anonymous said...

I have heard from someone who works in a PPS school building that Principals get bonus money if they can get a teacher to retire.

Questioner said...

So we will have all these teachers working under cover to teach in a way that works, then if there are good results they will be attributed to a process that doesn't work, reinforcing it further.

Is it possible that these teachers might do more good by finding a job outside the PPS district?

Anonymous said...

That is exactly how the Charter Schools get good teachers! And Questioner, I know you see NO "benefit" to Charters, so sending PPS good, "effective" teachers to Charters could be counter-productive! and ill-advised, right??


Questioner said...

It depends on the charter, the district, the location, etc.

For example, a good charter school in Hazlewood seems like a good idea on the whole. The community really needs a school and has shown strong support; students do not seem to be thriving at the schools they are currently attending; and moving Hazlewood students back to Hazlewood would not leave those students' current schools badly underenrolled or in danger of closing.

Anonymous said...

I simply don't believe it's that easy either, Questioner. One of the first things learning teams do when they enter a classroom is to corner kids to give them the third degree about how and what they are learning. They'll grab notebooks and review the info.
Someone called this socialist education but sorry, it's a step down from there. Staged. Scripted.
You had better not to stray.
And it's not all about PSSA's, it's about control. Controlling the teachers.
How else can one explain teachers being put on improvement plans at CAPA?

Questioner said...

It's a silly game b/c teachers then waste time briefing kids on what to say and how to behave when the clipboards come in.

Anonymous said...

Questioner: If its okay for Hazelwood to have a good charter, why not NorthSide, Homewood, East Liberty, and/or the Hill??

The real question is why cannot PPS have good schools in Hazelwood, NorthSide, East Liberty and the Hill??

WHY is there a demand for good Charter Schools??

Do you not think that if PPS created good schools, people would send their children and there would be no need for Charter Schools anywhere in the city?

Are you of the belief that good schools would not advantage ALL children? If so, why?

Old Timer said...

You're right, and for that reason, most of us---everyone I know at least--swallows hard, follows the script and prays new leadership will make changes.
The first needed change is to pare down bloated administration positions that cost taxpayers and do nothing for student achievement.
It's a sham.
We are ten times worse than city hall, with administrators who hide and others who only wish to push teachers--the front line of the process--around.
And a PR department to make it all sound great.

Anonymous said...

PPS does have a good school in East Liberty--an IB school---but just give PPS time. They'll find a way to compromise that, too.

Anonymous said...

Questioner: It seems to be about teacher choices. Wouldn't it be better to "waste time" prepping for the clipboards than to "waste time" all day, every day?

The ALAs are wasting time every day with a longer day, and every year with a longer year.

If you don't want to take on the system to change the "waste of time" then, the only alternative would seem to be to take on your own classroom so that the 'waste of time" is minimized.

parent1 said...

Anon 3:49, would you advocate undercover teaching?

And the comment at 3:21:
"The kids, parents, and community will stand behind teachers who get results."

Only some kids and parents and some community. As for kids and parents, most likely some would do the standing and others would be content to let them do the standing. Too many parents let things go thinking other parents will speak for them. An "if my kid is doing okay this minute I will keep quiet" stance is common. What seems too often to be the case is parents only start to pay attention when they feel a little pain or note disruption of their own little world. This will be true of many new reforms. The teacher centers and single-gender won't cause a stir until they are operational. All this outreach and information sharing and still many will be blindsided by the realities. Isn't Brashear the second largest high school? Let's screw up the most kids at one time seems to be the approach, why else would it be becoming the teachers' center.

Questioner said...

One reason that charters and non-charters might coexist is a difference in philosophy- ie, if PPS administration and the board believe in a strongly managed curriculum, while a group of parents and teachers would prefer less management. A charter school could accomodate those with the preference for less management.

Another instance might be where a strategically placed charter would draw students from a number of districts.

Anonymous said...

To Parent1 @ 4:57

Personally, yes, If it had to be 'undercover' to do what was needed to engage students in "thinking" at a higher order with more relevant, intriguing textual content, and ongoing minute-by-minute, day-to-day "q" and "a" (with discussion) that revealed instantly whether or not kids were "getting it" that is what I would do_____for ALL of our sakes.

I understand the 'risks' as put forward here, but those are risks I'd be willing to take for the sake of "results."

One way that has been done in the past was through the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute under Dr. Faison and the guidelines of Yale University (YNHTI). Teachers (in PPS) developed their own curricula and assessments and were "required" to teach it as they wrote it.

Does anyone know the current status of PTI?

It seems to me that Administration would be at a loss to be vindictive, vitriolic, or venomous about a teacher or curricula that was "getting results" ___even if outside of the CBA ______ PSSA is still the standard by which all schools in PA are measured and teaching those skills, situationally, as well as textually, across contents is easily accomplished (creatively) with any and ALL students.

Questioner said...

Sounds like a "Don't ask don't tell" for teachers.

Is there any district in PA with a high percentage of low income students that has gone ahead and taught the skills situationally, as well as textually, across all contexts with outstanding results? If so, which district(s)?

Anonymous said...

As has been posted here many times in response to your same question____YES.

There are many classrooms,many schools and many districts that have done this in PA and in other states.

Sometimes the results are inconsistent as when leadership changes and new Superintendents or Principals come on Board____However, many Teachers are doing just that in their classrooms (and it counts for students, if not this blog).

The continued question that you ask begs the inference that you do not believe it is possible?? Is that right?? If so, WHY?

Much has been published by Dr. Douglas Reeves and the 90-90-90 Schools____ and by Dr Jerome Taylor and the "Dame, Dame" Schools. Presentations have been given here in Pittsburgh over the last several years and much more frequently in Harrisburg at PDE Conferences.

There are educators here in Pittsburgh that can and will achieve the same if given the "autonomy" to do so.

P.S. I will post here the next presentation of such schools with poor demographics, high poverty yet high achievement and hope that you will attend.
(Schools in Texas,Maryland, Illinois and Pennsylvania have previously been cited here.)

Questioner said...

Which districts in PA with a high percentage of low income students have gone ahead and taught the skills situationally, as well as textually, across all contexts with outstanding results?

parent1 said...

Anonymous 6:01, I am fairly certain that I have seen you on TV and that you truly have nothing to lose, such as a position. I also think undercover teaching is ill-advised when you consider the RISE evaluation system. Soon plenty of our teachers will feel like they have to protect their positions and you might have someone narc on teachers for not following the roadmaps. That narcing is what will be known as trickle down vindictiveness.

I applaud your desire to improve things and your unwavering energy to shed light on performance interpretations. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Parent 1
You are not wrong in that the risk is probably too great for most teachers____who need to hang on to their jobs___but what a shame it is for a district to have disempowered hundreds and hundreds of good teachers___to put teachers and students at the mercy of corporate entities/structures i.e., Gates, Broad, America;s Choice, Rand, Foundations, etc. none of whom even claim to be educators.

It would seem that the good educators. parents, community members and students far out-number ___ and have the "standing" needed to come together and challenge, legally if necessary, the egregious "gaps" and overall waning academic achievement in Pittsburgh Schools.

Perhaps a plan can be drafted and presented to the new administrations at 341 S. Bellefield Ave. and 333 Market St. (Harrisburg) that can reverse the decline in PPS. Each of these new administrations cannot help but want success and with the old political agendas and old alliances out-of-power, it should be possible.

If the PPS Board, A+ Schools, CORO, the Foundations, the Education Law Center really care about Pittsburgh children being educated they will join together in a commitment to EDUCATION that prepares our students to be PDE "eligible for graduation" prior to "Promise" scholarships. (Believe it or not, that is not happening currently as PPS keeps sliding downward academically.)

Questioner said...

Weren't there reports that students can be eligible for graduation simply by doing a project which might include filling out college applications?

Anonymous said...

Questioner: I do not know about the "application" part, but yes, it has been the practice in PA that students in districts could fulfill the graduation requirement by doing a project that demonstrates "proficiency." It is certainly the most preferred manner of "getting over" as they say, since the State is incapable (no personnel) of dong the work necessary to follow up on these individual student projects, which rarely, if ever, meet the "proficiency" requirements for graduation or even worse____in no way prepare students for success in careers or college. Ir is a total travesty and it "gets one over" only momentarily.

Also, Questioner, one size will never fit all and the many, many successful classroms, schools, and districts that rise from lowest socio-economic conditions to highest academic achievement do it their own way, tailored to their unique populations and demographics. It takes knowledge, thinking skills, and the will to succeed_____and as Ron Edmonds reiterated so often_____if it can done in just one such place it can be done anywhere.

Does PPS have the will or the knowledge in its current configuration?

Questioner said...

It would really help to know the names of the districts in PA with high percentages of proficient/advanced, low income/minority students. Just as we need to be specific with our suggestions, we need to be specific with our role models.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully, but repetitively,_____ "one size will never fit all" is a very critical point being made here. The most serious current problem in PPS is the "one size fits all" approach to education that has held sway over the past five years. As such, it is a problem that does not need further exacerbation ____not from this source.

If there is a desperate need for "specific role models", you will find that information in the multiple other sources______ previously mentioned.

Questioner said...

No one is suggesting that one size would fit all; adjustments need to be made to fit individual districts, schools, etc. But if we had a few examples of specific districts in PA with high percentages of proficient/advanced, low income/minority students that would be a good starting and comparison point. ______, if you have this information please share it.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what you would do with it that has not already been done? Do you have a school, a district that you are responsible for that is struggling with this issue_____or does NOT BELIEVE that it is doable.

There are general principles of learning, alignment to standards, formative (as defined by Popham and Dylan Willam) assessments, cognitive theories and curricula relevant to multiple intelligences____ these are basic_____the rest centers on "will", "belief'", "trust", "relationships", "rigor" and knowledge sufficient to be creative in tailoring and integrating all of the above into a thinking, creative, engaging teaching, learning and assessing experience for kids.

ALL of the information here and much more, where appropriate, is shared with PPS.

Please share how you will communicate or use this information, for what identified purpose and to whom, "specifically."

Questioner said...

These specific examples would enable us to make a convincing case that the district should adapt similar methods as appropriate for PPS rather than pinning hopes on various reconfigurations or special themes.

Anonymous said...

The case has been made______specifically, powerfully and knowledgeably______by educators with credibility_____and will be made again ____and yet again.

Many efforts have been and continue to be underway on behalf of Pittsburgh;s children____ by many who have demonstrated knowledge, belief and commitment ____and have been successful with similar student populations. People who truly care are not idle nor asleep.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to say that many of the people in the administration sound just like your posts and would say that they are doing all those things you suggest, just having to do them with a managed (read scripted) curriculum because it's the only way teachers can do it.

I've seen far too many "BELIEVE" posters around the district. Truth be told, it takes a lot of hard work -- not just holding the right thoughts in one's head.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right_____mote hard work than anything else_____posters are posters or just more p.r____its the long hours, and seriously hard work by teachers that make the difference and get it done_____but scripted lessons are the antithesis of good teaching.

Sorry, these posts will stop _____more than enough words have been placed here.

Questioner said...

_____, you said that "It would seem that the good educators. parents, community members and students far out-number ___ and have the "standing" needed to come together and challenge, legally if necessary, the egregious "gaps" and overall waning academic achievement in Pittsburgh Schools."

- Examples of specific districts in PA with high percentages of proficient/advanced, low income/minority students would help provide the ammunition that would be needed for this type of challenge.

Old Timer said...

______________ has his/her heart in the right place but ignores the realities of the current situation in our district's schools. I know of many, many innovative teachers who look at their students as their own children. They understand the dilemma they are in---either use their innovation and truly move the kids or have "fidelity to the curriculum."
And again, RISE is all about adhering to the managed curriculum. Period. End of conversation.
So stick to the curriculum and lessen your chances of encountering trouble...or stray and do so at great personal peril. It is doubtful to me that parents will come running to the aid of any teacher who finds himself in such straits and let's face it, the improvement plan itself is a ticket to the oblivion express.
THAT's the reality of PPS. When a school like CAPA--one that routinely scores high on PSSA scores--has teachers on improvement plans and has bought into the RISE approach--well, what more do you need to know?
And one aside to _____________...
yes, your wording does sound like some of the double talk that comes from administrative types that I encounter in my many, many--far too many--meetings.
We are bombed with the ideas about what we can do for the kids from the ivory tower, and then given winks and nods about "managed curriculum."

Walk a mile in our shoes during a learning walk and then return with the ideas. Try to keep in mind that not only are you not independently wealthy, but you also have no union backing.

Anonymous said...

Well said Oldtimer! As for _________, I am glad that you are done with your WORDS ___. You were tiresome at best ______.

parent1 said...

__________, at 8:03 on 12/28 when you mentioned "...challenge, legally if necessary," it reminded me of of the 1992 action filed by the Advocates for African American Students and the ruling handed down from the PA Human Relations Commission in 2006. I am only a parent with limited knowledge but from where I sat for the past few years, it has looked like the ruling directed a tremendous amount of the reforms we are now complaining about. Any legal actions can cause a whole new boatload of problems. If the gaps have not narrowed enough since the ruling and subsequent changes made to curriculum and the closing of underperforming schools, etc. then maybe some of the changes were the wrong ones to make.

Anonymous said...

Parent1 @1:41
You are a thinking parent, admitting to "limited knowledge" and I just want to add a bit of perspective here. The ruling for the Advocates has not been an impetus for reform, unfortunately, and as a result the achievement gap has widened in most schools. One example: The "gap" at Allderdice has gone from 40% to 47% under the current reforms which have exacerbated the divide. This is just another example of a PR campaign at PPS that routinely misrepresents the facts. It would take a personal conversation to describe with detail and evidence what has happened in this regard. However, I have come to agree with your perspective on "legal action." In most instances, it has proven to be counterproductive, particularly in areas of racial discrimination. Public attention to the inequities and disparities that DO exist, generates a "backlash" that, again, only "exacerbates" an already very, very serious problem. This has happened in PPS over the past five years. As a teacher/educator for 30 years, first-hand experiences have led me to life commitment to improving this situation via any means necessary. I would like to share insights with someone of your reflective sensitivities but this blog is not the venue. WORDS are too easily manipulated or reduced to ridicule and sarcasm.
We need people who are able to face the realities with solutions-oriented-action "reform" as opposed to 'words.'
Thanks to all of you who are thinking ___ Let us join in prayer that people of substance and commitment prevail on behalf of equal educational opportunities for ALL of our children___.

Questioner said...

It is important not to get caught up on the "legal action" issue. The original quote was:

"It would seem that the good educators. parents, community members and students far out-number ___ and have the "standing" needed to come together and challenge, legally if necessary, the egregious "gaps" and overall waning academic achievement in Pittsburgh Schools."

- In other words, _____ called for educators, parents, community members, etc. to challenge waning academic achievement. By no means must the challenge include legal action. We do need to have our facts and recommendations in order however.

Old Timer said...

___________, truly, you are not reading what countless teachers here have put in front of you. When I read this line, it becomes clear:

"We need people who are able to face the realities with solutions-oriented-action "reform" as opposed to 'words.'"

The cold hard truth is that few people beyond this wonderful site actually care about the kids. Roosevelt knew this. Lane knows this. Few people read, few people listen and as such, PR is extremely important. If parents did not line up en masse to protest Schenley's closing, the east end travesty, middle school closures and many, many more problems, they aren't going to come out for this, either.

This district's teachers always were the best in the region and now, even more so to have to contend with moving kids forward and intimidation coming from administration. It's somewhat annoying that the idea seems to be that if we don't acknowledge this situation, then perhaps it really isn't happening.

To _________ and any parent out there, I can assure you that the tyranny and mutation tactics you read of here take place, day in and day out at a school near you.

Shame. Added to a outrageously poor curriculum, it's not helping students in any regard.

Anonymous said...

Whats being done about the U-Prep incident.


Do not let this go away over winter break.

Fire Hardy!

They have plenty PELA's to replace him with.

Anonymous said...

I will not let my child go to U-Prep or Westinghouse

I will try to get my child in Allderdice.

East End parent

Obama Dad said...

Why Allderdice? Get your kid into Obama. It's a good place.

Annette Werner said...

I received a response from the Parent Hotline:

"The Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12 issue was handled as a personnel matter."

- So, we should be able to take that as confirmation that the incident did occur.

There will be no information on what was done with respect to the principal- maybe a note in a file, maybe nothing at all- but more important would be whether there was any sort of follow up with the students. That would not be a personnel matter.

Anonymous said...

Should an eyebrow be raised at the reference to Pittsburgh Milliones as opposed to using Pittsburgh UPrep? Long ago visiting teams needed an escort to their buses after girls' games, that was when it was Milliones, you see. The school then had a negative rep in ways beyond scores. Should we address the negative as Milliones now and save the positive press for the school as UPrep? Could it only be good school have good leaders? More likely good schools have good teachers who DO NOT feel trampled.

Questioner said...

The preferred name now seems to be Pittsburgh Milliones. On the website, School Information, it is listed as Milliones and U Prep is not even mentioned. Looking a few years back one of the ways some support was built for the school was because the community wanted to continue to honor Ms. Milliones, and "U Prep at Milliones" was never as popular as just "Milliones". And, as district attention turned to new projects there was less insistence on the "U Prep" part of the name.

Anonymous said...

Or the more cynical might say that it was UPrep when it was a grand idea in the planners' heads. When it had some sort of big connection with Pitt and was going to be crawling with "interns" -- every classroom was going to have one! The best minds at Pitt's Ed Dept were going to make sure this school was highly successful.

Then they opened the school.

Then it had 116 "incidents" per 100 students. And bad scores. And not enough students.

Then it seemed to become Milliones again.

Questioner said...

The grand idea part is really worth recalling. Issues the school would face were predicted but ignored. The idea seemed to be that we just needed to have high enough expectations. Now the grand idea is the plan for Westinghouse, and concerns are again being ignored.

Anonymous said...

A letter in the file of any employee warrants a response letter by the employee. I would love to know what Mr.Hardy would write as a response.

As for U-Prep now being called Milliones, I would wonder how the Reizenstein family feels about such a decision. In fact, I would also wonder how Schenley's proud families will feel about this.

Amazing how these people can flip at any time they feel necessary.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the boo-ing incident was not addressed in the media. What a Joke.

Hardy needs to be removed, but on the other hand, the school has done so well under his leadership.
Time for new leadership!

This is a joke. The students must know how wrong their pricipal was. They will never have respect for teachers. Fire the bum.

Anonymous said...

Derrick Hardy "Pittsburgh Public Schools Pricipal of the Year"

A fine example of man, for children who do not have a male role model in their life.

Maybe he will move up to the Ivory tower.

anon said...

The original principal did not last a full year and when he left there was the public explanation but references to other causes were heard, too. Is it too soon for the students to say whether or not they see advatages to attending UPrep? I mean other than learning how to bully while being well-dressed. To the earlier poster who expressed a desire to go to Allderdice rather than Westinghouse or UPrep, start preparing your case. Despite the outreach being done under Mr. Lopez's direction, you can bet that on the first school day of 2011-2012 there will be families at Dice trying to enroll a kid.

Anonymous said...

And to that parent--enroll your kid at Obama. Much better choice.

Anonymous said...

i see your point about the Gates
Foundation yet they are still in the early stage to find out what
makes a good teacher,yet our schools are failing so you saying
that they believe charter schools is the way to go on the backside of this they are trying to change the american school dist. by throwing money to make a change in
our education system at any cost

Anonymous said...

I've had a Schenley kid and an Obama kid. Just had this discussion a couple of months ago with the parents of an 8th grader not at Obama. They were looking at Obama, Allderdice, and Brashear for high school.

I had to tell them that I wouldn't put a kid into Obama at 9th grade right now. Maybe in another couple of years, when we see if they succeed at what they say they're going to do. So far, not enough evidence of that.

Also spoke to a parent with a kid there at Schenley who chose against it for her next child. That kid's at Allderdice now and the parent is very happy. Also happy with the Schenley placement, but saw what's happening and wouldn't put another kid there now in Obama.

Enrollment numbers are down, not up. It's often a third choice for parents after both CAPA and (the unproven) Sci-tech. Some class sizes are huge, and there's the behavior, behavior, behavior.

Not saying definitely not to -- but saying that right now? Allderdice is a known quantity and Obama isn't. And my advice is the same to parents who think their kid will apply to a community college or work after HS as it is to parents who are pushing for highly competitive colleges. I *would* say that there are more racial divides at Allderdice than Obama, but that was also true of Schenley -- that's an Allderdice thing.

Parent said...

Anon, your posting is so full of generalizations and vague commentaries that it is hard to follow.
First off, you cannot compare Schenley and Obama. Two different schools, two different administrations, two different sets of rules, etc. How Schenley comes into the conversation is beyond me, as it is closing. Period. And for the record, many of us Obama parents think that the school simply should have been called Schenley, simply re-tooled and re-configured.
You make references about "what they are trying to do" and again, you lose me. The school is an IB school with posters and flyers up all over about the IB advantage where college is concerned. Bona fide facts, and not generalities.
You make mention about racial divides and it's unfortunate that such a commentary comes into your post.
For the record...
-it's a smaller school.
-it's a safe school.
-there is no school within a school consideration we must contend with
-its location is more advantageous to those of us in the Highland Park/Shadyside area and more accessible thanks to the busway
-it retains a great many good Schenley and Frick teachers, new teachers and has a number of exciting programs.

If you are going to make comparisons, at least be truthful in your comments. For the record, Frick always sent many, many kids on to Allderdice. It's always been a problem and as such, enrollment is not to capacity, but I would attribute it more to kids going to a good middle school then matriculating to their neighborhood high school.

To me and may other parents, I am excited about where Obama or whatever they name it is going and think we made the right decision based on the above reasons. Nothing against Allderdice, but you can have it.

Anonymous said...

Posters and flyers are fine but in the end it is achievement that counts. What if students pass only 20% of the IB exams? Or less? Hope for the best but no one really knows what will happen. Greater racial harmony than at Allderdice is a plus worth mentioning.

Anonymous said...

Parent --

My comment mentioned Schenley as the last home of the IB program. My experience (and that of many other parents) spans both programs, just as the building has spanned both.

Many of the things that are good about Obama are things inherited from the traditions of Schenley. This includes a more inclusive feeling among all the kids, regardless of race.

I would just say that you should be as wary of posters and PR at the school level as you should be of the same at the district level.

Hiring and retention of quality language teachers, in-classroom behavior, the desire to get rid of all CAS and AP classes are all problems that I would note at Obama. The language teacher problem is a holdover from Frick.

All I'm saying is let's see. Let's see how many kids get their IB diplomas under the new administration, let's see how well they do on the tests, let's see how colleges take to what they see.

Allderdice has a known reputation among colleges, it's unclear what Obama is doing to make itself known to colleges and provide excellent college guidance to students. If colleges don't get a favorable impression in the first year or two, that's a huge problem to overcome for the kids coming later.

I'm certainly not saying there aren't some truly excellent teachers there, not at all. In fact, it's those teachers that give me any hope for this program succeeding at all. I sure hope they don't lose any more.

Questioner said...

Also don't forget that Obama is a 6-12 school which and this setup is itself experimental. It causes scheduling problems and kids don't seem to like it all that much. The positive aspects of the school will really need to overcome the "been there done that" feeling at the end of 8th grade. Which means listening to the kids and making the experience fun.

Anonymous said...

The district was plastered with excellence for all posters and where did it get us?

Anonymous said...

Not sure where you get your info, Questioner.
The scheduling issue arose for a couple of reasons. One, the two schools--Schenley and Obama--had to share a few teachers. Still do, and it'll be interesting to see how the schedule evolves as early as next year.
I'm a little confused about the "been there" comment, as well. What do you mean?
And as far as the fun comment goes, I would grant that administration needs to realize that they have a high school on their hands when Schenley is gone and will have to have the activities coordinator come up with events for the kids in the 9-12 age group, which is lacking now. Since Schenley holds events for their kids, I think it has put Obama in a strange situation and Obama kids have gone to Schenley events, instead.

There's an arrogance about Dice I never get. It's not what it was. We can start a thread just for situations at Dice I wouldn't want my kid involved in, but why bother?

I'm another who likes the IB idea and I'm kinda eager to see how it progresses.

Anonymous said...

The "Excellence for All" Achievement DATA in Reading and Math for each PPS school is available at:

HIT the name of the School, then HIT "Data Table" in the "Overview" row at upper left section.

You will see both Reading and Math scores for
"All Students",
etc. with progress (or lack thereof) in plus or minus in adjacent columns for the previous year(s).

Calculate the differences between scores for "White" and "Black" to determine the "Achievement Gap" (which is a gap of 47% at Allderdice.)

Notice that the "White" Achievement in Reading at Allderdice is 84% while the "Black" Achievement is only 37% which is identical to the 37% at Milliones U-Prep.

Questioner said...

Athletic scheduling has been very difficult. And while kids at 9-12 schools can have after school clubs, in the 6-12 context the clubs are limited to an end of the day class period every other week and subject to being canceled for other priorities. After school they cannot spend time talking with friends and instead need to leave the premises immediately before the middle school is dismissed

As for been there done that, in any 6-12 school 8th graders are often eager for a new setting, new building, and wider range of classmates and offerings. CAPA students in particular given this explanation as a reason for changing to a comprehensive HS.

anony said...

This is some thread, btw, so I will get even farther afield of the original comment. I have recent experience with PPS and a charter. PPS offers way, way, more opportunities to be an involved parent than charters I have become familiar with. Some of that is unavoidable since plently of engagement is available through booster clubs and charters have no sports or bands or color guard. Another cause could be location, while it is easy to get to and from school for a kid it is hard to reach a school in a busy location during rush hour. My favorite location for a parent meeting was Reizenstein, in/out, no parking problem. No school or system is perfect. You have to pick what fits a kid best. I do predict this, as all the champions continue to endorse the charters it won't be too long before the management will be putting added pressure on the teachers there and they too will feel the pain of scrutiny. They too will be told how to teach and what to use and to never deviate from what worked best for the majority or what was designed by experts.

parent1 said...

Does everyone know that our current 9th graders are not going to get looping this year afterall? It will start again with the 2011 9th grade class. I got this from a 9th grader so I can't say if it is all buildings or just the one she attends.

To accomplish looping and avoid other scheduling problems like sharing teachers across grade levels or subjects at 6-12 schools, hire a few more teachers and have the added benefit of smaller class sizes. Can we make it mandatory for admin and boardmembers to read this blog?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12/31 9:32 am,

You are dead on! Right now, it is very easy for Charter Schools to lure parents with 'promises' of success, only to fold later under the pressures that Public Schools face now. There hasn't been any new original ideas in education since the 80's, but only retreading and reusing the old standby.

As for Anon 9:42, smaller class size and CENTRAL/SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT IN STUDENT MANAGEMENT/DISCIPLINE would definitely improve student achievement across the board. However, it would require more teachers on the payroll, which means it will never happen under this CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION and SCHOOL BOARD. The money in the coffers is Gates and Race to the Top money which is MANDATED to be spent on targeting (rising) teachers. Hence, the need for a slue of consultants and administrative staff to implement the rising and training of teachers. Beware of grant/foundation monies for you will surely be snared in the strings attached.

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to add; don't make important life decisions based upon promises of the heart.

Old Timer said...

Back to the original ideas...I again would eat my hat if anything public ever comes of the Hardy comments at UPrep/Milliones. The man was just verbalizing what he hears on a daily basis from his superiors.

Secondly, again, the name game bothers me. The Reizenstein family must look at the Milliones issue and get nauseated. And why re-name a school when Frick or Schenley were fine? I'd like to know what individuals make these decisions.

Lastly, questioner, having worked in comprehensive high schools, I always chuckle about parents of good students and good kids who wish to get the "well rounded" by placing them in comprehensive schools. Sorry, that's a foolish mentality that often produces horrendous results. If I was a parent again, smaller class size, safer school, having my kids surrounded by students who all want to achieve would be my goals.
I guess that would leave Allderdice out of the equation, reputation notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:17...I am glad someone else understands what Gates is all about. Philanthropy? Hardly. Millions spent on a personal agenda being pressed into action. That our district essentially prostituted itself in an all out frenzy to score these millions is both amazing and sickening.
The message is clear, and dangerous. If you have some spare millions, you too, can influence the policy of heretofore untouchable areas, like schools and government.
Somehow, I have to wonder if this is in keeping with the idea of a democratic republic.

Questioner said...

Re: "If I was a parent again, smaller class size, safer school, having my kids surrounded by students who all want to achieve would be my goals. I guess that would leave Allderdice out of the equation, reputation notwithstanding."

- Doesn't Allderdice essentially achieve these goals for SOME of the kids by its school within a school arrangement?

parent1 said...

I have repeated the UPrep story to many people over this holiday and the comments have been:

What will his next bonus be?

Promise-ready or not I would take my kid out of a school with that leadership.

Mr. Hardy should never be allowed to evaluate any teacher and if he tries it should be thrown out, he lost his chance at being a good administrator at a crumby assembly!

Well, now that the parent hotline essentially confirmed the incident by saying it is a personnel issue, the story should be kept alive and be a reminder to everyone of how not to treat people.

Old Timer said...

Anon, Hardy only erred in that he went public. Kids at many if not most schools know the thinking of their principals. They know it by seeing principals continually harassing given teachers with observations. They see it by teachers continually being called into meetings with the principal.Kids aren't stupid. They know what is going on. I'm taken aback by the numbers of good teachers who have kids that also know how to get rid of a teacher---by telling certain stories to observers and by acting in certain ways when observations are going on.
And I haven't even begun to describe the "PELA youth", who continually badger teachers when they themselves were miserable failures in the classroom, by and large.

Questioner, I've never been a fan of the school within a school concept and have always wondered about those who make arguments for Allderdice in this regard. I always have questions that get PR-oriented answers:
-how can it exist at Dice but no place else?
-how are those kids with interaction between non CAS kids?
-are these kids constantly "sheltered"?

I much prefer the concepts behind CAPA, Obama, Sci Tech. Makes more sense to me and doesn't sound as "elitist", as critics complain.

Questioner said...

Part of what Parent1 seemed to be saying was that so far, Sci Tech and Obama are still concepts being tried out- there has not even been a graduating class yet. The district needs to make them work. Allderdice although flawed is a known quantity. As for CAPA- probably any school that only takes those w/ a 3.0 average will do well. And how do Westinghouse, Oliver and Milliones fit into the equation?

Anonymous said...

Allderdice kids that have graduated in the last few years are going to Yale, UCLA, Brown, Emory, Princeton,
UVA, Northwestern, Case Western. The list goes on and is not a perfect school, by any means, but is doing better in the admissions area than any other PPS high school for highly ranked colleges and universities.

Anonymous said...

People mentioned behavior incidents at sci tech. Thats because of the weak principal. He was at dice for two years, he was in charge when that riot broke out. He was moved to Sci Tech fall of 2009. He is Lipert's flunky from their time together at Baldwin school district. He came to Dice from Woodland Hills. He was there when they had their major disipline problems. What a Tool, he had no controll over dice, he was there to get rid of teachers.

Dice is better under its current Administration.

Disipline is the major problem with in the PPS.

Anonymous said...

The Hardy incident should be followed up by the media. Or nothing will happen to that sad excuse of a man. Fire Hardy, keep calling the district hotline.

Demand Action.

Do not expect any from the PPS or their comrades in facism the PFT.

Hardy does not deserve to work with our children.

Anonymous said...

I know of no discipline issues at Obama at all.
And questioner, the entire 6-12 idea is a work in progress. This district is trying hard to mold many if not all of their schools into this cut out.
As far as Lippert flunkies go, let's be honest. The only principals NOT in this category are those close to retirement. Everyone else has been indoctrinated.
It's good PR to keep ALL of the kids in school, despite the commotions they cause.
And hey, let's test them and stack them up against Chinese kids.
Makes sense.

Anonymous said...

If you think that this district is going to discipline the UPrep principal, you are delusional.

Anonymous said...

"Discipline is a major problem in PPS." (12:43)

It would be very interesting (or rather, very disheartening) to hear Pure Reform bloggers' view of WHY there is a discipline problem in PPS. It's probably a can of worms best left unopened. Right?

Anonymous said...

Please justify the results of "discipline" that puts kids out of school, as inferred by the 12:42 post.

Anonymous said...

The Principals reviews & bonuses are tied how many kids they suspend.

The more disipline referrals a teacher writes the more they are percieved as weak even if the situation warrants the referrals.

The kids run the schools wild, this is the main reason for low test scores. We have to many kids taking away from the educational opportunities from other children because their behavior. Its a few bad apples killing each school. Disipline is inconsistent, and lacking in most schools. Of course it is the teachers faults for not teaching kids who do not want to learn.

There is no consquences for these kids actions that why so many end up in Jail.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "tied to how many kids they suspend". The Less the better

Anonymous said...

Displine is mostly a bunch of false threats & many second and third chances at my school

anony said...

If what I hear from kids is even close to accurate, then teachers could get worn out from writing referrals (if that is the correct term). And yes, we parents believe a teacher is judged by their superiors based on how many they write. And possibly judged by their students by how many they DO NOT write.

The earlier comment about the connection of Dr. Lippert and the Sci-Tech principal proves the point that an unbiased RISE system may not be possible unless the evaluator has never worked in PPS. or maybe never in PA. Parents are skeptical of RISE, with these connections and relationships and times as co-workers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12/31 2:39 pm,

Believe me, you do get worn out in writing referrals; especially when nothing comes of it and the child returns smirking b/c he has 'juice.'

Don't even write up an incident that occurs in the hallway because that will count against you in your 'classroom' management skills. Go figure. So much for the good samaritan aspect in life!

Anonymous said...

Ok, here is the plan. We have a lot of people in admin, we have an office of teacher effectiveness even. How about all hall monitoring and referrals for hall violations be the responsibility of a traveling team of admin working in school buildings on a rotation basis?

Anonymous said...

Have to laugh, anon. Central admin types went into central admin to get away from the schools. They couldn't cut it there.

Anonymous said...

This is an upside down district

The cream dose not rise to the top, the crap does

If you can teach become a suit

I have seen some of the worse teachers rise "no pun intended"

Anonymous said...

Is there a next move on the U-Prep incident? I'm a teacher. I've contacted the PFT. I've contacted the PG but made it clear that I would only speak off the record (and that I am not a U-Prep teacher, so not a primary source) and never heard back, not even a request for someone else to talk to.

How can this be brought to light?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps teachers should take it to the streets, literally. Picket and protest at the union building, at Bellefield, and at U-Prep. A mass of protesters cannot be ignored, and there is safety in numbers.

Old Timer said...

The idea to picket the PFT is probably a better one and has been broached by a number of teachers on the contractnews blog. It's a horrible cliche, but it truly is what it is. PPS has bought into the Gates concept thanks to anywhere from $40-80 million. They sold their souls. They brought in and empowered ivory tower groups that run PELA and essentially oversee curriculum thanks to this capitulation.
And the PFT--for reasons only John knows--bought in, as well.
I'm not sure what can be done about it as in a realistic sense, I don't see the board or Dr.Lane sending the money back.
Happy New Year to all.
We can only pray that somewhere along the line, the great wake up call will come to the powers that be and teachers will be valued, as they should be...not administrators, and not out of touch with reality consultants.

Watching the Ship Sink said...

Old Timer,

Trust me, I agree with all you've been saying, times ten.

And I do believe that Roosevelt and Tarka have put PPS into a position from which they cannot recover; sadly, we're in an irreversible slide.

But let me ask you this hypothetical.

Suppose Tarka would say to you, "Old Timer, the passing of the last contract is proof that I've got a mandate to stay the course."

How would you respond?

Anonymous said...

Mandate from whom?

Picket the Union, I would be afraid I might hit Tarka with my picket sign. Lol

Tarka, he is own his own side, he has his own agenda

He is not on the side of teachers

Old Timer said...

You know, until this past year, I would have taken issue with that comment. Up until this year, I was one of the typical older teachers who looked at office elections within the PFT with skepticism and contract ratification votes---dating back to the last couple under Al--with great suspicion.
That changed this year for me when I started talking and listening at the incredible number of district meetings I've gone to since the open of the school year.
Someone once said that your perception is your reality and for me, as a long time teacher, I simply felt that every teacher felt as I did about the incredible changes teachers have been made to swallow.
I was wrong.
I've heard countless younger teachers talk with excitement about career ladders. I have seen countless teachers who are generally under 10 years of service talk about the need for RISE and improving their practice where curriculum is concerned. And most notably, I have heard teachers during RISE discussions talk about the need of "getting rid of bad teachers" and one ITL actually looking at the observation process as a way which a veteran teacher can be shown the door because "he just isn't a good teacher and strays too far from curriculum."

We've watched colleagues retire, only to be replaced by the "let's go along with it" mentality. Things the last generation of teachers fought for--especially pay and benefits--have been eroded. Take a look at your contract book of 1990 and then compare it to this last one. We gave it all away, and didn't even get a cost of living increase over the past two contracts.

And yet, they keep getting voted for. The greatest ability--the ability to strike--is looked upon with disdain by younger people, who simply don't want to start trouble.

Long answer to your question...but when your perception takes into account teacher from every level from across this district, then perhaps I have to think he I right.

No matter, you don't treat people who have dedicated lives like thi.

Watching the Ship Sink said...

Old Timer,

I agree that many of the younger teachers don't yet have a full grasp of what they're in for.

But I'm sure of three things:

One, that even the new teachers will eventually realize how harmful RISE, etc. is to their students.

Reality, and experience, will eventually trump the propaganda.

Two, if there was a re-vote on the last contact a year from now, the contract would not pass.

I say this because I have never seen such disillusionment in the elementary and middle schools.

Three, unless Dr. Lane can make some major - and bold - changes soon, PPS will get a reputation as a hell-hole for both teachers and students.

And that reputation will stick.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a large sample size, but I've yet to meet a young/new teacher who voted for the contract!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Watching the Ship Sink,

We must look like drowned rats from where you are standing. I must disagree with Old Timer about the last contract vote. I don't believe that it was the young teachers who swung the vote. If a strike were called today, I believe that it would be the young teachers who would be the first to walk the picket line.

It was the veteran teachers close to retiring who had sold the rest of us out. The threat of a strike terrified them and the fear of touching the retirement healthcare benefits were enough for them to swing the vote. Tarka knew. The irony is now the healthcare issue most likely be off the table.

As far as the rise issue, the new teachers at my building, and there are quite a few, are not completely sold on it. They did voice a need for feed back WHEN observed, but not to this extent.

Old Timer said...

Anon, oh, I definitely agree with your take, and unfortunately, it's always been that way. Looking out for yourself is what led to the many give-backs over the years.

I didn't vote for any of the last three contracts even though they were of more benefit to me than younger teachers. You see, some of us still understand what the term "union" is all about.

Anonymous said...

from the New York Times

______ “Please consider this.”

“Chancellor Black, (Supt. Lane) you have many innovative, proven leaders who have ideas that they believe can help reform urban education. Many of us are looking for a forum to be able to share those ideas with you. There are so many people, and they get stopped at every door because of the bureaucracy and the politicking. If you want to create a system where it’s about great ideas and proven models, you need to open those doors.”

“I’d give her the same advice that I got when I came here, which was, “Go in open and listening, and don’t get defensive.” It’s true that she’s not from within the profession. There’s no point in arguing about it. The strongest way to counter the argument is to say, “You’re absolutely right, and therefore let me listen to what the issues are.”

"She’s going to have to bend over backwards to make people feel like they can take a risk and tell her things that she may not want to hear. I think overall, systemwide morale is really low. I am absolutely all for the idea that children are first, but there’s a way to treat the adults who work in a school with the kind of respect you want them to show the children, and that kind of respect has not been effectively shown.”

These excerpts from a NYT article addresses the new Chancellor of NY Schools in a manner that, perhaps, Pittsburghers might take on as an approach to the new Superintendent of PPS.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

parent1 said...

All you need to do is listen to a few minutes of a talk radio show doing its one hour segment during a teachers' strike or even a period of a contract dispute to know how all members of the profession are lumped together. Districts who have employee contributions to healthcare plans as a sticking point suddenly turns into a story not being told by district but one where the message is that no teachers pay into healthcare or contribute so minimally that it becomes a war of words on the air. Other times you might think a segment is an infomercial for charter school education. Then there are the times when the "bad" teachers are discussed to the point where a casual listener might think there are no more good teachers anywhere. Because in this state the ability to strike still exists the profession is vilified. The entire profession.


The one message I kept hearing over the past few years is the same one teachers might use to explain why the last contract passed. WE HAD NO CHOICE. I heard it when I asked why my kid was essentially being taught lessons over again in some classes or why the literature selections seemed to have a repititve theme or why some authors were ignored, or why some things were not just taught, but beaten to death, etc.

Somebody quick tell the experts this: "the classes I do best in are the ones where the teacher is excited about what he is teaching."

Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Imagine that! Do you think the new Superintendent knows this? Somebody, please tell her.

One question: What percentage of teachers systemwide would support the utter lack of enthusiasm for PPS curricula that is epitomized on this blog?

Anonymous said...

An interesting read by PG's Scribman "Questions for President Roosevelt"

One critical question raised (for PPS and Linda Lane) should be kept to keep foremost all considerations regarding students, teachers, administrators and curricula and instruction.:

"What is the difference between being trained and being educated?

“It's one thing to be trained to perform a task, and none of us who goes to a pharmacy or drives over a bridge want our pharmacists or engineers to skimp on training. But it is quite another thing to be educated -- to be given the intellectual tools to understand a changing world and to function effectively in it.”

Can we challenge Linda Lane to “reinvent” education in Pittsburgh Schools (especially at the secondary level)____so that PPS rises from 496 out of 500 to one of the best school systems in PA___with high schools, superior, as they once were, to Mt. Lebanon. Upper St. Clair, and North Allegheny?

Read more:

Anonymous said...

An interesting read by PG's Scribman "Questions for President Roosevelt"

One critical question raised by the editorial (for PPS and Linda Lane) should be kept foremost in all PPS considerations regarding students, teachers, administrators and curricula and instruction:

"What is the difference between being trained and being educated?

“It's one thing to be trained to perform a task, and none of us who goes to a pharmacy or drives over a bridge want our pharmacists or engineers to skimp on training. But it is quite another thing to be educated -- to be given the intellectual tools to understand a changing world and to function effectively in it.”

Can we challenge (and support) Linda Lane to “reinvent” education in Pittsburgh Schools (especially at the secondary level)____so that PPS rises from 496 out of 500 to one of the best school systems in PA___with high schools, superior, as they once were, to Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, and North Allegheny?

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Another very good read to generate thinking among bloggers______________

Up Front: Why Criticism Matters

Words about words about words about words about words about words about words about words . . .
By THE EDITORS New York Times
Published: December 31, 2010

"We live in the age of opinion­ — offered instantly, effusively and in increasingly strident tones. Much of it goes by the name of criticism, and in the most superficial sense this is accurate. We do not lack for contentious assertion — of “love it” or “hate it,” of “wet kisses” and “takedowns,” of flattery versus snark, and assorted other verbal equivalents of the thumb held up or pointed down. This “conversation” is often lively. Sometimes it is fun. Occasionally it is informed by genuine understanding as opposed to ideological presumption.

But where does it leave the serious critic, one not interested, say, in tabulating the number of “Brooklyn novelists” who receive attention each year in publications like this one (data possibly more useful to real estate agents and sociologists than to readers)? Where does it leave the critic interested in larger implications — aesthetic, cultural, moral?"

Anonymous said...

______, NY times is hardly a credible newspaper to be citing 'its opinions.'

Are we getting snarky now that the truth is unraveling?

It's ashame that the PG didn't do its job when Roosevelt was in town. Many of his ventures would not have been approved.

Anonymous said...

Snarky? the more truth the better. Snarky is never a good thing_____let truth prevail____its the only way PPS has any chance of regaining ist former status and beyond.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a UPrep student and my child will not return there next year!!! The things I've seen at the school are shocking to say the least. Every time I walk into that school the Security Guard has her butt planted in the main office either talking on the phone or "working" on the computer. I'm no principal but isn't the security guards job to be patrolling the halls???? When the bell rings to change class the halls explode with students running, screaming, horse playing -it's unsafe to say the least. My child has told me that Hardy physically man handles students, throwing them into walls, lockers etc. and this is not in response to fights. If that's not bullying what is??? I've seen students on cell phones, listening to mp3 players. That school is falling apart at the seams. As parents we definitely need to take a stand.

Questioner said...

It's hard to imagine that a principal would take that kind of liability risk.

Maybe the community needs to start seeing the schools for itself- ie, each month a group of community members can choose a school the group would like to visit during school hours and then arrange a group visit w/ PPS.

Anonymous said...

This Principal?

I could see this happening, instead of dealing with the kids behavior he his trying to show he is a tough guy. He does not suspend them so inturn he looks good to the Ivory Tower Types.

If this toughguy put his hands on my child and pushed him into a locker for anyother reason except for breaking up a fight, it would be last time

Hardy is a joke, a Bully

Fire Hardy Now

Questioner said...

The district really would not want to have 3 principals at Milliones/ U Prep in 3 years.

Can any of the other staff at U Prep be asked to help- like the Gomezes, or professors from Pitt?

Anonymous said...

SORRY But I have a stupid question. What about the PSCC did they get rid of those?

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