Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Single gender academies draw wrath of ACLU"

From the Tribune:

""The most troubling part of this is that there is clearly a lack of desire on the part of families to send their child to a single-gender school, and the district seems to be trying to force them into these academies through the back door," Rose said."


Questioner said...

The plan described in the article is to assign students living in certain areas to the Westinghouse gender academies with the promise that after 30 days they can go to U Prep instead.

How disruptive for students to have to change schools 30 days in. Would Board members and administrators ever agree to such a plan for their own children? And what if too many students opt for U Prep?

Anonymous said...

The article quotes a Board member:

"It's encouraging that (administrators) are being very thoughtful and deliberate in how they design and open a school," she said.

Sharene Shealey seems to be a very sincere woman, but the naivete of this statement challenges credibility.

Please Board Members, think deeply and seriously about what constitutes "thoughtful and deliberate" on how to "design and open" a school.

How many times, Board Members, have you heard Administration say we have to do "something" for these children. What is done MUST be better than "something." "Something" is NOT better than nothing. Please postpone and give this serious thought and deliberation.

Anonymous said...

They reviewed the agenda review and they suspected very few knew what they were up to.

Questioner said...

Note also that because this latest silly plan was thrown together in the last week or so, after the April public hearing, there will be no opportunity for public comment before the board votes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe PPS should do what other many other districts in the Commonwealth do and provide opportunities for public comment at each of their public meetings INSTEAD of a single public hearing held once a month.

This would certainly be more responsive and allow public comment to adapt to shifting plans.

Anonymous said...

Maybe these civil rights issues will get PPS more of the national attention it loves to attract.

Questioner said...

Even the PG is reporting that the latest plan raises legal issues:

Anonymous said...

Jocelyn Kramer, an attorney for the district, called the plan "legally defensible." I guess the Board/PPS would rather go ahead with their plan, and if it is challenged in court, (which I bet it will be) throw more of our taxpayer money down the drain trying to defend it in court. What a waste of our money.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've never heard of the "if we only do something illegal for a month then it's okay" rule before.

Anonymous said...

Kramer was hesitant in her response which was very, very carefully worded and re-stated by Ira Weiss.

"IF implemented" as written which included wording that said enrollment had to be "completely voluntary." However, Dr. Lane stated that students would be "assigned."
How does that align with "completely voluntary."

It will be important to analyze the exact wording. Will parents and students be advised and/or counseled on this?

Anonymous said...

And who cares how much it costs to challenge in court? Not the attorneys, its more money for them? Not the Board or Administration since they are also making the 'big bucks.'

And the vast majority of taxpayers have no choice, except a vote which goes to the person with the best P.R.

Someone should send the "real "story" about education in PPS to Education Week,

Kathy Fine said...

I was at the meeting. Ware Allen stated that she was concerned about the 30 day opt out period but was satisfied when she was told by the district that there was an option to opt out, but to stay at Westinghouse in coed classes. And I believe that Dr. Land said something about increased staffing needs due to having both coed and single gender classes.

Also, someone posted earlier about Dr. Lane's comments on needing to go forward due to staffing and questioned whether waiting would be better to get the best staff. Dr. Lane's response at the meeting was that staff has already been identified for the single gender academies and that it is not fair to them to ask them to wait another year.

Questioner said...

The newspaper reports do not seem to envision an option to stay on at Westinghouse in mixed gender classes- here is a better link to the Tribune article:

How will families figure out what is going on?

There is a special legislative meeting today at 6:00 at Reizenstein, presumably for the Board to approve whatever it is that the plan says.

Anonymous said...

11:03 - Your comments are an interpretation of what Dr. Lane said a the meeting. It might be good to revisit her exact words on the audio recording of that meeting. One related statement was that on Saturday, two days previous, the Co-Principals interviewed teachers for positions.

Teachers will tell you that the selections have not been made and nothing is currently in place.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the same old PR, give some excuse that sounds good for whatever PPS wants to do.

Anonymous said...

"Teachers will tell you that the selections have not been made and nothing is currently in place. "

That would be news to the teachers I know who applied and have already received their positions. They've known for at least a month. This is true of teachers for W'house, Faison's new program, Brashear's Teacher's Academy makeover.

Yes, the job fairs are coming up -- now all the people out at Westinghouse, out at Brashear (everyone had to reapply there too, heard only ~30% were retained), etc. will be interviewing and finding out where they end up.

Anonymous said...

all i got to say is lets OUTSOURCE
the 30 DAYS you talk about put the
HORSE before the CART this only
happens in PPS well don't stop now
lets also have a SINGLE GENDER
Teachers,Boards Members,Etc!!!!!
PPS on the roll they should not stop now.

Anonymous said...

I am confused, 30 day opt out for what choice? What if there is no room?

Anonymous said...

11:26 - The entire Central Office Administrative Educational Team (Supt, and Ass't Supts) are ALL single gender!

Mark Rauterkus said...

Think of the pressure in the first 30 days and the potential for suspensions to be dished out on days 31 and 32. (... an observation from another person...)

What kind of start to the school year is this going to be?

Quote: "Well begun is half done."

Guess who????