Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How we got where we are Part IX (remainder September 2007)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, Part IX, September 2007

Excellence for All would accelerate with an influx of soft money. Latching onto to every great new idea would take its toll on the district later in 2011 when the Stimulus funds dried up and a new administration took the reigns in Harrisburg.

Look beyond the end of the grant and realize that if you continue – and yes, foundations expect that if you start a program with their money that you will see it through – something has to give.

Elementary school students would appreciate this lesson. If you are offered $4 dollars toward a $10 purchase and you cannot afford to spend $6, don't take the $4.

1. September 26, 2007: Heinz gives $75,000 to print the first editions of the District's very own semi-annual newsletter.

The Board approves “Acceptance of $200,000 from The Fund for Excellence (FFE) to support the continuation of an external evaluation of the District's Instructional lmprovement Initiatives.” The contract goes to RAND.

FFE grants $1.2 million for year two of the America's Choice model for ALAs and another $800,000 to fund the first year of the Office of the Chief of High School Reform.

Ironically, another grant foreshadows the over-extension of PPS resources, “Acceptance of $185,761 from [FFE] to support costs associated with an Executive Director of Development position. This individual will enable the District to achieve all aspects of Excellence for All, which requires considerable supplemental funding to be raised swiftly to assist the District in meeting its performance goals.”

Broad provides $25,000 to support “costs associated with school board training to be provided to the Pittsburgh Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools by The Center for Reform of School Systems...around the area of Board governance, especially with regard to enabling the District to significantly and positively impact the lives of students and the Pittsburgh community and to realize the goals of the District's ambitious Educational Reform Agenda-Excellence for All.” Note that a robust package of school board training for nine members and one superintendent is available from the PA School Boards Association for less than $1,000.

Broad gives $1.8 million toward the costs of the first four years of the Pittsburgh Emerging Leadership Academy (PELA). “The goal of PELA is to attract and retain a highly qualified, diverse and committed pool of principal candidates that will form a pool of talent...for principalships and other administrative job openings that occur throughout the District. The District anticipates a large number of retirements within the coming three years, so PELA is necessary, preventative strategy related to Human Resources...”

We would spend the next four years watching new positions being created to keep PELAs in the district when there was no naturally occurring placements for them. The district, which barely a year earlier had to offer a retirement incentive to thin the ranks because there were 22 fewer schools after Right-Sizing, never needed a “pipeline,” it needed a back flow preventer. The incentive pulled forward to 2006 most natural retirements that would have otherwise happened in 2007 and 2008. Hence we had PELAs popping up all over central administration until other jobs could be created, such as “Directors” at schools.

Dr. Paula Bevan receives another contract, this time for 15 days of work at a cost not to exceed $42,000.

A crew of Secondary School Reform Interns is hired to support the activities of Dr. Lopez's new office.

The Heinz parent engagement grant is increased by $190,000 to fund the initial Welcome Back package and a district calendar.

Travel waivers are approved for a small schools tour of New York City. An earlier Gates fad was small high schools, which they abandon when the results did not support the hypothesis."


Questioner said...

It's kind of ironic that after creating the least sustainable financial arrangements ever, MR's new thing is sustainability (but in the environmental context). Would he still make a big push for air conditioning, when many Pittsburgh schools have managed to get along for 100 years with more sustainable cooling methods such such as opening windows?


Anonymous said...

"Dr. Paula Bevan receives another contract, this time for 15 days of work at a cost not to exceed $42,000."

Seriously How much money did this woman make as a consultant? Why was she paid so much repeatedly?

Questioner said...

A picture of desperation is starting to emerge from all of this information, of a district willing to pay almost any amount to get test scores to increase, fast.

Anonymous said...

Increasing test scores is easy, however, spending money is not how you do it. It doesn't cost any money to teach young people to think; but it does take adults who have learned how to think. PPS has found lots of money; but no one who can think.

Anonymous said...

Laying off 147


Old Timer said...

Funny thread that is so representative of all that ills PPS at this point in time, promises from the new superintendent notwithstanding. On one hand, we have Bevan, who seems to enjoy trying to get even the most casual viewer to buy the snake oil that truly is the RISE procedure.Parents should understand what a crock she puts forward, with the blessing of Van Horn, Esposito and others from the PFT. Think of a snipe hunt...or a witch hunt....hey, think of any scenario you like where the bottom line is the word 'farce'. I don't think any of these people would know an effective teacher toiling in a difficult classroom if that teacher bit them in the....well...you know. The conventional logic employed by Lane seems to be that since we gladly kissed rings and other things to get $40 million, we will have to stand by this lunacy.
Then we have PELA. Parents, understand what this "program" is. We take numerous teachers with little experience in the classroom. We indoctrinate them for a year or so then have them "intern" at schools, where they belch this incredible ivory tower claptrap upon teaching staffs that are the front line and work with the kids daily. Largely, they want to insure teachers are following the most inane, vapid curriculum and preaching from IFL that you could ever imagine.
Then, they are ideally placed in principal positions. And if there are no positions, we'll devise positions. Directors have little to no interaction with students--they don't do discipline, they don't instruct. They just make judgments based on short, often failed personal experience in the classroom and from the brainwashing of IFL.
I want to thank Dr.Lane for proving that she is just more of the same corporate style that began with Roosevelt. While I'm sure that she forgot more about education than that charlatan will ever learn, it's disappointing that she has failed thus far to display the gumption associated with four simple words that would have been vital for the education of PPS kids:

Do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Hurry! Where is part X? I want to hear more and more... Don't stop now.