Sunday, June 19, 2011

How we got where we are Part VII (June and July 2007)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"How we got where we are, Part VII, June and July 2007

The district's eyes were on the prize in June 2007, focusing on increasing compensation for administrators, sympathetic consultants and expanding the central office:

1. June 28, 2007: The Board accepts the $7.4 million federal Teacher Incentive Fund. The grant supports the district's partnerships with – surprise – the Institute for Learning and RAND. Not only is RAND responsible for providing design of key program elements, but they are to conduct the evaluation of the project (what incentive would they ever have to find that their design work was anything but outstanding?). By year 5 of the grant, the district's local match reaches 75%, with year five being July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. By year 6, this is entirely locally funded.

The curriculum shuffle plays a new tune, with a $100,000 contract with the Write Tools, including two days of training for 1,500 employees. The Board tab brags that their materials are color coded.

Superintendent Roosevelt responds to declining enrollment by hiring two consultants to begin designing additional high schools.

The Board reallocates some of the funds for the amended Kaplan curriculum contract to provide an addition $1.4 million contract – surprise - for the Institute for Learning. Superintendent Roosevelt explains that they have the “capacity.”

Before the vote, Board Member Randall Taylor urges this change to be presented at the Education Committee meeting in July 2007. The transcript would reflect Taylor at a later point in the meeting exclaiming that “the point I am trying to make is that we must get away from people being able to hand out contracts to whoever they desire.”

In terms of personnel cost, this is one of the richest months on record for the Roosevelt/Fischetti/Lane era.

A Customer Service Manager position is created in the Communications department (Office of the Chief of Staff).

The number of Executive Director positions in the Academic Office grows from two to four AND the Chief of High School Reform job is created, along with project managers, research analysts, etc.

Sam Franklin is hired as the Project Manager for SciTech.

Andy King retires (with a settlement).

2. July 25, 2007: Woops, the Board amends the contract with CEP that was originally listed as $3.5 million to add $2 million that is expected to arrive from State funds (this anticipated annual funding source never materialized) and nearly $300,000 to be paid from Title I.

The Focus on Results contract grows by $100,000, with the purpose still being to “enhance the urgency and the cross-department processes necessary for accelerating academic performance” and “build teamwork and identify tools that will assist with monitoring the timeliness and quality of work for greater accountability and higher levels of customer service.” Nobody points out the obvious that in a school district, this is the Superintendent's job.

Another no bid contract is awarded for the Communications department, this time in the amount of $28,818 to assemble packages, while the previously awarded Jpapa receives a new gig in the amount of $16,000 for about 80 hours of work on Customer Relations Management.

Compass Learning receives nearly a $1 million contract for reading and PSSA prep curriculum. To even the most diligent observer, it is really impossible to tell how this fits with Wilson, Read 180 and all of the work that Kaplan did for the district. On another front, about $70,000 in bids for promotional items are awarded.

The contract for asbestos removal is increased by $500,000 for preventive remediation at Schenley.

The personnel agenda reveals another round of upward reorganization in the the Curriculum and Communications departments.

Derrick Lopez is hired as the Chief of High School Reform, while Julia Stewart is appointed as the Executive Director of Career and Technical Education. Dr. French and Dr. Lippert are also appointed as Executive Directors."


Questioner said...

Is there a good way of comparing spending during Roosevelt's 5 years v. the previous 5 years? And the amount spent on consultants?

All of this is going to need to be dismantled, quickly.

Anonymous said...

Dr. French and Dr. Lippert is worthy of a new thread, but I am not going there.

Anonymous said...

Many had hoped for a change when Dr.Lane came on board. Alas, meet the new boss---same as the old boss.
She is nothing new where politics and teacher-targeting is concerned. She knows where her bread is buttered and is going to do nothing to offend her benefactors.
Hiring French was a kick in the crotch to teachers everywhere. What an incredible waste of money she has surrounding her.
And what a period we are at in education. A woman who had a few years in the classroom is superintendent, a school psychologist is her number two, and a gym teacher with a few years experience is an assistant.
(I won't even start with the others in the inner circle)
Yes, you too can jump on the education gravy train and hardly come in contact with students. All the while, you can bash and blame teachers for any negatives.
What a great way to live!

Anonymous said...

Who else exactly IS in this so-called "inner circle?" What makes/keeps them there? Is it the secrets they know or what? Who do they know?

Anonymous said...

While sarcasm never serves us well, 6:35 has very clearly targeted the problem in PPS with (3rd paragraph) sustainable facts.

We truly need leaders who understand our (PPS) kids, teaching, learning, assessment (formative), creativity, the nature of thinking, problem solving, curricular cultural relevance (as opposed to "sensitivity"). We need people who can think for themselves, whose experiences with children inform their decisions in positive and productive ways, who do not need a "one-size-fits-all" formula to make decisions; we need people who care about Pittsburgh children's education and not each other and their own career advancements.

We need people who would do the job for next to nothing in dollars; we need people who can support, inspire, and applaud unique approaches to educating ALL of Pittsburgh's children, not just those who qualify for CAPA, Sci-Tech, and Obama.

Each and every one of our children has the potential to reach goals, be successful, and advance the gifts that God gave each of them___ in a quest for productive futures.

Please God, let those with the knowledge, the understanding of kids, and teaching, and learning, and the inner commitment to the task at hand become the guiding influence for education in PPS!

Anonymous said...

10:00 - Unfortunately, our current Board, who are often well-meaning, lack the knowledge, insight, ability to analyze educationally, philosophically, and psychologically, the presentations made to them by this "inner circle."

The inner circle, the Board, have bought the business model, the Broad/Gates approach as it serves them well, not having strong educational backgrounds. When you have not the background, experience, expertise needed for the position held, you seek outside sources that will sustain you in that position, surround you, protect you, and insure your career.

PPS is, currently, not about educating children; it is about protecting adult agendas.

Anonymous said...

And protecting certain adults...

Old Timer said...

Questioner, John Tarka has resigned today. I want to thank him for jumping ship. Nina Esposito has been named PFT president, which is a joke. Let's rally behind Mark Sammartino, who will remember that we have a dual mandate---to remember the kids first at all costs, and to defend ourselves from parasites who steal their paychecks as administrators.

Old Timer said...

John Tarka announced his retirement today. That's a step in the right direction. Nina Esposito was named his replacement. That's more of the the same pollyanna claptrap teachers have been forced to swallow for too long.
I'm hoping---no, praying--that teachers begin to sense what is going on in this district. I'm praying they understand that their very livelihoods are being threatened by individuals who glean teacher effectiveness by what they read on a website or see in a seminar. They need to understand that their union capitulated at every turn and gave administration everything it wished, with nothing in return.
There are few, if any, administrators who can do what good teachers do, day in and day out. There are even fewer in the public.
Administration would could make you believe that we are the problem in education. The Roosevelts, the Gates's, the Broads, would make you believe we are overpaid.

But you know, most of us have done our 6 years of college. Most of us can teach anywhere, under any circumstances. Most of us are tired of being made to feel that we should apologize for what we do.

It's time to clean house. It's time to vote for Mark Sammartino in the next PFT election.

Anonymous said...

Well we wondered who would be next to go. The parade out the door continues. They are getting out while the getting is good. Let's hope all the dirt comes out. They are all in cahoots. Someone will squeal sooner or later.

We need to demand a state audit. All that money went where??

Anonymous said...

Check out Lane's statement re: Tarka on the PPS website under news and notes. What a joke. Like Roosevelt, Tarka didn't stay around for the 5 year contract and all the so-called great things to come.

Anonymous said...

I have not read the statement. I have no more kids in school. I do firmly believe that nobody set out to screw around with the lives and futures of children.

Questioner said...

Where is the Lane statement?

While no one wishes harm to children, the concern is that there are adults who have not acted responsibly.

Anonymous said...

I do agree, adults have not acted responsibly, and, I wonder what the hell motivated them. At first I thought ego, that they thought they knew, without exception or pause, what was best for everyone. Then I thought they might have an eye on bigger things, like how Ms. Phillips left PDE for The Gates Foundation. I even thought that some joungsters thought a successful Summer Dreamers' Academy would catapult them to a national arena. And, I still wonder.

Questioner said...

It takes a lot of time, effort and attention to make decisions for a half billion a year enterprise, and Board members are of course unpaid. And MR made it attractive for Board members to see things his way (and unattractive to disagree). And then MR himself was taught by the Broad Foundation that 7 long weekends provided sufficient training for this undertaking. And then foundations, with their own motivations and again sincerely wanting to believe the best, reinforced the Broad message by telling MR he was a visionary.

Anonymous said...

**I do agree, adults have not acted responsibly, and, I wonder what the hell motivated them. At first I thought ego, that they thought they knew, without exception or pause, what was best for everyone. **

I still think this is the biggest part of it. They live in an echo chamber, so if they have doubts, they go and talk to other Broad people -- other people who think exactly like they were told to think.

So, if parents or teachers or a community doesn't agree with them, it's clearly because they aren't smart enough or they're too racist or too selfish or trained the wrong way or too wedded to the status quo or "afraid" of change or provincial or...

Old Timer said...

I had another comment that you apparently thought better of and did not post, Questioner. Why?
Again, teachers should not have to apologize to administrators or to parents for being teachers. That sounds strange, granted, but administration seeks to demonize teachers as being the reason for students NOT achieving. The public seems to feel that we are some overpaid lot that whines a great deal (to those of you who feel this way, let's see if you can last in my job one day, let alone one week)

It's time to empower teachers and make these dedicated individuals feel better about themselves again. Tarka's resignation/retirement is a step in the right direction, but Esposito is more of the same politics. The next election needs to take place now, and Mark Sammartino needs to make his points clear.

The kids come first, to be sure, but teachers know how to move them in the direction of their dreams. Not administrators. Not consultants. Certainly not PELAs.

It's time to tell these people--people stealing a paycheck--to get out of the way. And our union "leadership" is at the top of that list.

Do the big thing, Nina, ...resign now.You people aren't fooling anyone anymore.

Questioner said...

Went back, checked, found the 6:12 comment, posted; not sure why it didn't go thru the first time.

Anonymous said...

Could Tarka have put himself in he role of scapegoat to help the cause? I am only a parent and therefore I may be whack? Does anyone say whack anymore?

Anonymous said...

Tarka was a parasite