On another post Anonymous wrote:
"How we got where we are, part 22, September 2008
September 24, 2008: The Board establishes Uprep “as a magnet program beginning with the 2009-10 school year."
Central office bloat continues with the opening of not one but two project manager positions for University Prep.
The Chief of Staff submits another contract with Dennis Moran Design to work with the Marketing and Communication team. “The firm will create secondary graphics including: (1) color palette, (2) fonts, and (3) imagery. They will deliver marketing materials including: (1) a capabilities brochure, (2) a multipurpose pocket folder, (3) website graphics, (4) insert sheets, (5) presentation materials and (7) additional materials as needed. Responsibilities of the contractor include print production coordination and management, layout, image creation including illustration or photography, and delivering these complete materials on time and in accordance with the marketing and communications plan.”
The financial statements again warn that “significant efforts must be made to reduce operating costs”, urge “an even greater premium on cutting expenses”, and call for sale of closed school buildings to be a “priority.”
Randall Taylor, on changes in the magnet policy, raises “issues about maintaining the diversity, the gender and racial diversity that we have in our magnet admissions and our magnet schools, and so my sincere hope as we go along is that, one, that we will have the involvement of groups like the NAACP of Pittsburgh, the Advocates for African-American Students and other groups who may want to be a part of creating a process that at the end of the day that we maintain the gender and racial diversity that we've enjoyed in this district for over 30 years.”
Mark Brentley, knowing that Uprep had only 138 students, questions the need to two project managers: “Can you tell me what is the -- what is a project manager for the University Prep?”
In a tag line more worthy of Cosmo (“50 is the new 20!”), Mark Roosevelt explains the grading of all E's as 50%: “I, myself, am not a statistician, but to those who are, there is a great body of evidence to show that if an E is treated as anything less than that, it is over represented in a student's grade accumulation and, therefore, is unfair to the student....let me just make it clear. If a student takes an exam or takes a test or hands in an assignment on which they earn a 20, when they're handed that back, they are given a 20, and that is how it's described and that is how it's presented to them. It is only when the grade point average is compiled for that course that it would be represented as a 50.”
Mark Brentley counters that “it would be very, very hard for me to believe that seasoned, established educators would support this....a false hope that he or she is really progressing when they're really not...the biggest and most important thing here is that it never accurately measures that student's achievement, and when you're playing those kinds of shell games, it's unfair to the students....when you really, really look at it, it simply makes no sense. These kids are shortchanged if this process is being used, and somewhere, somehow somebody's got to give some of these students some tough love....it is not only our job, it is our duty to make sure that we're open and honest and fair with all students.”
In a real gem that we will revisit later, Bill Isler states emphatically that “I can tell you this: Mr. Roosevelt has no authority to sign any contract or negotiate any contract without board approval. This board approves every single contract. That's part of the school code.”
Brentley discusses Roosevelt's whereabouts: “Mark, we are going through some trying times here. We've closed so many schools. We have so many new that you would need all hands on deck at all times, and it was just stunning to see that on the very first day of school you were teaching and not within our district.”"