Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tribune article on school board candidates


Questioner said...

Interesting quote from Rosemary Moriarty:

"...instead of closing schools, the district needs to improve academic options across the city.

Magnet schools that draw students away from their neighborhood schools aren't the answer, she said.

"We have structured Pittsburgh Public Schools to be competitive against each other," Moriarty said. "The district has said, 'This is the creative arts school, this is the math and science school.'

"I think all schools should have a great math and science program and an arts program that energizes students.""

Before deciding to move to the current structure the district never had a real conversation with the public to decide whether extensive all magnet schools were the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Patrick Dowd continually believed that high school reform would lead to high school choice for all high schools (including Allderdice) but even he had the wool pulled over his eyes by the Roosevelt administration.

Questioner said...

In contrast, Sherry Hazuda is quoted once again as saying ""I think people can see for the most part we're moving in the direction we need to be going".

- We have continued declining enrollment at a time charters are booming; major increases in class sizes and reductions in course offerings looming; two new schools in bad shape; no real progress with CTE; but yet we are headed in the right direction?!

South Hills Stan said...

Dara Ware Allen's quote is so disingenuous.

To a person this Board and Administration was warned - repeatedly - that PPS did not have the local match required to absorb the "deep partnerships" with Broad/Gates or the Federal TIF programs.

You were served notice Dara and choose to ignore it. You bought into the Roosevelt Ponzi-like scheme no matter how many times you saw or heard the data on increased PSERS rates.

You were presented forecasts that for YEARS assumed flat or declining categorical funds from the State and Federal government. You ignored it, you failed to govern.

Of the seated Board members over the last five years or so, only Randall Taylor or Mark Brentley paid any attention.

And the best part is that it only gets worse: what do you think is going to happen Dr. Allen when the State's share of PSERS and SERS grows by several billion dollars a year?

Yet in the middle of all of this, our Board President can still muster the loyalty to Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss to still say that we are headed in the right direction.

You need to cut out the cancer that plagues this school district, starting with all ties with Broad/Gates and some of insane central office thinking that followed (e.g. hiring three human capital managers while laying off poorly paid custodial substitutes).

Take bold action like that and maybe the rest of us can rally around the awful choices that remain.

Questioner said...

When will there be a discussion of the budget suggestions developed by the WAA?

Anonymous said...

It wold be easy to say"ignorance is bliss" and choose to let the overwhelming majority of Board members off the hook. However, this Board cannot claim "ignorance" since it has been brought before them time after time that they are moving in the WRONG direction.

Where, Ms Hazuda, do you see us moving in the right direction? Cite the evidence, please!

We have had all of the information necessary to change the direction that is leading PPS to the pits, educationally for the majority of our students. Students are fleeing as quickly as possible to schools that are demonstrating that they CAN educate our children. After ten years of "accountability" under NCLB, PPS achievement levels are further away (BELOW) the PA minimum standards than they were in 2003. Check it out! The results of this administration are egregiously substandard, currently, for the majority of PPS children!

PPS has been reduced to using the "Growth Model" which is what the state permits a district to do when it cannot show an acceptable measure of progress. It allows schools to use a "projection" formula (GM).

How, by any stretch of the imagination, can this be called the "right direction"?????

Anonymous said...

Just an observation--many many parents and teachers who are parents, particularly African-Americans, felt that the magnet school program was the best education that PPS ever established. It is very NICE to SAY lets do this in all schools- but it hasnt happened-- and there is no way that a K-8 can provide the diversity of experience that either the magnets or comprehensive middle schools gave our students. K-8's may be strong in basics- but is that enough? Is it anywhere near what 5-8 graders in other districts receive?

Mark Rauterkus said...

What is delivered in the city and what is delivered in the burbs is a great question.

That is why I am a big advocate of the sports reform effort, now again on the back burner. One great outcome is to take our students, teams, families and communities into the gyms and facilities that are beyond the borders of the city on a daily and weekly basis for games and matches.

Go to the WPIAL schools. See what is there. Mingle with those parents and teachers.

COMPETE with them, up and down the schedule, sport by sport, season by season.

The internal league structure of the PPS / District 8, has some strengths and many other weaknesses.

One of the big challenges is to compete with the WPIAL and indeed, the rest of the world. Marching bands, musicals, science projects, college admission, you name it. Sure, this is more than sports. Sure, this is more than just an economic struggle too.

Oh well. Good question.

Is it anywhere near what 5-8 graders in other districts receive?

Anonymous said...

Great question! What IS delivered in PPS where more is spent per student (or should we be saying per adult/s) than in any of the "burbs"?

It indicates the need for an independent State audit!

Who do we need to petition? Jack Wagner? or Other?

Anonymous said...

Mark you are so right that PPS needs interaction with other districts. I dont know anything about WPIAL/sports etc- but I do know that pre-Roosevelt years, middle school coaches and athletic directors (remember them!) did open a world to our students-- not only the obvious -football and basketball-- but sports our students were not aware of such as wrestling, swimming and tennis. Even though these may have been mostly city league, they certainly prepared students for high school and I personally believe that for some students, these coaches- who did demand grades, etc from the students-- did keep students in school.