Thursday, February 23, 2012

PPS Board offers apology to Westinghouse community

From the PG:


Questioner said...

The article refers to proposed language by Mark Brently; this is the language he proposed:

"Dear board members, It is with great pain, embarrassment and concern that I

again must address the unfortunate experience that our students, parents and staff of the

Westinghouse school community have endured under our watch. I would like to convey my

sincerest apology to Homewood and the whole Westinghouse School community for the

irrevocable mistakes, some of which are listed bellow, that were made by this board and

administration. We have caused a permanent and continuous failure to the students of

Westinghouse. We have taken and wasted our residents tax dollars and have not

produced an iota of education worthy of even discussing and as such we have been

negligent in our actions, which is tantamount to Educational malpractice


· Failed to provide the necessary incentives that would encourage the district's best teachers to choose to teach at Westinghouse, although we promised that to this community.

· Did not fully provide district support as promised in recruiting and selecting the best teachers for the opening of Westinghouse as a 6-12 program, we sent over 20 displaced teachers.

· Pushed and punished this community by putting 6-8 graders in a building with 9-12 grade high schoolers without proper security and separation, knowing that we were putting younger kids in harms way, and in some cases putting them in the same classes, full knowing this school and the neighborhoods were not ready for such.

· Segregated African American students by only given students from Westinghouse and Peabody feeders two areas to go to school Homewood or the Hill.

· Had eight changes in the school level administrators at Westinghouse during the 2011-2012 school year, which was a indications that things were not working an we still tried to push this reform down their throats.

· Failed to give the necessary attention to issues raised by the parents, community and staff related to transportation and student safety, causing over 300 suspension, 70 criminal citations

· Placed students illegally for at least 2 years in single gender classes, and continued at the start of this school year, knowing that aspect of the school transformation would not continue to be supported at the district level.

· Attempted to implement a new software system for grades, attendance and scheduling without the necessary experience with the system to ensure a smooth transition, causing us to violate state compulsory attendance laws because we didn't even know what students were not in school.

· Failed to collaborate with the Westinghouse Alumni Association who met with our superintendent, and repeatedly warned her and pleaded with her to slow this process down and she ignore them, All they wanted to do was get it right and increase the support system available to students, parents and staff at the school

· Failed to allow this school to grow over time. Other reconfigured schools were given the time to add a new grade level each year (i.e. Univ. Prep, Sci. Tech ) but Westinghouse opened as a 6-12 in the first year of transformation,

· Failed to publicly support strategic initiatives offered by the Westinghouse Alumni Association that were brought to the attention of the district in an effort to bring the Peabody and Westinghouse communities together prior to the consolidation (ex. Black Valedictorian ceremony, football game merging of neighborhood ceremony) etc.

· Failed to hire people who were experience and knowledgeable of issues surrounding this community, but instead hired people who were given jobs as political favors or give consultant contracts to lie and say it was going to work.

Again, I would like to make an apology on behalf of our Pittsburgh Public Schools and hope in Gods name that this never happens again."

United Homewood said...

Sharene Shealey says no did or said anything about Westinghouse till She aand Linda Lane arrived. In one year she will be held accountible for those statement. Thst staement proves she has no knowledge or history with our community. Please, Sharene resign we need a Board Representative. You be ashamed that Mark Brentley speaks more on our behalf than you.

United Homewood said...

Sorry for typos. Very insulting and ignorant statements tend to make people angry.

Anonymous said...

In Yiddish, there is a word that describes Mark Brentley perfectly. It is "mensch."

I don't speak Yiddish, but I am familiar with the word. It popped into my head as I read Mr. Brentley's statement.

"Mensch", from Wikipedia:

"Mensch is someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being 'a real mensch' is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.

The term is used as a high compliment, expressing the rarity and value of that individual's qualities."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing the entire apology. It has much more power than the weighted down version.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for providing the entire apology. It has much more power than the weighted down version."

Please forgive the error. I meant "watered down" version.

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that the vote was in favor of the apology ONLY because it was made clear by the Solicitor that the language proposed in Questioner's statement at 10:46 was NOT a part of the motion for an apology.

Mr. Brentley's proposal here was not approved.

The approved motion, in essence, was stated very briefly by the solicitor that the Board was giving an "apology to the Westinghouse students, staff, parents, and community organizations."

Dr. Holley added an amendment that said the Administration, Westinghouse staff and community organizations would collaborate on a plan.

That's it. Nothing more!

(A replay of the Legislative Meeting is on the air now, Channel 44 on Verizon Fios. It will run form 7:00 until 9:40 and the discussion around the Westinghouse "apology" comes roughly during the last hour.)

Anonymous said...

Great job Mark. The truth will set you free.

It is quite obvious the board member representing Homewood is weak, uninformed and lacks empathy for this situation. She implied that no one fought for Westinghouse until her and linda came up with this crazy reform changes. Thats obsured. They through anything together to get around the No Child left behind act. And now she is taking credit and giving Dr. Lane credit for this fiasco?

Questioner said...

On the Board meeting being broadcast at this time, Sharene Shealey keeps stating over and over that "no one gave a ding dang" about Westinghouse until this past Fall's reform efforts.

However, PURE Reform's mission statement, dating from the time PURE began in the Fall of 2008, stated:

"PURE Reform grew out of the movement to keep Schenley High School. All along, many parents had questions and concerns about high school reform in general, including concerns about high schools needing the most improvement but which had not been a focus of reform efforts."

In public hearings, in conversations with members of the press and Board members (including Ms. Shealey), and in various public meetings, it was specified over and over that the high schools most in need of reform were Westinghouse, Peabody and Oliver. Parents and community members connected with PURE participated in meetings in Homewood for over 3 years and facilitated meetings of the Open East End Panel, which culminated in a detailed report with recommendations and a warning about the district's plans for Westinghouse. People gave a ding dang long before things went wrong last Fall.

Anonymous said...

Also in this same meeting Kelly Abbott the other principal Westinghouse during the school year was demoted to instructor, effective feb 1, 2012 and assigned to Langley. PPS also cut her pay by 2/3s from aprox 12000.00 + a month to 4000.00 + a month and she is still on leave.

Did Kelly deserved to be treated like that if Sheally apologizes for messing up WHS. Also if the superintedent recognized that she did wrong and failed the students of Westinghouse, why wont the board place her on leave while they do or hire some one to do a full fledge investigation and find out what went wrong. Also the board should place any other adminstrator from bellfield (ie Otuwa, Lippert etc.) who was a part of all this wrong doing to Westinghouse, on administrative leave.

Anonymous said...

The teachers should have received an apology too. Amazing that apologists here continue to defend the "principals" who when put in a position of authority, failed miserably. Was it the PELA training or is it that they just don't have the personal skills? No matter, they failed the Westinghouse community, as well.

Anonymous said...

Mark Brentley sr. dont ever give up the fight! People may not like you, but you damm sure make them listen to you, and Homewood and Westinghouse appreciates you.

I have watched the school board meetings over the years. And you are 100% correct, in that most of them have voted down anything you say. But help is on the way. Thank your Regina Holley for speaking the truth as well. You said you saw the horrible situation at westinghouse regualarly with your own educator eyes. And they acted like you didnt even say that.

Mark when you have the floor, you speak with a command voice of our forefathers like Martin, Garvey, Malcolm and W E B dubois. I hear you crying out for freedom and demanding equity and justice. And as many others said before they were bought out no justice, no peace.

Please continue to speak the truth. You are not alone, there are Whites and Blacks who respect you and the truth. And athough many times our cultural difference keep us from uniting and coming together on a regular to for all our kids, most know deep down in their hearts you are right.

Anonymous said...

"Also in this same meeting Kelly Abbott the other principal Westinghouse during the school year was demoted to instructor, effective feb 1, 2012 and assigned to Langley. PPS also cut her pay by 2/3s from aprox 12000.00 + a month to 4000.00 + a month and she is still on leave.

Did Kelly deserved to be treated like that"


I know this anonymous seems to have liked this woman, but the reports I've heard from teachers is that she was never to be seen. Often they weren't sure if she was holed up in her office or not even in the building.

That's not how you get an out of control school under control. You take off your PELA pumps and walk the halls. You go into classrooms, you make sure kids are where they are supposed to be, you deal with discipline, you meet with parents.

Had she done those things, maybe she'd still have a job. Oh, right, she still does! A teacher would never have kept a job like that -- at least now she seems to be a teacher again. Maybe they can fire her.

Anonymous said...

Here, here-your web site covered Westinghouse for close to four years.

Brentley was tremendous as usual-he is an honest man that deserves to be-applauded .

While watching this televised meeting, it is media hypocrisy with many feeling tones of heartless expressions as apologies. The board simple words of saying SORRY following with their full pledge endorsement supporting Dr. Lane. I feel sorry is not enough for the Westinghouse students and lost year.

As for Sharene Sheale-the use of ding dong on numerous occasions in her “I am Sorry” spill made me wonder will she start her tears rolling from her eyes for emphasis. Her use of ding dong made me wonder if she was trying to act like one.

Maybe this charade of sorry-is getting Lane off the hook for firing. Teachers and school administrators paid for the mistakes at Wstinghouse

If this was on Roosevelt’s watch, Brentley would be screaming fire him.

Why are they protecting her?

Anonymous said...

The Principals at Westinghouse got played like puppets. I am teacher here so I know. They were doomed to fail from day one. They were not even allowed to get it right and yes they drank up the koolaid all in one big gulp. If they even came up with an idea it was shot down and in the end most of all their power was taken away.

It was a shame the men beat down like that. And pps gave a woman an asignment that they knew she couldnt handle by herself without help. But when it came to picking teachers, this new principals sent three of the most dedicated teachers away to scrample for other schools. And this teachers wanted to be here. When they left the new principals couldnt even figure out when homecoming was, and as a result the students didnt even have a homecoming game.

They were encourage to turn their backs away from the teachers and coaches that could really help them. They ignore the community causing the kids to miss out on the support that was previous provided. It was a sad thing to watch and we have not recoverd yet. And This replacement we have down here now, please. She is a joke and is itmidating the young and new teachers so bad, dont be suprised if PPS sees a demostration of WHS Teachers real soon.

Questioner said...

Also w/ reference to "low quality education" at Westinghouse for years- it is important to remember that Mark Roosevelt, on stage, applauded progress at Westinghouse several years ago. And so, if "this stuff was going on for years.... years and years..." members of the public must be forgiven for believing the Superintendent when he said that was not the case.

Anonymous said...

I will admit right now that I fell asleep before the "nobody gave a ding dang" input from Ms. Shealey. I did however see and hear Mr. Brentley introduce the apology motion and was concerned at how he did it. He has been a critic of last minute documents and motions and of being denied the appropriate time to read, study and judge these last minute items in order to cast an informed vote. Considering the support Mr. Brentley has gotten and the appreciation he has been shown by posters here and by the public in the form of letters-to-the-editors, even this gentle bit of criticism might be seen as sacrilege. We need to be fair to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr. Brentley learned from his peers how to get a motion passed, especially if he is the proposing something he would like to see passed.

He was exactly right when he said that anything coming from him is shot down and does not pass.

Fortunately, we have an educator on the Board who sees past the PR and is a true advocate for children. Mr. B's motions will now have a second from someone who "gets" what is going on at 341.

Anonymous said...

There doesn't seem to be a solution for racism in this city, in the school district, even on this blog. But many people continue to "stand up" against what is happening in the city, in the district, and particularly at Westinghouse. And, "standing up" goes back "decades!" To say that "no one has cared about Westinghouse for decades" means that some have not been paying attention or that they are new to the city, new to the schools, and/or new to Westinghouse and those who have been standing for kids in this community for decades. It is this Central Office that has not "stood" for Westinghouse. (John Thompson was on the site, in the streets, in the school, in classrooms, meeting with the community, visibly "standing" for the kids at Westinghouse.)

In the "decades" referred to, there have been many, many, good people, good educators (some of the best in the system choosing Westinghouse as their workplace) and good things were happening. The arts, the band, the choir, the football/basketball teams, the CAS classes, and "proficiency" on PSSA (and earlier assessments) in some classes.

During the current administration, most of these successes have fallen away and the reasons for that are centered at 341 South Bellefield Avenue.

We must do "something" has been the phrase from 341. Well, "something" was not good enough, is not good enough and never will be good enough as a scattergun approach.

We, collectively, know enough to take education to the next level at Westinghouse, a much higher level; but, have been turned away, dismissed and ignored (in all efforts, suggestions, advocacy, protests and plans) in favor of folks at Bellefield who do not know what they do not know and refuse to open eyes, ears, hearts and MINDS to those who are committed to the students at Westinghouse. WHY? Why a refusal to listen, to co-operate, to collaborate to come together with parents, with the community, with WAA, with educators, to create a realistic and substantive action plan for Westinghouse? Can anyone answer that question?

Anonymous said...

Why play the race card? It is not germane to the argument whatsoever. The great majority of our students in the district are African American and as such, the comment tends to play the blame game when such a contention simply lacks logic.
Instead, it seems apparent that this district looks at certain schools as warehouses, and it has for quite a long time. It tends to champion and prioritize certain "achieving schools" at each level, while looking at some as so-so. Sadly, it tends to look at other schools as warehouses, a place where there needs to be a school, a place where there have been myriad problems in the past, and a place that they can provide rhetorical explanations over while putting forth no true solutions.
Most teachers I know tend to look at students as either being willing to put forth the effort or not. It transcends skin color, period. I have no doubt that countless students and their families would have been counted as being in the "willing to put in the effort" category in making the decision to attend Westinghouse, but once again, we had administration providing a great deal of lip service to what Westinghouse was to be, and little else.
This district needed to see the mission of getting the new school off to a solid start as being paramount in light of the Peabody closing and the mixing of neighborhoods. They needed to do a great deal of legwork to ensure that all of those kids who wanted to learn had the supports in place for a smooth transition. They truly needed to put in the long hours associated with forming strategies and planning.
They did nothing of the sort.
Forgive me if I shed no tears over the principals who were assigned to the school, as this was their job. They were empty suits. They had no answers. They had no plan. They had no vision. And worst of all, they failed the kids who wanted to learn, and their families.
Shame. It is the only word that fits. The large majority of kids and their families...and their teachers...were failed in this process.
Let's place blame where it is due: in the failures of central administration and the numerous building principals who largely still have jobs today.
No child of any color can afford a "lost year", apologies notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Please. Look at the achievement gaps in EVERY school. And who are the children in the "warehouses" as you call them? Who are the children in the "failing" schools? Who are the children in CEP? Who are the children who hit the front page with hands behind their backs? Who are the children NOT being motivated by so-called educators? Who are the children whose culture, history, contributions in terms of race are limited in the "managed curriculum"? Who are the children in schools where arts, music, foreign language have been most severely cut? Who are the children in schools where the displaced teachers are sent? Who are the children most suspended? Who are the children that are most 'dropping out'? Who are the children taken out of the most successful schools? Who are the children not accepted in the magnet schools? Who are the majority of children in the 6 to 12 schools? Who are the children most disenfranchised in the PPS system? (And, no doubt, there are other examples that have been missed here. Feel free to expand, bloggers.)

"Race card"? Hmm? Check the many definitions for "racism" and you will find that most, if not all, of them are applicable to the state of affairs in PPS.

Anonymous said...

High achieving or motivated black students are in great demand. These are the children accepted at the science school. Black or white (Carrick) no one is very excited about the students who are not motivated.

Anonymous said...

Friend, you embarrass yourself by playing the race card yet again through a series of questions that in most cases relate to the original point: the majority of our students ARE African American. Why not offer a more intelligent, more in the loop view, as I did earlier.
While your commentary and harangue against the establishment might have been more appropriate two decades ago, it does not begin to describe the problems now, and only plays into the shell game that those in charge of PPS would embrace to distract the issues.
And your assailing of "so called educators"??? How reprehensible. How ignorant of the reality.
I won't even check this thread again as it appears that you would rather sink to an easy way out than attempting to analyze the problem.

Anonymous said...

It is the responsibility of educators to motivate children/students. Some say it is the curricula that does not motivate. Some say it is the educators who do not motivate. Some say it is the environment that does not motivate. Whatever the cause it is the responsibility of the school (curricula, educators, environment) to motivate. It is being done in many, many, many, many similar districts across this country. Why not in PPS?

Trusting that (PPS was NOT able to do it) Pedro Noguera will help PPS identify solutions to the PPS problems heretofore presented, and then some.

Be a learner. Be motivated. Be a listener. Be an eager participant in the process to solve the problems. Remember: "If your are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

Questioner said...

Comments claiming success at other schools in other districts MUST include the names of the other schools or districts.

If schools needing training on motivating students is the issue, let's hope that Mr. Noguera addresses that topic during his time in Pittsburgh. A good first step would be to look into the reason that past efforts (like "Check and Connect" at Westinghouse, where students received bank deposits for attendance and performance), were not successful.

Questioner said...

The topic of motivation brings to mind this recent article from the NYT, "Young US citizens in Mexico brave risks for American schools" (describing dangerous, long, early morning commutes to school):

These students see a benefit in education that many other students do not see.

Questioner said...

Remember, that other parts of the country (Kansas City, W. VA) are pointing to Pittsburgh as a model of success! We need to know exactly what we are talking about.

Anonymous said...

The "motivation" referenced in 9:50 of comes from inside, (internal) feelings and responses to the words and actions of educators who care, who know how to communicate knowledge, who know how to reach and inspire students. It does not come from bribes, (Check and Connect) etc. (external) which reveals a prevailing lack of ability to care, to feel, to share relevant knowledge, to develop critical skills all the while inspiring and preparing the young for successful futures.

"One teacher in Chula Vista, whose name was withheld to protect students in his class, including Martha, said, “I can’t draw all I want from her. Her intelligence is hidden away by her tiredness.”

These are the kinds of statements we would like to hear “I can’t draw all I want from her. Her intelligence is hidden away by . . . '" demonstrates the feelings of a teacher who cares. The students see it, feel it, know it and that's what motivates them to continue to come day after day.

Anonymous said...

Regina Holley is correct to be "angry" to learn that students at Clayton are behaving appropriately and getting a "quality education." "Here is a service that is reaching large numbers of children who could not succeed in our comprehensive high schools. She stated that "Behavior problems are non-existent" at Clayton.

It does beg the question; Why can't our district high schools "minimize problems and give children an education."

How has Clayton solved what was also, very clearly, a "motivation" problem?


Questioner said...

How do we know there are no motivation problems at Clayton? And do we know for sure the police are no longer being called there? Or, that what works in a 130 student setting will work with more typical sized enrollments? Did Clayton report students PSSA scores?

Questioner said...

People generally describe the teachers at Westinghouse as quite caring.

Anonymous said...

"People generally describe the teachers at Westinghouse as quite caring."

Thank you Questioner. As a teacher at Westinghouse, I totally agree with you and appreciate your comment.

Anonymous said...

Sharene Shealey said why not apologize for the last 10 years at Westinghouse. Dr. Lane has been in Pittsburgh as assistant superintendent or superintendent for 5 years. If there was going to be an apology for the last 10 years she could join that apology too.

Anonymous said...

If there was ever a question as to whether there truly is something called reverse racism, we have seen it within this thread. Instead of coming to the realization that teachers and community are fighting on the same side, the vibe that comes from one individual puts forth the idea that the problem at Westinghouse all comes down to the racism of PPS and its teachers.
How unbelievably convenient.

Anonymous said...

9:16: There is no such thing as reverse racism since racism requires power.

"Racism 101 for Clueless White People,"

“However, to be racist (rather than simply prejudiced) requires having institutional power. In North America, white people have the institutional power. In large part we head the corporations; we make up the largest proportion of lawmakers and judges; we have the money; we make the decisions. In short, we control the systems that matter. "White" is presented as normal, the default. Because we have institutional power, when we think differently about people based on their race or act on our racial prejudices, we are being racist. Only white people can be racist, because only white people have institutional power.”

“If you start talking about "reverse racism" you're going to either get insulted or laughed at, because it isn't possible under that definition; PoC don't have the power in North America, so by definition, they can't be racist. Crying "reverse racism!" is like waving a Clueless White Person Badge around.”

Questioner said...

Most people probably think of reverse racism as discrimination by members of a minority group against members of a majority group. In particular instances the members of the minority group may have more power than the members of the majority group. But why quibble over labels, it's all racism.

Anonymous said...

12:45, I hope you are not raising kids with the blame game mentality that you push here. How will we ever move on as a society when you are living in your own little, my perceptions are my reality, even if they are from 1968 world? You're so out of touch with the real world that it is shocking.
BTW, I think the only laughing that is going on is coming from people who have the ability to think and work on solutions, not look to assess the same old blame.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:33/3:25/12:45,

If you are who I think you are, I would like to you for your contributions to Westinghouse. (If you're not who I think you are, maybe this post will still give insight into what happened at the House). Particularly, I appreciated your willingness to have conversations with the students about the cultural and institutional obstacles facing them. This was refreshing when many administrators remain empty suits committed only to the mantra of hard work, fair play and of course test scores test scores test scores (all important but hardly the whole story). I wish we were able to see more of your vision about social justice education implemented. I also appreciated your attempts at motivating the kids and willingness to use unorthodox approaches. I also appreciated that you actually tried to deal with the discipline issues in the building rather than hiding away. Finally, I feel like your public statement about theimprovement plans you were being asked to foist upon teachers helped open the floodgates of truth to what was going on at Westinghouse.

However, I am surprised to see so little responsibility taken of your own role in this fiasco. At many times, your behavior was unprofessional, including homophobic, sexist and racist comments. Even the students expressed their uneasiness with your "reverse racism" and calling out white faculty in front of them. Is "reverse racism" possible? Principals and superintendents are in positions of institutional power. If they are African-American and they chose to hire or fire or make other decisions on the basis of race, that is sufficient demonstration that "reverse racism" is possible. There is enough close-minded thinking to go around, whether it's comments about "Barbies" (all young white women who came to work at our school) or "half and halfs" (your derisive comments towards bi-racial children) in front of someone who has a bi-racial child.

It is also very frustrating to see you putting down others who were dealing with the same circumstances you were. Do you always hold to this empathetic view while you were here? Calling kids stupid in front of their peers? I'm not trying to come down on you because these situations bring out the worst in any of us, but it is hypocritical to come on here and take swipes at the faculty, most of whom did not have the luxury of bailing out early.

The principals at WHS may not have been supported but they also didnt do much to work with teachers. All three principals were completely disorganized. Bellefield should take some blame for that, because whatever other strengths the principals had, any evaluator should have been able to see that organization was not one of them.

I agree with the other poster, your analysis of the Westinghouse situation is a caricature. We should be fighting on the same side. Community, parents, teachers, union and students should all be working together to ensure these forgotten children get the education they deserve. I think it is clear now, if there was ever any question, that Westinghouse is one of the warehouse schools in this district. We need to start from those two points if we are going to begin to make any progress on this problem. Btw, WHS lost another teacher this past week and likely to lose another soon. Is anyone keeping count? Is anyone addressing the bleeding of teachers and children from this building?

Anonymous said...

Sorry 8:12, but Anon 8:33/3:25/12:45 is not who you think it is and and hopefully that person will take you on in response to your diatribe referencing their time spent at Westinghouse.

Moving on, however, we ask that you identify one place or comment in the three posts listed that is critical of teachers or faculty that supports your statement: "come on here and take swipes at the faculty." In fact, "good teachers" were always applauded for their work.

Let us suggest that you deepen your understanding and thought processes by giving consideration to the works of Marimba Ani's work: "Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior."

Marimba Ani, Ph.D., is a veteran scholar, activist, and trained cultural scientist. She is a long time associate of the legendary world-renowned Egyptologist and African scholar Dr. John Henrik Clarke. She is a professor at The City University of New York's Hunter College and also authored: "Let The Circle Be Unbroken".

Anonymous said...


Call what I wrote whatever you want, but I stand by what I wrote as being accurate and all matters not solely my opinion were honest and true.

Anon's 3:25 post suggests a lack of caring on the part of teachers. 8:33 post says, "Who are the children NOT being motivated by so-called educators?"

I feel demeaned by the last part of your post when you tell me to deepen my thought processes and understanding, as if I had not given thought to these issues that I deal with on a daily basis or studied any scholars on these issues. If this person's works are relevant to the discussion why not just tell me what it is that you find valuable in them?

Hopefully, we can continue this discussion fruitfully and respectfully. I believe we probably agree on a lot more than we disagree on.

Anonymous said...

If Westinghouse Academy is worth saving lets get at it. They need the right teachers, right administrators, and right stake holders to come to the table and find out what will make it better.

If Westinghouse Academy not worth saving, then close the school and send the students to Allderdice.

Anonymous said...

"They need the right teachers, right administrators, and right stake holders to come to the table and find out what will make it better. "

There is absolute agreement in the school and in the community that this should be the case! However, all of those above mentioned will be deliberately and purposefully excluded by PPS current Central Office Administration. The established pattern of operation is that only personally, hand-chosen, (sycophants) who have little independent thought will be at "the table (to) find out what will make it better and create the plan. Anything initiated or suggested by those not hand-chosen to be at the table will not be considered.
The Superintendent will come to School/Community meetings making an appearance and listening to participants, but this is never the "table" that will make decisions.

Perhaps the Westinghouse advocates from school/community/WAA can find a way to be engaged with Dr. Pedro Noguera when he meets with Central Office (no secret, private sessions permitted) to devise a plan for Westinghouse.

With the right input, right people, right stakeholders it could become a model for African American community schools! (That cannot happen with the one-size-fits all position/approach on curricula, discipline, and organization.)

There is a school community in Southern California that is pushing the limits of the law to take control of their "failing" school. (See next post.)

Anonymous said...

("The next post") - Hopefully, the WAA is already moving on this. Notice that this law is under consideration in Pennsylvania.
The Wall Street Journal
Parents Try to Enact Trigger Law
Parents Rebel Against School
Petition Drive Under California Law Could Lead to Mass Firings or Charter Shift

“Fed-up parents of students attending a low-performing school in Southern California aim to use the power given to them by the state to take an unusual step: fire the school. This power, called a Parent Trigger, was passed into law in California in 2010, but parents are attempting for
only the second time to use it at Desert Trails Elementary outside Los Angeles. Their effort to force Adelanto Elementary School District to overhaul the school, or turn it into a charter school run by the parents themselves, is expected to be closely watched across the nation."

"Similar legislation passed in Texas and Mississippi last year and is under consideration inFlorida, Pennsylvania and Indiana this year. The parents group hasgathered the signatures of 70% of the parents at the school and plans to deliver a petition to school district officials on Thursday. Under the law, parents can force a district to close a school, convert it to a charter or replace the principal and the teachers if at least 50% of them sign a petition. Last year, parents in Compton tried to trigger such a change, but their petition has been tied up in a lengthy court battle with the school district.. . . . . . “


United Homewood said...

It is time to start the conversation about Parent Trigger Laws in Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Parent trigger is funded by Eli Broad!

Anonymous said...

Link to back up Eli Broad connction.

Hopefully it will get posted this time.

Anonymous said...

The Eli Brad Bill Gates Parent trigger connection should have it's own thread. They are crafty.

Anonymous said...

Oh good! Someone came by to say "be careful what you wish for" regarding parent triggers.

Corbett would likely be delighted to pass that. Not to say that it might not work well once or twice, but basically it's a charter takeover mechanism. Parents don't run the school, national charter chains run the school.

United Homewood said...

If you assume that parents and community people are not idiots and dupes, do you think it can work?

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone assume that they were idiots?

Our entire district has been played with money from Broad and Gates and training and other funding from the same. Were all those people idiots and dupes?

I would say no the former and maybe to the latter. They want to believe what they are saying -- that they're all about equity, that they're making things better and fairer and all the rest.

But I don't see that happening, do you?

The point is not that parents don't know anything, the point is that "parent trigger" laws are used by big money to gain control of schools. If it happened to the district as a whole, what makes you think that Homewood would be different?

Running a school IS difficult. It requires expertise, experience, managerial skills and common sense.

Anonymous said...

"In contrast, the parent trigger is designed to give private companies and charter management organizations an open invitation to exploit parents and take over schools — destroying school communities. Rather than a grassroots process, it’s an Astroturf mechanism by which companies circulate petitions to take over schools. This idea is being pushed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s education foundation, with support from the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the James Madison Institute."

Anonymous said...

Is there a reason why the parent trigger information is not a new thread? It is vital information that parents & the community have to undertand before jumping on a bandwagon!