Monday, April 9, 2012

Allocation of state funds among school districts

As long predicted by PURE Reform, the allocation of state funds among school districts is becoming an issue; particularly at issue is a provision that did not adjust the allocation despite the fact that some districts such as PPS have lost considerable enrollment while others have seen large increases in enrollment. From yesterday's PG:

As noted when prior Superintendent Roosevelt decided to dip into reserve funds, PPS may well need these funds to smooth a transition to a smaller share of state funds.


Anonymous said...

Here we go. The chickens comming home to Roost. Our current superintendent was apart of this and keeps this top heavy adminstration while our kids suffer. She does not have the leadership skills to handle all this changes that she is apart of creating and is leaving our district in shambles.

We knew she lacked the financial training to get us through this time but we appointed her anyway to appease our African Amercan community by hiring our first African American woman as a superintendent. We did such because we knew she would have to cut African American schools and do a number on African American students. We thought it would be easier for them to accept.

But boy were we wrong. They have even rejected her style and see right through the real leaders behind this madness. Hiring her was an experiment in social civil rights but at the expense of hurting our children. Look at the progress of African American Students and the hurting of community relations under her watch.

Time to stop the madness, and lets get back our track. We are becoming more divided as a school community along racial lines and their very own person of color is the worst thing that ever happen to them.

Anonymous said...

We really need to bring back Berdnick, Pps former CFO. He really is the only one in recent history that had a good handle on our finances and warned us truly about what is going on now. Our superintedent has failed to put people around her who are experts in finances or education and it showing.

Why are we sitting by a watching the butchering of our district in dollars and education. We have all this people on grant moneys that we transition over to the general budget that we cant sustain later. Also how fair it is to let people go off the general budget with more years in and not transition them over to the grant dollars and let the more recent hireees go. Not fair.

People are losing their houses and cars so that the superintedent can hire her broad and gates people and still not provide a quaility education for our students. It time for major actions now. We need a emergency education sumitt and get rid of this current adminstration.

Anonymous said...

We are sitting back and watching and talking about the destruction of our district. Time for action. Talking and bloging is good, but only up to a point. I know that we have tried talking to our board members and presented at public hearing only to have our views fall on death ears. Its time to get the feds and the state involved.

There has to be major policy and law violations with what they have done. We need to call for a major investigation from the feds or state to get us back on track. The current pps leaders are incapable of getting us back on track. If your listing help us. please.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:38 said it all-- watch the side-step-- we all get upset over the $$ and rightly so... while our schools are becoming more and more segregated- and no one seems to notioce or care we allow AA students to have low scores, we allow them to have low standards of behavior ( no consequences) and no one notices. Trust me, these students have consequences at home.

Anonymous said...

If it were Mark Rosevelt the African American Community would be calling for his head. Why has Dr. lane been able to get away with doing the African American Community worst than he ever has. Mr Brentley and now Dr. Regina Holey has tried to elighten us, but as we all know, they will be ignore. I have watch Mark Brentley over the years make request for details and data. But as far as I can tell he never gets it.

Dr. lane does not understand that PPS is not school assignment for a EDD program or an experiment for her to test out her Broad training. Its a real live environment with real live students, educators and community members. She can not do this in a bubble with just her girls. She needs the help of more senior educators and comitted community members. True be told, I sure her girls dont even respect her intellect and are bother by the image they have acquired under her watch.

The way she has allowed University prep to deterorate is a dog gone shame. Those kids arent learning a thing. There has been group fighting, bullying and rape in the buidling and god know what else is happening. Dr. Lane didnt listen to us. We told her the we did not want the Uprep to be a dumping ground. But did she listen? Heck no. Im taking my kid out at the end of this year and going else where, I cant take it no more.

Anonymous said...

Board members must be fed up with the spot light that has been placed on their ineptitude and various screw ups, like Westinghouse/uprep, excessive spending, Fazden hearing, Oliver/Perry flip flop, etc. etc. Broad members are begining to dislike each other, and lose respect for the administration. You can see Isler already has lost respect for IRA, and Sherry and Theresa dislike each other. Skip and Tom can careless and are clueless.

Anonymous said...

Was the district any better under Thompson?

Anonymous said...

Yes the district was better under Thompson. I don't know about the fiscal management, but there were more opportunities for more kids to get a good education then than there are now.

Also, far, far, far more enriching classes, activities, etc.

Anonymous said...

Yes, most definitely, the district was better under Thompson!

The District has NEVER been this bad, academically (never worse), financially (never worse), creatively (never worse), administratively (never worse).

All internal (education) numbers that count are at there lowest, including students, scores, and schools.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 7:14, you are right!

This superintendent, Board, and administration has stripped the district of everything that keeps kids coming to school.

Anonymous said...

Definitely things were better with Dr. Thompson. In addition to everything you have said-- all correct- he would not have allowed Westinghouse to languish in stupidity for months. He was a prescence-- a gentleman who would stoop down to talk to a small child. He took responsibility for the job-- the buck trully stopped there. No school was as bad under Dr T as UPrep became. He did not blame the teacher everytime a student acted out. He expected school to happen- everyday for every student and teacher. He understood the learning process, research, and always praised excellence-- instead of praising fidelity.Last but not least, he asked Mrs. Fink to STAND BY ME.... and he stood by teachers.

Anonymous said...

Then what are the main problems and what do we need to do to fix it?

Anonymous said...

Money. How to get more. How to do more with what we have. You must begin with that. Or, begin with cost containment and then open the revenue and usage discussion.

Kids, Talk with the kids doing well or kids who are struggling in post-secondary education. Teachers seem to do this often informally as kids they've taught come to visit or stay in touch. My grad would provide a lot if insight I am sure on problems and issues.

The one advantage kids in elementary now have over kids who have graduated in the last few years is that they are being convinced that what they are doing and learning in the classroom is important to their future. I have no data to support the theory, it comes from talking to and observing kids in my neighborhood. Was that a strategy or could they just not have become jaded?

Anonymous said...

The response from 10:00PM is insightful and well-stated. Dr. Thompson was a "presence" who clearly wanted the district to advance FOR CHILDREN under his leadership. The focus was education not a blame game. He was an educator and he looked for other "educators" who could help with the goal of providing "education for children. Dr. Faison was the same. This does not seem to be the nature or background of those who are currently holding office.

We need a leader with experience and passion for educating Pittsburgh's children and the ability to surround themselves with like-thinking educators.

This can all change and It won't take money as much as the right people.

Anonymous said...

How to solve: stop paying the scriptwriters, preaching fidelity, allow administrators to run a school with the mission that school will happen every day- from day 1 to 181 for every student, allow teachers to be creative again-not to dictate what is on every wall,(bought from a company) encourage "free-range reading" from libraries rather than leveled assigned books in canned- purchased through the consulants companies--see the theme-- less companies paid off! Pittsburgh used to have a tradition of developing much of their own materials. When everyone outsourced tech training for teachers-we did our own and were 10 years ahead of all the suburbs as a result. Get educvqational consultants and companies out of of students' lives-- they havent made it better

Anonymous said...

yes we are in a money shortfall now
they are cutting bus passes what's next lunch time,playground time better hope they don't cut classes
GATES/BROAD watch out going to cut out the PPS DISTRICT SOON

Anonymous said...

10:00pm has hit the nail on the head regarding the leadership of JT. I hope that the Board members learned a valuable lesson. Hiring persons who have never worked their way up the ranks in public education to the Office of Central Office Administrators is where they went wrong. A lack of hands on experience is what's causing the demise and all of the issues PPS is facing today. If you never had any first hand experience in fixing issues at a classroom and then at a school level for any significant amount of time, then how did the Board ever think that the current leaders could find solutions to issues at the district level?

Instead of keeping up with the district's technology plan that JT saw as essential in minimizing the digital divide to improve student achievement, MR and company thought that by spending money on consultants, canned curriculums and ALA's would be the answer to close the gap. We are now experiencing this failure first hand. Canned curriculums that have seen revisions year after year have done nothing more than to stifle creativity and independent thinking in the classroom that teachers of excellence used to be able to orchestrate. All too often the format of lesson design is so repetative that the classroom experience has become a boring, same old methodology of delivery. Students need to be captivated and inspired by teachers to open their curiosity.

Then again to accomplish such a task hinges on "trust." This is something that the leadership from MR to our current leaders have fallen short. In an effort to provide maximum control, they implemented the PELA program an extension of BROAD and Gates that encourages a leadership style based upon conformity and fear from reprisal. It's time for the Board and Centrl Office Administrators to re-evaluate where we were, where we are now and devise a plan including all stakeholders on where we need to go and how will we get there. It is apparent that the current plan is not working for students, teachers, principals and has left many parents and community members disenfranchised in the process.

Anonymous said...

JT was a friendly guy and did his best to make most people very comfortable. He also overspent like crazy and OT was over the top during his time in the job.
He could also be overbearing and dismissive and liked adulation.
Everyone has an opinion.

Anonymous said...

Gee, now we are fawning over the good old days with JT? You guys have your rose-colored glasses on. It wasn't all wine and roses with JT and I'm doubtful he'd have any easier of a go at it than LL.

Here is what people in Clayton CO GA were saying about JT after he was fired:

click for full article:

"Thompson, 64, was the county’s fourth superintendent in four years.

The former college basketball player dominated the scene with his outsized personality and penchant for flashy clothes. He once wore a silver leather suit to a school event.

But he rankled some people with his take-command style, such as when he ordered high school diplomas shredded because they didn’t bear his signature.

Board members said Saturday they feel Thompson is disloyal and hurt staff morale. No specifics about how the relationship went bad were cited.

“There are trust issues,” board member Wanda Smith said during the meeting that ended in Thompson’s firing. “If we can get a new superintendent, we’ll be OK.”

The board said in a statement Thompson’s dismissal “will also allow for a more open and cooperative working relationship between the board, staff and accreditation officials.”

Sound great, eh? Do you think PURE should lobby to rehire JT and he'll magically fix all PPS's problems he couldn't fix the first time round? Dream on guys.

Anonymous said...

I would bet just about every Superintendent likes the spotlight but at least JT, Faison, and King had no inhibitions in getting into the schools and rolling up their sleves to help. MR limited his school appearances to schools like CAPA, Allderdice, and Roosevelt. Rarely, if ever did he make an appearance in our challenged schools. He wouldn't even walk the halls without school police as an escort!

That's the difference between those with hands on and no hands on or limited hands on experience. I can't imagine that any of the three prior superintendents would ever have failed to get actively involved in the Westinghouse or UPrep dilemma.

When crisis strikes, true leaders lead the march to right the wrong. What we have here for the past 8 years is a case of Central Office staff who lack the necessary skillset to ensure success in ALL schools. Instead they look for the ideal principal to fix struggling schools. Funny how none of the PELA's are able to accomplish this task yet we have been told that they are the best of the best. The question is by who's standard? Seems as if the #1 learning of PELA's just as the Central Office BROAD graduates is to either search for the person who can fix it, ask consultants how to fix it or blame teachers for the failure and RISE them out of their job.

When you're in over your head, it's time to admit it to yourself and exit. MR did just this. He knew it was ready to hit the fan so he was content with just planting seeds. However, we all know that a true educator does not just plant the seeds, he/she cultivates those seeds and ensures they grow into fruitful plants. MR and the current regime change agents? I don't think so and the data clearly indicates that certain schools demonstrate success while others are failing miserably. It's those failing schools that our leadership has no idea how to change the course. A lack of wexperience in urban education by our leaders is the issue and the Board Members are responsible for allowing it to continue.

anon10:58 said...

Thanks anon 12;27 I was hesitant to say anything that might be construed as criticism of JT, but as a parent, I saw that if you ever asked a question he did not like, he never called on you again to ask another one. His ego was bigger than his size. It isn't really fair to name past supers as examples of those who could do better because the fact is they did not operate under today's environment, restrictions, fiscal burden, etc. As to boardmembers, they often seem to just be collectively shrugging their shoulders.

Anonymous said...

No things weren't rosie- but there wasnt a feeling of admin against teachers. Yes JT had issues in Ga- and so did the 3 supers before him-- He wasnt part of a national program to exit teachers, take down public education, and advance charter schools. Even Bill Gates himself now admits that making ratings of teachers public will halt sharing of ideas-YA THINK? You are giving this information to people with national agendas who are using urban schools as their platforms.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, if you were a parent who spoke up for Schenley and against some of the proposed "reforms from the administration -- that was it. You have been permanently written off by this administration.

Not just "not called on" but left feeling (or hearing) that the administration spoke disparagingly about you, "warned" other administrators about you, etc. This wasn't just at the admin level either, although I will say that many of the teachers who initially jumped on their bandwagons have switched schools and gotten out of the programs they helped to reform.

I'll be glad to be out of it all soon, though I worry about property values.

Questioner said...

By all accounts the concerns the Schenley parents raised about U Prep have materialized, but for some reason we hear a lot about the problems at Westinghouse and very little about the problems at U Prep.