Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Consultant meeting


From today's Post Gazette, we learn that a by-invitation-only-meeting will be held by PPS tonightto hear the the new consulting group connected to the Gates Foundation. From the article:

"It's the $2.4 million question: Can an out-of-town consulting firm -- along with its out-of-town partner -- help Pittsburgh Public Schools address its financial and academic challenges?"

"Tonight, community members invited to serve on an advisory group will have their first chance to meet the consultants and give their input at school board headquarters in Oakland."

Were any of the Pure Reform advocates invited to attend this "Envisioning" meeting? 

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/out-of-town-consultants-to-scrutinize-pittsburgh-public-schools-issues-675925/#ixzz2LLYywbPT


Anonymous said...

Oh my!

2.4 million to develop a plan for PPS?

Are these people successful educators with such depth of experience that they can develop a plan for a district anywhere?

Can anyone give us information about where this group has developed a successful plan for a district similar to Pittsburgh?

Who are the advisory committee members and what positions do they hold?

Anonymous said...

Is this meeting open to the public?

If not why not?

What is the time and room for the meeting?

Questioner said...

Is there any reason the public should not be able to observe? You could call the coordinator mentioned and ask for the place/time.

Anonymous said...

This should not be done from this source. Could someone else do that and post the information here?

Anonymous said...

While PPS is a public entity, they often exclude the public from what should be open to the public. That is why the advisory group in "invited" by PPS. Hopefully, this is an "open to the public" meeting, but it would not be a good thing to have people refused entry at the Board entrance.
Or would it? (on second thought?)

Anonymous said...

If a deliberate effort was made to include those who have been critical of the district
changes, certainly a commentor or poster to pure sits on the committee right?

Anonymous said...

Some people who post on this blog have had a meeting with the consultant. They are just listening.

Questioner said...

Speaking of listening, the last consultant (facilities) generated tons of comments, the most frequent comment was that people didn't like 6-12, those comments may be a good start.

Anonymous said...

Are there really people who have been critical of the district with honest, straightforward and legitimate concerns included on this committee??

NONE of those concerned that PPS knows specifically about have been included!

Anonymous said...

This committee effort reminds me of the time one was formed as part of the effort to stave off state takeover. Will a members' list be published?

Anonymous said...

The "2.4 million dollar question" is raising even greater questions after last night's meeting . . .

Only 2 board members attended??

Were any others "invited"??

Only two more meetings scheduled in May and July??

Read the article and continue to ask questions ? ? ? ? ? ?

"Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane said she could feel the skepticism when members of a new advisory group arrived for their first meeting Tuesday night, but she could tell they were happier two hours later.
Ms. Lane said that's what happens "when people think you're really serious about listening to them."
The meeting was part of a process called "Envisioning Educational Excellence: A Plan for All of Pittsburgh's Children," which is aimed at helping the district address its financial and academic challenges."

"More than 50 people attended the meeting -- including parents, teachers, students, school leaders, retired school employees, community group representatives and other community members -- all by invitation."

"Two board members, Bill Isler and Thomas Sumpter, were among the group."

"Group members will be surveyed, meet again in May and August and may serve on subcommittees."

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-public-schools-looks-at-addressing-financial-academic-challenges-676045/#ixzz2LRk43iiD

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the error: The PG states that the two additional meetings are scheduled as one in May and one in AUGUST (not July).

Questioner said...

In the past attendance at committees dropped dramatically with each meeting until at the end there were only a handful op people left. It's not really a great way to accomplish things.

Kathy Fine said...

I attended the meeting last night. I have been a proud critic of the PPS administration and the misguided reform efforts of the last year. Because my name was on several PPS admin email lists, I did get an initial invitation, responded "'yes",but never received a response. Only with intervention did I receive the final invitation to the meeting.

Several notes on the meeting:

The district remains in the dark, almost delusional about the effects of their reform efforts and have convinced many that they are doing great things that just have to be tweaked.

the small breakout group format with white boards is the MO of every other district meeting, keeping critical comments within small groups.

the same nonsensical discussions that will result in little change in the current path of reform were facilitated, but now they can say that the community was heard.

The administration will not hear that the Gates/Broad model that is destroying districts throughout the country,demoralizing the very force that we are trying to empower and leaving our children behind needs to go. How could they when they hire a firm to "envision our future" that is funded by Gates?

It was an exercise in futility. However, i did find out one thing that gives me a small glimmer of hope. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is cross referencing its files with those of the PPS to identify students that have social service needs. Did you know that 50% of PPS students have had some level of interaction with DHS? I wonder why some of these children can't succeed in school...must be the teacher...

Anonymous said...

I, too, was asked to organize and served on a number of committees in the name of reform- specifically high school reform- for the PPS. This strategy imparts a sense of importance to those who are involved in the committee process. Recommendations are made, but rarely- almost never- are any of those recommendations acted upon. I agree that this is a method which allows the district to say to the funding sources that there has been community input. Unfortunately, the same path is still trod along or that of a predetermined path. I agree that the noise that these announcements make just masks the futility of the process.

Kathy Fine said...

Yinzercation once again hits the nail on the head!

Go to:


Anonymous said...

I will never, ever trust central administration in any way, shape or form. This includes board members and consultants. My job is to move your child toward their dreams. It is to help them realize their potential.

Central administration has stripped this district of all academic integrity. The Pittsburgh Promise cannot rebuild the tarnished reputation of a district that has an outrageously poor curriculum which yields poor standardized test scores, and it cannot explain a 50% grading policy enacted only to get more students on its "pathway."

It has worked to blame teachers for all that is wrong.

It a a RISE rating system which is outrageously subjective. It looks to cut teachers---the heart of any educational institution--first and foremost come budget time before it would cut from its own.

These people protect their own and they have betrayed the public trust. Pity that no journalistic entity in this city has the gumption to ask probing questions. Pity that this charade is allowed to continue without a whimper for the public.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathy for posting the Yinzernation post. I keep waiting for public outcry, media investigation-SOMETHING! Other than the posters here- who I totally respect -- I feel like screaming is anybody out there? Does anyone have any ideas for awakening a city?

Anonymous said...

Why is this meeting by invitation only?

We do not pay taxes by invitation only. Any city taxpayer should have the right to attend such a meeting.

Pennsylvania has a sunshine law. It's Act 65: "The General Assembly hereby declares it to be the public policy of this Commonwealth to insure the right of its citizens to have notice of and the right to attend all meetings of agencies at which any agency business is discussed or acted upon as provided in this chapter."

I am not a lawyer, just a taxpayer. I suppose that the smart lawyers at Bellefield will say that Act 65 does not apply here.

Anonymous said...

No doubt PPS' solicitor Ira Weiss gave the district the opinion it wanted to hear about this meeting being closed to the public.

What a shame. Even school districts in other states are warned to avoid the price of his bad advice:


Mark Rauterkus said...

I am not in. If anyone wants to listen, call or email me at Mark@Rauterkus.com, 412-298-3432.

Would love more advance notice on future meetings as well as contact info for listening targets.

Mark Rauterkus

Questioner said...

Wasn't Pedro noguera already being paid to address equity issues? Or did they not like his advice or what?

Anonymous said...

Pedro Noguera is still and again being paid to address equity with Perry and Westinghouse in excess of $200,000.

At Agenda Review another $40,000 (from Heinz) .is recommended to be approved next week for Pedro Noguera in addition to the $179,000 that was approved several months ago