Saturday, August 17, 2013

PIIN seeks a moratorium on school closings

From the PG:


Anonymous said...

Why is PPS looking for ANOTHER Asst. Superintendent? Budget crunch seriously?

There is an opening for one on PPS website. All CO management use to have residency requirements, why not this position too?

Anonymous said...

No, two more Ass't Superintendents were posted for a total of five Ass't Supts! (We already have three; Dara Ware Allen, David May-Stein, and Christiana Otuwa.

At the July 24th Legislative Meeting, PPS posted THREE positions: 2 Assistant Superintendents, and 1 Chief of School Performance.

So that will make one Supt., five Ass't Supts, and two "Chiefs" for a TOTAL of EIGHT central office top positions for the 2013-14 school year!

The “Chief” position is the one formerly held by Jeannine French just prior to her becoming Deputy Supt. (in preparation for her advancement to Supt in Peters Twp.)

Anonymous said...


The district has 700 administrators who do NOT work in the schools. Many of them have their own staffs, as well.

NONE of these individuals lost their job last year, when 300 teachers were furloughed.
NONE will be touched next year when it all hits the fan.

Oh yeah, I forgot. This is a school district, not a corporation. But hey parents, just sit there on the couch and wonder why PPS is such a rotten district. Don't even give scripted curriculum or outrageously poor leadership a second thought.

When are the Steelers on again?

Anonymous said...

Part 1:
What ever happened to the collective questioning of our Board Members regarding the over inflation of CO staffers? During the John Thompson years, Board Members were all screaming about how many CO persons were at Bellefield and not in our schools. Since the inception of Mark Roosevelt, CO staff has grown twofold from the Thompson years while those who actually touch children have been saddled with constant layoffs and increasing class size. We should also ask what ever happened to the cries of Board Members regarding the importance of neighborhood schools? JT closed schools for fiscal responsibility and the Board reopened them sending JT on his merry way. King then cut CO as staff as requested by the Board having only one, yes one Asst Super, Pat Fisher while reassigning CO staffers back into the schools where they were needed. The Board rewarded him by bringing in Roosevelt a non educator with no track record as an educational leader. Ah, but he was a Roosevelt who would move PPS forward with a “New Deal.” Let's remember that student performance in PPS was on an upswing in the early 2000's.

Instead of improving upon a system in the upswing, MR cut strings with dynamic curriculum supervisors who actually knew how to grow teacher practices, closed just over a dozen of schools, spent MILLIONS for the "branding" of PPS, and began the practice of hiring consultants for anything and everything. In-house work was no longer a practice because the folks who were brought on board at CO including MR had no to limited experience at best in education yet alone in an urban environment. CO staff expanded as a "think tank" with the blessing of MR's background at the Eli Broad Academy of Superintendents.

Then PPS biggest mistake came along, the acceptance of grants from the Gates Foundation. PPS Board Members were now dazzled by the likes of a billionaire whose money would transform urban American education. Really? We have been on an unsuccessful business model since 2004. What's the data? Dismal student performance! PPS student performance is 494 out of 500 PA school districts. So what has been the outcry from CO staff? It's those who work in the schools! After 10 years of implementation, we see unsuccessful student performance data and yet our Board is lock step now behind Lane and Lippert. Neither of whom have had any appreciable experience as a building principal. So what are we doing now? Let's hire more Assistant Superintendents and keep those dollars flowing to hire more consultants.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

Prior to 2004, principals and their staff were expected to be independent thinkers and leaders. They identified problems and made plans for resolution. Did they always work? No, but PPS was making steady gains. Now, school level teams just manage what CO think tankers push out but there has been no payoff for students. It has gotten so bad that CO has even pushed out a manual to principals on how to open the school year. The same push out of information to parents from every school just with different letterhead exclusive to the school. The Gates money has produced nothing more than a group of so called leaders who can't think for themselves. That being said, why in the world would parents ever believe that teachers could think and design lessons that meet the needs of their child? Wonder why our students can't critically think to solve problems on their own? Is collective group work really the model that will grow students? I think not. When the students take an assessment, it's not about 4 of them working together. It's about one student working on his/her own. This, my friend is exactly where the PPS model of instruction has failed our students. Yes, the corporate model does function with several persons on a team to resolve problems or create new innovations but only after when each individual has proven themselves as having command of their career stem. In other words, Micfrosoft doesn’t take the average Joe without an advanced degree to work with a group of experts on the next project. The philosophy of PPS is having students work in pairs, triads or quads to tackle a task while the teacher monitors and serves as the “coach.” There’s a lot to say about struggle or brain sweat but each individual’s brain needs to have some prior knowledge in tow. Teachers used to provide the basic information for students to formulate a frame of reference in order to successfully tackle basic skills and problem solving challenges.

So what does Lane suggest to the Board and they overwhelmingly approve? Let's hire two more Assistant Superintendents who serve as think tank specialists for CO, pay them obscene salaries and not hold anyone of them accountable for student performance. The only ones held accountable are teachers. Many have been forced to resign or retire because they failed to measure up to the demands of RISE. Yes, I can hardly wait to see the number of resignations and retirements every month grow since as the PG article stated with the new RISE criteria, the PPS workforce is likely to see around 9% of all teachers depart from PPS this school year. If PPS continues to remove 9% of the teachers each year due to poor performance, I venture to say that the workforce will be filled with yearly new hires that will never mature into a seasoned workforce. Line item costs for teacher salaries will dwindle, CO staff will continue to suggest raises for themselves, consultants will remain on the public dole offering suggestions for increasing student performance and the vast majority of students will still struggle with an ineffective curriculum that fosters ineffective teaching practices.

What a sham. Our Board Members continue to be willing to accept failure from PPS CO administrators because they place credence in what Lane and company sound, it's the fault of the teachers!

Anonymous said...

BRAVO! 6:00 has stated the facts with background knowledge and depth of insight and articulation around the state of affairs in PPS much more accurately and adeptly than is typically set forth ---with few opinions outside of those skillfully and reasonably derived from several obvious inferences from knowing history in our system over the past 10-15 years. Any generalizations are supported by substantive evidence.

Unfortunately, this blog is read by only a few, and those few have not yet devised a plan of action that will save education for the majority of Pittsburgh's children.

Are there experts in communications that could advise Pure Reform on a "plan of action" that would get this message out to Pittsburghers at large who have been so very misinformed by the PPS PR campaigns?

Surely, there is a way to overcome what is happening to PPS school children since these children and their education must be the priority for this city---the children are our future!

Anonymous said...

Does it matter that Dara Ware Allen is still a member of the exec board of A+ Schools even though she is with pps now and not leadership Pittsburgh? Could she have resigned her seat and the website is just out-of-date?