Friday, October 18, 2013

Closings (not yet identified) planned for Pittsburgh public schools

From the PG:


Questioner said...

Also from the PG, advocacy group criticizes planned closings:

Questioner said...

On another post Anonymous wrote:

Anonymous said...

NO ONE in this town will dare ask Linda Lane the obvious: how can you close any more schools and/or lay off any more teachers?

This is the number one question, and it never gets answered.

And more appropriately, the questions that NEEDS to be asked:

How can it be that you will NOT let go of any of your 700 administrators and their staffs---people who are not in any of the schools and not actively involved in the process of helping Pittsburgh's students work toward greater achievement?

How can anyone who is in media call himself a journalist and NOT ask those questions????

Last year was difficult and next year will be worse. It's disturbing to think that Pittsburgh kids will lose a local school and sickening t think that dedicated teachers of all varieties will be let go.

Dr.Holley, Mr.Brentley...ask the questions.

Anonymous said...

If closing schools is the answer to the district's budget problems. Then how come they are in a budget crises when they have closed around 30 schools already in the last ten years?

Anonymous said...

I could handle a few schools closing if it meant class sizes would shrink. If Kindergarten classes were at about 15 kids we might be able to really begin the preparation needed to make the students successful every year after that, but only if no class exceeded 20 kids in subsequent grades. The track record for selling closed buildings is poor, should we consider demolition of the least desirable?

We are likely entering the most contentious period in district history.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. You could handle school closings if they lessened the number of student in a classroom at another school?
Are you just trying to be funny?
Class sizes are going to increase at other schools.
And teachers are going to be out of work---again---thanks to horrible administration that looks to keep its own staff.
Want to save money? Fire everyone on Bellefield Avenue.
Let a teacher run this district.
Not only will you have better leadership, you will have excess money to use on the kids.
And 'contentious?" You have to love the milquetoast approach.
You have the most self-serving, ethically corrupt administration in the history of this district in place, and this is the best you can do? Dear God. There ought to be riots in the street seeking the ouster of this "superintendent" and her assistants. That's how horrible they have been,

Anonymous said...

Not everyone posting here is a teacher, administrator or a district insider. Not all posters have deep history in the district. Some are parents of elementary kids and just getting our feet wet as we become familiar with what we want and what we are getting. The tone of 4;43's post makes me wonder if the author is a teacher or district insider. You see if I knew for sure, I might be inclined to start looking at alternatives for my kids' education.

My poorly explained point: If schools need to close so be it, even mine if needed. No matter where displaced kids go there should be NO DECREASE in teaching staff but there should be a major class size reduction movement.

Not sure if I will post here again but if I do I will surely identify myself as a parent. Hopefully it will allow for less of an angry response. I hate feeling bitch-slapped on a blog.

Questioner said...

Please continue to post! Illogical and top down district actions sometimes cause people to lash out but the reminder above should help.

Anonymous said...

8:37-- please know that we parents who have been in this fight have seen HUGE class increases due to right- sizing, increases in the number of students who need services, and decreases in arts, music, and librarians. When you add 1/4 new population to a school community and do NOTHING to help diverse communities come together in large classes...parents and teachers get wild-- so we panic at yet more school closings. Add that to the folkscstrolling about from Belllefield withoutva care in the world while teachers are being observed struggling with large classes, needy children etc. you may indeed find a need for an alternative--and the rest of the parents and teachers know why.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:37,

As Questioner said at 8:48, please do not quit posting. The more people who comment here, the better it is.

8:37, it is just unfortunate that your post was first answered by 4:43, this blog's resident scold. He/she is always urging others to protest and to riot.

Funny that I never see news of anyone protesting or rioting at Bellefield Ave. Or at the Union Hall. So I guess 4:43 doesn't practice what he/she preaches.

Anyway 8:37, hang in there. Your insights as a parent are valuable!

Anonymous said...

Speak for yourself, 2:04.

Many of us have seen what has transpired over the past 8 years and have had enough. Many parents have decided to forgo the Promise dollars for a better education in another district. Those numbers don't lie, so perhaps you'll have to excuse those of us who believe that it didn't have to be that way.

Maybe you like being a part of the sinking ship or maybe you buy into the idea that it all comes down to "effective teachers" even though the definition seems to change from day to day.

It's funny, but your comments go a long way into describing what is wrong with the district. The "let's work together" approach of 8 years ago has been translated into "let's ramrod ineffective strategies down the throats of teachers." It further manifested itself into scripted curriculums and warnings from administrators about 'fidelity to the curriculum.' So much for working together. And wow, didn't test scores skyrocket.

I find it fascinating that the PFT is now protesting teacher cuts which look to be coming soon on the heels of a rating system it again decided to 'work together' with district leadership. Sadly, it's too late.

Lane sent a memo around bemoaning the union's decision to protest today. You can find that letter in the public documents area of the PPS site. Perhaps that will convince you about a woman who wants carte blanche to fire even more teachers. The idea to set aside seniority didn't work too well, so here's another avenue they can pursue.

I was taught to question authority. I taught my kids the same ideas. I applaud anyone left in this district who does the same and has a sincere distrust of big money. It was big money that ruined this district and those that call themselves leaders.

You're pointing your barbs at the wrong people, 2:04. The time to 'be nice' passed a long time ago.

2:04 poster said...

9:30, 2:04 here.

I am a PPS teacher and a union man. I worked in a factory before becoming a teacher. My father before me was a union man. He worked in the building trades for over 40 years.

I am not stupid, and I am not a dreamer. I know exactly what's wrong with this district. And it's not the teachers.

And, yes, I have a beef with you. In your anger and frustration, you are attacking your natural allies!

Consider the 10:00 post. The poster is a PPS parent and is upset with the district. Instead of gently correcting any misconceptions she might have, you belittled her. In her own words, she felt "bitch-slapped" by you.

I understand your anger and frustration. I'm guessing that my levels are close to yours. But, please, work to make allies, not enemies.

Anonymous said...

As a long time union person who comes from a family with strong union beliefs, then please understand the frustration your brothers and sisters have in the process you describe. The idea of building allies and negotiating is a ship that has sailed. It is as simple as Negotiations 101. When you have given the farm away, it is almost impossible to get it back by sitting down and talking, and making happy faces.
Unfortunately, this is what the PFT wants to do these days.I would suspect that perhaps you are involved with union leadership and while that is wonderful, it is pretty clear that the PFT has one trump card that it is not willing to use...and one that perhaps your elders' generation would have seen as an advantage---the idea of walking out or striking.
I can appreciate your efforts but again, your predecessors have forced your hand in so many regards. Just look at how many items the PFT gave back over the past three contracts (just look at the size of your contract book).
Please tell me why PPS administration would wish to give any of those things back.
That's a rhetorical question, of course. Point is, the PFT is looked upon as a paper tiger and one that can't even get its rank and file on the same page, let alone be looked at as a viable entity. And again, that's because of the PFT itself---its give-backs and its failure to represent its rank and file.
I am dually sorry that you read 'anger and frustration' where an 'it is what it is' approach is more my mindset.
Too many times, we have seen individuals who come upon a site like this and are all too happy to bait teachers, to call them overpaid, bloated. While I don't think the aforementioned poster was that kind of writer, the idea of closing schools AND having smaller class sizes was simply a bad analogy after 300 teachers were fired a couple summers ago, and many more look to be let go as 2015 dawns and Lane has her way.
Disillusioned? Yes. Angry, frustrated? Not any more. As veteran teachers, we've seen strong union brothers and sisters who were leaders 'get on with their lives.' The best thing I can say about them is that they could never be bullied. Sad that the past decade of 'leaders' within the PFT won't have the same legacy.

Anonymous said...

I too have stopped posting on this site due to the harsh reactions to my concerns as a city taxpayer.
It is nice to see that someone else is pointing out the aggressive nature of some other posters here.

Questioner said...

Please post and help make the civil comments outweigh the harsh ones.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:05 am you are a veteran teacher in the pps and you probley do your job well, but you know some of your collougs do not give it 100% and if you do i will call you a liar.some Teachers got away with for years and now they are being accounted for it.So when the peolpe at belfield started paying attetion to the teachers who were getting well payed just for showing up,all are paying the price. So how could the pft protect the ones who do not care and just show up for a pay check and every one who reads this knows atleast one or more teachers

Questioner said...

We also need a way to detect administrators who are ineffective even if they are trying hard, and administrators who hire so many consultants that it is not clear why we have the administrator.

Anonymous said...

You have to first have administrators (lots of them) who DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO--- that sends Central Office and Principals running to consultant after consultant.

The question could be why doesn't Central Office hire people WHO KNOW the jobs they are hired to do. It is most likely because they do not know the difference! It seems clear that the lead people in PPS are utterly clueless about how to educate urban children.

Mark Rauterkus said...

She noted other potential improvements, such as clearer relationships between schools and partner organizations.


Explain please.

Judy Johnston said...

This blog would be so much more helpful if people also posted from a name. Anonymous comments lead to a lot of nasty comments. I have been the target of some of them. That does not bother me but what does is that folks are permitted to say things without accountability. Lets all come out of the closet.

Questioner said...

Thank you for posting, and use of real names is always appreciated but seriously... SERIOUSLY... do you think teachers and others (such as those hoping to do business with the district) feel that they are able to speak freely without retribution for even sincere, well reasoned comments?

Captain America (not really) said...

Sorry, but you're suggestion doesn't make much sense. There is no way for this blog to verify names. For example, even though you posted as "Judy Johnston", you could be anyone.

But for what it's worth, if you are Judy Johnston I hope you're for following this blog for the right reasons. Because here you will find the unvarnished truth, uncomfortable as it might be.

Question at 9:28
Your point is very well taken. The PPS is all about playing a ruthless game of "gotcha".

Anonymous said...

The post by "Judy Johnston" reminded me of the old TV show, "To Tell the Truth." My name is Judy Johnston, my name is Judy Johnston, my name is Judy Johnston....will the real Judy Johnston please stand up...

parent1 said...

Just heard a report on KDKA News about the enrollment decline. Just one statement from Dr. Lane then the reporter saying something about the district "looking into it" if I caught it all. From my perspective the cause of the decline in high school should have been looked into before the story broke. The very specific causes with numbers attached, (would that be data?) should be THE story with the solution. I read the PG article. Our problems are in the later grades.

Questioner said...

We tried to tell them, but the geniuses insisted on closing the only high school that was filled to 100% capacity. They had something better planned.