Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Enrollment decline

From the PG:



Questioner said...

So HS enrollment declined most at the schools administration got involved with the most.

Perry, declining even though Oliver students were merged into Perry and an INCREASE was expected;

Westinghouse, still feeling effects of the single gender fiasco;

Milliones, home of students who would otherwise have gone to Schenley but were instead assigned to a converted junior high.

As always, the schools that reflect the diversity of the district are attracting the most students.

parent said...

Also of interest is the decline at the two 6-12 schools, Westinghouse (71) and Uprep (65). The article does not specifically say how many students in 9-12 grades were lost at each school, but might this indicate dissatisfaction with the 6-12 model? The single gender concept did not have wide parental support but the parents who did support it were very vocal. I expect a district to know what isn't a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Well stated Questioner!

Anonymous said...

Parents know that "middle school students" arent served by leaving them in elementary school, or by lumping them in HS. That is what builtve middle school concept that 90% of the country uses. Before middle schools in Pgh, some very wise parents pulled kids out of neighborhood schools, and sent them to close by k-8, feeling that their children werent ready for the HS environment.
So why return to a model we left inthe early 70s? ( and suburbs abandoned in the 40s and 50s using the jr. High concept.)
hmm why?
....cheaper -- cooking labs, shops, etc. specialized teachers were pricey... Let's just give em reading and math.
...discipline-- divide and conquer beats a whole building of 11- 14 yr. olds
Doesn't sound very learning oriented does it?

Anonymous said...

I wondered if there is a date scheduled for the envisioning plans to be presented. I guess actually the possible reconfiguration or school closing plans would be more accurate. The rumor mill got active recently in the south section of the city. Nobody believes there is more than one plan likely on the table.

Anonymous said...

What about the many fights at UPrep this week?

Anonymous said...

When students run the buildings because of teachers having no say, what do you expect? I will tell you what to expect. Expect more students leaving and going to normal places. I heard that school Uprep is disgusting. I heard when teachers leave there they vow never to return.

Anonymous said...

By law the 2014 budget must be adopted by December 31st. Exactly how long will we wait before the plan is released?

To date our carpet bagging record is pretty poor:

1. The McKinsey folk were wrong on the trajectory of student enrollment under the Pittsburgh Promise. Their analysis failed to account for perception of quality and the wage tax differential as driving forces of demographic shifts.

2. The corporate reform agenda driven by national foundations and blessed by local philanthropy has slowed the improvement of student achievement.

3. The collective wisdom of consultants that drove Detroit to the brink and Chicago to labor unrest has delivered two budgets in a row where projections were wrong by nearly $10 million AFTER the fiscal year ended.

Teacher ingenuity is stifled by rigid, rigorless curriculum. Human capital is mismanaged by pipeline efforts including PELA, the New Teacher Project, and plans for teacher academies that defied realistic projections of declining employee counts.

Having spent years working alongside the two most recent superintendents I remain convinced that neither one could effectively run a Foto Hut let alone a half billion dollar corporation.

The icing on the cake is a lawyer and two business managers in a row complicit in transactions which defy fiduciary responsibility, such as the doubling of copier costs, through no bid contracts.

Anonymous said...

Despite the behavior modification and intervention programs the perception still exists that our schools are not peaceful places.

Anonymous said...

they are not peaceful places when fights are breaking out daily....

Anonymous said...

There is an Education Committee Meeting on Monday 11/4/13. It carries the term "Envisioning" on the website list of events.

Anonymous said...

They need to stop envisioning and actually do something. We left the district and not one person asked why.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hate "chasing" rumors when it comes to PPS but has anyone else heard that Lane is leaving in December?

Anonymous said...


"We left the district and not one person asked why."

That's quite sad, but not unexpected. The current PPS central administration cares only about keeping the house of cards propped up.

Parents don't matter all that much. And neither do teachers. And neither do test scores, as long as they can be kept hidden or explained away.

All that matters is the house of cards. The longer it stands, the more salary the PPS central administration can collect, and the larger their pensions.

Sorry for being so cynical. But it's the truth.

Anonymous said...

12:05 I am 11:37 I know. My spouse worked for Roosevelt and Lane.

Anonymous said...

What a joke - clean schools every other day, shovel sidewalks less...this is envisioning??? How about eliminating significant fat at Bellefield to save money?

Anonymous said...

It's going to take a lot more than closing Woolslair to make up budget deficits. Cutting custodial hours certainly isn't going to trim what is needed. The Bellefield FAT has exploded under Roosevelt and Lane continued the same path. These so called visionaries took a vibrant, cutting edge school district on a path of self destruction. Just look at how many key persons in the district either jumped ship or retired. I wouldn't doubt if Lane was the next to go. She's clueless and the strength that once filled the halls of Bellefield and our schools have been replaced with non thinking, incompetent administrators who look for answers written in a playbook. Unfortunately, the Broad/Gates playbook doesn't have an ending so Lane and company are now at a loss.

No wonder why City Council Members are getting engaged. The Promise is failing to keep middle class residents and their children enrolled in PPS. Imagine what will happen if city police and fireman are granted the right to move outside of the city's limits? Enrollment will decline even more and the schools population will be comprised of families with low economic status. If we are truly honest, we all know what that will mean for achievement, a further decline. You can't fix the achievement gap until the poverty gap is minimized. Self supporting families instill in their children values that deem education important, critical, and essential for being a successful, independent, and economically a viable citizen of tomorrow. You can work on improving the quality of a teacher's practice but if those in charge think for one minute that's the ultimate answer to improving student performance they really have their heads in the sand and drank way too much Gates/Broad Kool-Aid!

Anonymous said...

If we are truly honest, we all know what that will mean for achievement, a further decline. You can't fix the achievement gap until the poverty gap is minimized. Self supporting families instill in their children values that deem education important, critical, and essential for being a successful, independent, and economically a viable citizen of tomorrow.
Yes, you CAN, absolutely, "fix the achievement gap" without fixing the poverty gap. Schools are the place that should be the 'equalizer' for all children rich, poor, black, white. Schools are responsible for educating children, all children, NOT parents or community. Schools CAN have the greatest influence on what children value given 7, 8, 9, 10 hours per day including after-school activities and programs.
Schools can change children's lives by providing an education. It is being done lots of schools where people have the skills to reach children in ways that open opportunities for their lives to be changed.
Those who do not believe that this can be done or that they, as teachers, cannot do this are correct. No one can do anything that they do not believe they can do.

Anonymous said...

If the key is teacher's minimizing the achievement gap, then why has PPS fallen to 494 out of 500 PA school districts? PPS has been focusing on teacher performance and a scripted curriculum as the keys to improving achievement since Roosevelt came to town in 2004. Where has it gotten us? We lost ground academically!

You can also look at what's happened to our Pittsburgh communities during this time of the great recession. Jobs were lost, income per household has declined, benefits have been cut to families on assistance, mental health care has been cut and families are struggling more now than they ever have. What happened during these years of economic loss not just in PPS but in urban districts such as Philly, Chicago, LA, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, and I could go on and on....student performance declined!

When families are strained economically, student performance also drops. If the Gates of the world want to make an impact on student achievement, how about not working so hard to hide profits overseas and use a foreign work force to manufacture their products? How about just paying their fair share in US taxes that support public schools and provide good paying jobs for US citizens? Hopefully, tax reform will get passed and these profiteers will not need to provide grants to PPS or any other school district implementing policies and programs that have proven to be failing our students!

Our teachers are struggling everyday trying to follow the script and teaching practices that have consistently failed to demonstrate positive achievement results. When children come to school ready to learn by having a warm bed and not a mattress on the floor, breakfast food that wakes up the brain and not a bag of chips, healthcare that provides periodic check-ups, immunizations, dental and eye care instead of an over-the-counter aspirin that cures all ills, and a parent at home who knows and understands the value of getting a good education because they are a working citizen making a living wage to provide the basic needs for their child, then and only then will that child with a competent and caring teacher actually have the opportunity to grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially into a high achieving student.

Let's be honest...education is working well in Mt. Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Fox Chaple, Peter's Township, Hampton and the list goes on.....why? It's about the power of family, economics of the community, and parent engagement in the schooling process. We don't even have to look at large metropolitan cities just look at Wilkinsburg, Duquesne, McKees Rocks and you see the same demographics, economic disparities, and social ills caused by unemployment.

It's not that their teachers are more competent that PPS teachers. As a matter of fact, I've observed both in action and for the most part PPS teachers could run circles around their suburban counterparts in content knowledge, technique and pedagogy....but that's not how PPS operates anymore. Teaching in PPS is like having your hands tied behind your back and while trying to run the Pittsburgh marathon. Time to get back to reality and that begins with holding our elected officials accountable for implementing economic policies that will make a difference in the lives of all Americans. It's about economics!

Anonymous said...

9:26 - You answered the question about why PPS is 494 out 500 when you identified the "scripted curriculum" and the Gates/Roosevelt influence in PPS. Teachers can and will "reverse" achievement gaps if encouraged, supported and applauded for being "effective" teachers INDEPENDENT of the protocols forced upon them by a system that attempts to control with a one-size-fits-all approach.

PPS is absent any real leadership. If there is anyone left who knows how to lead a school or teach urban children they do not have the courage to take on this administration. In other words, they need the job.

PPS can be restored to its former success, even glory, when new LEADERSHIP with the right skills is brought into PPS or preferably elevated from within to Superintendent. (There is one Board member who could turn PPS around.)

Anonymous said...

Can we highlight the post at 9:26 so that it gets everyone to read it?

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