Saturday, December 28, 2013

TFA for Wilkinsburg?

On another post Anonymous wrote:

The P-G is now advocating TFA for the Wilkinsburg School District. The P-G states that, "the Pittsburgh School Board unwisely rejected" TFA. Also that Wilkinsburg would "provide a good local test of how TFA would really perform." That would be really interesting to see

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's a new day

Watch the video of the December 18, 2013 legislative session; refreshing new ideas, thoughtful questioning, independent thought, real attention to community concerns.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

School specific pages disappear from PPS website

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"New Post please.

Can you help us solve a mystery? The school specific pages containing calendars, news, senior bulletins and events have disappeared. It has been reported to the hotline via email and each resulted in only a return email confirming that the hotline got the email. No answer yet. Several parents have checked numerous times and only gotten the Discover pages for each school they checked. Selecting calendar only gives you the district calendar or a calendar for all schools by using the show/hide option. As little as 6 weeks ago newsletters and announcements and senior bulletins and school level calendars were available.

So, in answer to the question, "Can they make it any harder to be an interested parent?" I would say yes. "

New board questions Teach for America

From the PG:

"Either a new board member or returning board member Mark Brentley Sr., who voted in favor of the contract even though he is opposed so he could call for a new vote, could bring the matter up anew, schools solicitor Ira Weiss said."

State releases performance profiles

From the PG:

"In Pittsburgh Public Schools, just 36 percent of schools reached or exceeded the 70 mark.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Students wandering away from class/ school

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"I just discovered this blog while conducting a google search to gather more information regarding TFA. So informative!!! I know this is an old post, but I am a PPS teacher and I spent 4 years at King. There was an EPIDEMIC of students leaving classrooms and the building at all times of the day almost everyday. I would pick my students up from recess or their related arts classes and notice one or more students missing from my class. My students would tell me "Oh he got mad and left" or "She walked out" when I inquired about missing students. All we could do as teachers was call the office and report the student as missing and write a referral. There was often no follow up or effort made to locate the student. Teachers were terrified that something terrible was going to happen to one of these unsupervised students. We started keeping daily logs to record the students we reported as missing, who we reported it to, and what, if any, follow up action was taken. One time a colleague went to the Rita's across the street during her lunch break to end up in line behind two 2nd graders from our school treating them themselves to an Italian ice! Their teacher had called the office to report them missing hours prior to this. Students routinely walked out of classes and left the building. There were also students who just roamed the building all day long, everyday. Some of them only reporting class less than 10 times ALL YEAR!!! The truly sad thing is these examples of misconduct and disregard for safety are not even close to the outrageous and unsafe things that occur daily in almost every building I have worked in. The public has NO CLUE about the horrifying conditions the teachers and students are subjected to daily. The students who truly want to learn have no chance at all. Sadly there is less discipline and order each year. Any student who makes it to graduation or teacher who makes it to retirement will likely suffer from PTSD."

Shortfall in tax revenue

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Has anyone followed the $10 million real estate tax revenue shortfall for the school district? By the time all appeals have run their course, this will grow, perhaps closer to 10% of that line item budget.

I have to wonder if the Solicitor will have the Board contract with CSI, the private investigation firm, to figure out what went wrong?

Perhaps we can save the district some money.

1. In 2001, the district accounted for appeals, leveraging testimony by the former finance director, and walking away with a court order from Wettick that escrowed the difference until the appeals were complete. It took a couple of years, but in the end the business manager was correct. Perhaps Camarda and Joseph should have leveraged the 2001 analysis rather than fumbling in the dark.

2. The attorney that filed the case that caused the latest round of reassessment was...drumroll...Law Offices of Ira Weiss.

3. It is important to note that the single largest profit center at the Law Offices of Ira Weiss appeals on behalf of municipalities. Congratulations counselor, your desire to make a few more dollars will cause the City Schools $10+ million a year for years to come.

4. The solution path would have been to work with judge Wettick to work around the Act 1 limits. What a missed opportunity. "

Renewal of Clayton contract

On another post Anonymous wrote:


The link above concerns Clayton Academy and was written in response to the recent PG article about the proposed extension of the management contract for Clayton. I recall an EFA meeting where former superintendent Roosevelt said he knew kids who were at Letsche who did not want to go back to their home school at the end of their punishment period. Do we really need Clayton at all? Seems that if we are instituting austerity and closing or reconfiguring schools we need to cut the Clayton contract. "

Thursday, December 5, 2013

State of the district

From the PG:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gates discontinues stressful employee ranking system

On another post Anonymous wrote:

new topic-- GATES

Whatever happened to beta-testing dumb ideas before we all suffer? Oh yeah MILLIONS came in the way "

School closings, other cuts planned

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New Post please. Article about Lane. "

Monday, December 2, 2013

Title I reward schools

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New topic please: Title 1 reward schools

So, since P-G cant say the words-- Title 1 is meant to supplement students receiving free/reduced lunches ( our measure of poverty in the schools). Often this means a specialized Title 1 teacher who targets the remedial needs of students.
NO PPS school was mentioned as receiving this-- we do have title 1 schools and students.
But, to even APPLY for the "Gates money" you had to have a "managed curriculum" IN PLACE. Managed curriculum is Edspeak for SCRIPT. So we rushed out a script to apply- and "win"-- and it is very obvious that this script is NOT helping disadvantaged children learn. And though I am not a fan of charter schools-- this was the point of them-- that they would TRY innovative ways to teach and that public schools would learn from them. Gee could this mean that classes under 20, and a positive curriculum-- rather than "drill the script" might work? Besides the fact that script HAD to be in place to even apply, please note that the ANSWERS from students, as well as the "teacher talk is scripted"-- Maybe there is more to learning?"