Friday, January 31, 2014

A teacher's view of Gates money

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New post:
Great letter to the editor today from a PPS teacher regarding the Gates money! Read the comments too.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

American Promise

From the Pgh Filmmakers website:

"Harris Theater
January 25 to January 30
Fri: No Screening | Sat: 5:00, 8:00 | Sun: 3:00 | Mon-Thur: 7:30
Spanning 12 years in the lives of two families and winner of the Special Jury Award at Sundance, American Promise provides a rare look into African-American middle class life while exploring the common hopes and hurdles of parents navigating their children’s educational journey. In 1999, Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson turned the camera their five-year-old son and his best friend, as they entered Manhattan's prestigious Dalton School, an Ivy League farm team on the Upper East Side. Chronicling the boys' educational odyssey from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative film presents complicated truths about America's struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. (Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson; USA; 2013; 142 min)"

Teacher evaluation dispute

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Pittsburgh's problems have gone national. Check out this latest edition of EDUCATION WEEK.

Nina Visgitis could not be reached for comment. Why not? This was a national opportunity to tell the PFT story."

"It takes a generation"

From the NYT:
A generation may seem like a long time, but if we had started some of these measures when Roosevelt arrived we would already be almost 10 years in.
And a lot of 10 year olds would be doing better. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Agenda Review January 2014

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"I watched the video of the latest agenda review meeting. I don't believe that all of the Board members were present. Terry Kennedy was the first member to respond to the materials. I was very impressed by her questions. She clearly had done her homework.

Sylvia Wilson asked about having the "outsiders" being paid to pre-screen teacher applications. Jody Spolar replied that it is to eliminate any question of biased screening. The pre-screeners use a rubric of some sort. Our own administrators use rubrics to evaluate teachers. We don't use "outsiders" to evaluate teachers. So what takes the bias out of that process?

There were questions asked about Jan Ripper's contract at Perry, and the renewal of the Metro Center's contract. Metro is working with students, and Ripper with the principal and administrators there. Clearly, Perry is having problems. According to Lippert, the principals have a say so in who is brought in as consultants in their school. I don't know that I believe that.

Overall I was impressed with the new Board's professionalism and attention to details. They were engaged and listening to one another. These items will be voted on next week. It will be interesting to see if any are not approved of, or if they are just rubber-stamped.

As an aside, Linda Baehr, the Ass't to Executive Director Pgh. Mt. Oliver Intermediate Unit #2, gave a report. She was a former PPS teacher who became the Langley principal before she retired."

PG editorializing

On another post Anonymous wrote:


The Post-Gazette is at it again in today's opinion page advocating for the PFT to "not be standing in the way" of the performance standards Lane/Gates wants. The P-G wants the union to "recommit to peaceful coexistence with district administrators." In other words, roll over and play dead.

Why should PPS hold our teachers to higher standards than the rest of the state? The Dept. of Education set the standards for our state so why are we to be treated differently than all the other school districts? This isn't about higher standards to make better teachers. PPS has a not so hidden agenda to use the higher standards to get rid of teachers at the top of the pay scale. They want to manipulate the standards for their own use.

As far as the P-G is concerned, are they on Lane's/Gates' payroll? Why don't they do some investigative reporting into how/why PPS got into the decline they are in."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gates teacher evaluation system found to be unreliable

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Questioner, perhaps this should be a separate thread. It's another group that has found that Gates initiatives are a complete sham:’re-pretty-sure-we-could-have-done-more-45-million-award

Near the top of the article, click on "Read review" for the full report. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Charter approvals

Mark Rauterkus posted:

High paid consultants (again)

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"There is an agenda review meeting tonight. (1/15) When one reads the items up for review, some that call for consultants state that "district does not have the expertise or capacity to provide these services." Then why are we paying such high salaries to all the administrative people at Bellefield? What expertise (besides hiring outside consultants) do they have for their big bucks?

One item calls for recently retired Jan Ripper to be paid $650 per day for up to 50 days to support the Perry principal and school leadership team. She retired and formed an "educational consulting" firm. Don't we have people we are already paying in our system who we can send to Perry to help keep order? No, we need a paid consultant. No wonder PPS is going broke."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Clayton contract

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"new post:

Dara Ware Allen asks board to extend Clayton contract another year.
Contract calls for Clayton to have up to 250 students 6-12 at a cost of 2.8 million. They now have 227 students. Lane states that ultimately PPS would like to take over the program, but aren't ready yet. Allen says PPS could develop a comprehensive plan by next spring. Holley wants to keep our students in PPS. The Student Achievement Center has 198 students and can absorb the Clayton students.

Why not keep our students in PPS? How many years has Clayton been in existence? And now we are going to develop a "comprehensive" plan by spring?
How many Clayton students are "improved" and do return to their home schools? (Ware) Where are the statistics? Wouldn't we save money and teachers' jobs by using the SAC? Lane says not all teachers are suited for this type of student. I'm sure we do have teachers that can work with this type of student. Why does Lane generalize? I thought we were supposed to be looking for ways to save money?"


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is Gates cutting funds to Pittsburgh?

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Speaking of a "changing tide", could it be true that the Bill Gates Fdn. is "CUTTING FUNDS" to Pittsburgh Public Schools as reported several times this evening on KDKA news with Linda Lane stating she is "very concerned" in an interview by Ken Rice?

What is the true scoop on this? Does anyone know?

Hopefully, this tide WILL CHANGE so that the PPS District is FREE of all constraints and initiatives IMPOSED via the Gates contracts."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Changing tide?

On another post Anonymous wrote:


"So here's the quintessential urban school district we need to keep our eyes on. DiBlasio, the new mayor of NYC, has control of NYC schools. His educational advisor during his campaign was none other than Diane Ravitch. The chancellor that he is appointing -- described in this article -- seems to be right-headed about the way schools should be run. A changing tide, perhaps?