Saturday, September 27, 2014

"What can actually be done?"

On the previous thread, Anonymous wrote:

"3:03 & 11:42
Very true. So how do we get them out.? As taxpayers, city residents, teachers, parents, etc., how do we get them out and replaced? What is the procedure or precedent to replace a superintendent? Can they be sued? Honestly it is almost fraudulent what they are doing. How can the board approve her performance rating when her goals are student achievement and AA gap?

What steps can we actually take to replace Lane? Demand for her resignation? How can we make the information about excessive and redundant CO jobs and the exorbitant salaries for unqualified people public knowledge? There has to be some accountability. The PFT could be putting the info out there, especially knowing PPS will claim to be broke in he upcoming contract negotiations.

What can actually be done? I'm talking immediate next steps. We have talked this to death. Lane and company are going to continue to fatten their own bank accounts at the expense of our children as long as we let them. They will continue to get rid of any teachers willing to speak up and fight until all of your children are taught by temps with no school or neighborhood investment. Does anyone know what we can really do? I am a teacher who willing to take on the risk to save our district and I'm sure there are others as well as parents and city residents.

The union as failed us, they won't speak out against Lane or the Board. Too many community groups and foundations are in cahoots ($$) or afraid to speak out against PPS and the local media is their personal PR. There is no help there.

But teachers, parents, students, alumni, city residents are a powerful group if we organize and actually do something. I just truly don't know what the next step is. I just know PPS has to be taken back from these unqualified outsiders and returned to Pittsburghers.

We are a highly educated and passionate group of people with a wealth of experience. We love our children and have their interest at heart. We should be running our district. If there is anyone who has an idea about what to do and feels the same way, I am ready.
Questioner, do you have any ideas? "


Questioner said...

In the end, it all comes out to the Board. If Pittsburghers are tired of having a Broad district they can elect a Board committed to change. It's one vote for person, but the catch is that voting in your district only comes around every four years and it is necessary to hunt up someone good to run.

School board members up for election in May, to be supported or not, are Bill Isler, Sherry Hazuda, Regina Holley and Mark Brentley. Now is the time to start planning.

Anonymous said...

No, that is not the answer for now and not likely to be in the future.

Surely, you are not suggesting that the parents of in excess of 20 thousand students have no power whatsoever to protect the futures of their children.

The thinking here is a result of Pittsburghers who are not being taught to think for themselves.

A public expose of academic achievement in our schools, if understood, would necessitate mass outrage.

Some communities have power, why not all? This is the civil rights issue of our time. Please do not suggest that the people are powerless,

Problem solvers (not complainers or the completely acquiescent). are what is needed.

Leaders are out here and need only to be informed and called to action. Better yet, make the call to action!

Anonymous said...

Year after year, we hear the same comments.

Year after year, we hear it takes time to put things in place.

Year after year, we hear "now is the time".

Year after year, we hear about the PFT.

Year after year, we hear about community apathy, disengagement, etc., etc., etc.

And one generation after another is left uneducated!

Now is the time to take immediate action, no more planning, discussing, researching, venting, vetting, and one excuse after another. The beat goes on and on and_______________

Questioner said...

Becoming informed about board candidates and voting is one of the most practical way for parents to get involved. Not the only way, but something that even parents with tight schedules can do without a large commitment of time.

Anonymous said...

Contact the Seattle community, they pushed back hard against Gates & Broad effectively .

Questioner said...

We've heard plenty of promises of fast results, too, they just did not work out as expected.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good explanation of what Seattle did.’s-fired-broad-academy-superintendent-maria-goodloe-johnson/

Anonymous said...

Google "how to get rid of Broad superintendent" and you will find other districts in eerily similar situations. There is a petition circulating to remove a Broad super in Alabama. It has a lot if support. Here is the link

Here are a few quotes from people who have signed. Read them and notice how you could substitute Lane's name or Pittsburgh into any of the comments and they would be 100% true in our district.
These Broad leaders follow a very predictable, consistent path of sabotage.
The petitioner is taking the petition to court when it has enough support. WE COULD DO THIS!

(Substitute 'Pittsburgh' or 'Lane' into any if these responses!

"As a retired teacher who wasn twice selected Huntsville's Teacher of the Year, I see such negativity in the school system. I have yet to talk with a teacher (retired or current) who is now totally happy in their chosen profession due to all of the testing, negativity, and mistrust of teachers."

"don't appreciate the fact that our teachers are so under-valued and are no longer treated as professionals. I also feel that Dr. Wardynski does not value the opinions of parents. Furthermore, it seems that our children are not real people to him, but merely data points on a graph. I definitely do not feel that Dr. Wardynski is making decisions which are in the best interests of our children, or that are developmentally appropriate to the younger students"

"he has done more harm then help for our children in the city of Huntsville. Teacher morale is down and more and more teachers are retiring due to on necessary stress."

"Wardynski's way of just making things happen with no input from the parents and the community just boggles the mind"

"I've taught in a district with a similar Broad-trained superintendent who closed schools in minority/low-income neighborhoods and was extremely divisive. For the good of your community, for the good of the children, let him go!

"Wardynski came to Huntsville, AL to amass easy wealth for himself and his good ol' boy network. The students and educators are not/have never been a concern!"

"Children are individuals with vast and varied needs. They can't be treated like testing fodder. I feel the current testing policies, scripted teacher lessons, and narrowed focus of educational topics will do long term damage to many children in the system. I can't be a part of hurting children. I'm sorry HCS administration has no problem with it."

"Divisive Broad Academy "leaders" are doing irreparable harm. Wardynski is not good for schools, children or communities."

"Alabama does not need Broad Superintendents. We need Superintendents sho are life long educators and who truly care about the children of Alabama and their learning needs."

It goes on and on. Sounds a lot like Lane and PPS, right? And there are the same complaints wherever there is a Broad leader.
Do you think this is coincidental? This is what Broad supers are trained to do.
Are we ready to stop Lane from destroying our district? Does anyone really still believe she want to help pittsburgh?
Let's get a petition started here inPuttsburgh. Parents, teachers, students! We can't count on or need anyone else to get it done!

Anonymous said...

what can actually be done should read 'What will actually be done'
This board will do nothing. Mark Brently has been the one voice of reason for many years. If he can't motivate other board members, he should go. (I hate to say those words) The company has embarked on a journey that is on a course of self destruction. Broad-Gates began with Mark Roosevelt. They continued the madness with Linda Lane. I am afraid this current board will not be able to make an improvement. Who will be the next superintendent?
My guess is Melissa Friez. She has all the attributes we the people want, while at the same time, a Broad-Gates hack. She is young, pretty, and white. A fast mover for sure. She goes from teacher to principal in less than 5 years. Now the assistant super/principal. Ms Friez was a PPS student from the east end. Returned as a teacher and fast tracked up the ladder. (Remember Andy King!) We will think her appointment is great.
In Reality, this will become another nightmare. More teachers will be exited. TFA will come back re-branded, PFT will love her as they are loosing what little power they have. What will be done? By the time we see her as she really is, it will be too late.
On another topic. The police have a suspect in the bomb threats and are not sure what to do with him.
PPS will probably send the child to U-prep where he can boo a teacher.
God Bless us, God Bless us all.

Anonymous said...

Other communities are fighting back.

Anonymous said...

With Melissa Friez as potential super, let's recommend to have Derrick Hardy moved to Central Office at any position or a newly created one.

It is the best way to get new leadership at Milliones.

New leadership by someone who understands the students and earns their respect as well as the respect of the teachers. It must happen now.

Many have suggested a few adults in the school who have the total respect of students (so it is possible).

Let's brainstorm a potential list of leaders for Milliones who are up to the challenge!

Move Mr. Esoldo and Ms Kelly to places where they too can find success.

Anonymous said...

Hughley is another possible replacement. Fresh out of school to assisstent super. And from a different state!

Why can't teachers, parents, & students petition and take it to court?

The PFT didn't lose power, they gave it away. The PFT should be suing the district over it's continued use of the harsher evaluation system. The PFT should be planning to strike. The PFT should be on a PR blitz regarding Broad' reform. The PFT should be speaking out about HB 1722 bill to discredit seniority!

The PFT no longer works for the teachers of Pittsburgh yet we continue to pay them. When the contract expires, we can elect to have our dues reduced to fair share. I will, I may even go to court to have it done sooner.

Too many residents are unaware of the decline in the schools and the bloated CO staff, etc. PPS PR is really good at placating the public. The mayor and Nina are basically are in on the game too,

I keep posting here that I am ready to take action. I am a teacher who is fed up. I do believe if the public were truly informed, we could rally support. Some things we could do include:
Get petition circulating to oust Lane and board members
Get facts out to public, (send these threads out, show how data is manipulated, release the salaries, experience, and job titles of all the useless CO staff & condultants)
Get teachers, students, and parents who are willing to go on record about the conditions at school (it's not just u prep)
Get reporter Rebeca Nutall involved, she is not owned by PPS
These things can rally public support and should inspire outrage at the injustice to our children. Now we can organize protests, mass student and teacher walkouts. What are we so afraid of?
Lane & company counts on our fear and lack of union support to advance her agenda. They will be running scared when they see we're not going to stand for it. Seriously, what are we so afraid of?
I am ready to take action. Who else wants do something? Have any other ideas? I am just one elementary teacher, but I don't believe at all that I am powerless. How can we come together, organize, plan and make something happen from here?

Anonymous said...

Why would someone state that Mark Brentley is the one voice of reason on the Board and follow that with saying he must go???

Even the people who don't like him (and reasons are suspect) have to respect the courage it takes to maintain a strong position of advocacy for students when all other politically adjust or qualify their positions for their own personal agendas.

Too bad he no longer represents any part of the Hill District. At least the students would have a voice!

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to say Hughley is a replacement in a good way, I meant that bringing in inexperienced out of towners seems to be the MO of CO,

The next superintendent needs to be someone who is not part if the current admin, unless it is Regina Holley. She has the experience to do the job.

The new board is not ever going to stand up to Lane. They approved her getting a bonus!

It is up to us, parents, teachers, taxpayers!

I don't understand why Friez is a plausible candidate for super. I thought there was disatisfaction from the parents when she was running allderdice. If you can't get good results at allderdice, how are you going to run the district? Is she a Broad alumni? I do think they will look for a Broadie will replace Lane. Micheaux is a Broad graduate. I figured that was why PPS brought her back.

We may be assuming te general public knows that Lane and others are Broads, and what that means. Most teachers i work with don't even know this or even have heard of Broad's school. The public is not aware. They have some faith that Lane is doing her best for our children and that PPS is improving. Getting the facts out to the public needs to be priority number one.
Then an online petition to oust Lane and most of the CO staff and board members.

Anonymous said...

Every few years someone tries to start a revolution against the PPS administration. But it always fizzles out.

How will the next uprising be any different?

I'm not trying to be a pessimist or anything like that. I'm just asking a question: How will the next uprising be any different?

Because if there is no good answer to my question, people ought to think of leaving the PPS (if they can) instead of wasting energy trying to reform it.

Anonymous said...

11:26 - It's not so much reform that is needed; rather, PPS needs to fulfill its purpose--to educate kids so that they have a chance at developing their potential and surviving in a world that will not make a place for them without a basic education or more.

If one walks away from the PPS system that currently exists it feels as though you are abandoning those young who have few other options and there are thousand upon thousands of them. Is that responsible adult behavior? It may seem futile; but giving up and walking away? That shouldn't even be an option for successful, responsible adults, should it?

Anonymous said...

Nobody likes the idea of closing buildings and despite Mayor Peduto's plan to grow our population pps can't wait. The issue should be are we making the best decisions on which schools to close? How many organizations have come in over the past 10 years and done an analysis, produced a nice report and had the recommendations ignored. We need a more teachers, more classrooms, lower overhead approach. If it isn't fewer buildings where to cut? How top heavy can one school district get?

Questioner said...

We never get a detailed explanation of how much closing a building actually saves, and that is probably because it doesn't seem to save that much especially when resulting extra costs are taken into account- like transportation for students who can no longer walk. And in many cases a charter just opens in the area where a school was closed (Northside, Environmental, Burgwin) and PPS ends up paying more than it would have cost to keep the school.

Mark Rauterkus said...

I think that the board does hold the keys to hiring and firing the superintendent. That was the question and the first reply at the top is accurate.

I also think that board presidents have more power than other board members. Squeaky wheels, no big deal.

Sure, parents have power. Most deploy that and move out of PPS, to the burbs, to private / Catholic schools or to charter schools. Some may stay and rely upon tutors and enrichment in other avenues.

Year-after-year the city's population churns and those with kids flee. That's the year-after-year story. PPS shrinks greatly every year because many parents who have the power opt to put their kids elsewhere.

Those without kids care far less than those who do raise their children here. Fact of life. Bill Peduto and Michael Lamb and Jim Ferlo and a host of yuppies living in apartments in South Side Works care a tiny bit....

Meanwhile, those who do have kids are often so close to the action that the selfish streak is going to come out first. There is forest, trees and momma bear in the woods, if you know what I mean.

IMNSHO, the next revolution -- or more to the point -- the next revolution that will gain some system-wide changes and be noted in history as a game-changer is NOT about taking down or taking out people with power, captains on a sinking ship.

Be careful for what you wish for in terms of changing principals and such. Once upon a time the people of Poland could turn to their hopes to the east and see Stalin and then to the west and see Hitler. Today's (and for generations I guess) the middle east is a quagmire with ISIS, Syria, Iraq, Iran, etc., etc. Friends are not generally found with the enemy of an enemy. We're learning that lesson, right?

The next revolution that is going to work is going to be one that HELPS THE KIDS. This is something that we can all get behind, even those YUPPIES that use the bike lanes that Peduto is happy to build and boast about. A new venture that greatly helps the educational options and outcomes with a lot of kids is going to get many people excited and make a serious impact.

That's the ticket.

I'm not inclined to pitch a protest and rail against any figure-head and repeat the mistakes of the past.

I have serious doubts that Dr. Lane's replacement would be any better than what we've already got and that is not saying much.

Anonymous said...

You are right-- replacing Lane with Roosevelt was worse--while I had ALOT of hope for new board members and on a personal level I think they are strong intelligent candidates-- I had hoped the would "rail against the establishment" more-- it feels like with the viewing ability of board meetings etc-- they sit as if they are being judged on decorum-- and they seem no question NOTHING of late- unless WE get riled up-- like TFA and then Lane takes it away without discussion--

Mark Rauterkus said...

Political will is a good think and the political will to do the right thing, often not so easy, is missing, sadly, on many important issues in PPS.

Dr. Lane does not have the political will, for example, to address the athletics, sports, recreation issues that I care about. Some other top administrators don't have the will to act as well.

We got issues, problems, and solutions -- but -- we don't have the political will to roll up the sleeves and make necessary changes.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I was not clear in an earlier post. Mark Brently has always been a voice of reason on the board. I know him and like him very much. His problem is that he has been unable to persuade the rest of the board members. We thought with Dr. Holly on the board that things would change. Have they?
We kind of figured that Sylvia Wilson would go along with whatever the board wants. All she needed was her own rubber stamp. Cindy Falls has asked questions, big deal. How many times has she voted with the majority? We need board members who can persuade the others to vote against Broad hires, policies, anything broad. Cut the funding and kill their initiatives.
As far as Melissa Frieze becoming a superintendent in the future, I predicted a promotion for her last year. We saw her on television giving a news release. Does anyone remember? I still think she is in the plan. She is a PPS graduate, teacher, administrator. Just like Andy King, except she has more class. I don't believe she is a Broad grad, perhaps a PELA?