Monday, May 25, 2015

Grant money

Anonymous wrote:

"new post: PPS grant monies 

Wow! Look at all the money wasted. Judy Johnston and Paula Bevan got $1,800/day. This article is very eye opening. When grant money dries up, do they expect our tax dollars to pick up the slack? "


Anonymous said...

Ok I am a little,confused. When did Sam Franklin become hr director.? Thought he was in teacher effectiveness. Also Mary Wolfson consulting? Does she no longer work for the district or is this just a way to pay her position with grant money rather than district budget? Can someone please clarify? Central office positions change like know...

Anonymous said...

yes and the concept of organizationsl charts is one that taxpayers through their board reps should explore. They claim to be "so corporate" and yet we have a secret society-- and worse-- no one seems to have noticed this change!

Anonymous said...

Worse yet are these positions voted on by the Board at Legislative meetings?

Tons of young people from out of town in positions at central office especially in HR. Back in the day there were only 2 or 3 people at most in HR. Now there are 5, 6, 7 or more and the district is way down by thousands in students and lots of schools have been closed???? What do all of these people coming and going do at HR?

Anonymous said...

Millions and millions of dollars coming into the District over the last 5 or 10 years but the achievement keeps declining? What are the results for these millions?

Questioner said...

Most people skimming the PG article would think there was lots of progress to show for the money.

Anonymous said...

Can you give one result from the article that shows progress for students?

Are there more or less schools? Or are they closing?

Are there more or less courses offered? What has happened to the Arts? And Foreign Language? And Libraries? And Extra-curriculars?

Are there more or less students enrolling in PPS schools?

Is there more or less "proficiency" in Math or Reading? And what about Science?????

Are there more or less suspensions even though there are far fewer students?

Are there more or less Charter Schools?

Are there more or less Athletic Teams?

Are there more or less National Merit Scholars?

Are there more or less Scholarships?

Are there more or less students completing Post-Secondary Programs even with "The Pgh Promise"?

Has PPS move out of the lowest-achieving 30 school districts out of nearly 500 in Pennsylvania?

The answer to all of these questions is LESS!

So where are the millions going? To do what? For whom?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of questions for which the answers are all in the negative!


Anonymous said...

Broad and Gates aren't skimming the PG for results. These are smart business men who's investment of monies is being watched closely. They will demand significant improvement in achievement.

Anonymous said...


Taxpayers can't follow their money if the flow of things is kept from the public and the headlines are tepid. The " conscientious objector " ( teacher ) refusing to give the PSSA's to her students not only informed the public but garnered support.
Our children's education need your 'stories'. They need your headlines. They need your facts. They need for you to 'cite the evidence'. They need your voices to be heard.

Anonymous said...

Really 7:38? How long will it take Broad and Gates to demand significant results? Roosevelt came here in 2005 with his Broad degree and his Gates money. That's 10 years 2005 to 2015! Where, exactly, is the improvement? Any improvement? Even a little bit of improvement? 'Cite the evidence".

Anonymous said...

Anon7:38-- if Broad/Gates wanted achievement this would be a very different discussion. Their goal relates to venture philanthropy, $$ to corporate testing giants like Pearson, and discrediting to dismantle public education. Sadly- most people have had some rocky road in education, so they are buying into this.They focus on urban schools because there are issues and also people in the burbs would never buy TFA( lets hire some pretty young people). Broad/Gates wants Stepford robots-- look at what they don't want for a clue-- building trades(people making a living) academic freedom (control every reading list and script it) and certainly not seasoned teachers.
Faculty meetings mean spewing out what has been told to you--that is what an "exit ticket" is- there is NO discussion among colleagues.

Anonymous said...

"While other districts across the state now are required to use the state’s own value-added measurement, Pittsburgh paid Mathematica to develop its own, a project that was begun before the state mandated the use of VAM in teacher evaluations. The $2.1 million contract, funded primarily by TIF, began in 2009 and expires this month.

It costs significant money to keep the district’s VAM going. District officials want the board to extend the Mathematica contract for two years for a total of $642,720 to continue calculating and analyzing teacher VAM. Without anyone to update its own VAM, the district would have to use a VAM system developed by the state after Pittsburgh began its work and used by districts throughout the state. Some district officials consider the city’s own VAM to be a better measure than the state’s."

If it is good for every other school district in the state, why can't PPS use it? Is PPS's that much better or is the grant money behind it that much stronger?

Anonymous said...

This is the result they wanted. This is what they paid for, to decimate and dismantle public education under the guise of helping. They also gave a lot to local media outlets, to placate the public. They count on a public of "skimmers". No one digs too deep or questions their reports and data.

Anonymous said...

Every single month huge contracts are given to "vendors" who claim 'whatever' as vendors always do; but is there not a single person at PPS who is capable of investigating the credibility, the effectiveness, the TRUTH, about whether ANY of these vendors or consultants have EVER accomplished what they CLAIM???

Please PPS, this day, this month, this year check out the "claims" BEFORE you commit large sums of money to these fake, failed and fraudulent outside vendors, consultants, 'in-it-only-for-the-money' 'entrepreneurs'!!!!!!!!!! Please, please, please listen to those who warn you, those who care about our students, those who know what you clearly do not know, BEFORE its too late!

Anonymous said...

WOW! How can it be that NO ONE asks questions? This kind of money (millions upon millions) being spent and PPS is STILL one of the lowest-achieving districts in the state? SOMEONE NEEDS TO ASK A WHOLE LOT OF QUESTIONS!

Anonymous said...

Not true 1:55.
There are a few who have dug deep and question their reports and data . There are a few who have followed the process every step of the way. They have the facts and can cite the evidence. They have the skills to make the case . But their voices remain silent so as not to go against_______. They count on this also.

Anonymous said...

Across these United States scores in reading, math and science have not changed since 2003. America continues to fail to crack the Global top 20 in achievement.

Gates/ Corporations / Foundations have a stake in making America 'Exceptional' again . Outcomes/results do matter. They have their own 'model' by which they think they can achieve this.

Public Schools and Community Leadership need to meet the challenge and hold themselves accountable.

Anonymous said...

Yes 3:03 PM
How can you get MILLIONS upon MILLIONS and still have low achievement high suspension a failed so called PREP school oh high ABSENTEEISM among other things not to mention
It time for the STATE to step in and run PPS oh the STATE AUDITOR need to AUDIT PPS BOOKS 📚

Anonymous said...

To 6:09 - So now the US has an obligation to sell out it's public school systems to a bunch of self absorbed billionaires? Why?

You mention scores across the country haven't changed. Are you referring to the PISA tests? If you are, you need to do a little more research on where and how those scores are achieved. They're a farce at best and at worst, a disgraceful attempt by one company to push they're products through fear and misinformation. Perhaps you've heard of them, Pearson Education? They're kinda big right now for all the profits they're making thanks to your reformers

The last PISA tests were administered to students in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida. Hardly a wide angle lens of the country. In Mass. and Conn. scores were above the OECD average. It was Florida, where twice as many students took the test as their NE'ern counterparts that dropped the national score. The Florida scores were abysmal. A side point on those results, most students were esl. Because of these absurd "results" it looks like the US can't measure up to students in Finland and Korea. Do you think those countries had any students on the free and reduced lunch program? Again, I can't do your research for you, but if you're going to come on this site to point fingers you better get your ducks in a line because pejorative, sanctimonious statements are going to get swatted down like the annoying, buzzing little gnats they are. Those of us who actually work in the un-airconditioned trenches are getting tired of millions going to hire more administrators and reward Teach for America drop outs with cushy jobs. We're looking at you Mr. Franklin.'s been a long day. It sure would be nice to get some help from all these administrators who seem to know more than us.

Anonymous said...

Tonight's Board meeting: And the beat goes on...and on....

Anonymous said...

To 6:26PM:

The PITTSBURGH SCHOOL BOARD is APPROVING these million dollar contracts.

Anonymous said...

6:26, I have said the same thing many times. Follow the money. Check our this web page. It is one of many places where you can find the famous "Letter to Hillary" Scroll down a short way to the heading "vision" Americas choice is mentioned here. Look down the Board of Directors. LOOK AT THE NAMES. you will find at least two that you know well. Go to the NCEE web page. Follow Marc Tuckers blog.

We have wondered how we got into this mess. It has been around for years. The early 90's it was "outcomes based education" That evolved to NCLB. The standards did not change or go away. Instead, we had AYP. Lack of AYP paved the way for Gates/Broad to drive a wedge into education and school districts. Again, follow the money.
Take all the grants, school vouchers, consultants, early exiting for teacher strategies... there is no end.

Anonymous said...

Skimmed portions of Marc Tuckers blog. Interesting and moving. A few take-aways.
There is plenty of money, 78 million and counting. So money is not needed.

What is lacking is a sense of urgency and political leadership on the part of our federal,state and local communities and a belief in our students and their belief in themselves.

No amount of vouchers, consultants, and data driven strategies can manufacture these intangibles. They need to be felt.

Anonymous said...

Spending more and more money on outside consultants? Is that the solution?

Repeat unsuccessful consultants leading Central Office: Is that the solution?

Repeat unsuccessful consultants leading University Prep School? Is that the solution?

Does anyone think about the education of Pittsburgh's children?

Or is this all about finding more money to spend on more people who need jobs?

Anonymous said...

What solutions have been put forth by UPrep/Milliones'community leaders ( consultants in their own right )?

Why have they been repeatedly unsuccessful?

Do they think about the education of their children as they tolerate the leadership or lack thereof ____ of a Mr. Derrick Hardy?

Questions are easy. The answers get tangled and are rarely solution based.

Anonymous said...

7:49 needs to talk, personally, with the UPrep/Milliones community people about why they have been "unsuccessful".

Some, if not most of the community, could not even get inside the school let alone provide support and positive, productive solutions.

Even some community with proven expertise were refused/rejected when trying to connect and provide REAL solutions and commitment to do the work at cost only to themselves!

The students are NOT the problem!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Refusing here to ask anymore questions _____ but instead will suffice to say that if the community and community leaders allow themselves to be barred from their community school ( Pittsburgh Milliones )than ' success ' will continue to be illusive and ' unsuccessful '.

Anonymous said...

Consultants are ridiculous. They come in and leave in a flash. They offer ridiculous suggestions and get paid outrageous amounts of money. They see a snapshot of the big picture. We had a behavior consultant come into our school and observe an 8 year old student for 20 minutes. This 8 year old runs up and down the halls daily yelling obscenities, biting and hitting staff and trashing rooms. Anyhow, this student on the day of his observation walked to his appointed area but had verbal exchanges with another student and kept his hands balled up in fists. The teacher was told that she should have been more kind to the student. That he should have received positive reinforcement for not punching another student and the consultant was gone. Quit paying for more chiefs and start hiring more Indians. We need help in our schools..not people coming in for show.

Anonymous said...

It should not have needed a consultant to see that the child needed desperately for someone, if not everyone, to be kind.

Consultants are called in because everyone else has been unable to help an 8 year old CHILD. It doesn't take a consultant or a psychologist or a behavior manager to help an 8 yr. old. It just takes someone in the environment who really cares, the child will know it and respond in kind!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! Just be nice to him. Yeah I'm sure nobody in a building filled with seasoned veterans ever thought of just being nice to the kid. See "being nice" is what consultants and therapists say we should do when they're there for only a few hours. "Being nice" ends somewhere around October or November when it becomes apparent that the child needs some type of special intervention. Intervention from licensed individuals NOT teachers. Chatham didn't teach me intensive psychoanalysis skills and treatment options. None of us signed on to be parents AND teachers AND counselors AND disciplinarians AND whatever other positions we fill.
This nonsense about "just finding the right caring individuals" needs to stop. We're all caring individuals, but sometimes it takes more than that. Much more than that.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, consultants are called in to pay consultants. Teachers are "staying in script" and trying to help individuals around the edges. Teachers wish they could just tell the other 27 to wait, while I solve the distressed child's issues. That is one of the things the in- house,n3 R person tries to do...alot of sitting and listening. But many feel that every child belongs in her regular class, no matter what the stressors are.

Anonymous said...

As has been said before...wrap your arms around that child... but wait...your not allowed..... that's not in the Restorative Practice Manual.

Anonymous said...

Minadeo has no in house or 3r person next year. No VP either. Hopefully being caring, nice individuals will make up for actual resources.

InfoWar1999 said...

Seems like all these programs/consultant ideas generate the exact opposite of their stated intent. #1) Focusing on closing the achievement gap. The gap widens, especially when one considers the plummet in non-minority grades/test scores. #2) Adaptation of highly "rigorous" and engaging curricula. PSSA scores, PSAT scores, SAT scores continue to drop. #3) Discipline/behavior policies. Mediation programs, Learning Environment Specialists, now Restorative Practices. I would venture to say a vast majority of teachers would state that the academic atmosphere of their buildings (even if it is good right now) was better 5 years ago than it is now. Side note: I remember when I was in school students would get 3 days for fighting. Now they get 10 days. This zero-tolerance stance seems to be backfiring. (Not to mention the hassle it is for teachers to produce 10 days worth of meaningful work for the student on 1 day's notice. And, 99% of the time the work isn't even attempted, let alone completed. In my career I've had 1 attempt in the 38 packets I've produced.) #4) Doing away with the "EA" rule that stated if a student missed more than 6 days in a report card period, they failed. The purpose, I believe, was to motivate students not to give up attending a class if they went over the limit of absences. My experience is that student absenteeism has exploded ever since this policy was abolished. #5) Instituting the "50%" minimum grade policy. Once again, I believe the reasoning behind this directive was to motivate students not to give up on a semester class. Even if one really earned a 22% the 1st quarter, they would still have hope, put forth an effort, and bounce back the second quarter. My experience has been that generally, students' efforts are less now. I mean hey, besides wanting to learn something and experiencing a sense of self-satisfaction and competency, is there a reason why a student wouldn't "blow-off" a lot of their studies if their objective is just to pass? #6) through #10) will have to wait. It's getting late. One last thought. While I firmly believe teachers need to have high expectations for their students, I think it's ironic that principles like the ones mentioned above, and others, severely undermine the important work teachers do.