Monday, December 7, 2015

Consultant for superintendent search

Anonymous wrote:

"New Post 
Perkins Consulting Group has no experience in a superintendent search:

The most important appointment in any school district is the selection of it's Superintendent.

The process is critical and should be broad based as well as evidenced based.

Truly, what we have here is the blind leading the blind and we wonder why our leadership lacks 'vision'. "


Anonymous said...

This is par for the course for our board. Why would we expect anything different than the way PPS business is conducted? This is more of the same old same old...

Anonymous said...

Since PA has its own set of Common "Core Standards" and a "Standards-Aligned-System" (fully approved by the US Dept. of Ed), and serious effort should be made to choose and Educator from Pennsylvania. (Cuts down on the long learning curve that current Central Office Administrators have not yet learned well enough to implement in PPS.

PA's Standards-Aligned-Systems (SAS) INSTITUTE is going on this week just outside of Harrisburg. Yet, PPS Central Office Administrator's responsible for ACADEMICS (Curricula, Instruction, & Assessment) in PPS are in Washington, D.C.

How does this happen? Is it any wonder that PPS is trailing so far behind in PA?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that %95 of the ad min building employes are Afroamerican and female ?What do you have to do or be to get a job there.

Anonymous said...


Newly elected School board President, Ms. Regina Holley, spearheaded the hire of an inexperienced consultant to search for a Superintendent.

The PG describes the action as "stupefying naivete".

Ms. Holley apologizes for the lack of transparency.

Ms. Wilson, who nominated Ms Holley for president, describes her as someone who can help the board " continue to meld".

Not sure if any of this points to leadership, which PPS is so devoid of.

Does central office need blended,melded,merged or even unified?

Or does it need replaced? Which requires leadership.

Anonymous said...

The goal should never be to have the Board "meld". The need for independent thinking, research, insight, and experience is critical to a decision-making process that impacts the futures of 25,000 students.

Right now the evidence calls for the replacement of the entire Central Office Team. There are qualified educators that have Pittsburgh's children at the center of the quest for a successful education and preparedness for College and Careers for every one of our PPS students.

Anonymous said...

Is this the secret of the high performing districts in PA - the Superintendent is from PA and has a full working knowledge of SAS? Have you any facts on this? It makes sense that a Superintendent has working knowledge of how to efficiently run a school system with the voluminous responsibilities that entails which includes hiring those individuals who know the PA Core Standards. Years ago Dr. Wallace surrounded himself with qualified folks who knew what effective teaching was all about - and he wasn't even from PA.

Anonymous said...

"There are qualified educators that have......."

But can they lead? Point to their leadership successes when it comes to the education of our children?

Who are they? Where are they? ( In case 'replacement is the order of the day')

Anonymous said...

9:48 - Wallace was here before there were PA Core Standards, Common Core State Standards and before Pennsylvania had developed a comprehensive SYSTEM with its own PA assessments.

It is a new day and the critical thinking skills needed are NOT in place in PPS. Certainly, a good leader would hire knowledgeable individuals based on experience and expertise; but, a leader not familiar with the PA system might not see the value of hiring competence in lieu of committed allegiance. Just saying . . . based on the world as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Too bad that there is so little respect for providing "standards" to education in PPS.

Poverty is not the reason for low achievement. Rather it is a lack of competence/knowledge/delivery around the basic skills (standards) that we have the right to expect all schools to teach.

If (they) don't know what they are, they surely can't teach them.

Anonymous said...

12:18 If you are equating standards with "basic skills" then your theory seems to be that there isn't a single teacher in Pittsburgh Public who possesses the ability to teach anything. PA Common Core of today follows the trajectory of PA Standards of yesteryear- only more specific in language. Pittsburgh Public Schools was a model for school districts across the nation under Richard Wallace, as I'm sure many of us remember and became so WITHOUT a comprehensive system. Great teachers know what the basic skills are that students need to succeed. Your argument should be directed toward the higher ed teaching programs that need to focus on producing teachers to populate our urban classrooms who are qualified in their subject area, who've been saturated with competent educational strategies, who obviously should have an understanding of basic skills,and who hopefully have a mindset that all children are capable of succeeding!

Anonymous said...

1:20 - Absolutely!!!

12:18 is in TOTAL AGREEMENT with every word of your comment. The "argument" as you call it (rather it is fact) addresses the competence PPS Central Office who did not experience and are NOT adhering to good educational practice as the majority of earlier PPS teachers who were very competent and rooted in the basic skills (standards). Our PPS teachers were the best and fully capable of adapting 'standards' to classroom teaching and learning that engaged students at the highest levels at whatever grade or content that they taught.

You are also correct that current higher ed teaching programs need complete revamping for the "educational strategies", "understanding of basic skills" (standards) and "mindsets" you set forth. Thank you for re-inforcing rather than negating what was set forth in 12:18!

Anonymous said...

It is very, very, very important that those reading this blog as well as those in education understand the "standards" ARE "basic skills" perhaps adding "critical thinking skills" to the definition as part of the "basic" minimum competencies that schools were created to teach with consistency. Check out the STANDARDS. Be able to state the "basic skill" in the clear language that is used to define each skill. Examples: Students will be able to 1) "distinguish fact from opinion" or 2)"cite the evidence" from the text that supports your conclusion" or 3) identify the main idea. These are three very "basic skills" that are among the "standards" including PA Core Standards, Common Core State Standards and "trajectory" of "yesteryear" PA Standards.

How about having posters here each submit a "Standard" that is part of the repertoire in place in Pennsylvania?!

There is much to be learned from this exercise---most especially for those who currently think differently or don't know!

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear 2:15. "If you are equating standards with "basic skills" then your theory seems to be that there isn't a single teacher in Pittsburgh Public who possesses the ability to teach anything?"

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: do you want the novice doctor, lawyer etc like this consulting firm-- or do you want someone who has done the job before? Obviously this is the same ship of fools that wanted novice teachers instead of seasoned professionals-- and gee, it has worked soooo well!

Anonymous said...

Racist, foolish & selfish- driving PPS into the bottom of the barrel! How sad - if you are someone who cares you don't promote racism & segregation- this admin are nothing but hypocrites! Stop promoting hatred for "whites" start promoting respect, caring & accountability!

Anonymous said...

Step 1: Hire consultants to assist in the search for a new superintendent. Spend lots of money.
Step 2: Hire the person who was already chosen. Ignore any results from Step 1.
Step 3: Issue a press release: Meet the new superintendent. No different from the old superintendent.

Anonymous said...

We are crystal clear, 2:20 and 3:30, about the standards being basic skill. Check them out!

However, YOUR IF/THEN STATEMENT, is yours alone. No one else on this blog said anything close---(Is that what you meant to say about teachers?)

If you are a teacher, why bring other teachers down to such a low level---they deserve much much better!

Anonymous said...

Stay with the facts ("cite the evidence.) The begin to address the "main idea" positively and productively on behalf our PPS majority population.

Leave the sarcasm and nastiness in your back pockets . . .

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the online version of the article Donna Micheaux statement is excluded. Check the print publication.

Anonymous said...

Achievement Gap

Surprising that there has been no mention in this blog of yesterday's PG article on Pittsburgh's inability to educate it's African American Students.

We are in the midst of a "Superintendent Search" and it seems to me the criteria most critical should speak to ' successes ' in urban education.

Successes in leadership. Successes in outcomes. Significant.

If we take consolation in the fact that the averages are low nation wide or that the road has been long or that we have a long road ahead____ than that mindset is a barrier.

Any candidate with that kind of mentality is a non-starter.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a 'knowledge gap' on what to do about the achievement gap.
Years of monies, programs,and consultations.

To no avail.

Maybe we need to know more about how to do less.

Curiosity is the engine that drives learning and experience. It is in every child's nature.

Do we allow it to flow or do we block it by interfering with our thinking skills or lack thereof and our 'standards' and the like. How does one 'measure' curiosity anyway?

Maybe we need to know more about how to do less.

Anonymous said...

I find it rather strange to say the least that 2 school board members just met someone and are so impressed with them that they forget about correct procedure, transparency or checking references. Why or why do things happen like this in Pttsburgh? And where is the outrage from the community?

Anonymous said...

Be assured that there NOT a "knowledge gap". There IS blatant refusal to engage in what we KNOW will work, what has been successfully evidenced by students and teachers who have reversed "achievement gaps".

Why it there such "refusaL" as evidenced in Pittsburgh and the elsewhere b the decision-makers? The most obvious reasons are reiterated again and again on this blog. We absolutely need to do MORE not less in terms of thinking skills, standards and cultural congruence. (Example: PPS cannot wait until 12th Grade to add courses or offer content that MUST begin in pre-school!!!

The gross inequities in curricula and instruction for African-American children in PPS compared to what is provided for white children are outrageously unacceptable!

Anonymous said...

Not assured at all 2:00PM. You leave us scratching our heads.

How is it that there is gross inequities in curricula and instruction for African-American children in PPS when the leadership is African-American?

If it is so outrageously unacceptable, where is - as 1:09PM puts it - the outrage from the community?

The reasons are not so obvious . Would you care to reiterate again?

Anonymous said...

I would like to have some examples of what was mentioned: "PPS cannot wait until 12th Grade to add courses or offer content that MUST begin in pre-school!!!

The gross inequities in curricula and instruction for African-American children in PPS compared to what is provided for white children are outrageously unacceptable!"

Not everyone who reads or posts to this blog is an educator or works in pps. We read these statements in news articles beyond even what is local and really do not know details.

Anonymous said...

Who are the We that KNOW what works as evidenced by students and teachers?

And is the evidence that unpersuasive that it is blatantly refused by those who have a stake in achievement outcomes?

Anonymous said...

I think the inequities became worse with " right sizing" because with right-sizing came the end of magnet schools-- which gave many African American students the ability - without audittions and resumes a chance to be in groups where opportunities were the same. Then we started keeping students in own neighborhoods- which bred segreation. For people new to PPS- atone time we had "magnet kindergartens" -so classes were racially mixed and these students-- and their siblings could stay in these schools-- so 12 families - usually times 2 kindergartens-- were definitely given opportunities-- not just instruction, but services and because they started kindergarten together- they were totally a part of the school.
Milliones- which you can read about throughout this blog-- was a tech magnet and yes, white students did attend- and feed into Schenley.
Pwople in Pittsburgh will have their students travel for opportunity-- East Hills international studies was an example of the "in school" where students were mixed. Reizenstein had all kinds of students.
Over the years the population has let the board re-segregate-- and now, equity isnt enough-- because places like Milliones- U Prep have way too many social problems for a staff to deal with

Anonymous said...

To 6:00---The current leadership at PPS Central Office was put in place by the Gates and Broad Foundations and as such have been completely controlled by those foundations and the money that came with them. The only Pittsburger and Educators in that group is Donna Micheaux. She was trained by the Eli Broad Foundation just as were Mark Roosevelt and Linda Lane and supported by the Gates Foundation. Others in Central Office are NOT educators and have little or no experience nor expertise in urban education. Enough said?

To 8:17---The list of examples would fill a dissertation (that hopefully someone will write). This blog space is much too limited to even begin citing the volumes of evidence. (A court case could/would/should begin an evidentiary documentation process.)

To 9:46----The WHO are here there and everywhere and include former principals, teachers, and students. Contrary to you "unpersuasive" the evidence is startling and overwhelmingly convincing; however, it does not appear that "achievement" is the outcome desired by those who would have nothing to lose in too many of our 'failing" schools. Holding on to Broad/Gates and other foundations is the priority---at the expense of educating African-American children---and so solutions are "blatantly" refused?

Anonymous said...


Well there you have it. This generation of African American children will shape their own paths of 'courage'.

Anonymous said...

Hey. May the 'force' be with them.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 3:07, it is 8:17 and your response is disheartening to me. I am not an insider and my kids are almost done with post secondary education. I would like to participate in the actions to make it better for current and future students but won't add my time or voice without some facts. I will wait for that dissertation and follow national education news to see what I might learn.

Anonymous said...

6:15 - Two good sources for national education "news" and well-documented resources are Phi Delta Kappan magazine and Education Week.

An even better resource is the SAS website at the PA Department of Education where there is not only abundant evidence of the problem (including PPS data for individual schools) but also depth and breadth of solutions centered on WHITE students as opposed to Black or Brown students.

It many require a little effort from you but otherwise the world we live in will blame Black & Brown communities for the the situation and you will have a long wait for dissertations that will provide the full picture! Those who care enough do the work and fight the fight for equity and justice!

Questioner said...

Many people have some time to spend but not enough time to navigate the state website and download reams of information, etc. And, the information can be difficult to line up and read on the screen. Instead of 50 people doing their own research, it would be most helpful to cite the specific evidence from the website as to claims such as the "depth and breadth of solutions centered on WHITE students as opposed to Black or Brown students".

Anonymous said...

The PDE "School Performance Profiles" gives you the data school by school across the entire state of PA. That data includes both "population" and "performance" data. (It will blow your mind!)

The PDE SAS gives you grade by grade, subject by subject, standard by standard SOLUTIONS in depth and breadth that is exhausting by accessible to ANYONE. It it quite obvious that the "solutions", lessons, units, resources, et al are ALL European-Centered as opposed to African, African-American, Latino or Hispanic.

Its all right there for you----hundreds and hundreds of pages---all written, designed, and posted by and for WHITE populations!

Even the least educated among us will "get it" in a hot minute! NO EQUITY. NO DIVERSITY. NO JUSTICE!

If you CARE, you will not be LAZY!

Anonymous said...

The question remains: Why does the current leadership at PPS not care enough to do the work and fight the fight for equity and justice?

Why does the community not care enough? Where's the complaint needing to be filed before mentioning court proceedings?

Why does the current PPS leadership cede its authority to outside controls at the expense (as you say) of educating African-American children?

There are many layers here and blaming the White, Black and Brown of it is not a starting point.

Questioner said...

School lesson plans have become much more diverse in recent years, but during that same period achievement has gone down. Including materials from a wide range of student backgrounds can make lessons more interesting and inclusive, but it is not a silver bullet.

Anonymous said...

9:17, You have done research, what are you doing with your findings other than posting on this blog?
"If you CARE, you will not be LAZY!"

Anonymous said...

A starting point might be the tossing out the'code of silence' among the Black Brothers and Sisters. It keeps them from questioning and challenging and in the end it keeps them from holding one another to a higher standard of accountability.

When that conversation happens openly and honestly and continuously( speaking truth to power among our own)problem solving begins and the monthly Broad/Gates meetings will take on a new sense of purpose or re-purpose in educating the children of Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Missed opportunity to engage (6:15 AM) who is willing to participate with your remarks.

Anonymous said...

This blog shares very little of the work that is ongoing over many, many, many years. Individuals and communities have risen again and again to the challenges--- with very small victories. The "problem" remains, with "solutions" rejected as was stated previously

In FACT, a "complaint" was filed some 23 years ago and it is STILL under review of the State Human Relations Commission (and will be since it was recently extended AGAIN, because there has been NO PROGRESS in PPS.

The intense and ongoing labors, fights for justice, presentations of volumes of related evidentiary data to authorities, meeting after meeting, email after email, report after report, have been underway for more than 25 years in PPS. It is all well documented, but clearly buried by the "establishment" who cannot, will not, and rejects clear, bold, modern day "solutions"!

Just because a few bloggers here are unaware of the work that has been underway and ongoing does not mean it does not exist in reality!

Anonymous said...

Your missing the point.

The point being is not that a few bloggers are unaware... all of the Pittsburgh Public
is unaware because the conversation happens in small circles with small voices and never sees the light of day in an op-ed, editorial or other forms of the written word.

Until the voices are raised the problem remains with solutions rejected and a complaint in limbo for 23 years.

Anonymous said...

I realize that this post will not get through, but I'll say it anyhow. If the head of PPS was white there would be such an outcry from the African Anerican community that it would be in the newspapers everyday and on television.

Anonymous said...

What are these "rejected solutions" that have been mentioned here several times? Please list those solutions for those of us on this blog that have been tried and proven successful and then bring them before the Board.

Please omit PDE and SAS as possible solutions because I don't believe that Harrisburg has an ounce of understanding of what works for the urban school districts in PA!

Anonymous said...

Previously posted by the poster who is now asking us to do our do diligence and check out PDE and SAS .

Anonymous said...
"You are quite right that PDE is powerless to influence its failing school districts. There are no consequences for adults who do not attend. There are no consequences for any infraction, neglect, failure or incompetence. PDE can't dismiss or fire anyone in school districts that are failing children. Nor can they "take over" a district. PDE is very, very short staffed and those staff have literally NO AUTHORITY over schools___ NOR do they have personnel or finances to run school districts that are failing.

Some very limited monitoring is in place in some districts, but monitoring changes nothing. Often these are just appointments to 'friends' looking for some extra money in retirement.

Check out the School Improvement Plans (in PPS). Many are truly pitiful offering minimal "plans" that are often just words filling the space so that 'something' is written on paper and submitted to the state. That's compliance, but certainly not action.

There is not a single person in PDE's hierarchy on the Personnel Chart who is responsible or held accountable. Just look at the past few Secretary's of Education who have hit the news. It is all politics."

Anonymous said...

You do not check out PDE and SAS at your own risk---as is evident at PPS.

All of the above is true about PDE and PPS, but that does not mean any school district in PA can afford to ignore the information that is available on these websites. PPS has done so at its own peril.

If PPS knows the "standards" (inclusive of PA Core Standards) and delivers these SKILLS in educational best practices for African-American students PPS would reverse "achievement gaps". Throwing out the baby with the bath water has not been a successful strategy. Too many PPS educators have not learned critical thinking skills, standards, or anything beyond "white superiority" and live and die by limiting their quest for knowledge and understanding.
7:55 posts comments about personnel not skills, there is a difference---but you need to be able to compare and contrast, definitely do not understand "cause and effect", can't identify the main idea and supporting details, nor distinguish fact from opinion, or use context clues--- and a whole set of "basic" skills that adults seem to be struggling with as they seek personal "wins".

Anonymous said...

Did the new Board vote yet on the contract for the new Superintendent consultants?

Anonymous said...

Good question as we return to the 'main idea' and supporting details of this Post.

Anonymous said...

Today's PG has North Allegheny School District hiring a firm to do their Superintendent Search for $20,000!

How come PPS is proposing/spending $100,000 for a Supt. Search by a firm who has NIEVER done this before?

HMMMMMM! Raises a lot of questions, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Maybe PPS can hire the $20,000 firm? Oh, never mind, I forgot that we have a very large surplus to spend on everything but our students...

Anonymous said...

At least the $20,000 firm is from Pennsylvania. The $100,000 firm is from New York where they are struggling with a different set of CC Standards. It is to PPS's advantage to align with the system that is holding them accountable--- which is something they have resisted since Mark Roosevelt. It has not been to PPS students' advantage.

Let's hire someone for Superintendency who has spent the last ten years working successfully in the Pennsylvania system rather than New York or Texas.

Anonymous said...

A superintendent candidate who has been proven a success anywhere (regardless of what the standards were in their state, including NY and TX & preferably from an urban setting) is who we need. If that person comes with a profile of students in his/her district learning (if test scores are your gauge for that), high graduation rates, maximum school employee retention, effective Board interaction skills, and a effective budget management, WHO CARES if he/she is not from PA. Somebody who is doing that well wouldn't have a problem adapting to PA's needs. Just.Saying.

Anonymous said...

Well for the past ten years there is way too much evidence that those who are NOT PA-bound, based, oriented, or informed could NOT produce the results that 1:28 specifies---regardless of their claims to success elsewhere.

Go outside of PA at your own risk, Pittsburgh, since the research and the evidence does NOT support that outsiders "wouldn't have problem".

Absolutely, agreed that the candidate have successful Urban experience. We can't wait to here about the successes in African-American URBAN areas.

Anonymous said...

We have yet to hear from 4:14 identifying those candidates who would be PA in-bound, based,oriented, or informed and have had the proven successes and desired outcomes in educating the children of Pittsburgh.

Who are they, where are they and what have they been doing for the past decade?

We can't wait to be informed.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning 6:16 AM

Your answer shows itself in today's PG:

Success by anyone's measure.

The new's print edition featured photos by Andrew Rush which were worth a thousand words. One in particular captured elves ( with arms wide open ) made by students which were then hung on a wall at the academy.

Anonymous said...

Important to note that board president Regina Holley voted against expansion of this success in the Academy's desire to relocate to a larger building.

Anonymous said...

Today's P-G quotes Brian Perkins so his firm was hired to find a superintendent.

Anonymous said...

A common sense thought: in the dreaded past when a school was in crisis or chaos the superintednent was THERE-- they were at the least the prime example of an educator in charge-- thinking of Westinghouse a few years ago, Perry a while back and now U Prep-- stop sending in the deputies and send in the sheriif. That should be the FIRST question-- what will you do in a crisis situation?

Anonymous said...


Imagine Linda going anywhere to restore order, lolololol. They are 4th graders in my class who could restore more order than she could. I agree with you, we need so much help. Sadly I predict we will get another unqualified charlatan. All this input they are asking for is a farce.

Anonymous said...

We should be so fortunate to have had such a leader:

________ "provided inspired, determined and creative leadership that has transformed the school."
Under her leadership, enrollment has increased, a first class regulation athletic field has been built, critical administrative and faculty hires have contributed to significant improvements in teaching and learning.

No.... Linda Lanes name does not fill in the above blank.
Rather the soon to be retired head of the Ellis School, Robin O Newharn.

We should be so lucky to find such Leadership in PPS' Superintendent search.

Anonymous said...

The lack of names for potential candidates by community members , posters to this blog and more importantly, the educational community at large makes it difficult to gather momentum behind a candidate.

A superintendent search is not the arena for student voices. These community forums should be for tough questions put to these school board members by leaders in the community who can demand change.

Anonymous said...

Regina Holley...where is your leadership in this?