Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Complaints about Westinghouse and reactions to complaints

Anonymous wrote:

"New post please. 
I am really disturbed by this PG editorial in which Tony Norman basically discredits and bad mouths a Westinghouse student who cried out for help. He totally defended the district and the principal who made the child out to be a liar. Then, the icing on the cake, Cate Reed leaves a lengthy obnoxious comment. I'm certain everything this poor child said was true. This is very sad."


Questioner said...

Address issues with science teachers by all means, just be sure that they are not used as an argument to bring in Teach for America or add more charter schools.

Anonymous said...

PG won't stop censoring my comment!!! They keep deleting it!

Here's what Cate Reed is up to...

Leave PPS alone. Please tell me what a person learns at an unaccredited Eli Broads academy that makes them qualified to do anything related to education. Roosevelt and Lane are graduates of this "Academy". That should tell you something. I'm certain the person who grooms my dog goes through more extensive training than our superintendents received at the Eli Broad Academy, where you can become a superintendent after a few weekend courses. Google it, it's true.

The PG should research the Eli Broad Academy and it's graduates instead of deleting my comments. As Norman's editorial above illustrates, PPS and the PG must censor or discredit any person who has a clue about what is really happening in our schools and our central office. I wonder how much Gates and Broads money the PG takes for their collusion. That might also explain their otherwise inexplicable endorsement of Jake Wheatley.

Cate Reed's fake concern and outrage are to advance her own agenda. If you have any stake in PPS, as a teacher I implore you to read the article I referenced above. Like the student in Tony's column, we need the public to know what is really happening and we need your help.

Anonymous said...

I am sure there is a reasonable explanation but why would Campaign for Quality Schools Pittsburgh have a phone number with a 202 area code? It is a Hyatsville Maryland number but must be a service.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bring up problems about Westinghouse School about student complaints .
Not only should complaint about Westinghouse how about Homewood Children Village they are in Westinghouse what are they doing in concerns the student(s) issues and complaints NOTHING 😳 Should call it Homewood Village Tax Stealers from the Homewood community
HCV need to come forth to the Homewood community what they are doing to address issues and complaints of Westinghouse students
Do that make any sense?What support or plans they have to offer NOTHING!!!!!!!!!! probally on Broad and Gates PAYROLL call and ask what they are doing

Disgusted said...

That PG article is, for the lack of a better word, unbelievable. Mr. Norman just goes to the principal to refute the student's claims. Really, just to the principal? What else would one expect the principal to say except that everything is fine, nothing to see here. Move along now.

But there are more concerns in the article.

"Prior to early April, Westinghouse had a steady substitute physics teacher who began teaching the seniors in February."

Was this teacher an experienced, certified physics teacher? It's not well known, but a substitute teacher can teach any subject. So you could, for example, have a social studies teacher teach chemistry. I've seen that happen in the PPS. You can be sure no Fox Chapel parent would stand for that for a second.

"Only January was devoid of consistent instruction because it is difficult to find certified and qualified physics teachers in the middle of a school term."

So 10% of the school year was literally lost to those kids! That's a very significant slice, especially in a science class. Again, no Fox Chapel parent would stand for that for a second.

It's the job of central administration to get the proper teachers lined up. Sure, getting a physics teacher is tough, But excuses just don't cut it. Get a phyics teacher, period! Offer a significant monetary bonus for the position. Offer extra perks if necessary. But get what those students need!

Anonymous said...

Getting qualified applicants in science is tough...too many jobs in fields other than education pay more and offer more "perks." It's even tough for SciTech in finding (and holding on to) science/tech teachers who are certified and qualified in those subjects. It's just not that simple!

Disgusted said...

Actually, 3:11, it is just that simple. Pay what the market dictates.

The daily pay for a PPS long-term sub is around $140. If that doesn't attract enough science subs, up that daily rate for them. PPS students will be competing against suburban students after high school. Our PPS students deserve a fair chance there!

So if you can't find a qualified physics teacher at $140 per day, up the rate for those teachers to $200 a day, or $300 a day, whatever it takes. There is plenty of money for the PPS to hire outside consultants. So there should be plenty of money to give our students qualified teachers.

Anonymous said...

yes good point sad spend money on consultants yet want spend money on teachers notice this problem exist in Westinghouse School in Homewood don't tell me you can't come up with money to get a Physics teacher meaning unacceptable that would not happen in schools like Upper St Clair, Mount Lebanon schools seems like they want the Westinghouse students to fail really don't care what do the board member who represent
that dist. say about no Physics teacher ?

Anonymous said...

My kids are in their twenties, one graduates a week from sunday with a Master's. I could not help but wonder if the young man from Westinghouse would have been as worried as a sophomore or junior being taught by an under-qualified teacher, as he is now that he is a senior. One of my kids has expressed regret at not working harder in high school and taking more advantage of opportunities to participate in academic competitions or outside the classroom learning. They know that they might have been more prepared in college had they applied consistent effort throughout 4 years of high school, but they know where the holes are in what the district offered in preparation too. We need to work harder at convincing all kids that a consistent effort is needed. Now, does anyone know what steps are being taken to help the young man at Westinghouse fill the gaps in his Physics education?

Anonymous said...

Poignant question 7:27.

If you up the rate to $200 per day or higher for securing a qualified physics long term sub you create 'equal pay' issues for all the other qualified subs in other fields.

Not so simple.

Disgusted said...


There is precedent for paying physics subs more. Many years ago the district had trouble finding enough qualified special ed teachers. So teachers with that certification were given a bonus. This was not just a hiring bonus. It was a yearly bonus. That program has since ended, but I believe teachers who were hired under it are still getting the bonus.

Also, the district has been known to step-bump new teachers they really want. Here's what I mean. If, for example, the district really wants a hard-to-find Chinese language teacher, they'll start that new teacher on Step 3 of the salary scale, while all the other new teachers are starting at Step 1.

I am not aware of such programs when it comes to long-term subs. But there is no reason why it can't happen! If the kids need a qualified long-term sub, get them that sub. Do what you have to do.

Might this lead to some hard feelings among the other, less-in-demand subs? Perhaps, and that is a consideration. But the kids have to come first.

By the way, I worked for years alongside PPS special ed teachers who were making more money than me just because of the bonus I mentioned earlier. That didn't bother me. In fact, good for them.

Disgusted said...

To all,

Let me add one more thing. A number of years ago the Spanish teacher in my PPS building left after the third quarter. They couldn't find a long-term Spanish sub at the pay rate the district was offering. So they brought in a social studies long-term sub who knew no Spanish.

All that sub could do was show movies about Spanish culture and history. I don't blame him one bit. What else could he do? But those kids were CHEATED out of one quarter of Spanish instruction.

The district could have instead retained one less consultant, and used that money to offer a premium to some Spanish teacher, perhaps to a retired one. Money talks, and that would have worked.

This was not at Westinghouse. It was at another PPS high school. So this sort of thing happens everywhere in PPS. But I doubt if it happens very often at the fancy suburban schools.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago PPS initiated the SAM Program at Westinghouse HS. It had some of the best qualified physics and chemistry teachers in the area, starting them at step 5 , if need be, to secure the hire.

It could be said that the students were given a fair chance, to say the least, to be competitive with their suburban neighbors.

The politics began to change within PPS as did the principals and the SAM program began to fail before it had a chance to succeed and those quality teachers moved on.

Anonymous said...

I remember SAM.
"SAM is a unique, four-part partnership program among Westinghouse High School, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Carnegie Mellon University and Edinboro University. It encourages minority youth to pursue professions in science-related fields and provides an opportunity for the participating institutions to address instructional needs for minority youth in the fields of science and technology.

The Westinghouse Electric Corporation provides grant-funded program incentives ranging from scholarship assistance to year-round learning and developmental opportunities for both students and faculty. Edinboro offers a summer enrichment experience through laboratory-centered instruction and monitored research opportunities that emphasize scientific process skills."

It was better than a fair chance for these students. It was an opportunity.

Failed leadership at the principal level was it's demise.

Anonymous said...

Many things keep coming to mind here. First, PPS some years ago cheapened the science programs by cutting out labs for some science classes. Next, Earth and space, general science eliminated from the schools. Next disaster, students enrolled in vocational programs and given recognition for math and science concepts taught. Fourth, Pay differential for special ed.teachers. This was the early, early 80's. PFT negotiated this. They also had the smaller class sizes for SED and EMR students while at the same time, those same kids could be placed in with 20 other regular ed classes. When confronted with this, Dr. Penn's only comment was "You should have someone negotiate for your group" I remember having to always remind the Sp. Ed counselors they had to observe the so called limits for regular ed classes.
My last comment is for Westinghouse Electric. (they just go by Westinghouse now) For many years, Westinghouse employees have donated two Saturdays a month from 8:00 AM to 12:00 at the facility located just off the parkway at Churchill, PA. Students come from all over Pennsylvania to participate in the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute. I believe they are now at the new Cranberry facility. Each year, approx. 400 high school juniors participate in Science and Physics experiments. This also includes a trip to Penn State main campus for a tour of the two nuclear reactors on campus. Most people will never get in to see this as it is not a public tour. Believe me when I say a young student will never forget the experience of when they flash the reactor. See the program for yourself. Go to
The biggest problem here is PPS has a poor showing in students attending. There are some from Science & Technology. That's it. Not even Allderdice has students there. No Carrick, No Brashear. WHY NOT? they used to participate. Can't blame this one on lack of certified teachers.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea... Why didn't one of the many qualified lap top carriers who stand in groups in classrooms to observe from central office step in and teach the class? Surely if you are certified to evaluate science teachers you can teach science... Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a logical move, 1:04, but it's not like a supervisor of social studies or English stepping in. This isn't General Science with a textbook that touches on basic information in science. Physics, chemistry, biology...all have different disciplines with specific subject knowledge that doesn't crossover. A teacher's never suppose to be one page ahead of the students - especially in a specialized subject. Not sure why this message isn't crystal clear...there aren't enough specialized certified public school science teachers available to go around. Anywhere. Period.

Anonymous said...

The Westinghouse student's complaint about Physics made me think of a situation that caused me frustration when my kids were pps high school students. My kids are out of school for many years now so I asked several high school students I happen to work with for some information. It apparently is still not uncommon for a coach to leave as early as 1:00 with his team to go to away games. If that coach is teaching a class in a later period of the day how much learning are his students missing during a season? Somehow I thought this "lost learning" would be eliminated when PPS went WPIAL. Yes, I know there are not enough qualified coaches, and yes, I know how important sports are to build character. Still seems to me that kids are being short-changed.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Sadly, our WPIAL HS Varsity swim schedule this year called for every home meet to start at 3:15 pm. I was greatly upset. New AD scheduled those meets. It won't to such an extent in the future. It was something we got away from and now it came back. Go figure.

I am the coach and not a teacher, so the loss classroom time wasn't much of a factor. Away meets were at 6 pm, unless with Brashear or Carrick.

So, the point you raise is well taken.

The push to 3:15 meets comes from the WPIAL officials. Officials are hard to find and hire. Want to make money? Drive a bus. Be a sports official. The swim officials work a city meet in the afternoons and can bolt out to a suburban meet and make two pay checks as a double header. When our meets are later, only one check and a lack of officials.

Baseball games start at 3 pm. What does the WPIAL do with baseball start times?

Unknown said...

Westinghouse needs to be closed. They have bed bugs and the lunch is disgusting. Kids still failing and fighting. The teachers well are they teaching. Look like somebody just dropped that school in the middle of homewood. People still getting shot up there too. The kids just look like they have been through slot.