Friday, June 17, 2016

Board's reforms interrupted

Anonymous wrote:

New Post Please

New PG article 


Questioner said...

The PG again claims that "the school board has hired an attorney" to review a resume.

This statement implies that the board has incurred an expense for an attorney, which the reporter had already been informed is not the case.

The PG also chooses to ignore errors in facts and figures by and in support of the current superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Having re-read the above article I find the reporting fair and balanced by Ms. Born, informing the public to both sides of this issue. There wasn't a hint of prejudice or slant toward the hiring or firing of Dr. Hamlet.

Questioner said...

Two issues with the article:

1) It continues to indicate that the Board is having to incur an extra expense of an attorney to review the resume, and

2) The reporter ignores notification that combing through the current superintendent's written material will reveal similar uncited use of material that can be found in previously published work of others, as well as claims of accomplishments that are at odds with official data. But only Dr. Hamlet is scrutinized.

Anonymous said...

Questioner the current superintendent and her tenure was covered by Eleanor Chute who has retired .
Molly Born and Chris Potter are the current educational reporters for the PG and their coverage thus far has been unbiased and professional.

Questioner said...

And so why wouldn't the current reporter correct the article inducating that the attorney reviewing the resume is a Board expense?

Or report on incorrect claims by the current superintendent, such as the assertion that the African Anerican AP pass rate is 45% when it is actually 8.5%?

Anonymous said...

Carey Harris said, "You can hire someone with your vision: Just pick someone who can stand up to the scrutiny," she added. And if the board can't reach a "positive resolution" in the Hamlet debate, "I can imagine there will be much more serious conversations about the governance of the district."

Well this certainly sounds like a veiled threat to me. What exactly is a "positive resolution?" And when she mentions the "governance of the district," Bellefield (with Gates and Broad), not the board, has been governing the district. This is why PPS is a mess. This is all about a power struggle between our "new" free thinking board, and the foundations and special interest groups. Then throw in Cate Reed and her group intending to try to get 5 new board members elected next year to get control of the board and further her specials interests - i.e. TFA.

Our board needs to stand their ground and not back down. It's time for change. What we had wasn't working. The groups making all this noise about Hamlet, are part of the PPS problem. They stood silently by and watched our schools diminish under Roosevelt's and Lane's watch.

Anonymous said...

9:20 is totally correct-- Yes, we dont really "know" Dr. Hamlet-- but we KNOW that Broad, Gates, Roosevelt, Lane and Reed made a disaster of this district. Closing well-functioning schools, ending programs that didnt cater to the reading/math testing $$, torturing teachers because they knew how to teach but it didnt fit their script, total ageism pushing out teachers who were old enough to have opinions,making sure that any way that students could study, learn, debate, have opinions was shut down-- the list goes on and on. Parents- you know that your students didnt learn more from the script! You know that suburban districts are thrilled to get our seasoned professionals while this admin hired people new to the profession who needed to toe the line for permanent certification. If you want all that to continue--side with the above group. This new board is the most knowledgeable we have had in years. Dont let Cate Reed replace them with heel- clickers. it is not like the Broad crew have sterling results- students off to charter schools, scores questionable and miserable staff. That is the ugly truth of this admin-- Do you want extremely unhappy adults working with your children? Check out suburban schools-- remember when teachers in PPS actually enjoyed teaching and learning with your kids?

Anonymous said...

Most of the folks pushing the corporate reform agenda won't send their children to these schools (Cate Reed we are looking at you), or will only send them to CAPA (their children must be amazingly talented because they always get in!).

Anonymous said...

So the question is: Do we support Dr. Hamlet because the "groups" making all the noise don't want him and we don't like these "groups" or do we support Dr.Hamlet because this new board is most "knowledgeable" and we trust that they have made a fully informed decision ?

This poster is in neither camp.

Questioner said...

The first thing to do is to recognize that the "groups" will find something to complain about for anyone they don't choose. Next, recognize that the decision is to be made by our Board representatives, who have extensive information about the various candidates that we do not have and they are not able to disclose, given that this is a personnel matter.

Anonymous said...

Given Dr. Hamlet remains hired as PPS' superintendent, how much second guessing will he have to endure from these "groups" every time he makes a decision, or enacts a policy, or even turns any of our school climates around? The micromanaging and undercutting that goes on in this district is bad enough, but now this gentleman will be walking around with a bullseye on his back with the haters always waiting to find "Gotcha" moments. Pittsburgh does need a breath of fresh air at Bellefield Ave but this poor man won't even be able to catch his within the toxic environment that awaits him.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned he will be unfairly scrutinized as well. Hopefully he is given the chance to do right by PPS and improve our current situation. If he does that, then he will have the support of the students, parents, and teachers who should outnumber these groups who are trying to undermine him. He also already has the support of the PFT, Great Schools Pittsburgh, and several church leaders.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see one foundation leader come out in favor of retaining him and scraping the idea of a new search.

Questioner said...

Good point! We in the community are not monolithic. Many of us have expressed support for some foundation position or another in the past and some who have opposed many foundation positions are with them on this. But they seem not to think for themselves.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that that the PPS is always making unnecessary, and harmful, compromises. Why can't we have a superintendent who is free from foundation influence AND who has a solid, unquestioned resume? Why can't we have both?

Questioner said...

The point is that if it wasn't a minor error on the resume it would be something else. Things that are ignored when they come from "their" candidate. The foundations insist on outsize influence.

Anonymous said...

An old proverb states, " The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Several people on this blog have used this as justification for their support of Dr Hamlet. I for one agree that the Gates Foundation and their ilk have had a destructive effect on our district, in terms of morale, pedagogy, and focus. My problem is that Hamlet, the outsider, is not enough justification for supporting him as our next superintendent. When I initially took a cursory glance at his FIVE PAGE resume, I was dismayed to see an extra bullet point and a lack of an end date for one of his many positions. Of course, these small errors should not preclude him as a candidate, but it should say something about the man's attention to detail and work ethic. Furthermore, his resume lead me to question why he held so many different positions over the years. His longest tenure at any one post was only a year and a half. His educational background as a football player at the University of Miami and degrees from Nova South Eastern Unuversity is not awe inspiring. Now I find that his educational doctrine was lifted verbatim from a Washington a Post article ironically about the dismissal of some other superintendent. When asked about this discrepancy by a reporter he could have come clean, but instead simply stated yet again that it was his educationally doctrine. We could all get behind Dr Hamlet and hope that despite all of these short comings he will rise up and lead us to the promised land. Or we could do our due diligence and remember that mistakes were made and restart the process. After all, didn't an elected school board give us Roosevelt and Lane.

Questioner said...

Start a new search because of a word processing mistake and because you are not impressed with the schools he attended?

Did we even get to see the resume of Mark Roosevelt before he was hired? If people had known about the Broad agenda would he have been hired?

Word is that this is a school that fits the schedules of people who also hold down full time jobs. Also note that this was one sentence not an entire educational philosophy.

Anonymous said...

I concur with 8:43.

In addition, branding oneself as a "transformative" leader while in the same sentence or so, projecting oneself as a humble servant is an oxymoron of sorts.

Anonymous said...

8:43 says: "After all, didn't an elected school board give us Roosevelt and Lane."

If you look back into the mists of the past, you'll find that the foundations brought us Roosevelt pretty directly.

They declared they had lost faith in the school board (and the school board was fairly divided and unhappy with each other at the time) and pulled all of their funding from the schools.

While they didn't contribute much as a percentage of the whole, it was a cut AND it was a huge message, covered in blaring headlines from the papers, that made people who didn't pay attention to the schools think that there must be a huge problem.

They said they wouldn't fund again until a new superintendent to their liking was appointed.

So, yes, it was an "elected" board but it was also a blackmailed board!

Then once Roosevelt was in with his Broad playbook, A+ Schools was running the community input meetings, asking leading questions and discouraging those attending from talking about their concerns, well, that's where it all started.

Most of us who had yet to really understand what Broad training meant or what the plans were, were willing to give it all a fair hearing. It SEEMED like a good thing, it was reported in the papers as a good thing, and look, there was this great, "grassroots" organization being a "watch dog."

And that's how we got here!

Anonymous said...

When you look at all the Broad-trained superintendents who head urban districts across the country (the cookie-cutter approach losing millions of dollars to district branding, closing schools,firing of seasoned teachers, consultant fees, young and inexperienced hirees in key central office positions, etc) you can see how PPS has fallen into the clutches of the "buy-in" groups who have benefited from their stake in this process. In the wake of a new super search, who will be keeping watch on the watchdogs who look to preserve their piece in this pie?

Anonymous said...

This is 8:43 again. As you can clearly see by my previous post, I am not the greatest typist or wordsmith. Then again, I am also not currently trying to land a job to lead the second largest school district in the Commonwealth and make over 200,000 dollars a year and 7,500 dollars in relocation fees. Dr Hamlet is also making to boot $808 dollars a day as a consultant until he is able to take the reins. The $808 dollars is surprisingly equal to the pay increase per year given to teachers from the current contract extension. I simply think we can do better. We can definitely do better than Brian Perkins to lead the search for superintendent. We paid the Perkins "Group", I believe the term group is rhetorical because there are no other employees, to search but not verify candidates. He did call my house several times, but apperntly he didn't listen. I quite frankly am very tired with living with other people's mistakes. Is it to much to ask to hire someone with experience, an academic pedigree, and excellent communication skills? He had a chance to clear up this mess with his first news conference. He instead chose to obfuscate and cling to his "data". I would have had a lot more respect for the guy, if he simply just said that Perkins gave him a call for a resume and he just threw one together. Let's not compare rotten apples to rotten oranges. We have an opportunity to do this right.

Anonymous said...

The flavor of the Broad/Gates pie is changing. They have been chastened in their failure to produce Great Public Schools. Bill and Malinda Gates are now focusing their philanthropy on fighting smoking and tropical diseases.

The "buy-in" groups who have benefited from their stake in this process will need to pivot also.

Questioner said...

So many consultants, so much money spent over the years, but rarely a word from the media until an incoming superintendent is paid for a few weeks of orientation. If this had been a Broad superintendent nothing would have been reported.

Anonymous said...

"He had a chance to clear up this mess with his first news conference".
Making his weakest moment prove to be his strongest.
Very few have the wisdom to do so.

New search.

Anonymous said...

All of the above facts on the search and selection of Dr. Hamlet has been garnered from the Press. Thankful for the reporting which has allowed for debate and opinion.

Past reporting or lack there of is past.

New reporting, new school board members and a new supt in the offing.
Looking forward...

Questioner said...

Our newspapers had the chance to clear up incorrect reports they published that the AP pass rate for African Americans increased from 20% to 45% under Linda Lane (the actual pass rate is 8.5%), and that the percentage of students going on to post secondary education increased from 58% to 68% under Linda Lane (this increase took place from 2005-2010 before she became superintendent),

How do we get new newspapers?

Questioner said...

Why would you expect new reporting to be any different from the old reporting? And why is a past error not past? Looking forward selectively is just more of the same.

Anonymous said...

Because it's NEW and it's being reported.
The past error IS past.

Looking forward is looking forward. Yes, more of the same of what people have been doing for generations. Letting go of the past and stepping into the future.

Lean forward questioner. There have been many persuasive arguments put forward in this blog supporting a new search. The past is heavy and pulling you back. Choose the 'new'... or not.

Questioner said...

The incorrect AP pass rate and suspension data were published several weeks ago; why is that error the past but the resume error not the past? Selective. Choose "consistent."

Mark Rauterkus said...

Here is a good point of emotion made above:

".... I quite frankly am very tired with living with other people's mistakes...."


The Perkins Group folly is what it is. But, Perkins only put forth some final candidates. The board interviewed. The board hired. I think it is important to have the PPS Board own this hiring. They made the choice among the finalists. They all could have and did roll out the red carpet and called for applications. They set the stage. Sure, Perkins was a point person in certain stages -- but he is done, gone and in the past, I expect and hope.

The PPS Board can't blame PERKINS. The PPS Board can't live with PERKINS mistake.

This is a PPS Board deal, process, discussion, decision, vote, whatever. The PPS Board hired Dr. Hamlet, not PERKINS, not the Foundation folks, not the mayor, -- the 9 on the PPS Board all voted YES.

As citizens, we'll get to vote on new PPS Board Members soon enough.

If this guy does well, and if he can weather the storm and scrutiny, and if the turncoats on the board turn around again, or not, time will tell.

Accountability rests with the PPS Board. Then accountability shifts to the new superintendent AND the PPS Board. Sala Udin, A+ Schools, Foundation Folks and PERKINS have no say in the burden of accountability on the HIRING part moving forward as he was already HIRED.

Playing the blame game with Perkins Group as past actions only clouds the accountability issues for the board and amounts to crazy talk.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mark-- Perkins set up the structure by which candidates were chosen- neighborhood forums, questions for student input, collating data,etc. The foundation crowd is trying yet again to gain control- I expect they will threaten to pull their $$ yet again-- we have been there - that was the Broad/ Roosevelt disaster. It is going to be ugly for Dr. Hamlet, with Cate Reed ready to fund new board candidates. If the mayor and the board cave on this- just hang out the sign-- we can be bought again!