Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pittsburgh School Thoughts (Abridged)

I am only providing some quick links right now as I need some time to read through all the information coming out of the Pittsburgh Public Schools attempt to fit their building capacity with student population. The initial plan is to cut 20 schools and 19% of the seats in the district to save a net $10 million dollars next year. Schenley High School will be transferred to Reizenstein, and accelerated learning academies, which seem to be an internal charter school proposal, are being proposed for eight sites.

Here is the Press Release and plan (pdf)

Here is the RAND study (pdf)

Here is is the districts 2004-2005 AYP Update --- as you can see the progress is not good.

Just my quick thoughts on this: I am very glad that the School Board has agreed to a BRAC like situation where it is an up or down vote to prevent logrolling and individual incentives to overwhelm the collective good. This is going to be a very painful and political process but the straight up or down vote removes some of the incentives to screw around. I also spent some time in the Hill District last night and there is a lot of African American parents murmering that this is screwing them over. I am surprised that none of the high schools were closed. I am also slightly surprised at the new concentration of high schools in East Liberty/Homewood with Peabody, Schenley/Reizenstein 400 yards away, and then Westinghouse about 1,500 meters east of Schenley. I hope that there is some money in the budget for neighborhood rivalry remediation and increased security for the first couple months of the next academic year if this occurs.

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