U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Pittsburgh
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-01-2010, 05:07 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,901,765 times
Reputation: 2827

Advertisements

This is actually out of Kansas City, which is looking to recent efforts in Pittsburgh as a potential model:

Articles | Pittsburgh

The article doesn't sugar coat the many different challenges urban public school districts are facing, or the controversies surrounding various proposals. But it provides a lot of insight into the thinking behind the recent efforts in Pittsburgh, and why they may be helping.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-01-2010, 06:28 AM
 
Location: ɥbɹnqsʇʇıd
4,481 posts, read 3,234,581 times
Reputation: 3284
Good article, but I think the first anonymous poster summed up the real realities of the class room. I went to a great (at the time) elementary school and a fantastic middle school (it was a magnet school). At the magnet school, the ratio was 50% black and 50% everyone else. Even though I was sharing classrooms with people from different backgrounds than my own, it actually worked because every faculty member was willing to put their hard work in to actually teach.

Fast forward to Carrick High and all those trouble makers who just didn't give a sh*t about being there. People sleeping, causing fights, yelling in class, and just disrupting everything ruined the entire educational process. Not to mention the fact that even the kids who WANTED to learn were treated like prisoners didn't help either. No amount of positive thoughts or judo and kayaking is going make anyone learn when savages run amok in the class room.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 07:24 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,901,765 times
Reputation: 2827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Teen Carl View Post
No amount of positive thoughts or judo and kayaking is going make anyone learn when savages run amok in the class room.
I think part of the idea behind things like the summer program is to end up with fewer "savages" around.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 07:27 AM
 
345 posts, read 373,168 times
Reputation: 187
I think that article illustrates so perfectly why PPS is struggling so badly. The administration sees the school system solely as an instrument for poverty alleviation, not as an instrument for education. Children who are not poor do not matter, other than the extent to what they can do for poor kids -- allow them "to see what a middle-class life looks like." Their needs, their preferences -- it is all given no consideration unless it happens to be in service of the other children. The parents with the money to pay the taxes for all these anti-poverty programs are fleeing to places where their kids aren't treated like dirt. The quest to make all city schools mediocre or worse in the name of "class desegregation" -- who could have ever guessed that it might backfire?!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 08:26 AM
 
Location: ɥbɹnqsʇʇıd
4,481 posts, read 3,234,581 times
Reputation: 3284
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
I think part of the idea behind things like the summer program is to end up with fewer "savages" around.
That's fine, but the only way things are going to work is if you kick out these savages. Not many high schoolers at Carrick wanted to be there all day, but the normal ones didn't cause a ruckus for no reason other than self amusement. Believe me, if a person does not want to sit in desks for 8 hours for 5 days a week listening to stuff they don't care about, no amount of good nature is going to change their attitude.

The attitude should be, "If you want to learn and participate in these great opportunities we'll welcome you with open arms. If you don't then here's the curb."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 08:31 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,901,765 times
Reputation: 2827
Quote:
Originally Posted by caroline2 View Post
The administration sees the school system solely as an instrument for poverty alleviation, not as an instrument for education. Children who are not poor do not matter, other than the extent to what they can do for poor kids
I didn't get that impression from the article at all. One of the main issues discussed in the article is indeed the need to address poverty and the effects it has on educational outcomes. But many of the things they describe the PPS as doing--improving financial efficiency, expanding magnet programs, Pittsburgh Promise, performance pay for teachers, and so on--are going to be just as much to the benefit of non-poor students in the system.

In fact one of the issues specifically discussed in the article is how magnet programs might actually disproportionately help already advantaged students (see the article for Roosevelt's reply).

Quote:
The parents with the money to pay the taxes for all these anti-poverty programs are fleeing to places where their kids aren't treated like dirt.
Actually, the American Community Survey (conducted by the Census) suggests that the City is seeing an increase in the population of young, relatively affluent families. Whether all these families are actually using the PPS is a different matter, but as related in the article, the PPS did see an increase in kindergarten enrollment this year.

Edit: Oh, the article also notes that many of the programs are funded in part by the state, and even more notably by privates sources, including the Gates Foundation and UPMC. So it is also inaccurate to claim all the money for these programs is coming from local taxes.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 08:36 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,901,765 times
Reputation: 2827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Teen Carl View Post
The attitude should be, "If you want to learn and participate in these great opportunities we'll welcome you with open arms. If you don't then here's the curb."
I think you need to take into account the age of the student in question. Tragically, it may be too late by, say, HS, to successfully intervene with most kids. But at much earlier ages, I think there is an opportunity to guide at least some students into better school habits and ultimately a successful educational outcome. And we owe it to those kids to at least take a shot at it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 08:41 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,901,765 times
Reputation: 2827
Oh, sorry, I forgot to address the claim that the PPS is "struggling". I think it is true it still has a lot of work to do to be considered completely successful. However, this article is an example of the attention it is starting to get for recent improvements. As the article explains:

Quote:
Since Roosevelt took over in 2005, the district has reduced the achievement gap between white and black students. For eighth-graders, the gap tightened by 5.5 percentage points in reading and by 5.3 in mathematics.

In 2008-09, the district for the first time made Adequate Yearly Progress, a target set by the No Child Left Behind Act tied to proficiency levels. It was the largest district in Pennsylvania to hit the mark. The district just missed the mark in 2009-10.

The district also has reduced its projected budget deficit from $72 million in 2005 to $9.3 million this year, and early but encouraging signs of growth are emerging. This school year, Pittsburgh expects to enroll 2,131 kindergartners, a jump of 110 from last year — the first increase in kindergarten enrollment since 2005-06.

“Our academic success story, which is a good one — not as good as I’d like it to be by any means — the big success story is with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders,” Roosevelt said. “Test scores over the last four years (have improved). Our eighth-grade results are our best results. Most urban school districts’ best results are with third grade, and it’s an ever-descending graph until 11th grade.”
Again, I think it is fair to suggest that no one should be content with this level of performance. But it is clearly improving.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 08:56 AM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
3,390 posts, read 3,129,582 times
Reputation: 1057
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Actually, the American Community Survey (conducted by the Census) suggests that the City is seeing an increase in the population of young, relatively affluent families. Whether all these families are actually using the PPS is a different matter, but as related in the article, the PPS did see an increase in kindergarten enrollment this year.
I have a friend that lives on South Side. He recently told me that on his block there are a lot of very young kids. Anyway, he told me that he is the only parent that will be moving to the burbs. The rest are gung ho for the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Now I am assuming that these parents are all yuppies and that they are not 3rd generation South Siders. I have no idea what school they plan to attend. At the very least this is encouraging for the district.

I also have a friend in Oakland California and he sends his kids to Oakland Public Schools. He feels that the elementary schools, since they are neighborhood schools, are fine but for middle school he will be either moving or sending his kids to private school.

Anyway, I do think there are a lot more parents that are open to city schools than there were 15 years ago. I may not be one of them but I do think quality schools are necessary in order for other city neighborhoods to improve.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 09:06 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,901,765 times
Reputation: 2827
I think the magnet programs have been a real game-changer when it comes to "yuppie" parents. Potentially the same thing will apply to the higher grades as well--for example, I know a lot of parents who are very interested to see how the new Science and Technology Academy in Oakland (which will eventually be 6-12) works out.

Edit: Oh, and the Academy of International Studies too (aka Pittsburgh Obama, also becoming 6-12). I know people who have gotten their kids into one of the language programs for K-5, and they are anticipating possibly moving on to this school.

Last edited by BrianTH; 09-01-2010 at 09:18 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2011 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Pennsylvania > Pittsburgh
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top