Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A+ Schools Brown Bag

I went to the Regional Enterprise Tower to a brown-bag discussion led by A+ Schools as they are rolling out their school report that sums up many academic performance results in a nice book, school by school.

I got my copy of the report last night at a meeting hosted at Pgh Public Schools. It is a nice tool.

Again, my first bit of critical advice is to not pit the city schools against each other. Rather, a family that is going to move out of the city because of schools wants to know how Pgh Public School stack up against suburban schools.

Case in point: The I.B. program at USC just got canned. I.B. = International Baccalaureate program. USC = Upper St. Clair (not St. Clair Village). Pittsburgh has a great I.B. program at Schenley High School.

Presently we're not fighting for the I.B. program, we're fighting for the entire Schenley H.S. experience and location.

People in suburban areas, and I know a lot of them, are green with envy with the way we handle our 'gifted education.' So, the Gifted Center is moving -- to Ridge on the North Side. We might be breaking something that is working.

The move to Ridge is going to be a one-year program. That has to be adjusted right away.

The other strong suit for the city in terms of educational offerings is the magnet program and the languages that are taught at many schools starting in kindergarden. That's wonderful and we're far ahead of most other school districts.

But one of the short-falls of the nice book by A+ Schools is that there are few other markers in the entire book that compare and contrast the academic performance of city kids against that of the kids in the state and suburban districts.

People at one school shouldn't be trying to be as good as another city school -- when the real prize is to be the best in the region -- or the best in the world.

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