Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arita Gilliam Rue to PPS Board in October 2011

Arita Gilliam Rue to PPS Board in October 2011 in Google Document

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Comments from ARG:

My name is Arita Gilliam Rue and I came here tonight to express my disappointment and dismay with the way the Pittsburgh Public School District is being managed.
Where is the plan? When I talk to people in other parts of the country about our school district one of the first questions I’m asked is – “what is the educational improvement plan for the District?” Is there one? And has it been shared with the public?
How do you justify spending a cool million on renovations at Reizenstein and then offer it to a lone bidder for demolition?
Who dropped the ball on the Schenley building which the previous administration assured the public was asbestos-ridden and therefore impossible for continued occupancy as a school, but now a developer comes forward and proposes residential use for the building?
Why are there schools in the district that don’t have paper for copy machines?
Why are there plans for increased class sizes in schools where children are struggling to achieve?
Where is the plan?
Dr. Lane attributes the need for lay-offs and larger class sizes to low enrollment, but clearly families in Pittsburgh communities are deciding to look elsewhere because PPS are no longer a viable option. Many parents in some communities have no way of knowing where their children will go to school next year because the District has failed to communicate a plan that gives the community the information it needs to know what this District will even look like next school year.
Where is the plan?
Is it that it hasn’t been communicated because it doesn’t exist? Pittsburgh communities and schools are at risk because Board Members and Administration have failed to develop and articulate a clear, cohesive agenda for preparing our students for life after high school. Some communities have been abandoned and others are being neglected as Board Members fail to:

advocate for a thorough and efficient system of public education,
model responsible governance and leadership
govern through policy
ensure that effective planning is taking place
monitor results of planning and
communicate and engage the community

School Board members – fiduciaries of the public trust - What do you do? How do you ensure that your stakeholders’ needs are being met? How do you distribute relevant information to the community? Why don’t you insure that there is a plan and communicate that plan to your constituents? Who do you represent – the public or the administration?
I am reminded of the Westinghouse debacle which this Board voted for when it was positively illegal. Why wasn’t that known before the vote? Who is accountable for that faulty information? I personally made a call to the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights after the fact and was informed that the recommendation was illegal. Any one of you could have made the same call.
Now it’s time to approve the budget for the upcoming year. Be careful, because a budget without a plan is just a pile of paper.
The public deserves more.