Saturday, February 10, 2018
Rant to PureReform @ Roosevelt Era
Around the world, cities are booming with major increases in population. The advantages of the urban lifestyle with neighborhoods, density, variety, and proximity to goods and services has an upside that most of the world's regions and cultures have discovered and are leveraging for higher quality of life. But not in Pittsburgh, sadly.
The boom in population isn't happening in the city of Pittsburgh. Nope. The circle of life isn't so round here.
The number one reason for the lagging city's growth is the struggling public school system.
I heap a great deal of blame onto the tenure of Mark Roosevelt. He tried. He failed. He pulled many of the wrong levers. There was and still is a lot of heavy lifting to do. He didn't get enough of his skin into the game to make a positive difference. And, mostly, the King's horses and Kin's men didn't get the citizens, taxpayers, guardians and real-game-changers involved. He did flirt with some foundation types. They pissed in the wind together. He did swap spit with the teachers union brass too. The break-up came quickly, but mostly with retirements. The fall-out is yet to come with the looming teachers' strike of 2018.
The only saving grace from my judgement of Mark Roosevelt tenure is the fact that his follower was Linda Lane. She make Roosevelt look like a genius. The Linda Lane years accelerated the decline.
Now Pittsburgh is in a pickle. The cadre of people that could have put Humpty together again are long gone and not coming home. This next generation has to scratch and crawl for crumbs. The capacity and talent -- and mindful leadership needed to educate our kids while reforming our process is not going to materialize any time soon, sadly, in this city.
The legacy of the Roosevelt reforms linger as nothing but deforms to a once robust system with countless highs and lows.
Suburban districts don't mind that the city is in such a funk. Most of those that can, vote with their feet and depart PPS.
Turning the tide will be epic. May that day come soon, and with gusto, for the sake of the youngsters in our city.