'State of the District' report is mixed for Pittsburgh schools
Pittsburgh schools Superintendent Linda Lane on Thursday gave a mixed account of the financially struggling school system, saying a scholarship program helped thousands of students attend post-secondary schools but the graduation rate is down for seniors.
Lane's report on the state of the district was made three days after watchdog group A+ Schools released its own glum picture of the district's financial and academic progress in 2012.
Although state test scores in reading and math posed “a setback” this year, district “progress has been slow and steady,” Lane said.
She said the A+ report focused more on test scores from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA exams, and her report is broader. Lane modeled it after a report conducted in Des Moines, where she once worked.
District administrators have said city schools could be broke by 2015. The district is reviewing proposals it sought from experts to assist in shoring up its budget.
Lane pointed to an in-house survey that shows 74 percent of parents are satisfied with their children's social and academic progress in Pittsburgh Public Schools. That finding is good, she said, but “I think 80 percent should be the goal.”
The remaining respondents indicated they were dissatisfied or neutral, and 69 percent said they would recommend their child's school to others.
More than 4,000 parents participated in the survey this year.
Lane's report analyzed Pittsburgh schools in finance and enrollment, achievement, effectiveness, equity, and satisfaction.
She found, among other things:
• More than 3,200 graduates are enrolled in 91 colleges, universities and training schools through The Pittsburgh Promise, a program that gives scholarships worth $40,000 over four years. However, the graduation rate declined from 70 percent for the Class of 2011 to 68.5 percent for the Class of 2012.
• After implementing a more systematic approach to evaluating teachers, the percentage of teachers rated “highly proficient” declined. Last year, 89 percent of teachers were rated “proficient” or “distinguished” after evaluations that examined 24 points of teacher practice. In 2008-09, when a different evaluation system was used, 99 percent of teachers received a satisfactory rating and less than 1 percent were rated unsatisfactory.
• The number of seniors taking the SAT increased by nearly 40 percent between 2008-09 and 2011-12, but the report did not give specific numbers.
“(SAT) scores are honestly down but we do believe it's important to take the SAT,” Lane said.
To view the report, go to www.stateofthedistrict.org.
Bill Zlatos can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PennDOT team decides what spells trouble on vehicle license plates
- Pirates get journeyman Ishikawa off waivers; outfielder Marte injured
- Alvarez homer triggers winning outburst for Pirates
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- Film shares tale of Pittsburgh man who turned disability into career
- Westmoreland County on pace to surpass record for drug-related fatalities
- Man charged with passing counterfeit bills at Rivers Casino
- Apple Hill Playhouse takes on an updated ‘Snow White’
- Iraqi fighter jet drops bomb over Baghdad, kills 12 people
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Don’t remove history’s lessons