Bringing Teach for America to Pittsburgh generates opposition
Pittsburgh Public Schools is thinking of hiring up to 30 recruits annually for the next three years from Teach for America to work here next school year — an idea that upsets the teacher's union and some parents and board members.
“We have some areas where we're really struggling to fill positions,” said Superintendent Linda Lane at Wednesday's meeting of the school board.
Teach for America is a nonprofit group based in New York City that recruits, trains and develops college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in high-need urban and rural schools. It has about 11,000 teachers in 48 cities in 35 states, said Nicole Brisbane, the group's managing director for new site development. Philadelphia is the only city in Pennsylvania where it has a presence.
Pittsburgh would pay Teach for America $750,000 with money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and hire up to 30 secondary school teachers in areas such as math, science social studies and foreign languages. The district would pay their salaries, which would be $40,000 next school year for teachers with a bachelor's degree.
“We've been very clear with the district that we are certainly not for Teach for America,” said Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, before the meeting. “This is causing quite a stir with our teachers.”
She said Teach for America staff are neither certified nor trained in college how to teach. Also,they would be committed for only two years here.
Board members Regina Holley, Thomas Sumpter and Mark Brentley Sr. recommended delaying a vote on a contract with Teach for America until next month. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
Lane said the partnership would help the district fill slots at schools like Pittsburgh Westinghouse where some candidates don't want to work.
Board member Theresa Colaizzi said she supports the contract.
“What I'm looking for is passion, and that passion doesn't necessarily come certification and a degree,” she said.
Pamela Harbin, 50, of Point Breeze said residents on Monday will present an online petition signed by 886 people urging the district to delay a vote until after Dec. 2. That's when four new board members will be sworn in.
“I would like the new board members to vote on these critical issues,” said Harbin, the mother of two children in the district.
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.
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Steelers are in familiar territory going into training camp in Latrobe
- Air Algerie plane with 116 disappears from radar in Africa
- Pirates notebook: Recovering Cole exceeds expectations in simulated game
- Liriano, Snider lift Pirates to a victory over Dodgers at PNC Park
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Ex-Milwaukee archbishop told he can’t spend final days at St. Vincent Archabbey
- Hookah bar on tap for Greensburg
- 3 identified in Route 66 crash near Delmont
- EQT posts $110.9 million profit in latest quarter
- Tarentum man wants confiscated cash back so he can hire attorney