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Duck calls greet Pittsburgh school board's vote on teaching consultant

| Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

Pittsburgh Public Schools hired Teach for America to work in the district next fall amid a hail of duck calls.

About 20 observers at Tuesday's meeting quacked their disapproval using the hunter's tool before the vote was taken. Security officers led them out of the board room in Oakland.

Board members Mark Brentley Sr., Theresa Colaizzi, Sherry Hazuda, William Isler, Floyd “Skip” McCrea and President Sharene Shealey voted for Teach for America. Regina Holley, Jean Fink and Thomas Sumpter were opposed.

The administration recommended a $750,000 contract over three years to hire up to 30 recruits a year from Teach for America.

A nonprofit group based in New York City, Teach for America recruits, trains and develops college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in high-need cities and rural areas. The group's staff would teach such areas as middle and high school math, science, social studies and foreign languages.

“I'm personally tired of having students say to me the teacher told us they don't want to be there. I don't think it's fair for kids to hear that,” said Superintendent Linda Lane.

Teach for America has about 11,000 teachers in 48 cities, including Philadelphia, in 35 states. The district wants to use Teach for America to diversify the pool of potential teacher candidates. The contract, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will cover Teach for America's annual $5,000 administrative fee per teacher. The district will pay their $40,000 salaries.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7828.

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