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City schools' real issue

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A+ Schools recently met with the Trib to discuss Pittsburgh's upcoming school board races and the growing community coalition supporting a vision for educational equity and excellence in our schools. Our conversation focused on the significant decisions facing the board and its far-reaching impact on Pittsburgh's children. So imagine our disappointment at the editorial “Pittsburgh schools' ‘progress': Sloppy practices” (April 2 and TribLIVE.com)!

We've seen measurable growth in many categories and grades in recent years, aside from last year's statewide dip in student achievement. Can more be done? Certainly! That's why this year's school board races are so critical.

Regarding attendance practices, readers should know that by law, all schools take attendance. What Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) is doing is using attendance data and other key indicators to monitor students at risk of dropping out to keep them on the path to graduation.

Additionally, the state now calculates graduation rates differently to more accurately reflect dropout rates — resulting in PPS and many school districts statewide reporting decreased graduation rates.

Pittsburgh's public schools face many challenges. We hope that everyone, especially school board candidates, will focus on addressing the real issue: educational equity and excellence for our children. Readers can learn more at aplusschools.org.

Carey A. Harris

The writer is executive director of A+ Schools.

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