ShareThis Page

Rebutting Ghubril

| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

In his column “In rebuttal: Jake Haulk singing the same old song” (July 25 and, a rebuttal to my column “Struggling Promise” (July 21 and, Saleem Ghubril failed to make an even modestly convincing case that the Pittsburgh Promise is not a failure.

The stated goals of handing out generous scholarships to graduates were to boost enrollment and raise academic achievement. He admits the numbers on both counts are not moving in the right direction.

Pittsburgh Public Schools spends $21,000 per pupil each year. And yet many schools are educational disasters.

But his really stunning implication is that if taxpayers and contributors will just throw more money at the problem, it will get solved. Evidently, experience is not seen as a good teacher.

Mr. Ghubril chastises me for suggesting that a portion of the Promise money would be better used to create scholarships to allow some students an opportunity to get out of the Pittsburgh schools and into private or parochial schools.

My response: How many students who would love a chance to go to a school where learning is prized, discipline maintained and education actually happens are being deprived of that opportunity because he wants to take his needle and thread (money) and try to patch up the holes in the failing public schools?

A better metaphor is the Dutch boy trying to plug holes in the dike. The holes are too many and too big.

Ghubril does not address the horrendous absenteeism in the high schools. Nor does he explain why students with weak academic records can qualify for scholarships.

Set higher standards if you want to see academic improvement.

Jake Haulk

The writer is president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.