PITTSBURGH, PA – Nov. 21, 2016 – While graduation rates continue to rise in Pittsburgh Public Schools, significant gaps between African-American and white students in opportunities and achievement persist. According to A+ Schools, Pittsburgh’s community advocate for equity and excellence in public education which today released its Annual Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh, years of hard work are continuing to bear fruit, but priority challenges remain.
“More students in Pittsburgh Public Schools’ regular schools are graduating than four years ago, but gaps in opportunities and achievement persist” said James Fogarty, Executive Director of A+ Schools. Fogarty, the former communications director was hired to replace longtime A+ Schools Executive Director Carey Harris in October of this year.
Fogarty is committed to continuing the advocacy work and guidance he started under Harris’ leadership. “While we know how hard our school communities are working to accelerate student achievement, those efforts have not yet borne fruit,” Fogarty said. “A child’s zip code need not be destiny. We have schools across this city that are getting great outcomes for Black and Brown children and eliminating achievement gaps. I remain optimistic that if we hold the bar high for all students and all schools, they will rise to the occasion.”
Some positive highlights in the data include:
But Fogarty noted that while the district is to be commended for the progress it is making, there are some sobering trends in the data that call for urgent action. “Sadly, fifty-three percent of our tested third graders, 924 students, are not reading at grade level by third grade, leaving them behind in the coming years when they need to read to learn.” Additionally, Pittsburgh Public Schools have some significant challenges according to the data that need to be addressed that include:
A+ Schools has mailed the report directly to thirty thousand city households with children enrolled in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and children under age five. In addition, the report will be available in local libraries, city schools and at elected officials’ offices, or by calling A+ Schools at 412-697-1298. The full report — and information on A+ Schools and its programs for parents, students and community members — can be accessed online at www.aplusschools.org. Community members are urged to review the report as a tool to ask questions and seek information about the quality of schools.
A+ Schools is offering tailored presentations to school and community groups interested in learning more about the report and how to use it. To arrange a presentation at your school, community organization, place of worship, contact A+ Schools at 412-697-1298, or fill out the form below.