PITTSBURGH, PA – Nov. 13, 2017 – Pittsburgh’s public schools are working for some, but for too many, gaps in opportunity and achievement remain. 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, changes are still needed to make significant enhancements in Pittsburgh schools over all, especially in light of significant declines in student enrollment over the past four years.
“We believe Pittsburgh’s public schools, both district and charter, are capable of providing an excellent education for all students regardless of a student’s race or socioeconomic status,” said James Fogarty, Executive Director of A+ Schools. “Yet as of today, there are really two Pittsburghs when it comes to public education. One where student achievement or growth is high, where strong principal leaders are working together with educators in their buildings to get unexpected results, and where suspensions are low with more welcoming school environments. And there is the other, where predictable and intractable gaps in student achievement between white students at the district and students of color at the school are high, where teacher and principal turnover is more frequent, and where chronic absenteeism and suspensions mean students are in school less.”
Some positive highlights in the data include:
But challenges remain:
Fogarty thanked Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Nina Esposito-Visgitis, President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, for attending the briefing and saying a few words.
“Change is difficult and right now our district is experiencing a number of changes at our schools,” Fogarty said. “We trust that honest disagreements about those changes can be worked out with no disruption for our students. Because change we must if we are to improve outcomes for all children in all schools. We know that it will only happen with school administrators, principals, teachers, and parents working together for the benefit of our students.”
A+ Schools has mailed the report directly to 30,000 city households with children enrolled in 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.