On Wednesday, January 30, Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane spoke to a group of Northsiders about the state of PPS at the Allegheny YMCA as part of the Allegheny Y’s Lectures and Conversations Series.
The topic title of the lecture was “Envisioning a 21st Century Educational Delivery Model at Pittsburgh Public Schools.”
During her lecture, Lane discussed the disappointing test scores produced by PPS last year, and recalled shopping for school supplies while thinking about the challenges ahead.
“This year did not seem so shiny,” said Lane, who added if academics were football, PPS “didn’t make the super bowl.”
Despite test scores, she noted that PPS has a decent graduation rate, and identified strong teachers and a better performance measurement system as keys to improving those scores.
Lane finished her lecture by describing the two little boys who live on either side of her in East Liberty – Ethan, a three-year-old white boy, and Griffin, a one-year-old black boy.
“Could we be the district that both of these little boys’ parents want to send them to?,” asked Lane.
She hopes so.
After the lectures part of the program, audience members asked questions about the financial situation PPS is in, the impact of charter schools, career training programs and security in schools.
Lane said PPS was on course to run out of saved money in 2015, but hoped to offset the coming crisis by further reducing spending and hopefully creating streams of revenue, such as charging for educators to speak at conferences and events.
Harrisburg has bailed out other school districts in their situation, but Lane does not want it to come to that.
She explained that though charter schools were competition for PPS, she hoped that she could work together with them and explain that PPS’s failure would not benefit either of educational institution.
On career training programs, Lane explained that basic reading and math are still very important even for students in CT programs, and that the PPS board was extremely supportive of these programs.
As for security in schools, Lane explained that Sandy Hook was the “9/11 for educators,” and that schools nationwide were reevaluating their security measures.
She said PPS was no exception, and they hoped to bring in security experts to analyze their security.