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EDUCATION: A new plan for Westinghouse

Posted by Elwin Green on August 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

As the new school year begins, the Post-Gazette reports that Pittsburgh Public Schools is rolling out an equity plan aimed at closing the achievement gap, beginning with Westinghouse and Perry high schools.

From the article: "Also over five years, it calls for the graduation rate of African-American students to increase from 63 percent to 80 percent and the suspension rate to fall from 33 percent to 15 percent."

This makes my jaw drop. Five years to get to 80 percent??

Maybe they are trying to be conservative in their promises. I couldn't blame them for that, given what happened at Westinghouse last year. And I haven't seen the plan (I will try to get a copy; I didn't find it on the PPS website).

But in and of itself, a 63 percent graduation rate for African-American students is such an outrage to begin with that it makes me ask, "Why are their parents not raising hell with the school board every day?" 

There are two problems with that question, though. First, I don't know what parents are doing. Second, the question can be turned around. As a taxpayer, I am paying people to fail to educate a huge portion of the kids in my neighborhood. So, why am I putting up with this? And what is my part in changing it?

Do I need to raise hell with the school board, every day? Do you? Do all of us need to?

Or do we just need to create a more effective alternative?

What are your thoughts?

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1 Comment

Reply Aaron Fraser
10:19 AM on August 30, 2012 
I think it's a bit of both.

Parents need to create an environment at home for children to thrive in. Educators need to create an environment in school for children to thrive in.

In a world of reality TV (though this was true before reality TV), too many video games, not enough trees, dishonest media, and gross income disparity and social injustice, it is harder to find either one.

It is a holistic problem. I think that the solution comes from community solidarity and solutions, and people WANTING to educate themselves as well as their children.

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In October 2005, after a bullet came through his living room window, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Elwin Green began writing "My Homewood," the first blog on the P-G's website. For 4 1/2 years, "My Homewood" shared stories of tragedy and beauty, of perplexity and hope - stories that live again in "The Homewood Chronicles."

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