Goodbye, Mr. Roosevelt–With Apologies to Mr. Chips

The Pittsburgh school superintendent will be leaving at year’s end with almost four years remaining on his contract. He is headed for new challenges and opportunities as president of a defunct college.

Perhaps the challenges still unmet in Pittsburgh have proved too daunting. After years of effort and massive spending to improve the schools and student performance, high school academic achievement-as measured by SAT score and PSSA results-point to an unmistakable conclusion: there has been no progress in the education of 11th graders. And as anyone who has thought about it knows, we don’t spend over a quarter of a million dollars per student for 13 years so they can enter the world unprepared. It does not matter if they are good 5th grade students. The ultimate goal is not good 6th grade students. Important, but not the final objective.

Could it be that Mr. Roosevelt, upon realizing that the public school model in Pittsburgh would never accept the changes necessary to fix the high school problem, despaired of stopping the outflow of students and improving student test scores? Good time to jump at an opportunity such as going to resurrect a failed college. Let’s hope the college’s finances are able to cash his paychecks.