Pittsburgh School Board Chooses Self-Preservation over Education

In what has to be an action that completely captures all that is wrong with Pittsburgh Schools, the Board is refusing to sell an abandoned school building to a charter school organization. The reason? It will create competition and could further reduce the City Schools’ enrollment. Once again the Board has demonstrated what we have been saying for years. They care more about preserving a failed, outrageously expensive system than promoting the educational attainment of Pittsburgh’s children-something they are legally and constitutionally required to do.

The irony is this comes on the heels of receiving the Gates Foundation award with all the usual self-congratulations about how remarkably well the District is doing to foster better education approaches and the rise in academic achievement. Further, over the past three years, we have heard the Superintendent laud ad nausea the District’s achievements.

So why is the Board worried about competition siphoning off enrollment? The answer should be obvious. They know in their hearts that all the recent hoopla about Gates and the miniscule progress made by early grade students is a smokescreen covering up the abject failure that is Pittsburgh Schools and its near $20,000 per pupil annual expenditures. Almost any education option will be superior to what passes for schooling in the Pittsburgh schools and can probably be done in a safer more disciplined environment a la the Extra Mile Schools.

Too many years of protecting the status quo and allowing the teachers’ union and educrats manage and guide the District has produced the system that now exists. A system that hangs on by turning back every meaningful reform and proving perennially that self-preservation is more important than the futures of the children it is entrusted with. It is beyond disgraceful.