Opportunity Knocking

The list is out, and it is not pretty or encouraging to be on it. The list in question is that of the lowest achieving schools as measured by performance on the 2010-11 PSSA exam. Ten of the 43 districts in Allegheny County had at least one school on the list. Of the ten high schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools five made the list: two of those closed their doors at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

What does this mean? Well, under legislation passed in 2012, students living within the boundaries of these schools are eligible, upon meeting income requirements, are eligible tom apply for an Opportunity Scholarship that would allow the student to transfer out of the non-achieving school to a better one. The scholarship can be used for tuition and fees at a participating non-public school or another participating public school district.

As pointed out in an article on the program by an official of the Department of Education, there are schools closing in Pittsburgh and are being combined with other schools and displaced students would be eligible only if the new school was also on the under-performing list. That means high school students from Langley (students moving to Brashear) and Oliver (students moving to Perry) would be in the mix as the new schools also found themselves among the lowest achievers.