New School Board Chair: Will it Matter?

Pittsburgh’s School Board announced that it has elected a new chairperson. The new chair explained that a major goal of the board would be to continue working with the administration to improve educational opportunities for students. That sounds fine on first reading but a little reflection reveals a crucial flaw that unfortunately has been part and parcel of Pittsburgh’s school problems for decades.

Given the spending and number of programs offered by the District, there has been no end to the efforts to improve educational opportunities. But that is the wrong focus. The focus should be on working to improve academic achievement. The never ending search for better opportunities misses the point. There are no short cuts to that goal but there are tried and true ways to get betters results.

Perhaps the board would consider setting up a school choice program utilizing District funds to create vouchers for students who would like to go to private or parochial schools. If the board would take seriously its responsibility for providing education to Pittsburgh children, it would concentrate on the children rather than the organizational apparatus of the bricks, mortar and public employees.