A “Super”-Intendent

With apologies to the recent documentary on public schools, if the results of a community meeting are any indication of the resume the next chief of the Pittsburgh Public Schools needs to have, the City will indeed be "waiting for Superman". And for a long time at that.

To wit, some of the responses included "experience in the classroom", "[from] an urban school district", "fiscally responsible", "reduce the racial academic achievement gap", "someone who knows how to manage change", "build student and neighborhood morale by bringing all sectors of the community-like parents, colleges, businesses and service groups-together for the benefit of students", and "promote teacher excellence".

Consider that the next superintendent has labor peace (the teachers’ contract runs through 2015) and the Pittsburgh Promise program (which was sold as a way to improve academic performance and slow enrollment declines).

A consultant participating in the meeting said that the board needs to define their goals and move forward from that point. First and foremost has to be the trends facing enrollment, performance, and spending. How will the next superintendent confront the fact that the District spends $20k per pupil yet performance by 11th graders is woefully substandard? What will the next superintendent do to reverse enrollment trends that project further declines through the end of the decade?