The PIIN Education Task-Force has been building our power base in the past few months and has made some significant leaps towards a more equitable future for students in Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS). We have been working tirelessly with our partners, A Plus Schools, and others, to identify key areas of concern within PPS and how to overcome them. To this end, we have been meeting with key allies, staff members in the District, and families to organize more effectively to achieve our goals. What we have found is astounding.
In PPS, the racial achievement gap was a 33.1% difference in reading and 30.7% difference in math. There are differences in course availabilities as in one PPS high school, only 2.6% of students participated in AP courses, and in another 23.4% of students participated. And we also found that the average counselor is responsible for 340 students! And to top this all off, PPS must cut millions of dollars from its budget! In light of this, the PIIN Education task-force asked Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Linda Lane, that she align with us in our campaign to push for a more equitable future for all 28,000 kids in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Already, with our growing power and zeal, Dr. Lane agreed to our respectful demand to equitably allow for art, music, advanced courses, foreign languages, librarians, counselors, athletics, and access to career and technical education for every kid in PPS.
Two hundred folks from all over Pittsburgh came together on February 23rd at Bidwell Presbyterian church to see the progress the Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools made towards a more equitable future. It was an exciting and riveting experience, with the call to action being led by Teen Bloc, a youth initiative, asking parents to pay their taxes, the Superintendent to follow an equitable future with better teaching standards, and for kids to do their best at school. Now we shift our focus State-wide, as the Governor’s budget cuts create more problems for those invested in a great Education system for all of Pennsylvania’s children.