With mass shootings on the rise, school districts find themselves with the responsibility to prepare students and staff. But there is little study to how effective drills are and if there are long-term implications.
The Fox Chapel Area School District board hired a Butler law firm to act as special counsel in an investigation without telling the public what the investigation is about or how much it would cost the taxpayers. The board retroactively voted to approve the ongoing investigation at Monday's board meeting.
For the past two years, Pittsburgh Superintendent Anthony Hamlet has not filed forms that disclose gifts, travel or outside income that he may have received. Public officials and employees involved in spending must file the forms annually, a requirement of the State Ethics Commission.
Now there are three official probes into the propriety of a vendor-paid trip to Cuba taken by Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and four other administrators. On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing solicitor Ira Weiss to conduct a review of district policies relating to procurement, contracts, ethics and conflicts of interest. This review compounds another prompted by the district and one launched by the state auditor general. The inquiries come in the wake of media reports about an April trip to Cuba on the tab of an educational technology company called Flying Classrooms.
The company had a one-year $73,000 contract with the district, which had expired at the time of the trip. Board member Sala Udin, City Controller Michael Lamb and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale have questioned whether the trip violated the state ethics law that prevents district officials from accepting gifts from vendors.
I have been teaching in the Pittsburgh area for the past decade. I chose a career in public education because I couldn’t imagine a better way to change the world. Teachers educate and inspire the young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow. When I walk into my classroom, I’m witnessing the future take shape.
But it’s tough being a teacher, and it’s even tougher living on a teacher’s salary.
The Future Ready Index replaced the School Performance Profiles [SPP] the department had used since 2013 to report overall annual progress and academic achievement in the state’s public schools. The SPPs are still used as a measure of effectiveness for teachers and principals.
"Racial achievement gap? The only chasm is between our poor vision of what counts as achievement and the real-world excellence these children demonstrate every day," writes Steven Singer, a teacher at Steel Valley Middle School.