Thursday, June 25, 2009

School Board Improves Grade

A community initiative tracking public education gave the city school board its second report card today. A+ Schools rated the board a little higher than last time, giving them a B- average. Executive Director Carey Harris says the grade rose in the transparency category, but fell in the areas of conduct and role clarity.

“We’re talking about how well the board handled differences of opinion and whether or not their comments were solution-oriented rather versus sarcastic or accusatory. And when we’re talking about role clarity, we’re talking about, ‘Is the board exhibiting a policy-making role? Are they talking about strategies and district goals?’” says Harris.

A+ Schools has also made several recommendations, including removing “routine administrative items” from the school board agenda. Harris says these things should be done by school administrators. “It just ends up in the board packet for the board to vote on. So we’re recommending that they figure out a way to either put that in some consent agenda or just hand that off to the staff,” says Harris.

However, Pennsylvania school code requires that the board vote on these items. Harris says she hopes this can be changed soon. She says her organization recommends the school board support legislation to change the code, if only in terms of Pittsburgh.

Report cards will be given every time students receive a report card, says Harris.

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