Monday, June 6, 2011

PPS Board Nets "B-" Average Grade

The Pittsburgh Public School Board has received an overall grade of B- on the latest “report card” issued by education nonprofit A+ Schools.

The Board performed best in the areas of transparency and conduct, and worst in terms of role clarity. It received middling grades for focus and competency.

A+ Schools Executive Director Carey Harris says this means while the Board is open and doesn’t argue much, it could be using its time more wisely.

“They sometimes tend to get into questions about these transactions, like, ‘Well, who is this person? What is their qualification? How many students will participate in this? What time of day is it,’ those sorts of details, which are sort of administrative task details, not necessarily policymaking discussions,” says Harris. “Our vision is really that this is a board that’s focused on the big picture.”

Harris says her group suggests the Board take a training course for policymakers to learn new ways of governing.

A+ Schools also recommends reforming some Board meeting procedures.

Harris says this report card can’t be compared to previous ones, because A+ Schools used a new reporting method for this evaluation. Harris says the new format was made in collaboration with both volunteers and the School Board itself, and imposes a higher expectation of the Board.

Harris says the next report card will probably be issued in September. More information on the report cards can be found at A+ Schools’ website.

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