Recently the Pittsburgh School Board voted 7-1-1 to renew Superintendent Linda Lane’s contract for another three years. I think it was one of the best decisions they have made.
With the Pittsburgh school system and urban school systems as a whole throughout this country going through such crisis and showing a lack of high achievements, why keep her?
The first crisis was the decline in students in public schools leading to the need to close schools to keep the cost down. This is what John Thompson tried to do but at that time the board could not accept a Black man telling them what to do, and closing their schools down. But when Mark Roosevelt came in and said basically the same thing they listened, because they finally realized that it had to be done even though they didn’t like it. The biggest costs were up keeping schools, which were under populated, and not selling closed school buildings.
When Lane took over, the need was to trim or eliminate the deficit spending while finishing what Roosevelt started in school closings, and she did it. Even though she had to cut hundreds of teachers, go against the union, and close more schools; she was able to accomplish it all. The system is now down to where it should be in the number of schools, and working within its budget.
You ask, “what about education?” What about it? Nothing drastic could be done in education as long as those problems were there and now they’re gone. Now the media, School Board members, and Dr. Lane can concentrate on education without all the other distractions.