In a contentious last meeting before seating new members, the Pittsburgh School Board narrowly approved spending $750,000 in Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant money over three years to hire teachers from Teach For America.
The 6-3 vote on Nov. 26 was greeted by the sound of duck calls from “lame duck” protesters in the audience as three of the prevailing votes came from outgoing members Floyd “Skip” McRae, Sharene Shealey and Theresa Colaizzi.
Though opposed to the idea, Mark Brentley also voted for the measure in a procedural maneuver so he might bring it up again in future session and have it voted down. Only members on the winning side can reopen a vote.
Those in favor, including Superintendent of Schools Linda Lane, noted that Teach For America offers a more racially diverse pool of candidates from which to choose, especially to fill difficult positions.
Lane said, at some schools, “virtually no one” applies, and principals end up with teachers no one else will take.