I received yet another phone message from an individual that produces programming for PCTV 21 informing me of his upcoming tapings regarding the merging of the city of Pittsburgh athletics with the WPIAL.

This guy must be semi-comatose or something close to the equivalent. If my life depended on remembering his name, well let’s just say I would be on my way to be introduced to the great I AM. This “person” is anonymous as far as I am concerned. Every time I hear his voice, I delete the message. What is my point you ask? The core of the madness is that some people just do not give up, even if they are doing something that may harm you and the generations of your lineage to come, they will continue to come at you in every shape, form or fashion until their agenda is achieved.


Let’s discuss the graduation percentages in the Pittsburgh Public School system.

According to the Rand Corporation, researchers John Engberg and Brian Gill, who conducted the study, said that when broken down into subgroups “the graduation rate of Pittsburgh high school students after five years is 59 percent for male students, 69 percent for female students, 59 percent for Black students, 70 percent for non-Black students. The lower graduation rates for Black students and male students are consistent with other findings nationwide.”

Mark Roosevelt, former superintendent, was also quoted in the study. He had the nerve to toot up his lips and say, “To be able to make the necessary educational reforms that will better prepare our high school students for success in life, we needed to first really understand our own data in terms of graduation and dropout rates. Having the ability to track individual students over time presented us with the opportunity to get a more accurate snapshot.”

Wait a darn minute, what do you mean by “we” Mr. Roosevelt. The only “snapshot” that we can get of you is exiting to your new gig. “We needed to first really understand our own data in terms of graduation and dropout rates.” It is easy to understand data when schools are being closed and students are being bused from neighborhood to neighborhood as opposed to municipality to municipality.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools cannot even afford maintaining separate playing fields and training facilities for their young student athletes so what makes you think that athletic or academic excellence is just waiting to bust out?

How can the scantily clad budget of the Pittsburgh Public School District even begin to consider competing with school districts such as Upper St. Clair, Fox Chapel, Gateway, Central Catholic, or any of the other upper echelon school districts whether it is academically, or athletically?

Schools are being closed at an alarming rate, students are being shuffled around like a deck of Vegas playing cards and in my opinion, issues like, this proposed cockamamie athletic merger provide the perfect smokescreen and cloud cover in regards to not addressing other vital educational issues relative to all Pittsburgh children receiving a quality education.

On top of all of the above mentioned information, I have to be the one to “squash” the almost impossible dream for young students’ athletes hailing from the Steel City. According to NCAA stats, only 0.09 percent of collegiate student athletes that participate in men’s football programs have a legitimate chance of playing professional football. If basketball is the chosen sport the percentage is even lower, 0.03 which is the cumulative numbers for men’s and women’s collegiate basketball programs.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools have a different superintendent now; her name is Linda Lane. There is no pun intended here but I suggest that Dr. Lane get into the “fast lane” and stop the “bloodletting” that for the past decade has been disguised as educational “reform.” Meanwhile the only legitimate reform school in Pittsburgh, the Shuman Correctional Facility for juveniles has been overflowing with youth coming from the supposedly “reformed” Pittsburgh school system. If the WPIAL wants to use the “Burgh” athletic program and all of its sports for “fodder” then we must make sure that they, the county of Allegheny, the State of Pennsylvania or whoever coughs up some serious “duckets” to better and truly restore our urban educational system. C’mon Pittsburgh parents and Pittsburghers. If they promise us a hamburger forget the aroma coming from the kitchen. Don’t smile until your taste buds tell you to.

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)

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