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I’ve always believed that education and jobs are the most important challenges facing Black America, so the two stories under the umbrella head, “Expect great things,” in the New Pittsburgh Courier last week (Aug. 16), written by Rob Taylor Jr., hit the nail on the head.

“We have a clear system of how we are doing, how are we tracked, but also the expectations we have for our professional learning communities, and provide them data that they can use on a regular basis,” Dr. Anthony Hamlet, PPS Superintendent, told the Courier.

Dr. Hamlet has been doing a great job since coming to Pittsburgh and look for the city schools to move out ahead of most of the school systems in the state and country by the end of this school year.

Some of the numbers he will be trying to change is the overall graduation percentage of Blacks and Whites while closing the achievement gap between Blacks and Whites.

Here are some of the numbers he’s facing. While 80 percent of White students from Pittsburgh Public Schools graduated, only 65 percent of Blacks graduated in 2015. The story goes on to say that in 2013, which was the year with the highest graduation rates overall (according to the five-year information data given to the Courier by PPS), Blacks graduated only 73 percent compared to 83 percent for Whites, and 77 percent overall.

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