In regard to your recent article about creating new evaluations for Pittsburgh Public Schools teachers (“African-American Leaders Back Lane,” Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 17), I have to say that I am very impressed and happy to hear that action is finally taking place. I am a high school student myself, and I value the excellent education I receive daily from my teachers. For any other student not able to experience this same thing is quite upsetting. The fact of the matter is school funding is a huge concern in the state of Pennsylvania, and the way it is distributed, even more so. However, that is another conversation.
The African-American leaders who stepped forward became a voice for every family with children in the Pittsburgh Public Schools system. With these new teacher evaluations, every child will hopefully have the same opportunities as kids in any other school district. There is no excuse for any of their teachers to “fail” in any way, shape or form. It is a teacher’s responsibility to educate and mentor their students to be successful and, hopefully, to inspire them.
According to a dry run of the new evaluation standards, the district said that 9.3 percent of teachers in the Pittsburgh Public Schools were reported unsatisfactory; that number is incredibly too high. If that many students in the school district were unsatisfactory, major actions would be taken. It would be all over the news. There is no excuse for teachers to be marked as unsatisfactory, for any reason in any school district. These African-American leaders, thankfully, recognized that problem.