Classroom experience makes for better decisions

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Regarding the Post-Gazette's editorial "Slipping Grades" (Nov. 18), the report by the education advocacy group A+ Schools comes as no surprise. What many fail to realize, including this newspaper (which never seems to question anything the board's PR department releases), is the misguided leadership of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Since the hiring of the nontraditional superintendent, Mark Roosevelt, a former politician with no educational experience, and continuing to the current administration, the district has centered all of its efforts in theories of reform guided by the nontraditional.

There is a very simple reason for why these reforms are not working. Very few people on Bellefield Avenue have any experience working with students. To place people into positions of radical change and power when they have either a) two years of Teach America experience, or b) absolutely no classroom experience at all, can only lead to failure. Of the members of the superintendent's administration, how many have actually stood before students in a classroom?

It is the students who are suffering the consequences of really bad decisions. It is now the moral responsibility of the elected officials to stop rubber stamping everything the administration proposes. With changes in academic programming, student services, curricula and teaching practices, all guided by reform and the inexperienced, the downward spiral will not stop and the failing grades from A+ Schools will continue.

RUSSELL A. KUEHNER
Ben Avon

The writer is a retired teacher of English, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12.


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