On July 23 the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education unanimously struck down a proposed amendment to expand the Environmental Charter School’s presence in Pittsburgh (“Charter School Expansion at Frick Rejected,” July 24) despite the Pittsburgh Public Schools staff recommending the proposed amendment. There is currently considerable demand for the Environmental Charter School, with a wait list of more than 400 students. By rejecting this application, the board of education continues to demonstrate its commitment to obstructing school innovation and quality education in this city.
The Pittsburgh school district and its constituents have spent considerable energy pinning ECS as an agitator by noting “the negative consequences that charter schools have on PPS by taking away our resources” (Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers Facebook Post, July 23). In reality, the district could learn from an innovative and successful charter organization that, with less funding per pupil, has demonstrated strong achievement outcomes, high teacher retention, small class sizes, strong levels of parent engagement, a rigorous curriculum and a groundbreaking special education inclusion model.
If we are committed to all children in Pittsburgh having a great public school option, we as a city must embrace, not turn away, organizations with a demonstrated track record of success for preparing students to thrive in the 21st century.
Excellent schools are tantamount to continuing Pittsburgh’s position as a growing and innovative city. It is an exciting time to be in Pittsburgh; let’s not let the quality of our public school system be a hindrance to Pittsburgh’s continued path toward greatness.
SARAH SCOTT FRANK