Gates Foundation backs city school 'tough decision'
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A decision by Pittsburgh Public Schools to eliminate an in-house teacher academy is not likely to jeopardize a $40 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"We understand that Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers had to make a tough decision about the teacher academy," Christopher Williams, a foundation spokesman, said Thursday. "We respect that, and we support them in having to do that."
The Pittsburgh Teacher Academy was one of several initiatives built into the Empowering Effective Teachers Program funded by the Gates Foundation and matching federal grants.
Five weeks before the academy was to start with 38 recruits, the district eliminated it in light of a $68 million budget shortfall because of cuts in state education funding. The district and teachers union could not work out a way to protect the recruits from potential furloughs.
"We are still committed to the work in Pittsburgh, and we will keep a very close eye on what's happening now. They want to use the funding they were going to devote to the teachers academy for another purpose, and we have confidence they can do that in alignment with the overall plan," Mr. Williams said.
First Published June 4, 2011 12:09 am