Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Local School Boards "Race to the Bottom"

After many discussions, three local school boards opted out of the ‘Race to the Top’ federal grant program. The Race to the Top grant program is funded by the American Recovery and Investment Act. Shaler, Hampton and Pine-Richland all decided that it wasn’t “worth” it due to required activities. North Hills School District has decided to pursue the federal grants.

This reeks of political posturing to me. These same school boards all complain that they don’t get enough funding from the state. When there might be an option for these school districts to recover some of our federal tax dollars the schools boards don’t want to participate.

What was the real reason behind this decision? Is it because our President wants to find a way to make our children’s education better? Is it because of this quote from President Obama: “It's time to stop just talking about education reform and start actually doing it. It's time to make education America's national mission.”

These grants and plans from the Federal Government are to lay the foundation for education reform by supporting investments in innovative strategies that are most likely to lead to improved results for students, long-term gains in school and school system capacity, and increased productivity and effectiveness. The competitive grant program is designed to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform; achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and ensuring student preparation for success in college and careers.

The hope of this grant program is to encourage schools boards and their members to do a better job of educating our children. Our local school boards have decided they want to make their own rules and regulations to accomplish the same goal. While I understand the importance of local control, there is no reason to make a political stand with our children’s future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Blog Post

This will be my attempt at the blogging world. While I doubt I will have the time or the passion as many of the bloggers out there, I felt there is a loss of real conversation about local politics in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. While I will at times speak about national and state politics I will do my best to focus on what is going on in Pine, Richland, Ross, West View, Shaler, Hampton, Marshall, Bradford Woods, and Franklin Park. I also plan on blogging about Shaler School District, Hampton School District, Pine-Richland School District, and North Allegheny School District.

Please let me know if there are any issues in your community that need to be addressed because I can't follow all of these governments on my own. I hope that I will be able to encourage the residents in the North Hills to pay more attention to what their local governments are doing everyday.

Most of all I would just like to encourage everyone to vote in EVERY ELECTION. It is sad when the people that control your property taxes are only elected by 20% of the electorate.