The theme of the week is definitely schools.
Taxing schools? Is it legal to tax college tuitions in the city? Is it legal for college tuitions to have a meteoric rise over the past 2 decades? From 1982 to 2007, college tuition rates rose 439% compared to a 147% rise in family income. What's an extra 1% city tax when tuition rates will inevitably rise faster than inflation for the next 25 years as well? My advice to students? Don't waste your breath whining about that measly 1%. Complain about this year's 6% increase in your tuition. Similarly, health insurance costs have risen by 131% over the last 10 years while the median family income has remained flat. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder.
Low GPAs? Pittsburgh has lowered the bar for kids go to CCAC on the Pittsburgh Promise with as little as a 2.0 GPA (C-average). Previously, they required a 2.25 GPA. Let's be honest, if you have significantly higher than a C-average (and you can afford it and have the family support), you're not choosing to go to a community college. Let's see these kids go to community college for a year or two and give them the chance to turn themselves around.
School dropouts? Pittsburgh has a serious problem. In a 2006 study, Rand Corp. estimated that 35 percent of all Pittsburgh students drop out of high school, with the rate nearly 50 percent for black males. Any effort sent addressing this is a good thing. It's easy to point fingers at Pittsburgh's poor city schools on this one, but to put it into perspective, city schools are failing our students across the country. Cleveland and Baltimore are some of the worst with high school graduation rates of 38% and 41% respectively, but even New York City has an abysmal graduation rate of 54%. These numbers make the our 5-year 64% graduation rate almost acceptable.
Lesson learned? You can still mock Cleveland.