Friday, November 13, 2009

It's All About the Schools

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.


Chris Peak said...

Agree that any effort aimed at addressing the drop-out problem is admirable, but a one-day summit on an issue as vast and all-encompassing as drop-outs is almost an insult to the breadth and depth of the problem itself.

I just wish I could feel like they took the issue a little more seriously than to hold a one-day summit, particularly when that summit isn't so much the product of Pittsburgh wanting to address the problem as much as its jumping on board with a national group that was holding these summits all across the country yesterday. Why weren't the local powers already concerned enough to take the initiative to discuss the issue themselves, not to mention doing it in a more considerable, focused, and realistic manner than with a one-day summit?

I'm glad to know they were thinking about it yesterday; I just hope they're still thinking about solutions to this problem today and tomorrow and Sunday and Monday, etc.

Anonymous said...

Good post.

I love the 6th grade mentoring program they have. I'm all in for the next training session they have. Join me!

BCW said...

Lowering GPA standards is an affront to the purpose of higher education. Great blog post!