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A+ Schools Survey Reveals 55% of Pittsburghers Approve of School District's Efforts

Ty Wright
Associated Press

A+ Schools, a non-profit that advocates for accountability in Pittsburgh Public Schools had a research firm conduct a poll in late January in which residents were asked targeted questions about what changes they would like to see to schools.

405 individuals were surveyed. 79 percent of them agreed with a statement that its possible for Pittsburgh to be known as a city whose public schools have high standards, great teaching and give all students, regardless of race or background, an opportunity for a great education.

The poll comes at a crucial time. This May, Pittsburgh voters will choose represents of four Pittsburgh School Board Districts. Those are districts 2 (Regina Holley) 4 (William Isler)  6 (Sherry Hazuda) and 8 (Mark Brentley Sr. )

“There’s a lot of interest in the school board seats with lots of candidates in the field already” said Carey Harris, Executive Director of A+ Schools.

95 percent of those surveyed agreed that money should be invested in high quality teachers, strong academics and classroom resources. 92 percent said a more balanced school funding system that gives additional resources to the students and schools that need more help would be favorable.

55 percent of voters approve of the job the schools are doing to educate students.  But when it comes to different types of students, results varied. 63 percent said Pittsburgh gets an A or B when it comes to teaching students from wealthier neighborhoods versus to 23 percent from poorer neighborhoods. And when it comes to teaching white students 53 percent of voters give Pittsburgh public schools an A or B versus 28 percent who give that grade for teaching black students.

“We have a lot of schools that are getting great outcomes for kids regardless of the challenges kids bring to the classroom but know that we have far too many schools that are not working,” said Harris.

Voters agreed that there are many problems facing Pittsburgh Public Schools – financial uncertainty, lack of a predictable funding model and a declining student population among them.