Nine people running for the Pittsburgh School Board have signed a pledge that outlines a “vision of excellence” for the district. The so-called Equity and Excellence Pledge was drafted by A+ Schools, a nonpartisan public education advocacy group.
“When we say equity, we mean providing every kid with the support necessary to reach and exceed a shared standard, which for us is graduating from high school and completing post-secondary education,” said Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools.
The pledge calls on the candidate to make policies that ensure:
- Great teaching for all children
- Equitable resource distribution
- Student access to opportunities and programs
- Supported teachers
It also asks board members to do the following:
- Understand student needs
- Work to increase parent and community engagement
- Advocate for equitable state funding
- Advocate for a holistic approach to education and school climate
The candidates who signed are District 1: Lucille Prater-Holliday and Sylvia Wilson; District 3: Thomas Sumpter; District 5: Stephen DeFlitch and Terry Kennedy; District 7: Cynthia Falls; and District 9: Lorraine Burton Eberhardt, Carolyn Klug and Dave Schuilenberg.
In addition to the candidates, the pledge is supported by a coalition of some 25 local organizations.
“We share a vision to improve our schools, our community and our city because without public education our community suffers and our city suffers," said Harold Grant, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, which is part of the coalition. "We want safe, orderly schools where students can learn and teachers can teach.”
In addition to coalition organization representatives, Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner and Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb spoke in favor of the pledge.
A+ School’s Carey Harris said school board races often get buried in the general election but added the board that governs the school district is vital.
“This is a budget that’s bigger than the city of Pittsburgh,” she said. “This is responsible for the education of 25,000 kids. The future of this region really depends on how healthy this district is, and this district has challenges.”