Precious

Thanks to Steve for the pointer to this piece in the Pittsburgh Business Times (free registration required), which concludes that Mt. Lebanon is the best overall public school district in the region.

We're talking test scores here, not district management, so the results are meaningless on two levels.

They're meaningless in the sense that test scores don't tell you anything about the effectiveness of the education. Given parents' educational achievement and involvement, scores at a certain level should not be surprising. The question is whether the district manages to exceed what otherwise would be expected. (And that assumes that standardized scores measure quality of education. Which they don't.)

They're meaningless, too, in the sense that test scores don't account for district finances and management. What's the bang for the buck, so to speak? Is the District raising taxes and treading water, or is it buying something for that extra money?

Of course, my Lebo neighbors are all riled up over the School Board's recent decision to hand the Superintendent's reins to the Acting Superintendent, without a search. Here we go again, it's being said: An arrogant and/or frightened Board has put a costly administrative decision over on an inattentive public. It's not quite Sablegate, but that's not the sweet smell of success coming from the Board chambers, either. Private recriminations are flying via email; supporters of the dormant impeachment suit against the Board are gearing up. The critics cry foul over what they perceive as yet another inside job (no doubt, some allege, covering for the fact that the circumstances of the Board's termination of the last Superintendent clouded the district's ability to hire a new one). The Board argues that it found the right man for the job -- right under its nose. It wants to stay the course.

Me? Well, right now, I just wish that we didn't have to wait 55 more days for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrr!

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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