School superintendents

In my little "Welcome to Pittsburgh" series, I deliberately avoided writing about race relations in Pittsburgh, chiefly because they're so poor. The city is racially divided to an appalling degree. I'd like to write about how this is getting better, incrementally, but then this story pops up, about how black members of the City's School Board object to the appointment of a white superintendent to succeed a (controversial) black superintendent. (Note to City residents from a Lebonian: congrats on having the guts actually to conduct a search!)

Here's what I'd like to see reported: What's going on in the classrooms of City schools? How much does the identity of the Superintendent affect who teaches, what and (more important) how they teach, and who is being taught? (A college professor of mine taught me, years ago, that what matters to kids is giving the teacher the power to decide what happens in the classroom, not getting the right person to run the district Boardroom.) IF the Superintendent makes such a big difference at that level, then I'm all for ensuring that the Board gets the right person. Note, again, for and on behalf of Lebonians: this sort of thing was and is at issue with the termination of the last superintendent and the hiring of the new one. But IF not, then the actions of the City's African-American Board members strike me as old-style racial politics run amok.


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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] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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