City releases Education Task Force report, recommendations
After a year of work, Mayor William Peduto’s Education Task Force released a wide-ranging set of policy recommendations designed to foster further collaboration between the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and support children and families in the city.
The 17-page report includes 18 recommendations for increasing cooperation between the city and its schools, in five categories: public safety; out of school time programming; community schools; school funding; and marketing the city’s excellent public school options.
“The city and the school district have separate governments but are united in multiple ways, most importantly in our shared commitment to providing opportunity and equity to our youngest residents,” Mayor Peduto said. “This report provides a roadmap to make our work as effective as it can be.”
A copy of the report is available at http://goo.gl/yBN7Pn. The mayor released it last week at a press conference with Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail Smith and other task force members.
The task force -- created by Pittsburgh City Council legislation in 2013, and implemented by Mayor Peduto almost exactly a year ago on Feb. 21, 2014 -- is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh in decades. It brought together elected officials from the city and the Pittsburgh Board of Education, as well as teachers, parents, students, advocates, residents and members of the faith-based community to find strategic and valuable methods to support the city’s public education resources.
It held six meetings and pinpointed five categories for intergovernmental cooperation going forward.
Officials will work next to begin implementing the task force’s recommendations using the help of staff in the Mayor’s Office and continued oversight from task force members.
Mayor Peduto has made early childhood education and health, public education, summer youth employment and community needs focal points of his administration.
He was the only mayor in the nation asked to speak about Pre-K education efforts at a White House summit in December, and is co-chair of the National League of City’s Youth, Education & Families subcommittee, which focuses on the best practices of cities nationwide on education efforts.
The mayor’s address to the White House followed work by a Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education that he named this fall. Last summer U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan selected Pittsburgh for the announcement of a competitive grants competition for early education funding during a visit to the Hug Me Tight Child Life Center in the Hill District.
The administration also supports the city’s “My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, a community action on behalf of securing a positive future for African American male youth in the City of Pittsburgh. The city was an early adopter of President Obama’s “MBK Playbook” for cities across the nation, and its oversight committee was named this week.
The city won a $50,000 grant from the National League of Cities in October to create programs offering children after-school and summer lunches.
In July it won a $200,000 grant from the National League of Cities to enroll all eligible children and youth in affordable health care plans through the city’s Healthy Together initiative.