A for Athlete

Suggestion #1a:[]

PPS Superintendent, Doctor Linda Lane, should re-establish our Athletic Reform Task Force.[]

I was appointed to the sports-reform committee established by Mark Roosevelt. When Dr. Lane became superintendent, she put those efforts and its findings to the back burner in favor of paying $2.7 million to consultants for an “envisioning process.”

Rich discussions about philosophy with data, hard evaluations and long-term planning should occur with both district personnel and coaching leaders.

With Doctor Lane's approval, I'll gladly re-convene and lead another sports reform process. It could continue in duration from a week to a year.

Athletic participation is the single most popular school-sponsored extracurricular activity among adolescents regardless of gender, race, and ethnicity (e.g., U.S. Department of Education, 1995; Eccles & Barber, 1999)

Example 1: A Title IX study for PPS was conducted by an outside consultant, Peg Pennypacker. The report took more than a year to research, was delivered months late, had dozens of blind spots. Findings reported what was already understood by those within the district. The report was a ploy to delay needed changes. Actions driven by earnest and open discussions are needed. Delays and outside consultants are not necessary.

Example 2: The Envisioning process of 2013 cost $2.7 million more than the Athletic Reform Task Force. One PPS employee, Jake House, was hired for the project for one year with outside (soft) money. Mr. House later transferred to other duties and has since left the district. Volunteers and staff can make the Sports Reform Task Force work if political will flows from the board, PPS administration and/or city hall.

Suggestion #1b:[]

This position paper can fill the early agenda for task force meetings.[]

What follows needs editing, expansion, and support with cost-benefits analysis and SWOT charts. Votes from those on the re-established Athletic Reform Task Force would assure different opinions on different matters get debated and represented.

Suggestion #1c:[]

The next task force should include a research component. Examine student data along with Pittsburgh Promise data.[]

I'm not surprised swimmers lead the school in the classroom. Class rank, test scores, attendance, college admissions and overall school success with swim team scholar-athletes is remarkable. Swimming and fitness make kids smarter and more engaged. As a district we should expand and replicate successes, not suppress and cut. My hypothesis: Cutting swimming would crush school-wide academic excellence.

Example 1: The top student in the class of 2014 at Obama is the boys swim team captain. Example 2: A super-majority of IB candidates in the past five years have been on the swim team. Example 3: I imagine that Allderdice swimmers have similar, high-performing academic performance as well. Leah Furman, Allderdice swimmer, 2013 graduate, established new swim records at Wellesley College this fall. Leah's younger brother is a great athlete too. He is a wrestler and does not attend a PPS school, sadly.