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Pittsburgh school board drops contract with Teach for America

A new city school board gave Teach for America the boot before its recruits had a chance to set foot in a Pittsburgh school. But the board gave a reprieve to Woolslair School, a building recommended for closure.

“I really don’t see Teach for America as a program to help us,” said new Pittsburgh Public Schools board member Sylvia Wilson, a former teacher and former official with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

By a 6-2 vote with one abstention, the board Wednesday night rescinded a $750,000 contract with Teach for America to hire up to 30 recruits a year for three years. Board President Thomas Sumpter and Mark Brentley Sr., Cynthia Falls, Regina Holley, Carolyn Klug and Wilson voted to rescind last month’s vote approving the contract. Sherry Hazuda and William Isler voted again in support of the group, and Terry Kennedy astained.

Teach for America, a nonprofit group based in New York City, trains and develops college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in high-need cities and rural areas. The group’s staff would have taught such subjects as middle and high school math, science, socials studies and foreign languages.

Kennedy said she had checked with other districts that use Teach for America. “I did not hear favorable things,” she said.

The board voted 8-1 to rescind last month’s vote to schedule a hearing on closing Woolslair School in the Bloomfield-Lawrenceville area, The move essentially saves Woolslair,

The board approved an operating budget of more than $529.1 million.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7828.


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