Clifford B. Connelly Trade School, which opened in 1930 and closed in 2004, represented a beacon of opportunity for so many Pittsburghers who aspired to enter technical and vocational fields and sought the kind of skilled training that would allow them to get the jobs that built this city, from manufacturing to metalworking. Connelly was a national model of technical and vocational education and opened new doors of opportunity to generations of Pittsburghers. Those opportunities still exist but these days it can be difficult for students seeking them to take the courses they need to build their skill sets. While many Pittsburgh Public Schools still offer technical and vocational courses, now called career and technical education or CTE courses, they are spread piecemeal throughout city high schools. I would like to work with Pittsburgh Public Schools, our trade unions, and private industry to create a Pittsburgh Connelly for the 21st century.
“Chronic and deliberate indifference,” is what Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto calls Public Safety director Michael Huss’ rejection of an innovative plan to put off-duty police officers on the streets to improve public safety on the South Side.
By all accounts, expanding access to early childhood education is among the wisest investment that can be made in efforts to strengthen Pittsburgh’s economy. Mayoral candidate Bill Peduto is committed to doing just that. According to the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce, for every dollar spent in early childhood, savings range form $2.50 to as much as $17 over time. During a press conference today held at Downtown’s Small World Early Learning Center, Peduto said, “We know that children who receive high-quality early education are set on a path to happier, healthier, and more productive lives. If we want kids to be Promise-ready, we have to start them now.”
April is the annual Month of the Young Child, a month each year when we should reflect on the ways that local government can support families with young children to build the foundations they need for healthy successful lives. One of the most critical interventions government can make is in the provision of high-quality early childhood education. There are more than 10,000 children in Pittsburgh between the ages of one and five, yet less than half of them are being provided with any form of early childhood education. Of that portion a much smaller percentage are being educated in facilities rated STAR 3 or 4, the highest levels of quality under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS program. We know that children who receive high-quality early childhood education are happier, healthier, and are set on a path to a more secure future. We know that early childhood education works –- for both kids and our society. Studies show that for every dollar spent on quality early childhood education, we save up to $17 later on. It is time to work together to offer every child in Pittsburgh the opportunity to succeed. It is time to make sure our kids are on the path to become Promise-ready by age five.
One of these T-shirts can be yours if you are among the first 150 to sign up for Bill’s Blitzburgh this Saturday & Sunday. We will be canvassing and calling our neighbors all across the city in order to bring home a victory for Bill on May 21st. Pick the time, date, location, and action that works best for you.
On May 21, somebody will choose Pittsburgh’s next mayor. Will it be someone else or will it be you? In order to have your voice heard in this crucial election, you must register by 5:00 PM on April 22. Independent voters can participate by registering temporarily as a Democrat.
Our neighborhood schools are the anchors of our communities. They are the places where our children spend a great deal of their time, they are community centers where our neighborhood organizations gather, they are event spaces where we come together to celebrate the arts, and they are economic attractors that can bring in small businesses and development opportunities. Unfortunately population decline over the past several decades and funding cuts at the state level have shuttered many of our neighborhood schools and turned these former assets into empty shells in the heart of our neighborhoods. Recognizing that these population shifts are real and that resources are scarce we have to find innovative new ways to keep our neighborhood schools open without bankrupting our entire school system.
In response to yesterday’s bombings during the Boston Marathon, Pittsburgh City Councilman and mayoral candidate Bill Peduto has this to say: “My heart is heavy with the news of the awful tragedy at the iconic Boston Marathon. Not enough can be said about the heroic work of the police, firefighters, paramedics, and ordinary citizens who came to the aide of those who were injured. May we all remain vigilant in this day and age, particularly here in Pittsburgh as we approach our own annual marathon.”
On the heels of receiving the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, Mayoral candidate Bill Peduto is focusing on education this week. Peduto launched a web-based initiative called 100 Days/100 Policies to count down toward Election Day in which one policy paper has been released daily. This week, each paper will detail how he intends to be a Mayor who champions public education. The papers can be viewed on http://www.billpeduto.com/.
Ensuring the safety of our children when they go to school is one of the most important roles we have as parents, teachers, law enforcement officials, and elected leaders. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut last year puts this responsibility in sharper focus. That tragedy should make us even more vigilant in our efforts to create the safest learning environments we possibly can. But this requires that we look closely at how our public safety officials at the city, the county, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the universities, and the charter, private, and parochial schools interact and communicate with one another. We must have clear, open, and frequent communication between all of these officials. We must have concrete plans in place for how to deal with any emergency situations that could arise, whether it be a natural disaster or a dangerous individual.