Equity Documents and Materials
On October 28, 2015, the Board of Directors for the Pittsburgh Public Schools authorized the District to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) to maintain the District's commitment to the Equity Advisory Panel and the continued monitoring of the District's efforts to improve achievement for African-American students and to reduce racial disparities in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The MOU expires August 30, 2020.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools on Tuesday announced the formation of a task force that will support efforts to eliminate systemic race- and ability-based inequities across the district.
The “Re-Imagine School Safety Task Force” will examine school safety policies and develop measures that seek to reduce the harm of punitive measures on students — particularly students of color — in the new year.
“Our district will not bring back our Black students to live and learn under the same racially biased environment that they left a year ago,” Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said during a press conference. “We will no longer set up Black students to fail; the school to prison pipeline and achievement gaps will end.”
The task force emerged from a resolution passed in September by the school board aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of the district’s safety department.
School board member Devon Taliaferro, who introduced the resolution with Pam Harbin, said the measure was written to address the district’s long record of disproportionately suspending and arresting Black students and students with disabilities.
Pittsburgh Tomorrow Podcast: Anthony Hamlet, Superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools
Donald Bonk: Thank you for joining us today. Can we get started by learning a little bit about your background?
Anthony Hamlet: Thank you for having me here. My background is about 26 years in public education. I started off as a substitute teacher and moved up through the ranks, becoming a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, principal at five different schools, then executive director of school turnaround at the area office for Palm Beach (Florida) County Schools before coming to Pittsburgh. I’ve been superintendent here for four years.
Bonk: As part of the Pittsburgh Tomorrow project, we’re asking participants, “What do you think would make Pittsburgh the best or most ideal city in the world?”
Hamlet: In order to have a great city, you must have a great educational system. So, making our educational system a premier educational system, not just locally, not just nationally, but globally, and realizing that we need to work in this global economy right now.
My key is to have our students be able compete with other students from around the world for the jobs of the future. So investing in public education as an economic lever as well, to eradicate the poverty barrier. As we educate students, they’ll go out and get jobs and then begin to break the cycle of poverty in the community. It is highly competitive. We’re not just competing against ourselves in the nation anymore; we are competing globally.
Everyone, regardless of zip code or where they live, should have the same quality of education as anyone has in any other zip code.
Listen to the full Pittsburgh Tomorrow Podcast interview.
Black students, especially Black girls, are disproportionately referred to the juvenile justice system by the Pittsburgh Public School district’s own police officers. Superintendent Anthony Hamlet says he plans to change that.
“We’re serious about understanding our data and doing better by our children,” Hamlet said during a school board meeting Wednesday night. “We’re trying to eradicate arrest, citations and out-of-school suspensions and racial disparities that exist in Pittsburgh Public Schools.”
The board approved Hamlet’s proposal Wednesday for an independent evaluation of arrest date to “determine root causes” of the disproportionality.
The board also approved a resolution written by directors Devon Taliaferro and Pam Harbin that will direct administration to create a task force to review how school police interact with students and recommend changes.
Read more of WESA's City School District To Analyze School Police Arrest Data
This summer, as protesters took to the streets to condemn racism and police brutality, two Pittsburgh Public Schools board members continued a longtime call for institutional change within the district.
This week, the board is expected to vote on a resolution by Devon Taliaferro and Pam Harbin to “re-think” school safety. The resolution was pulled from the August agenda. During that meeting Harbin said she expected it to be on the September agenda.
The two board members say that Black and brown students and students with disabilities are at risk when school police officers are in their buildings because those students are disproportionately policed by both district and city officers.
But first, the two want more data.
The resolution calls for monitoring arrest, citation and referral data and a community conversation on re-thinking school safety. The board does not receive regular arrest and citation data. The district employs 22 officers with the authority to make arrests and 80 school safety personnel, who district officials refer to as security guards. Security does not have arresting authority, but are assigned to monitor schools.
Read more of WESA's City School Board To Consider Comprehensive School Arrest Data Analysis
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Public Schools is leading a movement along with community organizations to protect Black children from falling victim to the juvenile detention system.
District leaders will be asking the school board to approve a contract with RMC Research Corporation (RMC), if approved - would study current police data, calls for service arrests and citations.
The push comes after the Black Girls Equity Alliance released a report showing African American students in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County continue to be referred to the juvenile courts at a much higher rate than white children. The report cites that PPS is the largest source of referrals for Black girls in the county.