The Pittsburgh Promise IS making a difference for African American students

Candi Castleberry-Singleton and Franco Harris
Candi Castleberry-Singleton and Franco Harris

We were taken aback by an article that appeared in the New Pittsburgh Courier on February 5, 2015 that misrepresented The Pittsburgh Promise.
As chairman and treasurer of The Pittsburgh Promise, we wish to address some of the misstatements that appeared in the article.  It is important for our community to know about the positive outcomes of The Promise, and how we are partnering with many others to help students achieve greater academic success.
In the article, for which we were not interviewed, some critics incorrectly asserted that Black kids are “an awkward afterthought” for us.  This assertion could not be further from the truth.  Every decision made by our Board and staff is preceded by a careful, lengthy, and impassioned discussion of how any recommendation impacts our most vulnerable kids, can be most inclusive, and can create the greatest opportunity for success.
In preparing to launch The Pittsburgh Promise in 2007, we learned a great deal from our friends in Kalamazoo, Michigan who launched their Kalamazoo Promise in 2005.  We learned that a generous scholarship that rewards residency in a city and enrollment in an urban public school system not only benefits kids and families, but also has the potential to impact school reform and community development efforts.  So, we embarked upon a major campaign in order to create opportunities for kids and promote the reform efforts of Pittsburgh Public Schools.

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