On December 4, 2017 Lindsay Cashman, PUMP’s Advocacy & Public Policy Coordinator, testified at the Pittsburgh Board of Education’s public hearing on the 2018 budget for Pittsburgh Public Schools. Lindsay called attention to the importance of equity in education funding and in student outcomes, an issue that matters to young people in our region and is a crucial part of our Advocacy + Public Policy Agenda.
See Lindsay’s full statement below:
My name is Lindsay Cashman. I am the Advocacy and Public Policy Coordinator for PUMP. PUMP is a membership organization that serves nearly 30,000 young people in the Pittsburgh region. We were founded in the mid-90s when many young people were moving away to other cities and communities due to a lack of opportunities. Since that time, we have worked tirelessly to provide a platform for primarily those under the age of 40 to get involved in advocacy efforts to influence policy and create the region we envision.
Two years ago, PUMP began a community process to identify the core issues young Pittsburghers believe are important to our future in order to establish a framework for our advocacy efforts. We recently released our agenda that is focused on equity for all. To be clear, equity was the key thread we found in the more than 11,000 data points we received through in person and online engagement with our members. We represent the growing population of young people who are deciding, or will in the near future, if they want to move to or stay in the city partially based upon the educational opportunities for their children. These are taxpayers who decide where to live based upon their personal values, which we now know include issues of equity.
We applaud the District and Dr. Hamlet’s honest reflection on the state of affairs and leadership efforts to address some of the existing inequities in student outcomes by working to close the achievement gap and increase professional development. We appreciate that you have an Office of Equity and host regular meetings with the Equity Advisory Panel. This shows you take these issues seriously. We encourage you to share this information more broadly in the future so we can better understand the progress being made on meeting the goals outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and how organizations like PUMP can help support the District’s equity agenda.
Continuing to find ways to invest in ongoing restorative practice training and support at all schools can help to keep children in the classrooms and learning. We noticed a sharp increase in the number of employees in the Office of Chief of Data, Research, Evaluation & Assessments in the proposed budget. Will the results of this investment mean that both PPS and the public will have information to analyze how funds are distributed to each school alongside student outcomes data? We believe this would be a very positive and important development.
We look forward to seeing more of the strategic plan implemented so that hopefully the achievement gap is diminished and we are able to be proud of the strong equitable education that all students receive through PPS. Maintaining a focus on all students’ outcomes while considering where every dollar in this budget is spent is crucial and we appreciate your hard work to ensure it is done well. Thank you!