Photo by Rebecca Nuttall
Anthony Hamlet at last week's press conference
In a joint statement earlier today, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Hill District Education Council, Black Political Empowerment Project and A+ Schools called on the Pittsburgh Public School District Board of Directors to launch a new superintendent search.
The statement comes after more than a week of scrutiny regarding discrepancies on newly approved superintendent Anthony Hamlet’s resume. The board voted in favor of Hamlet on May 18.
“Today we are calling on the Pittsburgh Board of Education to start a new search for superintendent of our public schools. No additional amount of investigation will undo the damage already done. More time spent deliberating only further tarnishes the reputations of both Dr. Hamlet and the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The Board must act now,” the statement says. "We need a superintendent with a clear and flawless background, with a huge commitment to kids, and a solid record of accomplishment. Unfortunately, given the seriousness of the questions already raised, any initiative Dr. Hamlet would put forward or his evaluation of such initiatives as superintendent would be met with suspicion and doubt from administrators, principals, teachers, students, parents, and community."
After a press conference last week
, where Hamlet admitted to making an error on his resume, but also defended other aspects of the resume that had been called into question, the board seemed to accept the new superintendent’s apology and explanation.
"Because we understand you have questions about Dr. Hamlet's resume, we wanted to take time today to answer those questions. We want to be transparent about the work we do here," School Director Regina Holley said at the June 7 press conference. "We have a new superintendent who agrees with us.
"The board has verified the data Dr. Hamlet has provided and have proven and provided source information. There are urgent needs in our district, we need to make progress on the issues that matter to our children, to our parents and to our community. As we move forward, we hold Dr. Hamlet accountable to the commitments he has made."
But on June 13, District Solicitor Ira Weiss released a statement saying, “The Personnel Committee of the Board met with Dr. Anthony Hamlet today and have requested additional information from Dr. Hamlet related to his resume. The Board will continue to meet to discuss the issues that have arisen related to Dr. Hamlet’s resume.”
The coalition who released the statement today is the first to call for the board to replace Hamlet. Last week, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers reiterated their support for the superintendent. And yesterday, the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network held a press conference to show support for him.
“PIIN, along with parents, community groups, students and teachers decided, in a public process prior to the start of the search, that they wanted someone who would address long-standing inequity in our schools, emphasize positive behavior instead of negative discipline and someone who would expand opportunities for every learner,” PIIN said in a statement. “PIIN believes Dr. Hamlet is that candidate and stands strongly behind him and the board’s decision to hire him.”
Over the weekend, Great Public Schools Pittsburgh, another education coalition also released a statement supporting Hamlet.
"As a community, we told our school board what we wanted to see in a superintendent: someone who can address long-standing inequity in our schools;
someone who will emphasize positive behavior instead of negative discipline;
someone who will expand opportunities for every learner; someone who will create community schools,” the statement said. “We elected our school board members to pursue these goals, and we know that when they selected Dr. Hamlet to be the new superintendent, they saw him as someone who could lead on these issues.”
However, in the event the board does decided to do a new search, GPSP emphasized that community input should remain a major focus of the search process.