Office of Mayor William Peduto
Pittsburgh to Focus on Early Childhood, Afterschool and Postsecondary Attainment Programs Through Partnership with U.S. Dept. of Education
Pittsburgh to Hold Community Conversation, Strategize on How to Improve Schools, Close the Achievement Gap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mayor William Peduto announced today that Pittsburgh will partner with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the U.S. Dept. of Education to hold a “community conversation” to discuss strategies to advance learning, enhance student engagement and improve schools. Unveiled today at NLC’s Congressional City Conference in Washington, a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) was signed between NLC and the Dept. of Education that outlines three goals for cities to focus on: early childhood education, afterschool and postsecondary attainment.

“Guaranteeing the best schools and the best-educated students are key investments in driving long-term and sustainable growth in Pittsburgh’s population and economy,” said Mayor Peduto, a member of the NLC committee that oversees education policy and advocacy. “Pittsburgh is positioned to become a national leader in providing our young people the tools they need to become our next generation of leaders.”

Pittsburgh will use the federal help to bolster ongoing efforts to support the city’s schoolchildren, which are being led by the Mayor and Dr. Curtiss Porter, his Chief Education and Neighborhood Reinvestment Officer. The efforts include a task force on public education, a focus on greater pre-Kindergarten opportunities for all, the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program, and positioning students for the job market after leaving school.

“We are proud to partner with the Department of Education in this extremely important effort to provide better educational opportunities to children nationwide,” said NLC President Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, Minn. “This ‘memo of understanding’ expands a local-federal partnership that is focused on supporting local efforts to improve schools and close the achievement gap. Through our ‘community conversations’ with local leaders, families and community organizations, we can formulate actionable strategies that improve educational opportunities for all.”

“We know strong schools are at the heart of strong communities,” added U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “That’s why we’re excited about this new effort with the National League of Cities to help local leaders form partnerships with families and educators, which will better ensure that every child has the opportunity to access a high-quality education, and, ultimately, that every American has the chance to pursue their dreams.”

Community conversations will initially occur in 14 cities to bring together local leaders, educators, families and community leaders to discuss strategies for providing children with the foundational skills needed to enter school ready to learn, access to high-quality afterschool learning experiences and achieving postsecondary attainment. The conversations will also focus on closing achievement gaps (including for young men of color) and increasing student outcomes, including non-academic outcomes, with specific focus on social-emotional skills.  

Community Conversation Participating Cities & Mayors

Avondale, Ariz. – Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers

Berkeley, Calif. – Mayor Tom Bates

Dayton, Ohio – Mayor Nan Whaley

Gary, Ind. – Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

Hattiesburg, Miss. – Mayor Johnny Dupree

Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Sly James

Louisville, Ky. – Mayor Greg Fischer

Madison, Wis. – Mayor Paul Soglin

Memphis, Tenn. – Mayor A C Wharton

Phoenix, Ariz. – Mayor Greg Stanton

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Mayor William Peduto

Saint Paul, Minn. – Mayor Chris Coleman

Salt Lake City, Utah – Mayor Ralph Becker

Savannah, Ga. – Mayor Edna Branch Jackson

The MOU announcement was made at NLC’s annual Congressional City Conference held at the Marriott Wardman Park March 8-12. More than 2,000 local elected officials and leaders convened for the conference to focus on the federal policy issues that are important to local governments.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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