Statement before the                Glenn A. Walsh

     Council of the                             P.O. Box 1041

  City of Pittsburgh:                  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

  Lifetime Learning         Telephone: 412-561-7876

                                         Electronic Mail: < >

                                         Internet Web Site: < >

                                                                        2005 November 2


Subject: 1:30 P.M. - Public Hearing - Bill No. 1771 - Petition from the residents of the City of Pittsburgh

requesting a public hearing regarding the need among Pittsburgh's adult, non- K-12 population, for

lifetime education, especially among the city's disadvantaged residents, and the role which City government

can have in providing meaningful lifetime education to its residents.



Good afternoon. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today, I am speaking as a private citizen, representing no formal organization.


“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Author Alvin Toffler stated that quotation in the last quarter of the 20th century. And, it has already proven true today, particularly in our heavily urbanized society.


Successful democratic institutions rely heavily on an educated and well-informed society. Without an educated and informed citizenry, community decision-making is increasingly left to a minority, and the remaining citizens become increasingly disenfranchised.


Yet, look at out public education system today. For more than a century, we have relied on twelve years of formal public education, with the addition of a couple more years of kindergarten and, perhaps, pre-school added within the last 50 years. Only very recently has kindergarten, pre-school, and for some, Head-Start, been sponsored and paid for by the community; previously, these educational opportunities were only available to those who could pay for it.


Likewise with the Community College movement of the last 50 years. It has been expected that young people fresh out of high school, often with no marketable skills, must pay to continue their education even in Community College.


Society has agreed to pay for 12 years of schooling for children for the last 100 years, even though today’s world is immensely more complex, with much more information to master, than 100 years earlier. Should we not consider adding a 13th or even 14th grade to high schools, to truly educate our children for the new world they will be entering? Yet, in today’s world, the taxpayers complain about the property taxes needed just to satisfy the social commitment of 12 years of education!


So, now, we must find ways to supplement these 12 years of schooling, within current resources.


Mr. Tessitor has suggested, and I enthusiastically agree, that one way would be for the City of Pittsburgh to include the free-of-charge Annenberg Channel to the City Cable System, as the City’s educational channel. A second educational channel for City cable subscribers is particularly important, today, as the city’s second educational broadcast channel, WQEX-TV 16, has been converted to a home-shopping format.


While many think that the Internet will make public libraries obsolete, lifetime learning is a new emphasis that can help keep Carnegie Library relevant to people of the 21st century. And, the complete resources of the City and Carnegie Library should come to bear on this new emphasis. Having a City-owned public library building, with a 250-seat auditorium, completely empty and unused in a struggling neighborhood such as Hazelwood is an outrage. When the five-year lease expires on the current, smaller Hazelwood library, the City should demand that Carnegie Library return the library to the historic Monongahela Street building

Thank you.