"The Schenley Experiment" is the story of Pittsburgh’s first public high school, a social incubator in a largely segregated city that was highly—even improbably—successful throughout its 156-year existence. Established in 1855 as Central High School and reorganized in 1916, Schenley High School was a model of innovative public education and an ongoing experiment in diversity. Its graduates include Andy Warhol, actor Bill Nunn, and jazz virtuoso Earl Hines, and its prestigious academic program (and pensions) lured such teachers as future Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather. The subject of investment as well as destructive neglect, the school reflects the history of the city of Pittsburgh and provides a study in both the best and worst of urban public education practices there and across the Rust Belt.
Jake Oresick is an attorney and public policy analyst.
Description courtesy of Penn State University Press.