Education

We cover how our residents are growing and learning, starting from pre-K, through higher education, and beyond, into adulthood. 

Coverage of education in western Pennsylvania on 90.5 WESA is supported by a generous grant from
The Grable Foundation.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he was "stunned" by results of his audit on the Woodland Hills School District. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis told a crowd of educators from across the country Friday that Pittsburgh teachers are committing to the union in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

The price of being a student in the State System of Higher Education is getting steeper.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Mike McGrenehan thought he was headed for a life in the suburbs.

Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, not far from the city limits, McGrenehan always figured he’d marry, have kids, and ship off to the open spaces of suburbia. The “McMansion push,” he called it.

He moved to Montgomery County when he and his wife first married, but it never quite felt like home.

“When we left, we were out on an island,” he said.

After a few years, they moved back to Northeast Philly, had three kids, but reached another turning point when their oldest turned five.

Gov. Wolf Calls For Drastic School Funding Shake-Up In Surprise Announcement

Jul 2, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf called for a major change to the way Pennsylvania funds schools Friday, advocating for the state to distribute its largest pot of school money in a way that would benefit the majority of students in the state, but would likely cause deep cuts in many districts.

During questions at a press conference in Philadelphia, Wolf said the state should push all basic education money through the formula it adopted two years ago.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Bill Strickland stepped down July 1 from his role as the CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation 50 years after he founded the craftsmen’s guild.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The annual report Kids Count shows the Commonwealth fares better than most by making gains in education, but continues to show poor numbers in economic well-being.

Better Security, Student Services Sought By Schools

Jun 26, 2018
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration issued its findings Tuesday from six school safety task force field hearings set up in the wake of February's high school shooting in Florida, with better security, training and student services at the core of what the school community is seeking.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania is starting a program proposed by state Treasurer Joe Torsella to provide college savings accounts for newborns, beginning with a $100 grant.

Torsella said Monday the program will be open to any child starting next year who is a Pennsylvania resident at birth or adopted by a Pennsylvania family. Parents will be notified about the account set up for them.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the program into law Friday.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Woodland Hills School District has ranked among the top 10 districts nationwide for elementary school suspensions. Two years ago, several district and school leaders were sued by former students for incidents of alleged abuse at the hands of a former school police officer and a former high school principal.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Emerson Botts is full energy in the morning. Skipping down the sidewalk on the three-block walk to her school, she tells her mom how sad she is that the school year is ending.

Pennsylvania Eyes Statewide School Threats Reporting System

Jun 7, 2018
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Pennsylvania's Senate advanced legislation on Wednesday to set up a state-administered program to take anonymous reports of dangerous activities or threats of violence in schools, as lawmakers explore improvements to school safety spurred by February's school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people.

Senators approved the bill unanimously, modeling the program on the Safe2Tell program created in Colorado after 1999's Columbine school shooting.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Pennsylvania high school students may soon be facing a new test on civics knowledge, but they won't have to pass it in order to graduate.

The House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for a bill that mandates a locally developed test of U.S. history, government and civics.

Those who get a perfect score will qualify for a certificate developed by the state Education Department.

Schools will have to report how many students were deemed to have passed the test.

Supporters say there's an alarming lack of civics knowledge among American adults.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

A group of local organizations is hoping to include a referendum on the ballot in November to increase property taxes in order to pay for early childhood education programs. 

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A local immigrant inclusion initiative, All for All, is recruiting English as A Second Language teachers to participate in a year-long professional development program.

AP

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is digging into its reserves to keep money flowing into a grant program for Pennsylvania college students in the coming fiscal year.

However, they’re warning this could mean little or no money for the effort the following year.

PHEAA manages hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and commercial student loans, and pumps some of the revenue from it into the grant program.

But money is tight right now, so the group had planned to cut its $100 million contribution in half.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Members of a group working to address challenges faced by black girls told the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Education that sexual harassment is a pervasive issue within the district.

Ted S. Warren / AP

A director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been chosen as the new chancellor of Pennsylvania's 14 state universities.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education announced Monday that Daniel Greenstein will assume leadership of the system on Sept. 4.

Greenstein has worked with the Gates Foundation for the past six years and was previously a top administrator in the University of California system.

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

It’s a Friday afternoon and a group of high school students crowd around a computer screen, watching audio levels rise and fall. Behind the window of a recording booth, another student is reading from a children’s book. But the teens aren’t reading directly to a child. They’re creating audiobooks, so blind and visually impaired children can access literature.

Provided photo / Carnegie Mellon University

Beginning this fall, Carnegie Mellon University will offer an undergraduate degree in artificial intelligence, the first of its kind available in the U.S.

The expansion announced Thursday is an effort to meet the growing demand for AI experts.

Facebook recently announced it had hired two CMU professors to open a new AI lab in Pittsburgh. One of those professors will continue to teach while the other will spend most of his time with the social media company.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Mia Mitchell jumped out of her chair and waved her hands in the air pointing to her Lincoln University T-shirt when a Pittsburgh Public Schools administrator read the name of the school she will attend this fall.

The Pittsburgh Promise and PPS hosted the second Senior Signing Day in Oakland to celebrate the future plans of more than 1,000 students.

More than 150 institutions of higher learning were listed Thursday morning, each punctuated with student cheers.

Mitchell plans to study criminal justice.

Provided Photo / Literacy Pittsburgh

Next week, Nate Bashioum will make a long-awaited walk across a stage to receive his bachelor’s degree from Carlow University.

Katie Meyer / AP

After commissioning an independent study on how to fix Pennsylvania’s higher education system, House and Senate lawmakers held a joint hearing Monday to debate which solutions are actually viable.

Fundamental differences remain.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

During the school week, Fox Chapel High School sophomore Ben Peterson is usually the first in his family to wake up. By 6:15 a.m., the 16-year-old is downstairs pouring a bowl of cereal. He sits in the dark at the breakfast nook checking soccer scores on his cellphone.

Google Maps

A new study conducted by the RAND Corporation and commissioned by the Pennsylvania State Legislature suggests drastic changes to the state university system.

Matt Rourke / AP

Graduate students at Penn State University have voted against union representation, ending a four-year battle against the school administration.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hand-tallied paper votes for hours in Harrisburg on Tuesday. Of the 3,800 graduate students eligible to vote, 950 voted for unionization and 1,438 voted against, according to a press release. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

More than 100 Pittsburgh students marched out of their school Friday and stood in Market Square for 13 minutes in memory of the people who died 19 years ago in Colorado's Columbine High School Shooting.

Ryan Devlin / Submitted Photo

For a month last summer, U.S. teachers worked alongside their Ethiopian counterparts to create lesson plans, PowerPoints and videos to give students in the U.S. a more nuanced understanding of the people and customs of Ethiopia.

That curriculum, called Teach Africa, is now being piloted in classrooms across the region.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools board approved three employee contracts Wednesday night, more than a month after a planned teacher and support staff strike was averted.

Senate OKs Anti-Hazing Bill Drafted After Penn State Death

Apr 18, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Criminal penalties for hazing would become more severe under a bill — approved Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Senate — that was inspired by the death last year of a Penn State pledge after a night of heavy drinking.

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