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.

The Arlen Specter Collection

Mar 6, 2013
Former Senator Specter Website / Wikipedia

This week, the University of Pittsburgh entered into an agreement with Philadelphia University, which owns the archive of the late US Senator Arlen Specter. His massive archive of papers, photos, multimedia, and memorabilia reflect his more than 50-years in office. The archives will be housed for the next 30 years at the University of Pittsburgh Archives Service Center in Point Breeze. University of Pittsburgh Assistant Librarian, Michael Dabrishus has been tasked with combing through and maintaining the collection.

The "Light is on" For Catholics to Confess Wednesday

Mar 5, 2013
Kim Tyo-Dickerson/Flickr

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is hoping a special focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week will bring more worshipers into the church.  The diocese is making sure all 203 of its parishes are open for confession Wednesday night from 6:00 to 9:00.

The diocese is marking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-sponsored “The Light is on for You” campaign aimed at calling Catholics to the Sacrament of Confession.

South Hills Genealogy Day Sunday March 10th

Mar 4, 2013

South Hills Genealogy Day takes place Sunday, March 10th from 9 to 2 at the Beth El Congregation, 1900 Cochran Road in Scott Township.  One speaker will be Marilyn Holt, who is head of the Carnegie Library’s Pennsylvania Department, where all the librarians are trained to assist people doing family research.  She said personal computers and online databases have increased peoples’ interest in researching their family history.

Specter Collection Comes To Pitt to be Archived

Mar 4, 2013

The 2,700 boxes of documents amassed by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter over his 30-year career in the Senate are coming to Pittsburgh to be archived. The papers currently reside at Philadelphia University but the school has reached an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh to take on the collection.

Philadelphia University has never worked with such a large collection so it began looking for a partner after Specter handed over the documents.

The state Capitol is where the sausage is made, or so the saying goes. So perhaps it makes sense that, with so many big proposals to negotiate, there's been a lot of talk about links.

One example: the governor's liquor privatization plan has been linked to education funding, in that his proposal would put $1 billion raised through selling off state stores and liquor licenses toward one-time grants for schools - a program called Passport to Learning.

Education Secretary Wants to Cut Backlog of Complaints

Mar 4, 2013

The head of the Pennsylvania Department of Education is looking for a way to solve a buildup of complaints against schoolteachers. 

About $775,000 is being requested to pay for additional lawyers to investigate teacher complaints and help fund the state commission overseeing teacher certifications. The funding will come from an increase in the teacher certification fee.

Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said the funds will help clear up a pile of roughly 500 cases in which teachers face misconduct allegations.

Carnegie Library Gets More Revenue than Expected

Feb 27, 2013
Joseph A. / Flickr

The Carnegie Library will be adding services and increasing hours at some of its 19 locations in the City of Pittsburgh because the property tax reassessment in Allegheny County has increased this year’s expected proceeds by $900,000.  Unlike local governments and school districts, libraries are not subject to the anti-windfall provisions of state law that require a millage reduction to limit tax increases.

“The Big Read” Returns To Pittsburgh

Feb 25, 2013
Claire P. / Flickr

For the third straight year, the Community College of Allegheny County will dedicate a month to literacy.

This year, the Big Read work will be Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. Debuted to great acclaim in 1940, the novel focuses on the experiences of a deaf man in the racially charged atmosphere of the Depression-era South.

Cooper Foundation Honors Duquesne Students

Feb 25, 2013

Five African-American students at Duquesne University are the first recipients of scholarships awarded to honor the legacy of Chuck Cooper, one ofthe greatest basketball players in Duquesne history.

Cooper was the first African-American drafted into the NBA and after a six-year career returned to school to earn a master's degree in social work at the Univeristy of Minnesota in 1961.  Cooper worked as Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Pittsburgh and later as Urban Affairs Officer for Pittsburgh National Bank, now PNC.

W&J College Unveils New Presidential Walking Tour

Feb 18, 2013

Washington & Jefferson College is unveiling a unique way to celebrate and honor past American Presidents that have spoken, stayed, or visited Washington, PA.

Professors Jennifer Harding and Thomas Mainwaring developed a walking presidential tour which offers a historical look at the connection between fifteen Presidents and the City of Washington.

She originally discovered that there had been several Presidents that had visited this city of nearly 14,000 (current population) because she was teaching the class “The American Presidency in Fact, Fiction, & Film.”

Thon Is On at Penn State

Feb 17, 2013

The beat goes on for more than 700 Penn State students grooving at the annual 46-hour dance marathon for charity.

The IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is billed as the world's largest student-run philanthropy. The signature Penn State event is taking over the Jordan Center this weekend with thousands of students hosting pediatric cancer patients and their families.

As for the 700 dancers, they must stay on their feet in a 46-hour stretch ending 4 p.m. Sunday. They're getting lots of encouragement on the crowded floor set inside the home of Penn State basketball.

Duquesne University

Misconceptions people have of evolution lead them to believe males are the workers in every species and that some species are more advanced than others.

That’s according to Dr. Marlene Zuk, professor of ecology at the University of Minnesota and tonight's speaker at Duquesne University’s annual Darwin Day lecture.

She said people often see progressive evolutionary charts in biology books, ones where fish evolve into reptiles, then reptiles to mammals.

Faculty Members to Vote on PA State System Pact

Feb 9, 2013

A proposed four-year contract covering 5,500 faculty members at Pennsylvania's state-owned universities is headed for a ratification vote by the union rank and file.

The leadership body of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties endorsed the contract agreement Friday at a meeting in Gettysburg. Union spokeswoman Lauren Gutshall says the tally was nearly unanimous.

The faculty members of the 14 universities in the State System of Higher Education have worked without a contract since June 2011.

The MacArthur Foundation is awarding a $500,000 grant to create a Pittsburgh Hive Learning Network. The grant will be administered by the Sprout Fund. A Hive is a network of organizations including schools, museums, libraries, afterschool programs, community centers who collaborate to create new learning experiences. Sprout Program Officer Ryan Coon said the Hive is not a physical space.

"It's a program that supports activities in many places. Hive supported activities will occur at the museum, or at the Carnegie Library. It's a mechanism to support new learning activities."

Coaches Trained for Pittsburgh Promise Students

Feb 6, 2013

The $40,000 Pittsburgh Promise college scholarship program is adding a new resource, called "Promise Coaches," in order to help more city public school students qualify for the Promise.   The informal mentors will be available to the scholars for encouragement, advice, or help, but they do not have to meet with their mentees on a regular basis. 

Philadelphia Firm Recommended for Schenley Re-use

Feb 6, 2013

The review team contracted by the Pittsburgh Public School District through Fourth River Development L.L.C. has recommended that the board accept a $5.2 million bid to purchase the closed Schenley High School. 

PMC/Schenley HSB Associates, L.P. expects to turn the shuttered school in Oakland into 175 market-rate, luxury apartments. Fourth River said it chose PMC based on a number of factors including limitation of risk, and the ability and capacity to complete in a timely manner, and proposed uses for the property.

Carnegie Mellon University has selected the Director of the National Science Foundation to be its next president.  Dr. Subra Suresh will take over the post July 1, 2013 after Dr. Jared L. Cohon ends his 16-year tenure.

"I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead Carnegie Mellon University as its ninth president," said Suresh in a statement released by the university.  “I look forward to working with the CMU community to further our global impact."

Pittsburgh Schools Report Slipping Test Scores

Feb 4, 2013

In its annual report to parents, the Pittsburgh Public School District said that on average, reading and math scores in all types of schools fell in 2012 with the worst scores going to the district’s four high schools where 50.5 percent of all students scored “proficient” in reading and just 36.1 percent hit the “proficient” mark in math.

The report has been posted on the district’s website and will be mailed out to all parents in March.

Moving on, Moving up

College Success Forum Focuses on State Education

Feb 4, 2013

What does it take to make successful Pennsylvania students?  Money, for one thing, said the keynote speaker at a forum held at Robert Morris University Monday.  Ron Cowell, president of the Educational Policy and Leadership Center, said the Corbett administration's $900 million slash to educational funding for the 2011-12 school year influenced the chances of a student succeeding.

Union: 'Framework' Reached with PA Universities

Feb 3, 2013

Negotiators for Pennsylvania's state university system and the union representing about 5,500 faculty members say they have reached "framework" for a new contract to resolve a prolonged dispute.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties said the accord with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education was reached early Sunday after two full days of negotiating.

Pennsylvania’s third largest school system, the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Catholic Schools, has a fresh outlook on education. The launch of The Catholic Schools Network is a marketing initiative to create a universal platform to promote enrollment, retention, vitality of curriculum and awareness, and the benefits of a Catholic education.

The Network will include all 91 Catholic schools in the diocese, ranging from pre-K through 12th grade, in the six counties of the western Pennsylvania region. The formalized network was introduced to school administrators in January.

Are School Vouchers A Fit in Pennsylvania?

Jan 28, 2013

This week is National School Choice week, and with events from California to New York, the debate over school vouchers is still hard fought.

School vouchers, or "Opportunity Scholarships" as supporters call them, are tuition certificates issued by the government to a family allowing students to apply that money towards private schooling.

Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), believes vouchers are unpopular, unaffordable, and unproven.

Lengthy Election Process Opens for Penn State Trustees

Jan 27, 2013

The latest election for Penn State trustee members may serve as another barometer of how well the university is recovering from scandal in the minds of alumni.

Only a housecleaning will do, some of the school's more vocal alumni say, in order for them to regain trust in school leadership following the turmoil that started in 2011 with the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on child sex abuse charges.

The chairman of the board of Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities and faculty union leaders are accusing each other of being unreasonable in their stalled contract talks. A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education points out only one union is holding out on agreeing to cost-saving measures.

Faced with needed renovations ranging from 50 to 80 million dollars, the Pittsburgh Board of Education decided to close the Schenley High School building on Bigelow Boulevard in June 2008.  Schenley students and staff moved that fall to the former Reizenstein Middle School building and Schenley's final class graduated in June 2011.  

Nearly five years after the Schenley High School building was closed, there might soon be a buyer for that property in Oakland.

Penn State Board Looks at Including Governor and President

Jan 18, 2013

Penn State trustees are weighing whether to make the university president and the governor nonvoting members of the school's governing board.

A trustees committee recommended the change Thursday, though the full board needs to vote on the matter. That may not happen for at least another couple of months, as the board studies other potential governance reforms.

PASSHE, APSCUF Negotiations Continue

Jan 15, 2013

More than six months after their old contract expired, the Pennsylvania State System for Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) are still without a new pact but the two sides will return to the table Wednesday.  

After a long break over the holidays, negotiations resumed last Friday to discuss top issues in efforts to reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. 

The Community College of Allegheny County Boyce campus in Monroeville will be closed from Friday at 6pm through Sunday, while crews work to update transformers.

“There are a number of transformers feeding the campus that are definitely showing their age and have been causing some power fluctuations at the facitlity,” said CCAC Spokesman David Hoovler, “workers will be replacing the faulty transformers and looking for any additional equipment that may be damaged and contributing to some of the problems.”

Free GED Program for Pittsburghers

Jan 9, 2013 Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.wav

More than 1.6 million people in Pennsylvania do not have a high school diploma or equivalent degree.  A free program being offered by the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Everest Institute-Pittsburgh aims to change that statistic.  

CCAC Uses Grant to Get Students Their Degree Faster

Jan 9, 2013

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is using a developmental grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to design new ways to help students finish college in three years.

The grant, which is less than $10 thousand, is a part of the Community College Roadmap Project, which helps community colleges create proactive programs for academic support.

Mary Frances Archey, Vice President for Student Success and Completion at CCAC, said the money will be used in three areas to promote academic progress.