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.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 50 of the 550 students at University Preparatory School in the Hill District are learning the skills of effective leaders.

Teachers at the school selected students they felt were listened to by their peers. Now they're aiming to have those students lead the way toward a more positive school climate.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

In the eight months without a state budget, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel is calling for service providers to back Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed funding of early education.

The Ellis School

In the year 2113, a city in the Katmandu Valley of Nepal will be surrounded by an earthquake mitigation system and crisscrossed by underground pneumatic tubes that will zip solid waste right out of your house. 

At least that is what a group of seventh and eighth graders at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh will be presenting next week at the national Future City competition.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

  The Pittsburgh Board of Education has posted the application for the district’s next superintendent, officials announced Friday.

The board held seven community forums in January inviting public input for the district’s next leader after current superintendent Linda Lane chose to let her contract expire in June after five years as superintendent.

Alberto G. / Flickr

 

The state Senate approved a House-passed bill Thursday, delaying the requirement that Pennsylvania high school students pass standardized tests in order to graduate. 

This will give lawmakers more time to review and make changes to the Keystone Exams.

Alberto G. / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania is moving to delay the use of exams as a graduation requirement for high school students starting next year.

The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to postpone the requirement for two years, and Gov. Tom Wolf says he'll sign the bill. The bill has already passed the House unanimously.

The requirement won approval from the State Board of Education in 2013. But under the bill, the requirement now would take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

About a dozen states have such a requirement.

CCAC North Library / Flickr

Starting Wednesday, students at the Community College of Allegheny County will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania without leaving CCAC’s North Side campus. 

Raymond "Dmitri" Beljan / Flickr

 

Tuition at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is increasing by 3.2 percent for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy told the campus in an email that the school's board of trustees has approved the rate increase, which brings tuition to $51,196 a year for undergraduates entering this fall and for those who entered in the fall of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Undergraduates who came in the fall of 2012 will pay $50,690 a year. Graduate prices are set at the program level.

Parker Knight / Flickr

A slate of changes to the state’s early childhood development and learning programs are in the works, including extending how long children can access subsidized child care and providing more assistance to low-income families.

darkday / Flickr

A Pennsylvania water authority has turned down a $65 million grant that would have allowed the group to replace its 100-year-old water system.

The Cambria Somerset Authority voted to reject the offer Thursday, saying the deal was legally feasible for the public authority.

Commercial Real Estate Financing CEO Terry Smith says his firm is distributing $400 million in United Nations grants for green energy projects. Smith says he could give the authority funds to replace all 22 miles of pipelines, but the board would have to sign an agreement by Monday.

Eleanor Klibanoff / WPSU

 

From the back of Barry Grossman's house, you get a panoramic view of Lake Erie: miles and miles of uninterrupted lake, anchored on one side by the popular Presque Isle State Park. And in the distance, a large ship making its way slowly across the lake. 

"Last two days, I've seen four major lake liners go by," said Grossman, the former Erie County executive. "Usually you don't see them this time of year."

Grossman hopes that means industry is starting to pick up around the lake again. But he worries Erie's workforce won't be ready for a big turnaround.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

More than 200 Pittsburgh Promise scholars and alumni gathered downtown Wednesday to meet with prospective employers for the annual Career Launch.

Eligible to four-year graduates of Pittsburgh Public high schools, the Pittsburgh Promise pledges to cover a sizeable portion of college tuition for students who maintain high attendance and a grade point average of 2.5.

National Council on Teacher Quality

  Pennsylvania can do a lot more to bolster the effectiveness of its teachers, according to a report released earlier this month from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Pittsburgh Public School’s national search for a new superintendent will be a multi-month, transparent process full of community input, Board President Regina Holley said Monday.

The process will begin in January with seven forums held from 6 to 9 p.m. at schools around the city. Childcare will be provided, and all events will be streamed at pittsupsearch.com. There will also be a dedicated email, voicemail and Twitter feed for public input, she said.

Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

When students Bishal Rai, Arpun Khadka and Gabriel Sahij walk into Concord Elementary School in Carrick, a welcome sign greets them in English, Spanish and Nepali. 

Casey Chafin / 90.5 WESA

While the state budget impasse affects schools across the state, Pittsburgh Public Schools ranks among the best-prepared, according to a review conducted by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

“Our audit has shown that this is clearly the most successful financially run district that we’ve seen in the entire state from an urban perspective,” DePasquale said.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

One Pittsburgh Public School is using a grant from the American Federation of Teachers to train students for careers as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The district showcased existing Career and Education Courses to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Monday at Westinghouse Academy in Homewood.

The grades 6-12 school is one of five Pittsburgh secondary schools with CTE programs, boasting disciplines like cosmetology, culinary arts, carpentry, automotive body repair and multimedia production, among others. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

 

North Allegheny High School sophomore Mason Blackburn wanted Alex the Lion to escape the zoo, but it wasn't that simple.

The team hit a few roadblocks along the way, he said. Levers overcomplicated the motions, so they tried a simpler pulley system. It took a lot of trial and error, Blackburn said.

"We certainly learned a lot," he said. "We had several of these swinging hooks and each hook would transfer energy to the next hook. Eventually that was too complicated."

PA National Guard

Pennsylvania would become the 28th state to create a National Guard Youth Challenge Program under legislation being considered by the Senate.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools is turning to more progressive methods of discipline, after finding that cut and dry methods, like Zero Tolerance, led to too many suspensions.

Back in the ‘90s, many schools started using those methods as a way to motivate kids to behave.

They put police officers in schools, along with metal detectors. They issued harsh punishments to prevent bigger offenses. 

It became a way of doing things, but opponents say rather than getting students to behave, it was just pushing them out of school. Now administrators shy away from those methods.

Cali4beach / Flickr

Education advocacy group A+ Schools is seeking members for its volunteer review board tasked with overseeing new board members representing Pittsburgh Public Schools.

With three new members sworn in, the Pittsburgh Public School Board has only two members who have served for more than two years. The other four were elected in 2013.

A+ Executive Director Carey Harris said volunteers are city residents prepped by the organization's staffers about current state and national policy.

Private schools are putting the pressure on the Wolf administration to reverse its decision not to authorize up to $150 million in tax credits that bolster their scholarship programs.

Governor Tom Wolf has said the tax credits and corresponding scholarship funds fall into the same category as other expenditures that can’t be made without a budget.

“I don’t see we have any choice,” Wolf told reporters Wednesday. “It has to be part of the budget. We aren’t authorized to release anything until we have a budget.”

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA News

The United Way of Allegheny County wants to ensure local children grow up to be successful in adulthood. That’s why they’ve created a new action plan.

The plan, called "United for Children," aims to support the social and emotional needs of the region’s children with a five-step plan, which includes:

Pittsburgh Public Schools

Moira Kaleida and Lynda Wrenn might both be new to the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors, but they’re not new to the district. 

Chris Breeze / Flickr

One of Pennsylvania’s most time-honored political traditions is tacking on a philanthropic arm this year as part of its annual fundraising weekend.

Every December, the state’s top politicians head to New York City to see and be seen at a long weekend of fundraisers, parties and one swanky gala collectively referred to as Pennsylvania Society. The group’s annual ball, set for Saturday, Dec. 12, is expected to draw about 1,300 people to Manhattan’s famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

A+ Schools

A+ Schools' annual analysis of Pittsburgh Public Schools noted again a troubling academic disparity between the district's black and white students.

“The gap is in the 30s,” said Carey Harris, the Pittsburgh-based advocacy group's executive director. “That’s got to be a focus, and I think probably the No. 1 concern leading up to that (will) be attendance and suspensions.”

Michael Sorg / Flickr

The country’s second-largest for-profit education provider will have to pay the U.S. government nearly $100 million in a landmark settlement.

Authorities said in a news conference Monday that Education Management Corporation, or EDMC, which is based in Pittsburgh, agreed to the settlement after receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money while using predatory recruiting practices.

90.5 WESA

  

Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders this week agreed on a “framework” for a state budget with hopes for a full spending plan by Thanksgiving. The announcement comes nearly five months after the 2015-16 year began.

According to Senate minority leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), the budget is expected to include about $5.9 billion for basic education funding for public school districts, a $200 million increase from this past year.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Westinghouse High School officials announced Thursday a new Emergency Response Technology program promising career training for students interested in public safety. 

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

People use Kickstarter to fund everything from tuition payments to weddings. But now, it's being used for creative education programs in Pittsburgh-area schools.

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