Life of Learning

Pittsburgh Promise
12:39 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

With New Money, Pittsburgh Promise Shortens Fundraising Timeline

Saleem Ghubril, executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise, announces a shortened fundraising timeline for the program.
Credit Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Happily announcing a trio of major gifts from locally-based corporations, Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril said Monday that the city's scholarship fund now expects to raise $90 million more by 2015, three years earlier than expected.

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11:20 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Day of Silence Calls Attention to LGBT Harassment

Students from southwestern Pennsylvania will join with those around the country to participate in the national Day of Silence on Friday.

Students in middle schools, high schools and colleges will take a vow of silence to draw attention to bullying and harassment of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

Nationally, researchers say 160,000 children skip school each day due to fears related to bullying.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Opting Out: How High are the Stakes of Standardized Tests?

How much pressure are students and teachers under when it comes to standardized tests?
Credit Shannan Muskopf / Flickr

A growing protest movement has triggered discussions about our country's emphasis on public school standardized testing. According to parents such as Kathy Newman, a Pittsburgh Public School parent, CMU English professor and volunteer coordinator for the grassroots education group Yinzercation, the pressures and stakes of assessments like the PSSAs are too high. So they're opting their kids out. Kathy joins us for a discussion about how standardized testing impacts the quality of a public school education.

Election 2013
3:12 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

All Pittsburgh School Board Candidates Sign Equity and Excellence Pledge

Candidates for Pittsburgh School Board stand behind the signed Equity and Excellence Pledge. Candidate Thomas Sumpter (District 3) was not in attendance but had signed the pledge previously.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Nine people running for the Pittsburgh School Board have signed a pledge that outlines a “vision of excellence” for the district. The so-called Equity and Excellence Pledge was drafted by A+ Schools, a nonpartisan public education advocacy group.

“When we say equity, we mean providing every kid with the support necessary to reach and exceed a shared standard, which for us is graduating from high school and completing post-secondary education,” said Carey Harris, executive director of A+ Schools.

The pledge calls on the candidate to make policies that ensure:

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National Aviary
3:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

National Aviary Welcomes Baby Eurasian Eagle Owl

A 28-day-old Eurasian Eagle Owl makes her debute at the National Aviary. They grow quickly — this girl will be full-grown by the end of May.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

A 28-day-old Eurasian Eagle Owl made her public debut at the National Aviary Tuesday, joining the three already there.

“This Eurasian Eagle Owl is the first baby owl that has been born in any AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited zoo in the last five years, so she is a very special Eurasian Eagle Owl,” said aviary veterinarian Pilar Fish.

The yet-to-be-named baby owl will be part of a unique program at the aviary in which the owls have multiple roles: education, breeding and being exhibited.

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3:44 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

As Students Undergo PSSA Testing, Some Parents Advocate Opting Out

It’s April, and for many school children in Pennsylvania, that means it’s time for tests.

The Pennsylvania Systems of School Assessment (PSSA) is an annual standards-based test. Students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 are assessed in reading and math. Grades 5, 8 and 11 are assessed in writing, and grades 4, 8 and 11 are assessed in science.

The tests have no bearing on students’ grades, and some parents are questioning the need for the PSSA.

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History Of Pittsburgh
4:25 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Rare Photos Recall Pittsburgh's Reaction to Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death

Marchers gather outside St. Benedict the Moor Church in the Hill District.
Credit Charles Martin / University Of Pittsburgh

Forty-five years ago this month, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. sparked protests and riots across the country.

On Friday, the University of Pittsburgh Library system will recount a protest held in Pittsburgh on Sunday April 7, 1968, with a program that includes a series of photos taken by freelance photographer Charles Martin.

Larry Glasco, a University of Pittsburgh history professor, said the photographs bring a new view to the event that was much more peaceful than many other marches and rallies seen around the U.S.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Bringing Belfast Northern Ireland to Pittsburgh

Dan Rooney meeting with teens from Pittsburgh and Northern Ireland in the Press Room of Heinz Field
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this week a group of Amizade and Youth Work exchange students from the Belfast, Northern Ireland Parish of Holy Cross gathered with Pittsburgh area students for a special talk with Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney. Mr. Rooney is back running the Steelers after spending the past four years serving as the United States Ambassador to Ireland. He sat down and talked with us about how his experiences as a team owner informed his approach to diplomacy, and why it’s important to bring together differing groups. We also spoke with the students from Ireland and Pittsburgh about how they were inspired by their day-long interaction with a different culture.

Essential Pittsburgh
1:57 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

The Black Middle Class Experience in Pittsburgh: A Public Dialogue

Representives from The Urban League, Pittsburgh City Council and UPMC weigh in on Pittsburgh's African American Middle Class
Ryan Loew 90.5 WESA

On Wednesday, March 20th 90.5 WESA’s daily public affairs program Essential Pittsburgh hosted a Public Forum on the Black Middle Class in Pittsburgh. Inspired by a Pittsburgh Quarterly article by journalist Ben Schmitt, the forum addressed the history and current experiences of the Black middle class in Pittsburgh. Listen to our broadcast of the forum and leave a message at 412-256-8783 letting us know what you think!

Taking part in the discussion: journalist Ben Schmitt, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Esther Bush, Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer (CIDO) at UPMC

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Focus Brasil Focusing on Pittsburgh

With Brazil's growing economy, should Portuguese be offered as a second language course in Middle and High School?
Credit Giselle Varga / Flickr

Focus Brasil takes place all over the world, promoting Brazilian music, movies, culture and the Portuguese language. It's become an annual forum for the most distinguished Brazilian leaders to address issues of interest to Brazilians abroad. This year Pittsburgh joins the ranks of cities like Ft. Lauderdale, London and Tokyo in hosting Focus Brasil Seminars. But with a focus on Pittsburgh's Universities called U-Circuit.

We’ll talk with Karen Goldman, Assistant Director of Outreach at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Latin American Studies, Ron Alvarado Chairman of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Brazilian Jazz vocalist, Kenia Ashby a local coordinator of Focus Brasil, about the importance of Portuguese in the global economy and why Pittsburgh has what's considered one of the best centers for Latin American Studies, yet Latin Americans are underrepresented in the Steel City.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:37 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Nancy Gibbs on the Bond Between the Members of the Presidents Club

In the first lecture in a week that examines the exclusive brotherhood known as "The Presidents Club," Nancy Gibbs lays the groundwork for the complex narrative. Gibbs, deputy managing editor of Time, co-wrote the book, "The Presidents Club," with Michael Duffy. Her talk focuses on the behind-closed-doors partnerships between former presidents and the relationships those dealings fostered. Tales of Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and more abound.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:36 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Teresa A. Sullivan Talks About Combating Cheating in Higher Education

College students today comprise a large number of the millennial (post-1980-born) generation. As they progress through university, the pressure to succeed increases. Some students turn to cheating to gain an advantage, which is now quite easy due to technology improvements. How do we remedy this? Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, offers some answers in this lecture that ends a week of exploring "The Ethics of Cheating."

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:33 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Dahlia Lithwick Discusses Digital Identity and Privacy

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:31 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Hussain Haqqani on Clashing U.S.-Pakistani Narratives

In this lecture, Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., seeks to explain the mystery behind hot-and-cold foreign relations between the two nations. Tracing their history, Haqqani touches on some of the key misunderstandings that have led to the current situation. The remedy, Haqqani suggests, is friendship — a more lasting alternative than mere alliance and partnership.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:29 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Freeman A. Hrabowski on Changing the Face of Math and Science

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:25 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Roger Rosenblatt Talks with Sissela and Derek Bok About Exploring Happiness

Derek and Sissela Bok, authors of books discussing happiness, speak with author Roger Rosenblatt about the importance of a moral education and how the arts can enhance the search for happiness.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:21 am
Mon April 1, 2013

American Historian Ed Ayers Discusses the Logical Causes Behind Secession

Author and president of the University of Richmond Edward Ayers talks about the actual thoughts and reasons of Southerners behind secession. Ayers has written "In the Presence of Mine Enemies," "What Caused the Civil War?" and eight other books.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:11 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Jump Associates CEO Dev Patnaik on Answering Ambiguous Questions

Dev Patnaik, author of "Wired to Care" and CEO of Jump Associates, speaks about how hybrid thinking can help innovation by bringing about empathy, creativity and execution.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:08 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Fred Bergsten on the United States' Role in the World Economy

Director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, former senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author C. Fred Bergsten talks about the global impact of the U.S. economy.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
11:02 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Author Isobel Coleman Discusses the Role of Women in the Middle East

Isobel Coleman is the author of "Paradise Beneath her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East" and is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Chautauqua Institution Lectures
10:44 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Harvard Professor and Author Michael Sandel on Political Philosophy, Justice and Morality

Harvard professor of political philosophy Michael Sandel asks how we can elevate the terms of public discourse and reach for a new politics of the common good. Sandel is the author of "Justice," "The Case against Perfection," "Public Philosophy" and "What Money Can't Buy."

3:30 am
Mon April 1, 2013

10 Percent Of Schools Get An 'F' On PennCAN Report Card

The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (PennCAN) has released report cards for every public school in the state as well as lists of the state’s top elementary, middle and high schools.

The education reform organization graded schools in five categories: student performance, subgroup performance (minority and economic status), achievement gaps (how student performance compared to subgroup performance), performance gains and high school graduation rates.

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4:19 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Faith Community Celebrates Hope with 'Prayer 4 Peace March'

The House of Manna faith community gathered on Friday morning for its fourth annual “Prayer 4 Peace March” in Homewood-Brushton.

The march went through Homewood to the site of the future New Renaissance Center, a $2 million building donated by Dollar Bank that's expected to become a community center.

Spiritual leaders led community residents, city officials and various organizations and businesses to celebrate hope and to declare God’s power in the growing effort to revitalize Homewood-Brushton.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:05 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Financial Literacy Month: Why Are You Scared to Budget?

How do you pick your budget goals?
Credit Alan Cleaver / Flickr

  In 2012, 56% of Americans admitted that they do not keep a budget, including more than 1 in 5 who say they don’t have a good idea of how much they spend on housing, food, and entertainment. So what keeps you from budgeting and saving better? What difficulties do you have with financial planning?

Financial Literacy Month starts Monday and each week through the month of April we’ll be tapping into your financial concerns. Debbie Tawney Newsom is the Operations Field Coordinator for NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania. She teaches community financial education classes and joins us to address your questions about budgeting and saving.

University Lecture
1:34 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Yale Professor Discusses Modern Racism in University of Pittsburgh Lecture

Ethnographer Elijah Anderson speaks at the University Of Pittsburgh on Modern Racism in the United States.
Credit Jared Adkins / 90.5 WESA

Racism isn’t gone — it has just changed form. That’s according to Yale sociology professor Elijah Anderson, who spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

“It’s a civil society," he said. "People can be quite parochial, ethnocentric, even racist. But under the canopy they typically present themselves as civilly. They can be white; they can be black; they can be Native American. They can be of various ethnicities — you can be ethnic, without being ethnocentric.”

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