Pennsylvania Department of Education http://wesa.fm en Pittsburgh School Board Rejects Charter School Expansion Plans http://wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-school-board-rejects-charter-school-expansion-plans <p>Despite its lengthy waiting list, the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park (ECS) was recently denied permission to expand by the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) Board of Directors.</p><p>ECS is a K-8 school created in 2008 to provide alternative education with a focus on the environment. According to ECS Director of Innovation and Development Nikole Sheaffer, the school has a yearly waiting list of 400 to 500 students, and sought to expand to serve that demand.</p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:21:34 +0000 Kaye Burnet 33170 at http://wesa.fm Truancy Penalties Reconsidered After Death of Reading Woman http://wesa.fm/post/truancy-penalties-reconsidered-after-death-reading-woman <p>The death of a 55-year-old mother of seven has led to the proposal of new legislation in the PA Senate, which would eliminate sending parents of frequently truant children to jail.</p><p>Some school districts in Pennsylvania have a policy where a child who is absent without an excuse for an excessive number of days must appear before a magisterial district judge, and the parents of the child could be fined.</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Jess Lasky 31492 at http://wesa.fm Bill Aims to Create Dyslexia Detection Pilot Program http://wesa.fm/post/bill-aims-create-dyslexia-detection-pilot-program <p>About 15 to 20 percent of Americans has dyslexia, a disorder that results in slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling and writing or confusing similar words.</p><p>But many cases go undetected, making schooling difficult for those who have it.</p><p>A new bill that aims to address this issue just passed the House and Senate this week and awaits Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature.</p><p>According to Senator Sean Wiley (D-Erie), the bill enables the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a Dyslexia Screening Pilot Program.</p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Jessica Nath 31205 at http://wesa.fm Bill Aims To Increase Holocaust Education In Pennsylvania http://wesa.fm/post/bill-aims-increase-holocaust-education-pennsylvania <p>According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there were as many as 20,000 concentration camps during from 1933 to 1945 — used for forced labor, transit camps and even killing centers for 11 million victims.</p><p>But many don’t believe this actually happened, and others just simply never learned about it.</p><p>That’s what House Bill 1424 — which just passed the Senate this week — aims to fix.</p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 18:19:43 +0000 Jessica Nath 30863 at http://wesa.fm Change in GED Exam Requirement Helps Those Already in Process of Obtaining GED http://wesa.fm/post/change-ged-exam-requirement-helps-those-already-process-obtaining-ged <p>Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq is finalizing the process that will allow some Pennsylvanians to get their GED without having to start the exam process from scratch.</p><p>Starting this year, the National GED Testing Service replaced its 2002 exam with the 2014 GED. Thousands of people in the commonwealth had completed one or more parts of the 2002 exam, but the change meant that rather than using the score of the already-completed portion, they’d have to start the process over.</p><p>Now, that has been changed.</p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 11:59:46 +0000 Deanna Garcia 26198 at http://wesa.fm Department of Education Awards $2.6 Million in 'Safe Schools' Grants http://wesa.fm/post/department-education-awards-26-million-safe-schools-grants <p>“The safety of students is always our number 1 priority,” says Larry Celmer, assistant principal of Cambria County’s Forest Hills Elementary School, one of 110 public schools across the state to receive a “Safe Schools” grant.</p><p>The Department of Education awarded a total of $2.6 million to implement programs to prevent and reduce incidents of violence in schools.</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:28:22 +0000 Kevin Gavin 24969 at http://wesa.fm $3.9M Program to Help PA Districts Hire Police Officers Underway http://wesa.fm/post/39m-program-help-pa-districts-hire-police-officers-underway <p>A $3.9 million state grant program that will assist Pennsylvania school districts in hiring police officers has officially begun.</p><p>The program is awarding districts with money that must be used to strengthen school safety procedures.</p><p>With the funds, districts are expected to place a school resource officer or school police officer within the building or buildings in the district, Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said.</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Julian Routh 23690 at http://wesa.fm How Is Your School Spending Its Money? The Answer Could Soon Be Online http://wesa.fm/post/how-your-school-spending-its-money-answer-could-soon-be-online <p>How are Pennsylvania school districts spending your tax money?</p><p>SchoolWATCH, a bill aimed at answering that question, was approved by the House of Representatives Monday.</p><p>It would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to create a website displaying the revenues and expenditures of traditional public, charter and cyber school districts in the commonwealth.</p><p>The legislation’s author, Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), said they want to create an “easy-to-use” database.</p> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 17:43:39 +0000 Jessica Nath 22810 at http://wesa.fm New Bills Push for School Spending Transparency http://wesa.fm/post/new-bills-push-school-spending-transparency <p>Legislation proposed by state Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create an online database where people could search the state&rsquo;s public schools&rsquo; finances.</p><p>House Bills 1411 and 1412, known as SchoolWATCH and CharterWATCH, would create an online system similar to PennWATCH, a state website with information on government spending in Pennsylvania.</p><p>Christiana said every public school&rsquo;s expenditures, including charter and cyber schools, would be searchable online.</p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 19:10:06 +0000 Tim Camerato 17759 at http://wesa.fm Pennsylvania Common Core Standards on Hold, Pending State Board Review http://wesa.fm/post/pennsylvania-common-core-standards-hold-pending-state-board-review <p>In the spring, Gov. Tom Corbett postponed implementation of the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, citing concerns from lawmakers and public. Corbett asked the State Board of Education and lawmakers to review the standards and make any modifications they deem necessary.</p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 21:12:51 +0000 Deanna Garcia 12403 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Orders Short Delay to Tweak Common Core http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-orders-short-delay-tweak-common-core <p>Gov. Tom Corbett has ordered a delay in the adoption of new high stakes standardized tests for public schools in Pennsylvania.</p><p>The new Pennsylvania Common Core standards were supposed to be implemented in July. The class of 2017 would need to pass the subject-specific tests before graduating.</p><p>But Education Department spokesman Tim Eller says the postponement won’t result in any major changes.</p> Wed, 22 May 2013 15:09:01 +0000 Mary Wilson & WESA Staff 9997 at http://wesa.fm State Lawmaker Wants to Keep Track Of Financially Distressed School Districts http://wesa.fm/post/state-lawmaker-wants-keep-track-financially-distressed-school-districts <p>A state senator has said he wants information about financially ailing school districts so the state can help out before it’s too late.</p><p>Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) met with state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis asking for information on all school districts that have been designated for financial watch status or identified for monitoring.</p><p>The problem, however, isn’t that the Department of Education (DOE) is withholding a list from the senator, but Tomalis told Brewster the problem is there currently is no complied list of schools in trouble.</p> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 17:37:18 +0000 Jared Adkins 8540 at http://wesa.fm Opting Out: How High are the Stakes of Standardized Tests? http://wesa.fm/post/opting-out-how-high-are-stakes-standardized-tests <p>A growing protest <a href="http://unitedoptout.com/">movement</a> has triggered discussions about our country's emphasis on public school standardized testing. According to parents such as <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/why-i-wont-let-my-son-take-the-pssa-681537/"><strong>Kathy Newman</strong></a>, a Pittsburgh Public School parent, CMU English professor and volunteer coordinator for the grassroots education group <a href="http://yinzercation.wordpress.com/category/opt-out-movement/">Yinzercation</a>, the pressures and stakes of assessments like the PSSAs are too high. So they're <a href="http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/3775488-74/math-reading-opt#axzz2PnXGogpy">opting their kids out</a>. Kathy joins us for a discussion about how standardized testing impacts the quality of a public school education. Fri, 12 Apr 2013 01:00:00 +0000 Heather McClain 7713 at http://wesa.fm Opting Out: How High are the Stakes of Standardized Tests? As Students Undergo PSSA Testing, Some Parents Advocate Opting Out http://wesa.fm/post/students-undergo-pssa-testing-some-parents-advocate-opting-out <p></p><p>It’s April, and for many school children in Pennsylvania, that means it’s time for tests.</p><p>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.</p><p>The tests have no bearing on students’ grades, and some parents are questioning the need for the PSSA.</p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 19:44:04 +0000 Deanna Garcia 7481 at http://wesa.fm 10 Percent Of Schools Get An 'F' On PennCAN Report Card http://wesa.fm/post/10-percent-schools-get-f-penncan-report-card <p>The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (<a href="http://www.50can.org/states/penncan">PennCAN</a>) 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.</p><p>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.</p> Mon, 01 Apr 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Jared Adkins 4175 at http://wesa.fm After Years of Debate, Keystone Exams Get Passed http://wesa.fm/post/after-years-debate-keystone-exams-get-passed <p>After more than four years of debate and revision, the Keystone Exam will more than likely be coming to schools across Pennsylvania.</p><p>After receiving approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the regulations will now go to the House and Senate Education committees and Independent Regulatory Review Commission for consideration.</p><p>The exam plans however, come with some new regulations — the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards. These new requirements must be implemented across the state in English, arts and mathematics by July 1.</p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Jared Adkins 4159 at http://wesa.fm Education Secretary Wants to Cut Backlog of Complaints http://wesa.fm/post/education-secretary-wants-cut-backlog-complaints <div class="field-item even"><p>The head of the Pennsylvania Department of Education is looking for a way to solve a buildup of complaints against&nbsp;schoolteachers.&nbsp;</p><p>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&nbsp;fee.</p><p>Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said the funds will help clear up a pile of roughly 500 cases in which teachers face misconduct&nbsp;allegations.</p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 15:05:59 +0000 Mary Wilson & 90.5 WESA Staff 1949 at http://wesa.fm