Education

Essential Pittsburgh
5:02 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Roughly 20 Percent of the World Population is Learning Differently With Dyslexia

Credit Karoly Czifra / flickr

Some of the most notable people in modern history have been diagnosed with the learning difference known as dyslexia.

Inventors, entertainers, authors and politicians have excelled in spite of -- or because of -- the unique way their minds work. But reading, writing, and even speaking can be an ongoing challenge as well, and proper support can help.

Christine Seppi is the chair of the Pittsburgh region of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, and organizer of an upcoming conference on diagnosis and management of learning differences. She also has an adult son with dyslexia.

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Education
4:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Dyslexia is Common but Resources Scarce in Pennsylvania; Conference Tackles the Issue

Research indicates that 15% to 20 % of the population has some form of dyslexia. Those with the disorder who are not diagnosed often struggle in school and are more likely to fall behind their peers and drop out.
Credit Judy Baxter / Flickr

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability which makes it hard for those who have it to learn to read and write. According the Pennsylvania branch of the International Dyslexia Association, it’s the most common learning disability.

“15 to 20 percent of the population have some level of dyslexia.” said Pittsburgh region of the Association Chairperson Christine Seppi. “That’s a really huge number. Autism, which gets a lot of press, has one in 50. This is one in five or six.”

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Life of Learning
4:57 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Standardized Testing, Academic Success, and How a Local School Is Getting It Right

Standardized testing and the concept of "teaching to the test" are topics that Dan Hornberger addresses in the documentary "Standardized"
Credit Flickr user dcosand

Standardized: Lies, Money & Civil Rights

Dan Hornberger has been a high school English teacher for more than twenty years. During these years, his concerns regarding schools teaching to standardized tests spurred him to action.

The result is a documentary titled Standardized: Lies, Money & Civil Rights which he produced and co-directed.

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Education
12:48 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

New Education Task Force Adds City Voices to School System

Mayor Bill Peduto has appointed a 21-member task force which will take a look at public education in Pittsburgh.

The group includes elected officials, education leaders and others.

“We’re bringing together everybody,” said Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty, “unions, foundations, city council people, school board members and probably the coolest thing, three high school students who are going to be full voting members in this task force’s recommendations.”

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Life of Learning
8:21 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Black Community Leaders Come Out in Support of Pittsburgh's Teacher Evaluation System

Activists rally outside Pittsburgh King PreK-8 School on the North Side Monday morning.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A coalition of parents, civil rights advocates and clergy stood huddled together in the cold outside Pittsburgh King PreK-8 School on the North Side Monday morning to announce their support for the school district’s teacher evaluation system.

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Education
3:30 am
Mon February 10, 2014

PHEAA Hosts Free FAFSA Completion Sessions Across The State

One of the biggest challenges for students — besides getting into college — is how to apply for financial aid.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is helping students and parents by offering free FAFSA completion sessions throughout the state.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is used to determine eligibility for need-based financial assistance, including the State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, work-study programs and scholarships.

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Education
2:59 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Pittsburgh Nonprofits Land $375,000 For Digital Literacy

Thirteen nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region have been awarded a total of $375,000 in grants from the Comcast Foundation to fund after school programs.

“Primarily, these are programs that are designed to have a sustainable impact on the communities,” Comcast spokesman Bob Grove said.

The organization awarded a total of $591,000 to 30 nonprofits in the Keystone Region, which includes parts of Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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Early Childhood Education
12:20 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Corbett Proposes an Additional $10 Million for PA's Pre-K Program

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced an additional $10 million in funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts.

“Every child in this state should be, ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to succeed, and my budget sets an agenda in that spirit,” Corbett said.

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Education
4:57 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

PA Receives 'C-' In Teacher Effectiveness Policies

A “C-” typically isn’t a grade you’d run home to put on the fridge, but Pennsylvania is doing just that.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) Thursday released its seventh annual report on teacher effectiveness policies, and Pennsylvania made the jump from a “D+” to a “C-.”

The “State Teacher Policy Yearbook” measures effectiveness in delivering well-prepared teachers; expanding the teacher pool; identifying effective teachers; retaining effective teachers; and dismissing ineffective teachers.

The average grade across all 50 states is a “C-.”

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Community
3:30 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Can The Steel City Be Sustainable?

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh’s made a comeback.

What was once one of the most polluted and economically strained cities in the country, now ranks 4th in number of green buildings and 5th in average annual pay compared to the 14 other benchmark regions, according to the analytical organization Pittsburgh Today.

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Life of Learning
3:30 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Virtual High School: Deep Freeze Didn't Stop Students from Attending Class

When temperatures dropped below zero in the beginning of January every school district and private school in Allegheny County canceled class. But a few schools made sure their students attended class online.

Seton La-Salle Catholic High School in Mt. Lebanon was among them.

Principal Lauren Martin explained they do anything they can to avoid having to tack on make-up days in June for bad weather earlier in the year because parents have already made summer plans and the kids are unfocused and eager to get out of school.

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School Funding
8:03 am
Thu January 16, 2014

State House Passes Plan to Redevelop School Funding Formula

The state House has passed a plan that could bring lawmakers back to using a funding formula when doling out money to school districts across Pennsylvania.

The legislation would create a commission to review education funding and make recommendations for a new formula--something education advocates have urged for years.

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GED
7:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

New GED Exam Puts Students and Educators to the Test

Pennsylvania and other states are implementing universal high-school graduation requirements under the Common Core standards. As a result, the GED test is being updated as of Jan. 1. But for students who have already begun the battery of tests but have not yet passed all five sections, that's created a difficult situation.
Credit Flickr user albertogp123

The stereotypes about adults seeking GED certification can be ugly and simplistic. But the reality is that many lack a high school diploma for reasons largely outside their control: health problems, family issues and immigration status, just to name a few.

Some, like Rebekah Petrakovits, were home-schooled without proper oversight from school officials who were supposed to monitor their progress.

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Eduation and Technology
4:09 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Tech Conference Aims to Improve Traditional Education, But Connectivity Still an Issue

It’s no question that technology has changed the world over the last few decades, from how we shop to how we share our lives. In the U.S., many public school districts are in the process of making major changes thanks to technology. Leaders in education and technology are hoping schools get it right because a lot is at stake.

In the not-so-distant past it was pretty commonplace to be taught solely out of a text book and worksheets in the classroom – maybe you’d get a video on a sub day. Today, there are many more options thanks to computers, tablets and other smart devices.

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Education
3:30 am
Sun November 17, 2013

Legislation Would Have Convicted Teachers Pay Legal Bills

When a teacher is convicted of a crime the legal costs can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in many cases the school district is stuck with that bill.

“School districts can no longer afford to spend money on unnecessary expenditures, and this is certainly one of those,” said Pennsylvania State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D-Philadelphia).

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:24 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Looking at the Achievement Gap, Students Still Left Behind

Dr. Pedro Noguera
Credit University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education

When the No Child Left Behind program was implemented in 2002, it had an overall goal of closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged student groups and well-off students and making schools and teachers accountable for the performance of their students on new math and reading standardized tests.

More than a decade later, the program has not had the desired results, says Pedro Noguera, the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University. Students and schools in lower income areas continue to not do as well on standardized tests as students in more affluent areas.

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Higher Education
2:29 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Study Shows Education Grows Economies

Not only is state investment in education beneficial to students, but also it can help regions grow their economies, according to a new study by the Economic Analysis Research Network (EARN), a coalition of national and state think tanks.

The study followed state wage increases and productivity growth from 1979 to 2012. It found that high-wage states have a more educated workforce, and states can build those workforces through expanded access to low-cost two- and four-year colleges.

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Education
5:40 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Federal Waiver Paves Way for State-Designed Criteria for Judging Schools

The waiver Pennsylvania received from the federal No Child Left Behind education law paves the way for a state-designed set of criteria for judging schools.

The federal mandate that all students must be able to read and do math at their grade level by this year won't apply. Corbett administration officials say it would have been too high a hurdle for many school districts.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:33 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Phase 4 Learning Centers Serve As Last Chance High Schools

Phase 4 Learning Centers have helped troubled students get a chance to excel in a different environment.
Credit Phase 4 Learning Center

Phase 4 Learning Centers are often referred to as last chance high schools by many, but to Phase 4’s founder, Terrie Suica Reed, it’s also their best chance for many troubled students to find success in their high school careers.

Though many students who come into her program come from broken homes or are even homeless, Reed stands firm in her belief that “with the right support, the right network, they can do anything they want to do.”

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Education
10:41 am
Tue August 6, 2013

State Education Officials Try to Clear the Air Over PA Common Core

Corbett administration officials are waging a clean-up campaign to try to dispel some of what they call false claims about new Common Core educational measures the state plans to implement this fall.
   
Carolyn Dumaresq, with the state Department of Education, said the new measures will bring no mandated curricula or reading lists, and no nationally dictated tests.

She spoke to state lawmakers in an attempt to explain the new standards, which she says received the most intense public feedback on the standards in the past few months.

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Education
11:26 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Homeroom Heroes Gives Supplies to Students

Some heroes can fly and some heroes have superhuman strength, but thousands of children in Pennsylvania need a hero with the power to give them the supplies they need to learn.

The Education Partnership’s Homeroom Heroes program is working to provide students with simple supplies like pencils, paper and glue.

“Our focus here is to get school supplies into the hands of kids that need them, and we serve Allegheny and the five surrounding counties,” program spokeswoman Katherine Harrell said.

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Education
5:42 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Speaker Discusses Effective Policies for Educating Young Black Males

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center on Race and Social Problems hosted a program Wednesday called “A Call to Conscience:  Effective Policies and Practices in Educating African American Males.”

The keynote speaker was John Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education in Cambridge, Mass., who said research is clear that races are 99.6 percent the same genetically, so differences in educational performance must be caused by social policies and practices.

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State Budget
5:46 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Poll Shows Voters Support More State Education Funding

An education funding advocacy group says it has polling data that shows Pennsylvanians place public education high on their priority list and would not mind paying higher income or sales taxes to better support school.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commissioned the Lake Researcher Partners poll.

The poll found that 56 percent of all respondents have a favorable opinion of public schools, and 48 percent said they were very concerned about funding for the schools.

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Pre-school learning
7:37 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Report Says Libraries, Museums Support Early Learning Efforts

In case you had doubts that buildings full of borrow-able books and artwork are a good thing, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and The Campaign for Grade-Level Reporting has released a report that says they are. 

Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners was released on Thursday and discusses ways libraries and museums are supporting children.

Study author Mimi Howard said the goal of this paper was to focus on the development of early literacy skills by using these public resources.

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Linking Students
7:25 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Video Conference Unites Students on Three Continents

High school students from the Pittsburgh area participating in the World Affairs Council Summer Summit watch a video link as students in South Africa describe a typical school day.
Credit Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Discrimination, school funding and teen pregnancy grabbed the attention of high school students from around the world who gathered for a World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh-sponsored video conference Wednesday.

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