Education

Amy Sisk / 90.5 WESA

The 2,400 teachers who work for Pittsburgh Public Schools are one step closer to a strike, but will hold off doing so as the union representing them continues to negotiate with the district. 

Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers / submitted

The vast majority of members of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers who voted Monday authorized the union to call a strike.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

A new after-school program targeting Pittsburgh’s refugee students aims to bridge the gap of English language learning in schools. The pilot program launches in Crafton Heights this week.

A Library Without Books? Universities Purging Dusty Volumes

Feb 7, 2018
Michael Rubinkam / AP

A library without books? Not quite, but as students abandon the stacks in favor of online reference material, university libraries are unloading millions of unread volumes in a nationwide purge that has some print-loving scholars deeply unsettled.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before school starts at 7:30 a.m., Daunteeka Smith drops her daughter off at the Early Head Start Center on the first floor of Westinghouse High School.

Black Tech Nation

Kelauni Cook wants to address every inch of the pipeline for black technology professionals.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A statewide audit has found a number of school districts across Pennsylvania have employed bus drivers that should be banned from the job—and still more have drivers that aren’t properly cleared.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the problem may be a communication breakdown between school districts and the bus companies they contract with.

His office’s report found 10 bus drivers whose criminal convictions should have barred them from their jobs. One had a felony assault charge.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers sent ballots to its 3,000 members Monday asking teachers, paraprofessionals and clerical workers for authorization to call a strike.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has changed his mind regarding a high-profile school funding lawsuit.

More than three years after a coalition of districts and advocates first sued the state, Wolf now says the courts should determine whether the commonwealth’s education funding system violates the state constitution.

And he thinks that decision should come sooner rather than later.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Quaker Valley School police officer Aaron Vanatta walks through the hallways of the middle school in Sewickley pointing out measures he has taken to secure the building.

A group of officers from around the country trail behind him. He's sharing anecdotes that demonstrate what he’s learned, such as the importance of the cork boards above the tiled walls cluttered with posters of the school motto and student artwork. 

“So you’ll see in the whole school, they let the kids put stuff up, so they’ve taken ownership in the building and they aren’t going to damage it,” he said.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Pittsburgh macroeconomist Marvin Goodfriend is still awaiting official Senate confirmation this week to help lead the nation's central banking system.

Gretchen Ertl / AP

The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's 14-university state higher education system says it's approved six new degree programs to address workforce needs.

The State System of Higher Education said Thursday the new degree programs target fields where there currently aren't enough qualified employees to fill job openings.

The three new bachelor's degrees and three new master's degrees will begin in the fall.

Phalinn Ooi / Flickr

Suburban Pittsburgh high school students will not be getting extra sleep, for now.

The North Allegheny School Board on Wednesday tabled a proposal on whether to change the start of the high school from 7:25 a.m. to 8 a.m. The board says it needs to study the costs associated with bus routes that would be affected by the change.

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A policy proposal from the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center aims to cover tuition and fees for eligible recent high school graduates who attend community college or a state university.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Now that US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved Pennsylvania’s 13-year education-improvement plan, state officials are working on rolling out some changes.

The updated plan is designed to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the Obama-era Every Student Succeeds Act. It’s the commonwealth’s first comprehensive update since 2002.

One key change? Broadening how school success is measured.

Historic Blacksmith Shop In Johnstown To Reopen As School

Jan 13, 2018
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

From the 1860s until the 1990s, the powerful, industrial sound of metal striking metal - minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade - sounded throughout the blacksmith shop by the Conemaugh River in Johnstown.

Tiffini Simoneaux / City of Pittsburgh

More than a fifth of Pittsburgh’s three- and four-year-olds are not in high quality preschool programs.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

This year, Avonworth High School students arrived at their first period, for the most part, after sunrise.

The district recently shifted its first period start time from 7:15 to 8 a.m., and Superintendent Thomas Ralston said his students now pass what he calls "the eye test."

“You can see that kids are coming to school, and they’re awake. They’re coming in when it’s light outside,” he said. “Our faculty have reported that kids are more attentive in class … and faculty feel more prepared.”

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On the last Friday in 2017, about two dozen young children are gathered at the Hatch Art Studio in Point Breeze. School is out for the holidays and 7-year old Rachel Collura is spending the day here at a day camp.

Most Big Public Colleges Don't Track Suicides

Jan 2, 2018
Beth J. Harpaz / AP

Most of the largest U.S. public universities do not track suicides among their students, despite making investments in prevention at a time of surging demand for mental health services.

Tabulating student suicides comes with its own set of challenges and problems. But without that data, prevention advocates say, schools have no way to measure their success and can overlook trends that could offer insight to help them save lives.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

It’s been a eventful news year in the Steel City, from hospital booms to repeated flush and boil orders to President Trump's impact on Pennsylvania.

Emma Lee / WHYY

After abandoning plans to end the tax deduction for student loans, Republicans in the U.S. House are moving forward with a highly partisan proposal that would revamp the federal government’s student loan programs.

Dubbed the PROSPER Act, it’s intended to simplify the student loan process by consolidating some confusing government loan programs while also removing some regulations. The bill also calls for doing away with the decade-old Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that wipes out college debt for public servants after they put in 10 years on the job.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Jayda Rogers is a three-sport athlete who earns As and Bs in her classes at Shroder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. The senior wants to go to college to study public affairs and eventually start her own nonprofit organization.

90.5 WESA

The state Senate Education Committee is making a mid-session personnel change—switching out one Republican senator for another.

Erie County Republican Senator Dan Laughlin is officially moving from the Education Committee to the Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee.

His replacement has been announced as Rich Alloway, a fellow Republican from Franklin County.

Jim Mone / AP

A contentious proposal to let students use state money to pay for private school is getting another chance to make it onto the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 2 would create education savings accounts—a similar concept to private school vouchers—that would let students in the lowest-performing public schools use the money the state would have spent on their education for alternative school options, as well as related expenses like textbooks.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

When Dave Breingan walks into the gym at Arsenal Middle School during an after school program, about a dozen kids immediately run up to him and say, "hi!"

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About two dozen graduate students chanted "kill the bill" outside the Cathedral of Learning on Wednesday. Many teach undergraduate classes or assist with research in exchange for waived tuition or a stipend. 

Pennsylvania Ranks Third-Highest In Public University Tuition

Nov 27, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania has some of the most expensive public universities in the country, and an annual report from the College Board showing the cost of higher education is rising.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Teachers in Pennsylvania's capital city are asking for support after a series of violent altercations with students has led to multiple resignations.

The Harrisburg Education Association says at least 45 teachers have resigned since July and October. Association President Jody Barksdale says more have resigned since then.

Speaking at a school board meeting Monday evening, first-grade teacher Amanda Sheaffer says she has been hit and kicked by her students.

Keith Srakocic / AP


Allegheny County has adopted a new comprehensive policy regarding the treatment of pregnant inmates—a result of a suit filed against the county alleging cruel and unusual punishment of five women who were placed in solitary confinement for minor infractions.

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