Pennsylvania Department of Education

Education
7:59 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Change in GED Exam Requirement Helps Those Already in Process of Obtaining GED

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.

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.

Now, that has been changed.

Read more
Education
2:28 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Department of Education Awards $2.6 Million in 'Safe Schools' Grants

“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.

The Department of Education awarded a total of $2.6 million to implement programs to prevent and reduce incidents of violence in schools.

Read more
School Safety
3:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

$3.9M Program to Help PA Districts Hire Police Officers Underway

A $3.9 million state grant program that will assist Pennsylvania school districts in hiring police officers has officially begun.

The program is awarding districts with money that must be used to strengthen school safety procedures.

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.

Read more
SchoolWATCH
12:43 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

How Is Your School Spending Its Money? The Answer Could Soon Be Online

How are Pennsylvania school districts spending your tax money?

SchoolWATCH, a bill aimed at answering that question, was approved by the House of Representatives Monday.

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.

The legislation’s author, Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), said they want to create an “easy-to-use” database.

Read more
School Transparency
3:10 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

New Bills Push for School Spending Transparency

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’s public schools’ finances.

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.

Christiana said every public school’s expenditures, including charter and cyber schools, would be searchable online.

Read more
Education
5:12 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Pennsylvania Common Core Standards on Hold, Pending State Board Review

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.

Read more
Standardized Testing
11:09 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Corbett Orders Short Delay to Tweak Common Core

Gov. Tom Corbett has ordered a delay in the adoption of new high stakes standardized tests for public schools in Pennsylvania.

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.

But Education Department spokesman Tim Eller says the postponement won’t result in any major changes.

Read more
Education
1:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

State Lawmaker Wants to Keep Track Of Financially Distressed School Districts

A state senator has said he wants information about financially ailing school districts so the state can help out before it’s too late.

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.

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.

Read more
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.

Education
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.

Read more
PennCAN
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.

Read more
Keystone Exam
3:30 am
Mon March 25, 2013

After Years of Debate, Keystone Exams Get Passed

After more than four years of debate and revision, the Keystone Exam will more than likely be coming to schools across Pennsylvania.

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.

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.

Read more
Education & Learning
10:05 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Education Secretary Wants to Cut Backlog of Complaints

The head of the Pennsylvania Department of Education is looking for a way to solve a buildup of complaints against schoolteachers. 

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 fee.

Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said the funds will help clear up a pile of roughly 500 cases in which teachers face misconduct allegations.

Read more