school choice

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Emerson Botts is full energy in the morning. Skipping down the sidewalk on the three-block walk to her school, she tells her mom how sad she is that the school year is ending.

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.

Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey joined 49 of his fellow Republicans in confirming Betsy DeVos as education secretary Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement released before his vote, Toomey said he was pleased to vote in favor of the school choice advocate.

“Because of Betsy’s work to expand charter schools, virtual schools, school choice, tuition tax credits and education savings accounts, hundreds of thousands of children who had been trapped in failing schools have been able to access a quality education,” Toomey wrote.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Fae Kenney is considering moving her children to a charter school.

Her children are in the McKeesport Area School District. She said when they come home at the end of the day and she asks what they learned, she doesn’t like their answers.

“My youngest child, her school is more one-on-one with her, so she always has something to say about school,” she said. “My other two are just, ‘Well, we just learned whatever the teacher put on the board.’”

Considering pulling them from their neighborhood public schools is a complicated and stressful decision, she said.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Eleven-year-old gymnast Danielle Norris is practicing a roundoff back tuck dismount for her balance beam routine. She has a meet coming up soon, and later this month she's competing in the state championship. Danielle’s mom, Karen Norris, says she practices about 22 hours a week.

“When Danielle was first invited to join the team and they told us the amount of hours that were involved, we were a little taken aback by that,” Norris said. “That was fourth grade.”