Education

We cover how our residents are growing and learning, starting from pre-K, through higher education, and beyond, into adulthood. 

Coverage of education in western Pennsylvania on 90.5 WESA is supported by a generous grant from
The Grable Foundation.

Commonwealth Media Services

The head of Pennsylvania’s public university system said Wednesday he is committed to combating racism on campus but conceded he has not studied how the system itself has historically perpetuated inequity, and how that could inform possible solutions.

Seth Wenig / AP

A state policy change will leave thousands of children with autism without the regular therapy that helps them learn crucial skills.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Jadyn Gibson’s African-American literature class spent last Thursday discussing the foreshadowing and tension they had felt building during President Donald Trump’s administration.

PA Pushes Schools To Reopen

Jan 7, 2021
Office of Gov. Tom Wolf

Pennsylvania nudged school districts to reopen elementary schools Thursday by changing its official guidance.

Francisco Seco / AP

On today's program: Pittsburgh Public Schools administrators are assessing when to bring some students back to schools; A local environmental advocacy group weighs in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s updated rules for lead and copper and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s work on reducing lead in drinking water; and Erie voters with differing political views discuss the results of the general election.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet says he wants students back in classrooms, learning in front of teachers. But’s hard to pinpoint when that will happen for most of the district’s 22,000 students who have been learning remotely since March.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

new report from Research for Action shows that school police presence has increased across Allegheny County over the past five years, despite efforts by some districts to reduce school policing.

Scott Sonner / AP

On today's program: We catch up with three Pittsburgh-area superintendents we spoke with in August about how their districts have managed the pandemic; The Pittsburgh Promise has given out 10,000 scholarships, and the organization is looking at becoming more equitable during the pandemic; Experts answer how the U.S.’s international image impacts economics and how a fertilized egg becomes a human


provided / Chatham University

For 20 years Stefani Danes has attempted to start a sustainable cohousing community in Pittsburgh.

As The Gap Between Students And Teachers Of Color Widens In PA, Black Families Demand Change

Dec 21, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

When Ashley Dawson was in first grade, she was one of only a few Black students at Walnut Street Elementary in Darby.

But in fifth grade, her teacher, principal and assistant principal at the Delaware County school were all Black women. It’s what inspired Dawson, who now works as a family involvement coordinator at a cyber charter, to pursue a career in education.

She was sitting in assembly when she first saw Principal Renee Musgrove and Assistant Principal Ivy Brown.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors on Wednesday approved a $673.8 million 2021 budget. But the board declined to raise taxes on district residents in an effort to fill a widening budget deficit.

The COVID Vaccine Is Here — What Does That Mean For PA Schools?

Dec 15, 2020
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

With one COVID-19 vaccine now in emergency use — and potentially more to follow — Pennsylvania’s weary teachers, parents, and students can see a path back towards normalcy.

A vaccine, if effective, could make in-person schooling substantially safer and lead to thousands of children reentering classrooms for the first time since mid-March.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

About 1,000 students – 700 from Pittsburgh Public Schools – have spent the past few months logging into their online classes and completeing their homework in churches, community centers, YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

There are about 400 fewer kindergarten students attending Pittsburgh Public Schools this year compared to last and district administrators say they don’t know why.

Pat Wellenbach / AP

New data from Pennsylvania’s Department of Education shows that the pandemic has caused a small, but significant enrollment decline at traditional public schools, while increasing the share of cyber charter students.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A campaign to unionize educators is underway at one of the region’s largest charter school networks, but organizers say administrators have tried to thwart the effort.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The city’s public school district is evaluating program cuts, workforce reductions and school closures to address its $34 million budget shortfall.

Philly-Area School District’s Commitment To In-Person Classes Tested By COVID Surge

Dec 2, 2020
Matt Smith for Keystone Crossroads

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Superintendent William Harner roved Quakertown Senior High School looking for trouble.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: Pittsburgh Public School administrators say assessments have to be reconsidered in a pandemic; The POISE Foundation’s latest “Pulse Report” finds a disproportionate amount of high poverty and Black students in fully remote learning; The pandemic is making the digital divide all the more obvious; and two professors take on questions about sleep and computers.

90.5 WESA

On today's program: David Dausey from Duquesne University outlines precautions for keeping students and families safe ahead of the holidays; A judge has ruled to count ballots cast in a hotly contested state senate race; and scientists have modified the American chestnut to survive blight, but some disagree GMO trees are the answer.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

As of late September, 336 students, or about 1.5 percent of Pittsburgh Public Schools students, had not logged into the district’s online learning platform for remote instruction, or been reached by school staff.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: A+ School’s latest report questions systemic inequities and where they can be resolved in public schools; Local resettlement organizations are preparing to support more refugees; and Marisel Vera’s new novel follows a Puerto Rican family that immigrated to Hawai’i.

KEITH SRAKOCIC / AP

Officials have disciplined a western Pennsylvania high school because of costumes worn by some members of its marching band that were perceived as blackface.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools students and staff who returned to buildings this week for the first time since March will again return to learning and teaching from home on Monday.

Teachers Union: More Pennsylvania Schools Should Go Virtual

Nov 12, 2020
Jae C. Hong / AP

With coronavirus running rampant, a suburban Philadelphia county said Wednesday that it will consider ordering schools to pause in-person instruction for two weeks. The state’s largest teachers union, meanwhile, demanded that school districts in nearly two dozen counties with the worst outbreaks tell students to temporarily learn from home.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The University of Pittsburgh is caught in a complicated balancing act of trying to educate students while keeping the community and students’ home communities safe.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Wolf administration plans to stay the course and leave key decisions about how schools will teach during the pandemic up to school boards.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

After two days of public testimony, multiple amendments and hours of discussion, the Pittsburgh Public Schools board voted Wednesday to delay the return of in-person learning for most students.

Pennsylvania Schools Need An Additional $4.6 Billion To Close Education Gaps, New Analysis Finds

Oct 28, 2020
Heather Khalifa / Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania’s public school children are being shortchanged by $4.6 billion — and those in the poorest school districts, who have fallen the furthest behind, are owed the most, according to a new analysis commissioned by advocates seeking to overhaul the state’s education funding system.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Nearly 50 teachers and parents asked the city school district’s board Monday to reconsider its plan to return students to classrooms in-person on November 9.

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