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.

Meet The 'Crazy' Moms Saying One Of PA's Top-Rated School Districts Can't Teach Reading

Apr 18, 2019
Emma Lee / WHYY

The small parent rebellion forming in one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest school districts began at a Starbucks in suburban Chester County.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Sixteen-year-old Isabelle Walker sits at a black lab table wearing a lab coat. She stares down at a petri dish.

“We’re trying to see how different bacterial colonies grow in different conditions,” she said. 

Abby Cartus / Submitted

University of Pittsburgh graduate students begin voting Monday to determine whether the nearly 2,000 student workers will be represented by the United Steelworkers Union.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Nine candidates vying for four seats on the Pittsburgh Public Schools board mostly agree on what the biggest issues are facing the state's second largest school district. The biggest differences are in how they might go about addressing them.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The state Senate is advancing legislation to help Pennsylvania school districts pay for accommodations for students who are homebound due to a serious injury or illness, such as cancer.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Franklin Regional School District's Gennaro Piraino says he's using his platform as Pennsylvania's 2019 Superintendent of The Year to elevate discussion about school security in Pennsylvania. Tuesday marks five years since a sophomore student used knives to injure 20 other students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School. 

Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

Lowered expectations, implicit bias and socioeconomics can all contribute to disparities in academic performance, which the state department of education shows is happening in more than half of all Allegheny County schools. 

Michael Rubinkam / AP

A new policy will give Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities more of a say in what their students will pay in tuition.

New Study Pushes PA To Embrace Trauma-Informed Education

Apr 2, 2019
Emma Lee / WHYY

Research suggests that about half of the county’s children experience at least one traumatic event before the age of 17.

Democratic State Senators Propose Student Loan Debt Relief

Mar 26, 2019
Chris Knight / AP

Three Pennsylvania state senate Democrats are launching a plan to help people with student loan debt. 

Kevin Gavin / 90.5 WESA

Former school superintendent Joe Lagana was walking out of a homeless shelter 20 years ago when he saw a young man writing on the hood of his car. He thought the vehicle was being vandalized, until he spotted the boy's alarmed expression and scribbled paper—he'd been doing his homework. 

Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh has not been named as part of the nation-wide admissions cheating scandal under federal investigation, but that hasn't precluded the school from taking a look at its own admissions policies. Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher called the scandal a teachable moment on Tuesday's episode of The Confluence

'Hard' And 'Soft' School Safety Solutions On Display At Western PA Conference

Mar 18, 2019
Danny Johnston / AP

Before he began his presentation, Pennsylvania state trooper Clifford Greenfield gave a disclaimer: "Please note that the information contained herein is not designed to scare, produce unforeseen paranoia or cause undue worry." 

Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Kathy Wells started her career early. She didn’t get a chance to go to college after graduating from high school in rural, Northwestern Pennsylvania.

In her words, she grew up in a “large family, small area.”  

“Basically, you work,” Wells laughed. “You don’t go to school.”

Collin Binkley / AP

A week after the Art Institute of Pittsburgh abruptly closed, students are left with few local options.

As of January, 230 students attended the Strip District location while nearly 2,000 took courses online, according to the for-profit college.

COLLIN BINKLEY / AP

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh abruptly closed its doors on Friday, leaving faculty and staff unemployed, and students with uncertain futures. 

Abby Cartus / Submitted

University of Pittsburgh graduate students are one step closer to having union representation. 

VIRGINIA ALVINO YOUNG / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Diocese says the wounds created in the church from decades of clergy sexual abuse against minors need healing. Bishop David Zubik released a plan for that process Monday.

Courtesy of Allies for Children

Researchers focused on the state of school breakfasts in Allegheny County report a combined participation rate of 57 percent for free or reduced cost breakfast, just shy of Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide goal of 60 percent participation by 2020. 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

This is one of two parts of our hour-long special, airing at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 1, looking at translation services in western Pennsylvania school districts. The other part is available here.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

This is one of two parts of our hour-long special, airing at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 1, looking at translation services in western Pennsylvania school districts. The other part is available here

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Longtime Penn Hills resident Eugene Berry said he recently advised his daughter and son-in-law to not buy a home in the Penn Hills School District.

He told a room full of more than 200 other community members that he was concerned about the impact the school district’s financial condition would have on the municipality.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

School districts are federally required to provide translation services for all families. But they're also becoming increasingly diverse. WESA reporters Sarah Schneider and Virginia Alvino Young look at how well school districts in western Pennsylvania are doing and what's at stake. 

Hear our hour-long education special Friday, March 1 at 9 a.m. 

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Wednesday that Wilkinsburg School District entered a bad agreement to collect delinquent taxes in 2013, increasing financial difficulties for the already cash-strapped district. DePasquale said the unsuccessful deal lost the district more than $1.2 million; he likened the situation to gambling with public money. 

PA Private School Scholarship Program Considered For Major Expansion

Feb 25, 2019
Emily Cohen / for NewsWorks/WHYY

A tax-break program that routes millions to Pennsylvania private schools could grow much larger if a new bill becomes law.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Investigators hired by the Pittsburgh Public School District say there isn’t enough evidence to determine who signed the name of board representative Kevin Carter on a letter attempting to lure Amazon's HQ2 to Pittsburgh.

 

Bastiaan Slabers / Keystone Crossroads

During a candid budget hearing Thursday, lawmakers heard a bleak tale of Pennsylvania’s system of higher education.

Gettysburg College Trustee Quits Over Nazi Uniform Costume Photo

Feb 20, 2019
Spectrum/Gettysburg College via AP

A Pennsylvania college trustee apologized and announced his resignation Tuesday after a student found a 1980 yearbook photo in which the trustee wore a Nazi uniform costume.

Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs said in an email to the college community that Bob Garthwait decided to step down from the board of trustees.

Garthwait is a financial donor to the college and helped found the Garthwait Leadership Center on campus.

A student brought the photo to the attention of a faculty member last week, and the administration was contacted.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Less than 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the last four Pittsburgh school board elections, according to a coalition of 17 groups trying to get out the vote in the second largest school district in Pennsylvania.

School Threat System Fields Thousands Of Tips In First Month

Feb 18, 2019
Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A threat reporting system now required for all Pennsylvania schools fielded more than 4,900 tips in its first month, about a third of them considered serious enough to pass along to local police and school officials.

The goal of the Safe 2 Say Something program, which funnels tips to an around-the-clock call center at the attorney general's headquarters in Harrisburg, is to respond to troubling behavior, unsafe school situations and anything else tipsters deems appropriate to report.

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