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How Pennsylvania's gubernatorial candidates differ on education priorities

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates differ widely on education plans
(0:00 - 6:51)

Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro and Republican nominee Doug Mastriano have laid out different priorities in their education policies were they to become governor. Shapiro wants to continue increasing public education funding in the state, while Mastriano wants to cut it.

Shapiro’s plan includes continuing Gov. Tom Wolf’s practice of routing money through the state’s fair funding formula. Katie Meyer, political reporter for WHYY, says for some that’s a point of contention.

On the Republican side, Meyer says Mastriano’s proposed plan, among other changes, includes establishing “Education Opportunity Accounts” for parents, which would change how funds follow students through their education.

“Mastriano proposed almost halving the funding for students per student funding across the commonwealth.” says Meyer. “It would change, fundamentally, the way that education works in Pennsylvania.”

Duquesne City School District has created a new esports program
(6:56 - 12:55)

The start of a new school year means a new and updated curriculum for students. At Duquesne City School District’s middle school, this new year brings a new esports program, adding to the district's science, technology, engineering, arts and math (S.T.E.A.M.) curriculum.

“Esports is an arena-lab that we have here in our district, and it teaches students how to code various video games and problem solve and work together,” explains Michelle Stowell, one of the teachers leading the program.

“It uses Xboxes and they're going to compete against other students in other districts [in the games of] Minecraft and Rocket League,” says Marcie Yunkun, a teacher also leading the program.

The class is being offered as a new elective to 16 seventh and eighth graders this semester. Students who complete the program will receive a Microsoft certificate and $2,000 scholarship to attend Robert Morris University.

The Pittsburgh Pirates honor the first Hall of Fame class
(13:01 - 22:30)

The baseball team that would become the Pirates was founded as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1882 and moved from the American Association to the National League in 1887. All these years later, the franchise has now created its own Hall of Fame.

The first class names 19 players, including a dozen Pirates and four Negro League stars already inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

“We thought, well, instead of making the case for a Dick Groat or Wilbur Cooper, Jim Leyland, Barry Bonds, people who aren't in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, we thought, let's just do the Hall of Famers as they are going into the Pirate Hall of Fame to reflect that they were in the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” says Jim Trdinich, the team’s official historian and director of the Pirates Hall of Fame. “Then we thought, Dave Parker and Danny Murtaugh, we've pushed many years for them to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame as well. So they're on the cusp of that.”

The 19th member is Steve Blass, former All Star pitcher, who retired after 60 years with the organization as a player, team ambassador and broadcaster.

The players will be honored with plagues that will be unveiled at Saturday’s game, when the Pirates play the Blue Jays.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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