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Pittsburgh Public Schools considers changes to district’s sex education policy

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence:

Pittsburgh Public Schools board to vote on revisions for sexuality education policy  
(0:00 - 7:39)

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Public Schools board will vote on revising the district’s sexuality education policy, which hasn’t been updated in more than a decade.

Under the current district’s policy, abstinence must be emphasized as the “expected norm” and school’s are not required to teach a fully comprehensive curriculum regarding sexual orientation. The proposed policy is meant to add more inclusive language.

“The goal that has been stated is to empower students to be able to make these decisions about their own sexual health and reduce stigma and shame surrounding these conversations,” says Sarah Schneider, WESA’s education reporter.

If board members accept these changes, implementations to the sexuality education policy will be immediate.

Three-year research project will look at solving societal differences
(7:55 - 17:10)

After receiving a more than $2 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, a research team at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Governance and Markets is looking into how societies can manage, and potentially overcome polarization and social divisions.

“What’s motivating a lot of this work is this notion of diversity and how much diversity brings to the table and diversity of worldviews, diversity of lived experiences, diversity of every kind of diversity.” says Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Governance and Markets director and co-investigator of this project. “Research is showing how diversity really contributes to so many positive outcomes. The question is, how can we govern it and how do people govern this more effectively to bring positive social outcomes for all, in ways that people feel respected?”

Murtazashvili says researchers will aim to establish tolerance-based solutions for these challenges.

A U.S. Supreme Court case will decide if state legislators can have unchecked power in future elections
(17:20 - 22:30)

Most voters have probably never heard of the independent state legislature doctrine. The Republican-backed theory says state legislators have sole power to set election rules and draw political maps, without a court review. Now, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court could give legislators elected this year unchecked power over elections to come. WESA's Chris Potter spoke to Tom Wolf, a deputy director with the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, about what that would mean.

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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