Graduation

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Pennsylvania high school students may soon be facing a new test on civics knowledge, but they won't have to pass it in order to graduate.

The House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for a bill that mandates a locally developed test of U.S. history, government and civics.

Those who get a perfect score will qualify for a certificate developed by the state Education Department.

Schools will have to report how many students were deemed to have passed the test.

Supporters say there's an alarming lack of civics knowledge among American adults.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Mia Mitchell jumped out of her chair and waved her hands in the air pointing to her Lincoln University T-shirt when a Pittsburgh Public Schools administrator read the name of the school she will attend this fall.

The Pittsburgh Promise and PPS hosted the second Senior Signing Day in Oakland to celebrate the future plans of more than 1,000 students.

More than 150 institutions of higher learning were listed Thursday morning, each punctuated with student cheers.

Mitchell plans to study criminal justice.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Before school starts at 7:30 a.m., Daunteeka Smith drops her daughter off at the Early Head Start Center on the first floor of Westinghouse High School.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Public Schools students are graduating from high school at lower rates than the national average, according to state and national reports.

Bastiaan Slabbers / Newsworks

Pennsylvania continues to wrestle with an essential question for the future of its people and its economy: What should a high school diploma mean, and what should it take to earn one?

Alberto G. / Flickr

 

Pennsylvania is moving to delay the use of exams as a graduation requirement for high school students starting next year.

The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to postpone the requirement for two years, and Gov. Tom Wolf says he'll sign the bill. The bill has already passed the House unanimously.

The requirement won approval from the State Board of Education in 2013. But under the bill, the requirement now would take effect in the 2018-19 academic year.

About a dozen states have such a requirement.

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In 2008 the Pittsburgh Promise began offering scholarships to area high school students. Since then 1,084 scholarship recipients have graduated from college.

While the program is having its successes, it isn’t without critics who say it hasn’t resulted in any meaningful improvement in academic achievement.

Joining us for a conversation about the organization, which recently delivered its annual report is Pittsburgh Promise executive director Saleem Ghubril.

When the first graduates from the Duquesne University School of Law received their diplomas, Woodrow Wilson was president and baseball legend Babe Ruth was just making his major league debut.

That was 1914. Now, the 100th graduating class is preparing to take the stage.

Ken Gormley, dean of the Duquesne University School of Law, said there are a lot of similarities between the two graduating classes.