Education

Judge Throws Out Spanier Conviction, Pa. Attorney General Will Appeal

Apr 30, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Updated Wednesday, 12:11pm

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today he intends to appeal the judge's decision to overturn Spanier's conviction.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out former Penn State President Graham Spanier's child-endangerment conviction, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to jail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, issued a decision late Tuesday that gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier.

Wideline Seraphin and Ana Díaz.
Jim Carlson / Penn State College of Education

 

 

Since 2014, Wideline Seraphin and Ana Díaz have been collecting narratives from members of marginalized communities about their experiences living in State College and Centre County. A few of these stories will be featured in the mini-documentary “Schooling Narratives,” which focuses on the experiences of three families in the State College Area School District.

Seraphin said the student narratives have been used at the State College Area High School to rethink inclusion in a classroom space.

Tamaqua parent Rebecca Kowalski criticizes the school board's new policy that would authorize the training and arming of some teachers and staff.
Matt Smith for Keystone Crossroads

Nearly three hours into a special meeting about a policy that would ask some staff at the Tamaqua Area School District to carry guns, parent Liz Pinkey read aloud a letter from educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

They had written to the Pennsylvania State Senate last year, when lawmakers were debating a bill to allow personnel with concealed carry permits to be armed on school property.

More Than Half Of Pa. Public Schools Do Not Have A Teacher Of Color

Oct 31, 2018
Sharif El-Mekki, principal of Mastery Shoemaker Elementary in Philadelphia, founded a group that seeks to boost the number of black male educators. Here pictured in front of his school with two students.
Emma Lee/WHYY

More than 60 years after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, an analysis of state data shows persistently stark disparities between the racial composition of teachers and students in Pennsylvania’s schools — among the widest gaps in the country.

Just 5.6 percent of Pennsylvania’s teachers are persons of color, compared to 33.1 percent of its students.

The data also show 55 percent of the state’s public schools and 38 percent of all school districts employed only white teachers. 

Photo: AP

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A report on safety threats and security concerns in Pennsylvania schools concludes there is a need for better access to mental health services.
The task force led by the governor and elected auditor general released a 46-page report Monday that recommends expanded use of existing mental health programs and better ways to inform parents and students about what is currently available.
The broad findings of the report were made public in June, but the full document was just released and posted online.

A construction vehicle moves earth for the construction of the new Rogers Stadium for Bellefonte Area High School.
Bellefonte Area School District

Bellefonte Area School District is searching for alternate venues for its football team to play as it becomes clearer their home field won't be available for most of this fall's football season. 

In a July 17 meeting broadcast on C-NET, the school board learned that an issue ordering the bleachers for the new stadium would hold up its completion from the previous target date in September to about October 12.

This will likely prevent the Bellefonte Red Raiders from playing any home football games until at least their October 26 matchup with Bald Eagle Area High School.

Members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at a center city rally. The U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday could cripple the political influence of teachers' unions.
(Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a 5-4 decision that public sector union employees can choose not to pay union dues or fees, a move that could damage union finances and limit their political clout.

In Pennsylvania, and nationally, teachers unions could bear the brunt of the court’s ruling.

Gov. Tom Wolf signing an anti-discrimination executive order in April 2016.
Courtesy of Pa. Dept. of General Services

Should private schools that benefit from Pennsylvania’s tax credit programs adhere to the rules of the public system?

That debate often revolves around school accountability because the state does not require private schools to administer and publish the results of standardized tests.

But the question has also cropped up in recent weeks around an entirely different issue — employee discrimination.

Students at an art class in Overbrook High School in Philadelphia in 2016. State Senator Vincent Hughes has cited Overbrook as an example of a school in need of repair.
Emily Cohen for WHYY

Pennsylvania’s system for funding school construction projects is old.

How old, you ask?

Current statute requires school districts submit their proposals in microficheformat.

“[Anything] that mentions microfiche is probably worth revisiting and looking to update,” said Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania’s secretary of education.

Jovan Weaver, principal of Wister Elementary School.
Jessica Kourkounis / WHYY

Season two of the Keystone Crossroads podcast “Schooled” looks at one elementary school in Philadelphia that sparked debate when the district turned it over to a charter organization. WPSU’s Emily Reddy talked with the host of “Schooled,” Kevin McCorry, who followed the school through its first year as a charter school under principal Jovan Weaver.

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania hosted a public hearing in Tioga County on Thursday, hearing from providers and consumers about the lack of broadband access in rural areas.
Min Xian / WPSU

Dr. Robert Gillio is in charge of telemedicine at J.C. Blair Hospital in Huntingdon county.

But he has no internet access at home.

“I can’t get Comcast at my house, two miles from the hospital,” Gillio said. “I want to log in at home and help? I got to drive to the damn hospital to log in to help my patient with telemedicine.”

Farmland on the road that runs between Titusville and Corry School Districts.
Kevin McCorry / Keystone Crossroads

In the past, the Keystone Crossroads reporting project, which WPSU is a part of, has looked at the issues facing education in cities. Kevin McCorry is the education reporter and the editor of the project.

Farmland on the outskirts of the Titusville School District (Kevin McCorry/WHYY)
Kevin McCorry / Keystone Crossroads

They contorted their faces in a howl. With eyes bulging, mouths twisted, veins popping, the Titusville High School senior class, cheerleaders screeching out orders, filled the gymnasium with frenzied intensity as they bellowed out the name of their school mascot, letter by letter — rattling the grandstands and reaching for their maximum decibel.

“What’s that spell?” a girl screamed.

“Rockets!” the seniors answered. “Rockets! Rockets!”

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

The court has spoken, and the Chester Upland School District needs a roadmap toward financial stability.

In a 10-page order released Thursday, Judge Chad Kenney of the Delaware Court of Common Pleas asked Chester Upland receiver Francis Barnes and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to share information about an updated financial recovery plan.

Laura Benshoff / WHYY

 In the Chester Upland School District, local leaders kicked off the new school year with pomp and circumstance. The mayor of Chester gave a speech. Balloons hung in front of Toby Farms Elementary School, where officials greeted families and a DJ played music out back.

The cheery touches provided a backdrop for local officials to put a positive spin on what has been a slew of bad financial news for the district.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Across the state, students are wrapping up internships and summer jobs, signing up for fall classes and preparing for another school year at one of Pennsylvania's 200+ colleges and universities.

But once they graduate, how many of those students will stay in the area where they were educated?

Orchestra
Penn State School of Music

Music at Penn’s Woods, a professional classical music festival presented each June by Penn State’s School of Music, begins tonight on the University Park campus.

“First of all, it’s not as the name suggests,” says conductor Gerardo Edelstein, with a laugh.  He means the concerts are not out in the woods. 

Beyond the Classroom: CarbonEARTH

Jun 10, 2014
Girl doing science experiment
Kelly Tunney / WPSU

Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”  That’s the motivation behind the CarbonEARTH program at Penn State, where graduate students teach science to elementary students.

Ooze from floor
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Tuesday’s election will have more than just primary candidates on the ballot. Voters in the State College school district will decide whether to approve an 85 million dollar referendum to pay for renovations and additions to State College Area High School. Only one school district in Pennsylvania has managed to pass a referendum like this one since Act 1 passed in 2006, capping yearly school tax increases.

A group of teachers at the high school, including English teachers Allison Becker and Jennifer Rand, are pushing for a “yes” vote.