Push For PA Graduation Standard Delayed Once Again

Nov 19, 2017
Alberto G / flickr

governortomwolf / Flickr

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - The Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would alter a wide range of state policies related to public education — including the weakening of seniority protections for teachers. 

The chamber agreed to the omnibus school code bill, as passed last week by the House of Representatives, by a vote of 35 to 15.  Now it will go before Gov. Tom Wolf, who says he has “serious concerns” about some of its provisions.

Emily Cohen, WHYY

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - Public education advocates gathered Wednesday in Southeastern Pennsylvania to celebrate a recent state Supreme Court ruling that has cleared the way for a challenge to the state’s system of funding schools.


The Chancellor of the State University of New York is defending a SUNY board committee’s decision to lower some requirements for teachers at some charter schools. 

knittymarie / Flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Days after negotiations to balance Pennsylvania's late budget collapsed completely, lawmakers, the governor, and their staffers are still trading barbs over social media--and in more formal ways, too.  

Nearly 80 House Republicans have signed a petition demanding Wolf issue approval letters to businesses for tax credits that go toward scholarships. The money is past-due under state law.

Both the Republicans and Democratic Wolf administration blame the problem on budget discord. 

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - Governor Andrew Cuomo says  that approximately 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students, more than 210,000 New York residents, are going to school tuition-free thanks to the addition of students receiving the Excelsior Scholarship. Nearly 22,000 students will be getting that new scholarship.


KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - Every state in the U.S. was required to submit a proposal to the federal government by last week on how it will comply with the new federal education law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  

It’s still unclear just how many students applied for and will be awarded the state’s new Excelsior Scholarship announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year.

Kevin McCorry, Keystone Crossroads

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - For years in Pennsylvania, school funding coming from state government was criticized as being irrational, unpredictable, and too-tied to backroom politics. That's a large part of why many celebrated last year when the state adopted a newstudent-weighted school funding formula built entirely on objective data.

Senate Democrats / flickr

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says the average teacher in New York State spends $485 dollars a year out of their own pocket for classroom supplies. But only about half of all teachers are taking advantage of the "Teacher Expense Deduction," which became a permanent part of the tax code in 2015. 

The state Board of Regents is taking steps to make it easier for teachers to become certified in New York. But the state education commissioner denies that it’s a lessening of requirements.

Emma Lee, WHYY

(KEYSTONE CROSSROADS) - A new study finds that expanding the charter school sector in Pennsylvania creates a significant toll on traditional public school systems, which, based on an array of fixed costs, can't downsize at the same rate that students leave.  

As schools across New York welcome students back for another year, they continue to grapple with the ongoing teacher shortage. The inability to find qualified applicants for certain subjects has left many districts without certified teachers.

That doesn't mean no one is teaching those subjects. Paul Heiser, a senior research analyst with NYSSBA, says it just means that the school district had to hire a teacher for that class who isn't certified in the subject.

Many students are returning back to school this week and law enforcement in central New York is issuing a reminder for drivers to stay alert. Drivers can expect more school buses on the road and school speed zones to be in effect.

Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway said the beginning of school marks an exciting and dangerous time for students. He said drivers need to pay attention to the speed limit in school zones. 

Kimberly Paynter

Nearly two months after the state's budget deadline, lawmakers still haven't reached a consensus on how to pay for the spending plan they authorized in June. Gov. Tom Wolf warned lawmakers this week that continued inaction will mean that, by mid-September, the state won't have cash on hand to meet some of its obligations. 

sayholatotravis / Flickr

The State University of New York board members overseeing charter schools are in the midst of a public comment period on whether charter school teachers should be allowed to have fewer qualifications than public school teachers.

Fort Worth Squatch / Flickr

The results of this year’s Common Core-related standardized tests show scores for New York’s schoolchildren inching up. 

audiolucistore / Flickr

Teachers across New York State are gearing up for the start of the new school year. However, the President of the state’s teachers union - New York State United Teachers’ Andy Pallotta - said controversy over the Common Core learning standards is not quite over yet.

Shorter Standardized Tests Coming To PA Schools

Aug 15, 2017
Chad McDermott

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - The Wolf administration is making changes to standardized testing in Pennsylvania elementary schools. Governor Tom Wolf said Monday that the changes will mean students spending at least 20 percent less time on state exams. 

Jessica Kourkounis for Keystone Crossroads

(KEYSTONE CROSSROADS) A powerful coalition of Pennsylvania lawmakers is promoting a forthcoming education savings account (ESA) bill that would allow hundreds of thousands of students in the state to use public money to pay for private school tuition.  

Jessica Kourkounis for Keystone Crossroads

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a draft of its plan to comply with the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Under the new law, states were given more leeway in how to set education policy and spend federal public school dollars. The most notable news within the report was the announcement that PDE plans to unveil a new school quality metric in 2018 that it believes will foster a more holistic student experience, one less narrowly focused on state standardized tests. 

Jessica Kourkounis for Keystone Crossroads

(KEYSTONE CROSSROADS) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court delivered a ruling this week that gives traditional public school districts more power to limit charter school growth. 

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - A group of state lawmakers are introducing a bill they say would give students in Pennsylvania's lowest-performing schools more options for their education. 

Lindsey Lazarski, WHYY

(KEYSTONE CROSSROADS) - Much of the debate in Harrisburg this summer has been centered on how Pennsylvania should overcome its $2.2 billion deficit. But, as usual, there has also been a great deal of focus on issues related to public school funding and policy. 

Brad Larrison for NewsWorks

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - The Pennsylvania Department of Education will unveil a new school quality metric in 2018 — dubbed the Future Ready PA Index — that it believes will foster a more holistic student experience, one less narrowly focused on state standardized tests. 

Tom Magnarelli, WRVO

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - Tensions are high between the Onondaga Nation and the LaFayette School District, which runs the Onondaga Nation pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school. The Onondaga Nation wants a bigger say in how the school operates. 

Alex Crichton, WXXI

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - New York's Education Commissioner told a gathering of school, district, and BOCES administrators that while the state has made progress in areas like curriculum and assessments, much more work remains to be done. 

Mary Esch / AP Photo

Tuesday saw dramatic testimony in the hearing on whether former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino should be ousted from the Buffalo school board. Paladino took the stand and apologized for racist comments he made last December regarding President and Mrs. Obama.

David Duprey / AP Photo


A hearing on whether 2010 gubernatorial candidate and Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino should be thrown off his city’s school board began Thursday at the state education department in Albany. 

Kevin McCorry, Keystone Crossroads

A telecom technician by trade, Schuylkill County homeowner Ron Boltz is not your typical suit-and-tie Harrisburg lobbyist. He's a self-taught policy wonk who walks the halls of the Capitol in jeans and polo shirt — burning endless vacation days in an effort to convince lawmakers to abandon nearly 200 years of history and reimagine the state's tax structure and school finance scheme.