Three school districts north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are litigating over new guidelines enjoined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) directing teachers and students to adhere to progressive ideology.
Representing Laurel School District, Mars Area School District and Penncrest School District as well as teachers and families in those jurisdictions, attorneys for the nonprofit Thomas More Society contend that the instructions violate both the state and federal constitutions.
Liberal groups aligned with the Washington consulting firm Arabella Advisors have spent over $1 million to support attacks on school choice in Pennsylvania, joining public employee unions that have pumped tens of thousands of dollars into targeting charter schools.
An organization called Education Voters of Pennsylvania has published a series of articles and reports critical of the state Legislature’s funding of charter schools in general and so-called cybercharter schools in particular.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 37.3 percent of students in grades 3 through 11 met the grade-level “proficient” standard for mathematics in statewide testing for the 2022 school year. Only 55 percent measured up in literature/language arts and 63.7 in science.
To put these results in perspective, just two years earlier, 45.4 percent performed at grade level in math, while 62.4 met the standard in literature and 66.4 did so in science.
Twenty Republican members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week called on acting Pennsylvania Education Secretary Eric Hagarty to reverse controversial state guidelines concerning schools’ treatment of sex and gender.
On a webpage titled “Creating Gender-Inclusive Schools and Classrooms,” the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) calls “binary gender,” e.g., the idea that gender and biological sex are properly denoted as either “male” or “female,” a “faulty concept.” The document also suggests that teachers host a “gender-neutral day” for students above the second grade wherein kids would identify ways in which they will eschew gender stereotypes on that day. Elsewhere, the guidance counsels teachers to ask a student his or her gender identity before assuming the right pronouns by which to call the child.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) on Tuesday denounced guidelines the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has outlined for the treatment of controversial gender issues in public schools.
The senator, who is running for governor against Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, particularly objected to recommendations that teachers consider utilizing nonconventional pronouns like “ne, ve, ze and xe” that some who claim to be neither male nor female have begun using to refer to themselves. Mastriano also criticized Governor Tom Wolf (D) and PDE for denying the link between biological sex and the gendered terms (i.e., male and female) that correspond to it.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced on Friday that his Secretary of Education Noe Ortega is stepping down and that Wolf’s Deputy Chief of Staff Eric Hagarty will replace him.
The administration said Ortega will be presently dedicating his free time to his family and mulling potential next career steps.
A Republican lawmaker is pressing the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to explain the use of material featuring characters called “Genderbread Person” and “the Gender Unicorn.”
A week ago, State Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Ellwood City) sent a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of Education (PDE) Noe Ortega asking about a diagram apparently distributed by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that depicts the two figures.
A regulatory review panel on Monday approved numerous new administrative rules imposed by Pennsylvania’s executive branch on charter schools, a move the institutions did not welcome.
Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) Chair George Bedwick, Commissioner Murray Ufberg and Commissioner Dennis Watson, all appointed to the board by Democratic state officials, voted in favor of the new regulations. Vice Chair John Mizner and Commissioner John Soroko, both Republican appointees, voted in opposition.
Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives Education Committee Tuesday issued a letter opposing new regulations Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has imposed on the state’s charter schools.
All 15 Republicans on the committee voted to authorize the letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) while all 10 Democrats voted against it. Majority Chairman Curt Sonney (R-Erie) said the panel is not voicing opposition to every new rule on the list published last month but merely those that frustrate reputable charter schools’ ability to operate.
Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) called on the Pennsylvania Department of Education to release the scores of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) for students throughout the state.
The test, which is a “standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment which provides students, parents, educators and citizens with an understanding of student and school performance related to the attainment of proficiency of the academic standards,” measures scores in English language arts, mathematics, and science and technology.