Millions of student loan borrowers could see up to $20,000 of their debt canceled depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s US Supreme Court hearing on President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.
Several closings were reported ahead of Friday’s expected frigid temperatures.
Pittsburgh’s Action Weather meteorologists have made Friday an Alert Day because of the cold temperatures.
A complete list of school closings and delays can be found here.
City of Pittsburgh residents won’t see an increase in property taxes next year due to Pittsburgh Public Schools. The school board narrowly approved its nearly $680-million-dollar budget in a five-to-four vote. Two board members who voted against the budget said they didn’t support it because it carries a $9 million deficit.
A state legislator wants to make it more difficult for school boards to arbitrarily ban books from school classrooms and libraries.
State Rep. Christopher Rabb’s forthcoming legislation would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education and school board seeking to ban a book to participate in at least two public hearings on the book in question. The hearings would be moderated by professionals with knowledge on the book and its contents, and would be required before a school board vote to ban the book.
“These book bans are an attempt to censor educators and restrict the information and educational materials that students can have access to in school,” Rabb, a Philadelphia Democrat, wrote in a memo to colleagues.
Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration intends to upend a longstanding requirement for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, eliminating the need for applicants to have college credits before they apply and making the police academy count for some of the credits.
The move comes as the number of sworn officers has continued to dwindle since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bureau is fully staffed at 900 sworn officers. As of Friday, the bureau had 841, and officials have previously noted that more than 200 are eligible for retirement.
Pittsburgh Oliver Citywide Academy will continue learning remotely following the assault of a teacher.
A 15-year-old student is facing charges after he allegedly assaulted a teacher in the building on Thursday.
Instead of an emphasis on “sexual abstinence as the expected norm,” the revised policy “stresses that abstinence from sexual activity is the only completely reliable means of preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV when transmitted sexually.”
The revised policy also says that sex education provided by the district “is evidence-based, culturally relevant and inclusive of all students regardless of race, gender, disability, etc.”
A former Pittsburgh teacher has sued the city school district and its board, saying she was improperly fired after she reposted a right-wing commentary critical of the “welfare state” on her personal Facebook page.
Denise Deltondo, who had been a math teacher, vice principal and kindergarten teacher with 27 years in the district, said administrators and the board “outrageously defamed her and stigmatized her as a racist and bigot,” suspended her and then fired her without a fair hearing.
Ms. Deltondo filed the suit Friday in U.S. District Court, alleging the district violated her rights to free speech and due process to defend herself.
Ms. Deltondo, who describes herself as a Donald Trump supporter, shared a post on her personal Facebook account on Aug. 9, 2020, of a clip that she says in her lawsuit “pointed out the hypocrisy of those who rely on public assistance complaining about ‘privilege’ while profligately spending that public assistance and living a life without the responsibility assumed by taxpayers.”
The post, reproduced in the lawsuit, says in part that “privilege is sending your kids to school early for the before-school programs and breakfast, and then keeping them there for the afterschool program…paid for by the people who DO HAVE TO DEAL WITH RISING TAXES AND COSTS! …you know, us so-called ‘PRIVILEGED’ the ones who pay while you TAKE TAKE TAKE!”
Ms. Deltondo said her only action was to write “awesome read!” in response to the post.
Her page did not identify her as a teacher.
PITTSBURGH — A school employee had a serious wrist injury and a second was injured after a fight inside Carrick High School in Pittsburgh Thursday.
Video of the fight sent to Channel 11 showed someone pinning another person down while others tried to intervene.
“The kids are overruling the school,” one local mother said. “You have incidents of students assaulting teachers now, putting teachers in chokeholds. I don’t feel comfortable sending my kid to school. If they can’t keep their staff safe, how can they keep our children safe?”
Two more Pittsburgh Public Schools are shuttering as officials continue to try and mitigate the spread of covid-19.
Pittsburgh Colfax PreK-8 and Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy will be closed until Wednesday, officials said. Students at those schools will participate in online learning.
Those schools join several other district buildings that have been closed as officials work to curb the spread of the virus among staff and students.
Pittsburgh Clayton Academy is closed until Tuesday.
Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh Chartiers Early Childhood Center and Pittsburgh Dilworth PreK-5 are closed until Monday.
Six facilities are closed until Friday, including Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh Concord PreK-5, Pittsburgh Shiller 6-8, Pittsburgh Sunnyside PreK-8 and Pittsburgh Woolslair PreK-5.
According to the district website, schools can be closed for various reasons including staffing shortages caused by quarantines or positive cases, sharing of staff between facilities and sharing of facilities between schools. A maximum 14-day suspension of in-person learning may be recommended when a 5% threshold of positive cases is met.
Tuesday is a snow day for Pittsburgh Public Schools, and when students return, more classes will be remote because of COVID-19.
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Tuesday is a snow day for Pittsburgh Public Schools, and when students return, three more buildings will be remote because of COVID-19.
All schools will be closed Tuesday and all activities, including Grab and Go, are canceled.
Pittsburgh Allderdice, Pittsburgh Chartiers and Pittsburgh Dilworth will be closed until Jan. 24 because of COVID-19 cases.
Multiple other schools will be closed because of COVID-19 when classes resume.
Six buildings will be closed until Jan. 21:
- Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8
- Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12
- Pittsburgh Concord PreK-5
- Pittsburgh Schiller 6-8
- Pittsburgh Sunnyside PreK-8 (No Grab and Go)
- Pittsburgh Woolslair PreK-5
Two facilities will be closed until Jan. 20:
- Pittsburgh Brookline PreK-8
- Pittsburgh South Brook 6-8
For other schools issuing closures and delays during the winter weather blast, click here.
A group of Chicago parents is suing the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) after teachers refused to return to in-person instruction due to COVID-19 concerns and school officials canceled classes entirely.
Attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center, representing a group of Chicago parents, filed a lawsuit Thursday night to end the union’s “illegal strike.”
Seventy-three percent of teachers in the union voted on Tuesday not to return to the classroom, alleging the city has not done enough to ensure they are protected against the coronavirus as cases spike in the state.
Moms for Liberty, a parental rights advocacy group focused on education, is grabbing national headlines as it rapidly expands throughout the U.S.
The Washington Post dedicated 2,000 words to the group in a piece which likened them to the Tea Party and the “moral majority” movement of the 1980s.
The COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of schools drove education to the forefront of political debates in 2020. Ongoing controversy surrounding vaccines and mask mandates, racial and sexual materials in school curriculum and transgender student policies has prompted concerned parents to organize and get involved in local and state politics.
“Parents are finding racially divisive, sexually explicit, and anti-American assignments in their children’s backpacks. Moms for Liberty chapters work to resolve concerns, review curriculum and request changes in their school districts,” Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty and former school board member, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Moms for Liberty, founded in January, has quickly grown to 140 chapters in 32 states with 56,000 members, according to Descovich.
Christian Ziegler, vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party, told the DCNF that school board fights have awakened an entirely new demographic of voters, and Moms for Liberty is engaging them. Whether Democrat, Republican or Independent, parents are realizing that the government has tremendous power over their lives and that they need to be involved, he explained.
“They’re being painted as extremists because they pose a threat to the status quo,” Ziegler said. “Moms for Liberty is getting parents involved in their children’s education, and that should be applauded.”
PITTSBURGH — Police activity was reported outside of Oliver Citywide Academy on Brighton Road over a disturbance.
Channel 11 had crew at the school to gather more information.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WPXI apps for alerts as news breaks]
After arriving at the scene, Channel 11 learned that there was an altercation that was quickly resolved.
DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. —
Protests continued at multiple school districts in Westmoreland County Wednesday as dozens of students and parents voiced their frustrations over the state’s mask mandate in schools.
Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke with the Derry Area School District about how the district is handling frustrated families.
“I understand that frustration,” Derry Area Assistant Superintendent Greg Ferencak said. “We started off with a masks optional, but highly recommended and now we have to switch and there’s some confusion.”
Ferencak said the district’s original health and safety plan called for a change in policy in the event of a state or federal mandate. A small group of students and parents protested the decision to mandate masks in Derry each of the last two days.
“We are trying to let the voices of the students be heard and trying to be reasonable with them,” Ferencak said.
Ferencak said a failure to comply with the mandate could come with consequences for the district, including a loss of funding.
“We could be held liable for not following them through various complaints, willful neglect of duty, you name it,” Ferencak said.
District officials said Wednesday that Superintendent Anthony Hamlet submitted his resignation, effective Oct. 1. He will get a severance package worth about $400,000, equal to one year of salary and benefits, according to the district solicitor, Ira Weiss.
The board said it will announce an interim superintendent Sept. 29, and a national search for Hamlet’s replacement will begin in December.
“Members of the board reviewed the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission Report with diligence, discussed its findings in detail, assessed the overall situation, and remain steadfast in the belief that this outcome is unfortunate, but necessary,” school board President Sylvia Wilson said a statement. “Most importantly, this course of action creates an opportunity to remain focused on providing quality education for district students while eliminating unrelated distractions. We look forward to moving ahead, and keeping our students safe and engaged in their learning. The board would like to thank Dr. Hamlet for his five-plus years of service and wish him well.”
At a back-to-school event last week, Hamlet spoke about the state ethics investigation that found he improperly filed financial disclosures, travel reimbursements and didn’t disclose paid appearances. Hamlet said he didn’t intentionally do anything wrong.
Hamlet said in a resignation letter that it was best for the district’s students and families that he step down and “embark upon a new chapter in my professional life.”
Leading up to the first day of school, parents protested in Oakland. Some parents said Hamlet didn’t create issues the district faces, while others called for the school board to pass a no-confidence vote against him. They were upset that the district’s start date for school was pushed back, and about the lack of bus drivers.
“I definitely understand their frustrations, and one of the things that we need to think about is that we’re in a pandemic. There’s no playbook for a pandemic. We’ll have one after this is over, but right now this is an ongoing issue,” Hamlet said Friday at South Hills Middle School. “When it comes to transportation, even in the best of times, there is a bus driver shortage. This has been maybe four, five years in the making as far as bus drivers, and the pandemic has exacerbated that, unfortunately.”
Modern students constantly text during classes, Adams says, or watch streaming services during Zoom meetings, living in a state psychiatrists call “continuous partial attention.”
Each new school year, Jeremy Adams, a teacher in Bakersfield, Calif., gives the same lesson. When he shows pictures of celebrities like Kendall Jenner or Miley Cyrus to his students on a screen, they immediately recognize them. But faced with photos of policymakers like Mike Pence or Nancy Pelosi, the children stare blankly.
That ignorance is no joke to Adams, he writes in his new book, “Hollowed Out: A Warning About America’s Next Generation” (Regnery Publishing), out now.
“We need to brace ourselves for what lies ahead. I write this book as an alarm bell … a project born out of worry, concern and frustration.”
A National Teacher of the Year nominee, Adams frets that today’s youngsters are “barren of the behavior, values and hopes from which human beings have traditionally found higher meaning … or even simple contentment.” Adams calls them “hollowed out,” a generation living solitary lives, hyperconnected to technology but unattached from their families, churches or communities. He cites statistics showing teen depression rose 63 percent from 2007 to 2017 while teen suicide grew 56 percent. Tragically, he writes, suicide has become the second leading cause of death for the young.
BY ANDREW GOLDSTEIN
The Pittsburgh Public Schools district’s plan to open for in-person instruction five days a week got a major boost Monday as members of the city’s teachers union ratified a contract that includes a provision giving district officials the power to adjust school start and end times.
The issue became a flashpoint in negotiations as the district sought the ability to modify the times so that school buses could run extra routes in the morning and afternoon — providing transportation to thousands of city students who may have not had a ride to school otherwise — but the union initially fought back against the idea.
“We’re hopeful that the district is able to get many students back in their seats,” Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, said in an interview at the union offices on the South Side. “This was a very difficult part of the contract, but we’re hoping to bring lots of students back, and that this will be something that we continue to work on together.”
The contract will now go before the school board Wednesday night for final approval.
A teacher is no longer working at a Utah high school after she was recorded sounding off to her students in a profane speech that jumped from former President Donald Trump to the COVID-19 vaccine, climate change and the LGBTQ community.
The video of her sharing her opinions in front of a class at Lehi High School on Tuesday was shared widely on social media. And by Wednesday morning — the second day of the new school year — Alpine School District in Utah County confirmed that she wasn’t employed there any more.
Spokesman David Stephenson said in a statement that he cannot comment on personnel matters and would not say whether the teacher was fired, only that she was not working there now. She had originally been put on leave Tuesday while the district investigated.
“This behavior is inappropriate, not reflective of the professional conduct and decorum we expect of our teachers, and will not be tolerated,” Stephenson said.
Attempts to reach the teacher were unsuccessful. The Salt Lake Tribune has decided not to name her.
The video of her address was posted online by Eric Moutsos, the leader of the conservative Utah Business Revival organization that has protested against pandemic-related health measures. He wrote: “Thank you to the student who filmed this. You’re a hero.”
The Tribune confirmed it with one of three students who captured the footage, Zane Storms. The four-minute clip from Storms begins with the teacher telling her students that she would be “super proud” if they got the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’ll just keep getting variants over and over and over until people get vaccinated. It’s never going to end,” she said. “It could end in five seconds if people would get vaccinated.”
Some of the students push back. Then the teacher starts talking about Trump.
“I hate Donald Trump,” she said. “I’m going to say. I don’t care what you all think. Trump sucks.”
A demonstration is planned Wednesday evening to protest against Pittsburgh Public Schools’ announcement that the academic year may be delayed by two weeks due to transportation issues.
The protest was organized by city school parents and is set for 6 p.m. outside the school board’s headquarters on South Bellefield Avenue in Oakland.
District officials Tuesday said they wanted to delay the start of the year due to a shortage of about 6,000 bus seats for students entering the 2021-22 school year. In order to add enough bus drivers to make close the gap, the first day of school is set to be pushed back from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8.
Washington (CNN)The Biden administration is extending the pause on federal student loan payments one last time until January 31.The pandemic relief benefit was set to expire on September 30 after an unprecedented 19-month suspension. The freeze was initially put in place by Congress and then extended by both the Trump and Biden administrations.“As our nation’s economy continues to recover from a deep hole, this final extension will give students and borrowers the time they need to plan for restart and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement.Borrower balances have effectively been frozen for more than a year, with no payments required on federal loans since March 2020. During this time, interest has stopped adding up — saving the average borrower about $2,000 over the first year — and collections on defaulted debt have been on hold.
Dozens of Pittsburgh Public School teachers could be furloughed in just a few weeks.
According to Pittsburgh Public, 33 teachers and one non-professional are impacted. The furloughs would start on Aug. 18, less than two weeks from now.
The district notified the 34 people by the first of the month. The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers said this has some feeling nervous.
“They have families, homes, mortgages, rents and things to pay,” Union Parliamentarian and Staff Representative Harold Grant said.
He said the notices went to teachers who started working in the district within the past couple of years.
“This is something that we would never want for anyone,” Grant said.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools has reached a tentative agreement on a multiyear contract with its teachers union more than a year after their last deal expired.
District solicitor Ira Weiss said Tuesday the school system and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers both signed a tentative agreement Saturday.
Mr. Weiss said that the contract was for multiple years but declined to disclose further details out of “respect for the process.”
In the coming days, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers will present the contract to its membership. Members will then vote by mail to ratify the contract.
If the union approves the contract, the school board will then vote on it.
Mr. Weiss said the district hopes to have the new contract fully approved at or before the school board’s legislative meeting Aug. 25.
“We are pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement,” said school board President Sylvia Wilson, though she noted that the union and board have yet to vote on the deal.
GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — The Catholic Diocese of Greensburg received a multimillion-dollar gift to further education efforts.
“Twenty million dollars at least,” said Maureen Marsteller, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools.
That is how much money an anonymous donor gifted the Diocese of Greensburg’s Catholic schools.
“I can’t express how happy we are here in the Greensburg Diocese and I’m so happy for the opportunity for the children and youth of our diocese to have an opportunity to experience Catholic education,” Bishop Larry Kulick said.
The money will go to the St. Pope John Paul II Tuition Opportunity Partnership. Last year, the same individual donated more than $2.5 million to help pay the tuition for prospective students.
The donor hopes the influx of money will keep the enrollment up.
“To have somebody come out of nowhere and offer millions of dollars in scholarships to people, it’s been transformative,” said Kevin Frye, the principal of Christ the Divine Teacher School in Latrobe.
“That is a lot of love. It’s going to go far. It’s going to bring more people into our community,” said parent Meghan Scalise.
There are requirements for those applying for the funds. The biggest being:
“The requirements are that they become part of a faith community. It doesn’t have to be a Catholic faith community. It can be a denominational church, a Christian faith community, and we want them to become an active member of that community,” said Marsteller.
According to the diocese, the donation will assure the employment of hundreds of educators and staff.
A Minnesota fourth-grade student and her mother expressed concern to their local school board after her class was given an “equity survey” and students were told not to tell her parents about the activity.
CRT curriculum has sparked a national conversation about the role of race and racism in school districts across the country. Oten compared by critics to actual racism, CRT is a school of thought that generally focuses on how power structures and institutions impact racial minorities.
Kelsey Yasgar said that although parents were “informed that the equity audit was taking place, they were not informed on the date of the activity and not given other details.” She explained further that due to the lack of transparency from the school district and from Equity Alliance Minnesota, the third party that administered the survey, parents were not informed of the questions being asked to the students.
The Department of Education canceled an additional $55.6 million in student loan debt for 1,800 student who were victims of a for-profit college fraud, bringing the total amount of canceled student loan debt by the Biden administration to $1.5 billion.
“Today’s announcement continues the U.S. Department of Education’s commitment to standing up for students whose colleges took advantage of them,” Miguel Cardona, the secretary of education, said in the department’s statement released Friday.
The latest loan cancellation is for students who attended Westwood College, Marinello Schools of Beauty and the Court Reporting Institute. This is the first time the department approved loan forgiveness to students who attended schools other than Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institute and American Career Institute since 2017.
Critical race theory, or CRT — often a graduate-level framework examining how the legacy of slavery and segregation in America is embedded in its legal systems and policies — has become the source of a political flashpoint across the country. The debate over its potential role in school curricula has roiled school districts and state legislatures nationwide. Amna Nawaz reports.
Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s past and present by looking at the role of systemic racism, what we have just been discussing.
But the very term itself, critical race theory, has become a political flash point across the country, especially when it comes to how to teach young people about justice and equity in America.
As Amna Nawaz reports for our Race Matters series, the debate over its potential role in school curricula has set off a firestorm that has roiled school districts and state legislatures nationwide.
Next year, Jamison Maddox will be a senior here in Loudoun County, Virginia. His favorite subject is history, even though he felt Black history was lacking.
Jamison Maddox, Student:
I think there could be some things that happened in history that should have been taught.
In school, do you — did you learn about the Tulsa massacre?
Did you learn about Juneteenth?
Do you feel like those are things that should be taught as part of your formal education?
Yes, definitely, definitely.
Jamison’s mother, Vanessa, agrees.
Vanessa Maddox, Parent:
This is American history. All of it should be taught in certain contexts and also age-appropriate.
Maddox, who works as a job recruiter, and her husband, raised both their sons in this affluent Northern Virginia suburb over the last two decades.
Last year, as the national racial reckoning resonated here, Vanessa joined a Facebook group pushing what they see as anti-racism efforts in school.
When I saw the anti-racist parent group, I’m like, OK, I got to be in that.
What spurred you to join that group in the first place? What has that been like?
There is a definite need for a group like this. I like to be surrounded by like-minded, fair-minded, equitable people. You don’t have to think like me. You don’t have to be like me, but you do have to be anti-racist.
Not everyone in Loudoun County sees it that way.
Ian Prior, Parent:
There were parents that were just sick of it. They were just sick of constantly being told, if you don’t agree with me, then you’re a racist.
Ian Prior’s two daughters are in elementary school here. He’s a former Trump administration Justice Department spokesman now leading a group called Fight For Schools, a political action committee pushing back on equity and inclusion measures.
We’re not about not teaching history. We’re about teaching history in an objective way that is not represented as America is systemically racist.
Originally built to speed up calculations, a machine-learning system is now making shocking progress at the frontiers of experimental quantum physics
TOPEKA, (KSNT) — A Kansas senator said they plan to introduce a bill banning critical race theory from being taught in schools.
Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, told the Kansas Capitol Bureau on Thursday that she will pre-file for next year’s legislative session a bill that would prohibit the teaching of the subject, also referred to as CRT.
“We need to make sure that race is not an issue,” Tyson said. “People should not be judged by the color of their skin. They shouldn’t.”
Critical Race Theory is the study of racism as a social construct that impacts legal systems and policies, arguing that some institutions oppress minorities. Tyson said it’s become a topic of concern for several of her constituents, as a national debate takes place on whether it should be taught in schools.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the Kansas National Education Association, Marcus Baltzell, said that current attacks against the concept seem to be a “siren” or “conflation” of the subject by “ultra-conservatives” intending to ignite a movement against the theory. He said no schools in the state are explicitly teaching the subject.