How is PA’s new system to track academic growth different and what does it say about Pittsburgh-area schools?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has launched a new system for measuring academic progress and college and career readiness in the state’s about 3,000 schools. The Future Ready PA Index, released Wednesday, replaces a single score method of evaluating schools with a dashboard that includes test scores, annual academic growth rates, graduation rates and other measures. State education officials created The Future Ready PA Index after  gathering feedback from stakeholders across the Commonwealth who gave input into “how we can more effectively measure and support student success,” said Matthew Stem, the state’s deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education. The index restored state reporting of the academic achievement of subgroups including students of various races, those with economic disadvantage, English language learners and students with disabilities. And, it gives users the ability to compare districts of similar size, achievement levels or other characteristics.

Investigators work on Wilkins Avenue in Squirrel Hill near the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 28. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Two Pittsburgh-area mass shooters attended the same high school. Experts say it’s a coincidence, but other commonalities aren’t.

Both Robert Bowers, who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, and George Sodini, who killed three women and himself at the Collier Township LA Fitness in 2009, attended Baldwin High School. People who study mass shooters say their shared school is a likely coincidence — the men were 10 years apart — but there are other more meaningful markers they share.

Children’s Fund campaign got more than $1M. Here’s what the final campaign finance report before Election Day shows.

The campaign to create the Allegheny County Children's Fund has received more than $1 million in donations from 10 local organizations. Campaign organizers have spent most of it, primarily on advertising, consulting and voter outreach, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday afternoon.  

On Nov. 6, voters will be asked to choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question on their ballots about the children’s fund. If passed, the county will implement a tax increase to go toward the children’s fund.