Budget report on Pennsylvania Education Department causes tension, wades into statewide debate

In today’s episode of The Confluence: the state’s independent fiscal service wrote in a report on public education funding that states that there is “little or no correlation” between funding and student test scores in one year, but some lawmakers insist against that conclusion; researcher Pete asked local relatives and adoptive parents about how the pandemic affects their children’s education; and as part of our Good Question Kid! series, ask why and how hyenas eat bones?

The report on public spending on education asks whether money affects academic performance
(0:00 – 8:08)

In his latest budget, Gov. Tom Wolfe offered an additional $ 1.5 billion for public schools and K-12 special education programs.

But in the Department of Education’s budget report on the Department of Education, some lawmakers are debating whether to fund more schools leads to improved student performance.

«[The report] said that between the two, between school districts, there is “little or no connection” … costs and student performance on standardized tests. This is a conclusion that, in my opinion, is due to a large number of reservations, and the fiscal department has emphasized a lot on this, “he said. Charlotte Keithreporter for the independent non-partisan SpotlightPA.

Report analyzed standardized tests and costs for the 2018-19 school year, which is another warning, Keith says.

The report also comes at a time when state leaders and education officials are being tried by six school districts, several parents and several advocacy groups who claim the state is violating its own constitution. fair and equitable funding of poor school districts.

“Rep. Matt Bradford, chairman of the Democratic House of Representatives, wrote a letter outlining that the issue of the relationship between school funding and student performance is very complex, ”said Keith, describing how lawmakers disagree. “He basically said that, first, it goes beyond what the fiscal service should do, and that other researchers, when they looked at it, came to completely different conclusions.”

The Legislative Council to which the report was submitted, the Budget Council, based on performance, eventually voted to submit the report and discuss their issues later.

“Legislators are asking, do you know if there should be something else in these reports or are asking to include other things asking for some changes? This is not uncommon in this review of government agency spending, ”Keith says. “I think the unusual thing here is just that it touches on what has long been a very contentious issue in Harrisburg, and it kind of blurs the line between, you know, the responsibility of the fiscal service to look at government spending and whether it’s effective, but not for to get into policy analysis or make policy recommendations ”.

How the pandemic affects the upbringing of youth in the county
(8:12 – 17:00)

We already know that the pandemic was particularly difficult for students and young children. For the approximately 1,500 children of the county in the foster care system, who sometimes have to maneuver between foster parents and blood relatives, this was even more.

In a first-person essay for PublicSource, Mary Elizabeth Rauktis described her research and interviews with foster families about the difficulties their students face during a pandemic. Rauktis is a licensed social worker and researcher at the School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh.

“Generally speaking, the well-being of children is a beautiful face-to-face meeting. So we didn’t have it, we had to adjust it, ”Rauktis says. “Children missed visits to siblings, .. didn’t see parents or parents didn’t see them. As we were isolated, so we were isolated. “

Rauktis says studying past pandemics and climate events could give researchers some clues as to how young people have been affected or what they may feel in the coming years without intervention.

«[Researchers] looked at the polio epidemic of 1916 and found that schools had closed and older people had never returned to school, ”said Rauktis. “They found that young people who dropped out of school during the polio pandemic and just went to work without getting a high school diploma earned less wages and savings in a year.”

In interviews with local foster parents, Rauktis said many talked about their struggle to help school-age students in distance learning. Admissions youth were also cut off from the personal mental health services they typically sought at school.

While the implications are obvious, Rauktis says it is possible to help students get back on track by making efforts such as individual learning.

“Now that all the children have experienced this over the last couple of years, … we need to see this as a public health intervention, putting more trauma resources into a school for all children,” Rauktis says.

Why and how do hyenas eat bones?
(17:04 – 22:30)

We’ve asked questions to families, those very good questions that a child may have in your life, but you’re scratching your head.

Today we answer from Gavi, who asks, “Why and how do hyenas eat bones?”

Kay Holecamp, a professor at the University of Michigan, is studying free-living spotted hyenas. She says hyenas eat bones because the bone marrow is very nutritious!

“Hyenas have unusually strong jaws,” Holecamp says. “We were actually fed [captive hyenas] some cow’s leg bones, but they could still eat the entire cow’s bone in 13 minutes. So they just snort everything and swallow all the pieces, and then their digestive system is so strong that it dissolves the bone, and then when they poop, it turns bright white because it has so many bones! ”

If the child in your life has a good question, you can fill out our form or send to confluence@wesa.fm.

The Confluence, where news gathers, is a daily WESA 90.5 news program. Tune in Monday through Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at important Pittsburgh stories. Find more The Confluence series here or where you get podcasts.

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