Pennsylvania state education funding trial inches closer to conclusion

In today’s episode of The Confluence: Defense testimony culminated in a lawsuit about how Pennsylvania finances its education system; we talk to the researcher about the possibility for more people to experience prolonged grief after the loss of loved ones due to COVID-19; and look at Mehmet Oz’s outsider campaign to become a Republican nominee from Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate primaries.

Witness testimony ends in a lawsuit to finance public education
(0:00 – 5:52)

The testimony ended Tuesday in Commonwealth Court in a process that could change the way Pennsylvania’s public schools are funded. Six school districts, several parents and two government organizations have filed a lawsuit, claiming that the current state funding system is inadequate, unfair and violates the state constitution.

The defendants called ten witnesses, who largely challenged the allegation.

“They brought in witnesses who said that, you know, when you compare Pennsylvania with other states, it allocates a really decent amount of funding for public education, pointed to some steps the state has taken to distribute money more fairly,” he said. Mallory Falk, Education Reporter WYY. “They also called witnesses who questioned the link between costs and student performance.”

The defense also noted that families have options outside of traditional K-12 public schools, suggesting that parents can send students to cyber-charter or Christian private schools.

On Tuesday, the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, called the final witness to the rebuttal, Pennsylvania Professor Matthew Kelly, who also testified earlier in the trial. He said some defense witnesses “artificially overestimated” how much was spent per student in some districts, giving the impression that some districts were spending more money on fewer students.

“If you use this census data, it looks like Pennsylvania is spending an average of about $ 3,000 per student more than the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s own data shows,” Falk says. This is because census data on student spending do not take into account funding allocated to charter schools.

Closing speeches are scheduled for March 10, followed by court briefings and oral hearings.

Survey found that people who lost loved ones because of COVID-19 may be at greater risk of experiencing prolonged grief
(6:00 – 13:03)

More than 3,000 people in Allegheny County have died from COVID-19, according to the county’s health department. A survey by a local researcher examines the grief process for people who have lost a loved one because of COVID-19, and their research shows that these people may be at greater risk develops prolonged grief disorder.

“Prolonged grief disorder is characterized strong longing for the deceasedconcern for the deceased and inability to accept death, ”he explains Nadine Melham, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. “This is usually continuous for a long period of time and is associated with clinically significant suffering and disturbances in social, professional and other important areas of functioning.”

Melham previously studied the psychiatric consequences of the war in her home country of Lebanon and decided to study the reactions of grief in children as part of her doctorate. dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh.

She says people with prolonged grief may experience symptoms throughout the year. For her study, Melham interviewed about 400 adolescents and adults who lost someone because of COVID-19, and found that about 55% had “intense sadness reactions” that are characteristic of prolonged grief.

However, Melham acknowledges that participants were interviewed relatively soon after the loss of loved ones, about four months after their deaths, so further research is needed to see if participants eventually developed prolonged grief.

“There were a lot of things about losing someone in the early stages when we did research that were different from … natural things that involve death,” Melham says. “Many people could not see their loved ones in the hospital when they died. At that time, they could not perform real rituals, religious rituals and have the support of family members, which could also complicate the process of grief.

Melham says the need for additional mental health treatment has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and long-term grief is a disorder that is likely to rise as the number of people killed in the pandemic.

Take a look at why some Republican voters are excited about Dr. Oz’s candidacy for U.S. Senate
(13:05 – 18:30)

At the heart of Mehmet Oz’s campaign to become a Republican candidate for a seat in the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania is a big question: can a rich guy with a famous TV show win over voters from the Commonwealth?

WHY Katie Meyer reports that, of course, this will not be the first time. She went to Oz Town Hall in Washington County to see how some Republican voters feel.

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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