Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Challenges facing Pennsylvania schools

Written by Avery Van Etten | Aug 24, 2018 4:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, August 24, 2018: 

As students and teachers head back to class, Smart Talk takes a look at some of the challenges facing Pennsylvania public schools. Appearing on Friday's the program are Ronald Cowell, executive director of The Education Policy and Leadership Center, John Callahanchief advocacy officer with Pennsylvania School Boards Association, and superintendent of Cumberland Valley School District Dr. Frederick Withum.

There are many issues and questions to address on the program and among the topics we'll consider with the panel are:

  • School funding -- what will it take to be more equitable in Pennsylvania?
  • School safety -- what are schools doing to keep students safe?
  • Standardized testing
  • Graduation requirements -- some new in Pennsylvania this year
  • Teacher shortages -- does Pennsylvania have one or is it restricted to rural and inner city areas?
  • Unfunded mandates
  • Academic areas in which Pennsylvania is strong and weak
  • Recent state legislation impacting education
  • Scheduling  -- specifically, what time should classes begin?

For more information, check out these resources: 

  • Economic Policy Institute report on teacher compensation 
  • Pennsylvania School Boards Association report on mandates 
  • Pennsylvania State Education Association news 


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John Callahan, Dr. Fred Withum III and Ronald Cowell


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