Institute of Politics

Education Committee

Committee Overview

The Education Committee examines issues pertaining to K-12 education to provide students in Southwestern Pennsylvanian with the best opportunities to learn, in and outside of the classroom, and succeed in the workforce of the future. The committee’s work spans a broad array of topics, including basic education funding, innovative best practices in education, and career and technical education.

Summary of Current Initiatives

Career and Technical Education Reform

Since the 2011 release of the Institute of Politics’ status report, “Governance and Funding Reform for Career and Technical Centers in Pennsylvania,” little has changed to address the structural issues facing Career and Technical Centers (CTCs) in the Commonwealth. Despite existing limitations, schools have continued to innovate, both in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, to deliver Career and Technical Education (CTE) that addresses workforce needs. One of the most significant recent changes in CTE has been the emergence of comprehensive career-based academies within traditional high schools, operating as independent schools. Improved CTCs feature increased academic rigor, a more diverse student body, and actively avoid financial conflict of interest between sending (home) schools and the CTCs in their district. The Institute collaborated with several regional leaders and content experts to develop the updated status report, which examines national trends regarding career, pathway–based schools, and early college high schools, as well as various models of integrating CTE into traditional curricula in regional school districts. The final report is expected to be released in spring 2017

Ongoing and/or Completed Projects

Remake Learning

For the past three years (2015-2017), the Institute has partnered with the Grable Foundation and other regional entities to host and support an event as part of the region’s Remake Learning Days. On May 15, 2017, the Institute hosted approximately 200 students from 10 districts on campus for the “DiscoverEd” event. The students worked together to solve an engineering design challenge. This cooperation helps to break down the artificial barriers that persist between students, teachers, and school leaders in the region by encouraging them to work across district lines.

Advancing Innovation in Education

In May 2015, over 100 educators and school administrators, academics, elected officials, and community leaders gathered to see demonstrations and presentations from approximately 50 students from southwestern Pennsylvania’s most advanced school districts. The presenting districts, Elizabeth Forward, South Fayette, Avonworth, and Butler, along with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, brought with them inventions, projects, and materials that represent the next stage of learning. These districts and others in the region are leading the country in ways that have been recognized nationally by the White House and by the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards.

Memberships

The Education Committee is cochaired by:

  • The Honorable Rodney D. Ruddock, Commissioner, Indiana County
  • Dr. Stanley W. Thompson, Education Program Director, The Heinz Endowments

Click here for a complete list of committee members.

The Education Committee is carefully crafted to be balanced and represent a variety of stakeholders. However, we occasionally have spots available for members in certain sectors who may be underrepresented on the committee. Please contact Briana Mihok at 412-624-7792 or bnd2@pitt.edu if you have an interest in serving as a member.

Links to Partners and Resource Information

Publications

The following publications issued by the Institute are related to the focus areas of the Education Committee: