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Widely criticized DARE back in classrooms: 5 things to know about education

Jamie Martines
| Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 10:24 a.m.
District Judge J. Gary DeComo (left) conducts a mock arraignment with sixth-graders Evan Kuba, Shelby Seybert and Jessica Staraniec during the Drugs Kill Dreams event at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in Arnold on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
District Judge J. Gary DeComo (left) conducts a mock arraignment with sixth-graders Evan Kuba, Shelby Seybert and Jessica Staraniec during the Drugs Kill Dreams event at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in Arnold on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.
Sixth-graders Jessica Staraniec and Shelby Seybert listen as a father talks about his son dying from a heroin overdose, during the Drugs Kill Dreams event at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in Arnold, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Sixth-graders Jessica Staraniec and Shelby Seybert listen as a father talks about his son dying from a heroin overdose, during the Drugs Kill Dreams event at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in Arnold, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.
District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. speaks to a room full of elementary students about the real risks of drug use during the Drugs Kill Dreams event at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in Arnold, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. The program included interviews with former addicts, people involved in drunk driving accidents, families who lost members due to overdoses, and doctors, about the risks of using tobacco, alcohol and narcotics.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. speaks to a room full of elementary students about the real risks of drug use during the Drugs Kill Dreams event at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in Arnold, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. The program included interviews with former addicts, people involved in drunk driving accidents, families who lost members due to overdoses, and doctors, about the risks of using tobacco, alcohol and narcotics.

Did you miss the daily education roundup? We're back with a new weekly format. Look for it every Thursday.

The TribLIVE Education Team's coverage will focus on key areas relevant to students, parents and educators in our region:

Technology & STEM: The latest on technology in local classrooms and initiatives to teach students about science, technology, engineering and math.

Inside the Classroom: What's going on in there? We'll take a peek inside classrooms and show you what students are learning and how.

Safety & Discipline: A look at how schools maintain safe and supportive learning environments.

Tax Dollars: How your tax dollars are being used to fund local schools.

College & Career: Updates from area colleges and universities, with an eye on how K-12 students are preparing for life after high school.

Questions? Story ideas? Send them to schooltips@tribweb.com or call 724-850-2867.

Here are five things to know about education this week:

1. IS DARE BACK? It is at Roy A. Hunt Elementary School in the New Kensington-Arnold School District, after a six-year hiatus. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program, known as DARE, was criticized at a national level in the past for being ineffective. The revised program is more interactive and involves role playing, unlike the original lecture-based program, DARE representatives said.

2. NO BUDGET, NO FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS: The state still doesn't have a budget. And without funding, five Pennsylvania universities — including the University of Pittsburgh — could suffer.

Stalled negotiations affect local school districts too. In 2015, local districts talked about borrowing money or closing schools as a budget deadlock dragged on. Cash-strapped preschool providers were forced to close.

3. GUNS & SCHOOLS: The mass shooting in Las Vegas has revived debates about gun control nationwide. While budget debates have put most things in Harrisburg on hold, here's a review of pending legislation that could allow Pennsylvania's teachers to carry weapons in the classroom, a move that advocates of the bill say could keep students safe:

• Sponsored by Sen. Don White, R-Indiana County, S.B. 383 would allow school districts to grant licensed and trained personnel access to firearms or permission to carry a concealed firearm.

• The State Senate approved the bill in June. It has been sitting in the House Education Committee since June 29.

• Gov. Tom Wolf said in April that he would veto the bill. The bill was criticized by some parents and teachers and celebrated by others.

RELATED: How are schools preparing for safety threats? Mt. Pleasant Area High School recently held its first mass evacuation drill. Check out this video.

4. STATE TEST SCORES ARE OUT. BUT WHAT DO THEY MEAN? State test scores are available online. Check back as the TribLIVE Education team takes a look at the results to help you understand what they mean to local schools.

The state recently announced shorter tests for students in grades three through eight starting in 2018. But teachers say those changes aren't likely to impact how students prepare for the exams throughout the school year.

5. 3-D PRINTING: Printers of the 3-D variety are in classrooms across the region. Still don't know what they are? Interested in learning more? TribLIVE's Technology Reporter, Aaron Aupperlee, moderated a discussion with PwC and CMU about the future of the technology on Wednesday in honor of upcoming National Manufacturing Day. Check it out.

Follow the TribLIVE Education Team on Twitter:

• Emily Balser (Valley News Dispatch) @emilybalser

• Deb Erdley (Greensburg) @deberdley_trib

• Natasha Lindstrom (Pittsburgh) @NewsNatasha

• Jamie Martines (Greensburg) @Jamie_Martines

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at jmartines@tribweb.com, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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