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WATCH: How to hold Pa.’s schools, universities accountable.

by Spotlight PA Staff |

The sun shines over Old Main on Penn State’s University Park campus.
Abby Drey / Centre Daily Times

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds power to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania. Sign up for our free newsletters.

Transparency in K-12 and higher education helps empower parents and other taxpayers to feel connected and drive positive change.

Excessive secrecy among school leaders and boards can weaken that trust. That’s why journalists hold publicly funded institutions and the people who run these schools accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars. Pennsylvania’s open records and meetings laws are key resources for information gathering, but there are limits.

At Spotlight PA, investigative reporter Wyatt Massey fights to access information from Penn State, the largest and most influential university in the commonwealth. Because of Penn State’s special designation as a state-related institution, it’s largely shielded from the open records law.

To celebrate Sunshine Week, Massey hosted a roundtable discussion with experts and other journalists to talk about education reporting in Pennsylvania. Watch the panel below.

Our panelists were:

  • Wyatt Massey, Penn State investigative reporter, Spotlight PA State College

  • Jillian Forstadt, education reporter, WESA

  • Ashley Stalnecker, education reporter, Lancaster Online | LNP

  • Ashli Giles-Perkins, staff attorney, Education Law Center

  • Susan Spicka, executive director, Education Voters of PA

See below for resources and coverage discussed in the video.

Spotlight PA’s transparency coverage:

Education Law Center:

Education Voters of PA:

Other resources mentioned:

This event was a part of
Sunshine Week, a national initiative spearheaded by the News Leaders Association to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.

» Spotlight PA’s events operate on a “pay-what-you-can” honor system. If you value this public-service event, pay it forward and contribute any amount to Spotlight PA now so we can keep our programming free for everyone: spotlightpa.org/donate.

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