During his visit, Rivera highlighted the record investment in education funding that Governor Wolf has secured in the past two years as well as the new investments proposed in the governor's 2017-18 budget proposal.
Under Governor Wolf's first two budgets education saw an increase of nearly $640 million for programs from high quality prekindergarten through postsecondary opportunities for students. In his most recent proposal, the governor included an additional $100 million for basic education, $75 million for high quality early childhood education; $25 million in special education; more than $8 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Rivera added that the new funding would be distributed using the Basic Education Funding Formula signed into law last summer. The formula helps bring equity and predictability to school funding by accounting for both student-based and district- based factors to determine funding.
Also during the visit, Rivera outlined recommendations the Department has made regarding changes to the School Performance Profile (SPP).
Early in his administration, the governor charged PDE with exploring ways to create a more holistic measure for evaluating school success. The current measure, the SPP, was implemented in 2013 and is heavily reliant on standardized test scores, which only mark student performance at a single point in time during the school year. PDE's recommendations for the Future Ready PA Index retain several of the indicators from the current SPP, but would add new indicators and emphasize student growth.
The recommendations are the result of more than 30 feedback sessions the Department conducted to solicit feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, students, policy makers, advocates, industry and higher education leaders.
Improving access to quality and innovative programs through enhanced funding is a hallmark of the Schools That Teach initiative, through which Administration officials have visited dozens of schools since 2015.
"Visiting districts around the state has been invaluable to developing effective education policies at the state level, as well as sharing best practices from districts across the commonwealth," Rivera said. "Hearing from local officials and students in every corner of the state, Department of Education (PDE) leaders can understand what is working for our schools and what challenges they are encountering."
To date, the Schools That Teach tour has made stops at more than three dozen schools across Pennsylvania. A Google Map of all tour stops is available here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman, 717-783-9802
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education