HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Wolf Administration's Schools That Teach tour stopped at E.H. Phillips Elementary School in Central Dauphin School District, where Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera met with teachers, administrators, and students to talk about education access and accountability.
"Governor Wolf and the Department of Education are committed to protecting the investments made in students and schools over the past two years, and that vision is reinforced when we visit schools across the state and witness those investments in action," said Sec. Rivera. "Providing access to high-quality education and multiple pathways to success for all students is a critical mission that deserves unwavering focus and attention."
During his visit, Rivera toured the elementary school and spoke with guests about 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.
Dr. Carol Johnson, Central Dauphin School District Superintendent, noted how investments made in education have positively impacted students and schools in the district.
"E. H. Phillips is a school whose staff works tirelessly to provide every child with the tools necessary to prepare for a promising future," Dr. Johnson said. "Our students thrive in an atmosphere of love and respect for each one of them and for the families who send them to us to learn. We could not be more proud of the work that is being done here by both students and the staff."
To ensure equity and predictability, Rivera said, the Basic Education Funding Formula would be used to distribute funding to schools across the commonwealth. The formula, signed into law last summer, accounts 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). Under the governor's guidance, PDE has worked to improve student and school accountability measures, creating a more holistic process to evaluate student success. The Department conducted 30 feedback sessions dedicated exclusively to exploring ideas to modify the School Performance Profile, or SPP, soliciting feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, students, policy makers, advocates, industry and higher education leaders.
The existing SPP, which was first used in 2013, 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; however the weighting of those indicators would be modified.
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. 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.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education