BLOG: Ensuring K-12 Investment Reaches The Classroom
By: Sarah Galbally, Deputy Secretary of Policy & Planning
December 08, 2015
After four years of painful cuts to public education in Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf — in his first budget — has secured a historic $350 million increase for basic (k-12) education. Where will that k-12 investment go? Earlier this year, the governor asked school districts to pick from a list of 14 evidence-based programs, assigning dollar amounts to each selection.
Nearly every school district responded. Here are their top priorities:
- Maintain or expand high-quality early childhood education, or pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten programs;
- Reduce class sizes in elementary schools;
- Restore programs and personnel that were eliminated as a result of cuts made since 2010 — this means not only teachers, but other educators like guidance counselors and librarians can be re-hired, and many extra-curriculars will return to enhance learning outside the classroom.
In their responses to the Department of Education, superintendents were also asked to provide clear benchmarks for measuring student performance and progress. Those include measures such as third grade reading levels, high school graduation rates, truancy rates, college matriculation and completion, and down the road for our students — employment rates and wages. All are important indicators of how schools are leveraging investment to maximize student performance and close the achievement gap.
It is important to Governor Wolf that these funding impact plans enable flexibility, while also holding districts accountable for their results. With the major investment in education he has now secured, the governor believes our students will be better prepared for the 21st century workforce, which in turn, will ultimately grow Pennsylvania’s economy.
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