Governor Wolf Touts Importance of Education for Pennsylvania’s Economy
July 24, 2018
Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Philadelphia today to highlight Pennsylvania’s significant progress and investments in education to reverse years of cuts and prepare students with the skills for a rewarding career in the 21st century economy.
“My administration is laser-focused on improving education at all levels and investing in our schools and our children is my top priority,” said Governor Wolf. “We have fully restored education funding cut during the previous administration, ensured students are ready for college or to start their career, and provided unprecedented support for high-quality pre-k programs so young children can start developing strong reading skills needed for success in school and beyond.”
This year, the governor secured $30 million for his first-of-its-kind workforce development initiative, PAsmart. Funded through competitive grants, PAsmart will help to increase classes in math, technology, science and information technology, as well as invest in skills training through expanded apprenticeships.
“Not every child in Pennsylvania will go to a four-year college, but every child needs the skills to compete for a good job,” said Governor Wolf. “With PAsmart, we are investing in a well-educated, highly-trained and skilled workforce that is ready for the in-demand fields that new or expanding businesses need in Pennsylvania.”
Over the past three years, the Wolf Administration has made significant investments in education from pre-kindergarten to college and career and technical education, including:
- Increased the number of children able to attend pre-kindergarten by 60 percent.
- Fully restored the one billion dollar education cut made in the previous administration that that led to teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and program cuts.
- Enacted a fair funding formula that provides equitable, fair funding for all school districts.
- Established PAsmart, a first-of-its-kind $30 million workforce development initiative that invests $20 million in computer science and STEM education programs for k-12 students and $10 million to expand apprenticeships and industry partnerships.
- Established standards for computer science education in all Pennsylvania schools, joining fewer than a dozen states to endorse such standards.
- Advanced Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems and made the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates.
- Increased high school graduation rate to 86.1 percent, placing Pennsylvania above the national average.
- Increased the number of career and technical education (CTE) students earning industry-recognized credentials by 32.2 percent and increased the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs by 28.4 percent.
- Expanded enrollment in AP courses by 10 percent.
- Reduced the length of PSSA tests by 20 percent, condensed the exam timeframe from three weeks to two weeks and shifted it to later in the school year for students in grades three through eight.
- Created a task force to bring together officials, educators, parents, and students to talk to about ways to improve school safety and security.
Since Governor Wolf took office in 2015, Pennsylvania has expanded state-funded preschool by $115 million, adding more than 9,600 slots in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, and an additional 1,300 in the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP). This year, funding increases will enable approximately 2,125 additional children to have access to high-quality early learning in Pre-K Counts and nearly 500 additional children through HSSAP. In total, more than 29,250 children will receive services through both programs.