Meeting to consider SB 766, SB 1243, SB 1277, SB 1278, HB 2169

Senate Education Committee

June 21, 2022 | 12 Noon

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A

Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 766, SB 1243, SB 1277, SB 1278, HB 2169

Schedule

Senate Bill 766 (Bartolotta) – An Act establishing the Adult Education and Workforce Recovery Grant Program and Fund. 

  • Amendment A04960 (Martin/Williams)

Senate Bill 1243 (Gebhard) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to require completion of a economics and personal finance course to graduate high school.

  • Amendment A04680 (Martin)

Senate Bill 1277 (Aument) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to require school entities adopt a policy for notifying parents and guardians of sexually explicit materials available in the school and options to prevent and provide alternatives to their child viewing the sexually explicit materials.

Senate Bill 1278 (Martin) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to require school entities adopt a policy for parental notification and communication regarding student well-being and screenings, and addresses classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation.

House Bill 2169 (Owlett) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to establish the Lifeline Scholarship Program.

  • Amendment A04232 (Martin)
  • Amendment A04905 (Martin)
  • Amendment A04560 (Brooks)
  • Amendment A04268 (Brooks)
  • Amendment A04269 (Brooks)
  • Amendment A04290 (Brooks)
  • Amendment A04847 (Brooks)
  • Amendment A04664 (Brooks)
  • Amendment A04903 (Brooks)

Meeting to consider House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution Number 1

Senate Education Committee

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 |Off the floor

Rules Room


Agenda

Meeting to consider House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution Number 1

Schedule

House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution Number 1– Disapproving the Department of
Education regulations on charter schools and cyber charter schools.

Meeting to consider SB 1244, HB 972 and HB 1041

Senate Education Committee

May 24, 2022 | 10:30 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A

Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 1244, HB 972 and HB 1041

Schedule

Senate Bill 1244 (Martin) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to create a two-score composite graduation pathway for students impacted by Act 136 of 2020.

House Bill 972 (Gleim) – Establishes the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.

House Bill 1041 (Topper) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to require a school district permit home education students’ participation in co-curriculum activities and area career and technical education programs.

  • Amendment A04244

Meeting to consider SB 232

Senate Education Committee

Monday, February 7, 2022 | 12:30 p.m.

Room 8E-A, East Wing

Agenda

Meeting to consider SB 232

Schedule

House Bill 232 (Mustello) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to create a process for a school district of the 3rd class within a 4th or 6th class county to change its name.

  • Amendment A03651 – Establishes a September 1, 2022 sunset provision.

 

 

Martin: Senate Education Committee Approves School Choice Expansion

HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee approved legislation Wednesday that will expand school choice for thousands of students across Pennsylvania, said Chairman Scott Martin (R-13).

Senate Bill 527, prime sponsored by Senator Regan and co-sponsored by Senator Martin, would automatically raise the caps for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Scholarship (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs by 25% annually, so long as at least 90% of the credits were claimed in the year prior.

“This bill recognizes that education should not be one-size-fits-all,” Sen. Martin said. “The sheer fact that we had 42,000 kids who were denied simply because of an arbitrary cap, even though the dollars could have been there, is something we need to address.”

Each year, caps on the EITC/OSTC programs force the state to turn away nearly 43,000 students seeking financial aid to attend the school that best meets their educational goals. The restrictions also limit the number of businesses that can donate to the programs and receive tax credits in return.

Senate Bill 527 could increase the programs by $100 million annually, which could translate into $7.4 billion in additional economic benefit from higher lifetime earnings attained through greater education achievement.

“Many communities have good public schools across the Commonwealth.  Unfortunately, that’s not the story everywhere.  The EITC program gives families a way out of consistently failing school districts that have failed their children time and time again,” Sen. Martin said. “Kids shouldn’t be trapped in hopeless situations simply because of their zip code.  Parents should have the ability to put their children in the best educational setting to meet their needs.”

Pennsylvania’s $225 million EITC and $55 million OSTC programs provides scholarships to more than 48,000 students seeking an education outside of their assigned public school. Both of these programs are possible by schools forming partnerships with businesses and individuals who wish to financially support the education of students in their community and state. 

In 2021, the General Assembly approved a $40 million increase to the EITC cap that funded scholarships for an additional 13,000 students.

Senate Bill 527 now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

CONTACT: Terry Trego, 717-787-6535

Meeting to consider SB 527

Senate Education Committee

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | 9:30 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A


AGENDA

Meeting to consider SB 527

SCHEDULE

Senate Bill 527 (Regan) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to provide for conditional automatic increases to the amount of available tax credits in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs.

  • Amendment A02870

Senate Committee Advances Bills Prioritizing Parental Role in Students’ Education

HARRISBURG – Sen. Scott Martin (R-13), the chair of the Senate Education Committee, and other members of the committee voted to advance a legislative package that would prioritize the role of parents and guardians in the educational process and give them greater control as they advocate for their children.

All Senate bills are sponsored by Sen. Martin. House Bill 1660 is sponsored by Rep. Curt Sonney (R-4) and House Bill 1642 is sponsored by Rep. Martina White (R-170).   The amendments for both House Bills were sponsored by Senator Martin.

“Our teachers do a phenomenal job educating our children, but undoubtedly, the best advocates for students are their parents or guardians. The bills the committee advanced today will pave the way for a partnership between the two, providing students with the strongest foundation for success,” Sen. Martin said.

House Bill 1660 originally would have limited a school’s ability to shut down in-person education to 60 days for communicable diseases, rather than the four years that is currently allowed with. However, it was amended to limit shutdowns to 21 days with one extension of 21 days.

House Bill 1642,which focuses on students who attend economically disadvantaged schools through EITC and OSTC program reforms, was amended to expand the number of eligible students as well as increases scholarship amounts from up to $1,000 to up to $2,000 or up to a $4,000 if they are attending a secondary school.

Senate Bill 931 would make changes to the EITC and OSTC programs to explicitly state that payments received from any governmental agency because of the pandemic cannot be included in calculating household income when determining eligibility.

Senate Bill 932 would also revise the current definition of “school-related fees” within the context of the EITC and OSTC programs to allow for the use of program dollars for dual enrollment.

Dual enrollment courses offered to secondary education students are known to be more affordable and can put students on a path to potentially graduate early from their post-secondary training, which could save them thousands of dollars in tuition and interest from student loan debt.

Senate Bill 933 would allow for the designees of members of the General Assembly on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors to vote on behalf of the members when a member cannot be present.

Senate Bill 935 would require every educational facility that accepts Commonwealth tax dollars to post the preamble to the United States Constitution in its entrance.

In addition, the Senate Education Committee voted to approve a letter to be sent to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission to convey objections to the Department of Education’s Charter School and Cyber Charter School proposed regulation #6-349.

The letter was drafted after conducting a hearing on the proposed regulations and it expresses various concerns discussed by stakeholders.  Among them include the issue of the administration using the regulatory process to circumvent the legislature and cut out elected representatives.  Additionally, the proposed regulations would limit charter school actions to pursue money that is legally owed to them.

Having been passed by the committee, the bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

 

CONTACT:  Terry Trego, 717-787-6535

 

Meeting to consider bills

Senate Education Committee 

Monday, November 8, 2021 | Off the Floor

Rules Room


Agenda

Meeting to consider bills

Schedule

Senate Bill 931 (Martin) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to exclude pandemic relief payments from the definition of household income.

Senate Bill 932 (Martin) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to include concurrent enrollment programs in the definition of school-related fees.

Senate Bill 933 (Martin) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to allow certain official representatives on the State System of Higher Education Board of Governors to vote.

Senate Bill 934 (Dush) – An Act requiring school entities to display the Preamble of the PA Constitution.

Senate Bill 935 (Martin) – An Act requiring school entities to display the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. 

Senate Bill 937 (Brooks) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to prohibit requirements for children to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to attend school.

Meeting to consider bills and a letter to the IRRC

Senate Education Committee 

Monday, November 8, 2021 | 12:00 noon

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-B


Agenda

Meeting to consider bills and a letter to the IRRC

Schedule

Senate Bill 527 (Regan) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to provide for conditional automatic increases to the amount of available tax credits in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs.

  • Amendment A02870

House Bill 1660 (Sonney) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to revise the temporary emergency provisions available to a board of school directors.

  • Amendment A02864

House Bill 1642 (White) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to increase the amount of education scholarships for students attending economically disadvantaged schools.

  • Amendment A02819

Letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission on Proposed Regulation #6-349

Senator Martin Announces Education Committee to Vote on Bills Giving Parents Control of Their Children’s Education

HARRISBURG – Senator Scott Martin (R-13), the chair of the Senate Education Committee, and other members of the committee will consider bills that would give more educational control to students’ greatest advocates: their parents.

The committee meeting will take place on November 8 at noon in meeting room 8EB and can be watched live online at the Senate Education website.

The members of the committee will vote on several pieces of legislation that are aimed at ensuring parental rights and creating transparency within educational institutions in Pennsylvania including the following:

House Bill 1660 will be amended to limit a school’s ability to shut down in-person instruction to 21 days for infectious diseases with one extension, rather than the four years that is currently allowed in law.

Senate Bill 527 would automatically increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) caps by 25% each fiscal year when at least 90% of the respective tax credits are claimed in the previous fiscal year.

“Students who want to benefit from the program and businesses that want to contribute to the program are both being denied. Pennsylvania’s students are losing millions of dollars of scholarships in unrealized donations that can’t be made because of the program’s current caps,” Senator Martin said.

“By increasing the caps and expanding the pool of students who are eligible to benefit from the program, we can offer students the educational opportunity that is best suited for their specific needs and give them the greatest chance at success.”

House Bill 1642, which focuses on students who attend economically disadvantaged schools through EITC and OSTC program reforms, expands the number of eligible students as well as increases scholarship amounts from up to $1,000 to up to $2,000 or up to a $4,000 if they are attending a secondary school.

Senate Bill 931 would make changes to the EITC and OSTC programs to explicitly state that payments received from any governmental agency as a result of the pandemic cannot be included in calculating household income when determining eligibility.  This will prevent students from being inadvertently excluded from these educational programs.

Dual enrollment courses offered to secondary education students are known to be more affordable and can put students on a path to potentially graduate early from their post-secondary training, which has the potential to save them thousands of dollars in tuition and interest from student loan debt.  Senate Bill 932 would revise the current definition of “school-related fees” within the context of the EITC and OSTC programs to allow for the use of program dollars for dual enrollment.

In addition, the Senate Education Committee will be considering a letter to offer comments and convey the objections of the committee to the Department of Education’s Charter School and Cyber Charter School proposed regulation #6-349.

After conducting a hearing on the proposed regulations on October 20th, Senator Martin drafted a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the committee to consider which expresses concerns that were voiced by various constituencies.  A major concern is that PDE is using the regulatory process to circumvent the legislative process and cut out the elected representatives of the people and parents of children.  Other issues with the regulations are related to the vagueness in regards to health insurance and benefit packages which would have tremendous financial implications for charter schools.  In addition, the proposed regulations would limit charter school actions to pursue money that is legally owed to them.

“Parents are in the best position to decide what is the most appropriate educational setting for their children.   Over the past 20 years, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has worked towards providing choices to families and these proposed regulations would place an undue amount of bureaucracy and red tape on charter schools which will ultimately lead to less opportunities for the children of Pennsylvania,” stated Senator Martin.

 

CONTACT:  Terry Trego, 717-787-6535

Martin: Integration of 6 State-Owned Universities Advances, Impacts on Non-Integrating Schools Expressed

HARRISBURG – The redesign of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is advancing as integration of six of its universities moves forward, according to state Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster). 

“We approved this integration plan to allow the system to continue to provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost,” said Sen. Martin, who sits on the Board of Governors for PASSHE. “I am pleased to see the progress being made. The system schools are working collaboratively moving forward to achieve the goal of sustainability. PASSHE still faces many challenges. It’s imperative that cross-subsidization does not continue, as it will place the non-integrating universities into financial peril, because the continuation of that process will ultimately lead to the collapse of the system and the member universities.”

The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Martin, and the Senate Appropriations Committee held a public hearing with PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein to discuss the progress of PASSHE following the Board of Governors July 2021 unanimous support for the integration plan.  The plan that was approved administratively integrates six universities into two single accredited entities with a unified leadership team.  

The plan would integrate California University of Pennsylvania as well as Edinboro and Clarion universities in western Pennsylvania into Pennsylvania Western University. Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities in northeast Pennsylvania also will be joined together.  The integrations are effective July 1, 2022.

“The West and Northeast have taken different approaches to supporting information technology systems based on the phased-in curriculum development, the rollout of the new universities’ cabinet and organization structures, and their approach to marketing and branding,” Greenstein shared with the committee. “The team is focused on ways to create a consistent and enhanced student experience as they design the integrated university. The work we have achieved to date has been significant, and I want to thank the faculty and staff who have made it possible.”

The historic changes to PASSHE and the authorization for the creation of integration plans were authorized by Act 50 of 2020, which was championed by Martin and Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-6).

CONTACT: Terry Trego

Joint public hearing on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education update regarding the latest report pursuant to Act 50 of 2020

JOINT HEARING

Senate Appropriations Committee AND Senate Education Committee

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | 11:00 a.m.

North Office Building, Hearing Room #1


AGENDA

Joint public hearing on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education update regarding the latest report pursuant to Act 50 of 2020

Schedule

Act 50 NE Final Report

Act 50 West Final Report

Martin: Senate Education Committee Scrutinizes Charter School Regulation Changes Proposed by the Wolf Administration

(HARRISBURG) – The state Senate Education Committee today scrutinized the Charter School Regulations proposed by the Wolf Administration, according to Senator Scott Martin (R-13) who chairs the committee. 

“There’s a process that is moving forward, but it is important to remember that there’s a larger thing at play here – balance,” Senator Martin said. “We heard a lot about clarity today. There’s a lot of things that fall into the legislative process realm, and there are things that fall into the regulatory process. Over the last few years, in the world of growing executive orders and regulations, there is concern about the proper role of the legislature and the proper role of the executive branch. It may be something we all agree upon, but was it done in proper fashion. This is a step in that process.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) proposed the regulation changes in September that included a public comment period that ended Monday. The proposed changes impact charter school applications, admission policies, boards of trustees, information on management companies, liability coverage, fiscal and auditing standards, funding and academic accountability.

“Since 2019, we have continued to meet with various stakeholders and solicit feedback in a variety of ways,” said Julie Kane, PDE policy director, adding that many of the comments have been incorporated into the draft regulations. “Part of the proposed regulatory process includes a public comment period. We received more than 1,500 comments on the proposed regulations from school districts, charter schools, individual citizens and educational organizations. We are really pleased to see the feedback. All of that will be taken into consideration, will be read and will be considered as part of the final form.”

Opponents of the regulation changes say the Wolf administration is attempting to use the proposed regulation changes to circumvent the legislative process for reforming the state’s charter school rules, many of which would take changes in law.  

“The regulations that are proposed do nothing to further the independence of charter schools; do nothing to help their students and do everything to make it more difficult to start and continue to operate a charter school. Indeed, these regulations seek to handcuff and stifle charter schools,” said Dr. Tina Chekan, chief executive officer of Propel Charter Schools. “These proposed regulations did not have any input from the charter community and these regulations only add burdens to charters and prospective charters. These proposed regulations do nothing to remedy some of the existing barriers to school choice.”

Renee Gordon, Chief Administrative Office of Charter School of Excellence, called on the committee as well as the Wolf Administration to visit their school to see the great work they are doing for their students, community and the entire state.

“The best way to work through this for the sake of kids, like those I have spent my career serving, is to have the collective voice of the people work through these difficult challenges together,” Gordon said. “That can only be done through the PA General Assembly. These proposed regulations should be rescinded and any potential reforms to charter schools should be reviewed and voted on by the legislature and signed into law by the governor.”

Philadelphia Charters for Excellence also called on the Wolf Administration to pull back the proposed charter school regulations, and work with the public charter school community to see charter reform pass through the General Assembly.

Representatives of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the PA School Business Officials Association also testified as to their concerns regarding so of the regulations, as well as the need for some they support, but would need to go through the lawmaking process.

Contact: Terry Trego

 

Senator Martin Announces Education Committee Hearing to Examine Charter School Regulation Changes Proposed by the Wolf Administration

(HARRISBURG) – The state Senate Education Committee will examine the proposed regulations by the Wolf Administration for charter schools and cyber charter schools during a hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to Senator Scott Martin (R-13) who chairs the committee.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) proposed the regulation changes in September that included a public comment period that ended Monday. The proposed changes impact charter school applications, admission policies, boards of trustees, healthcare and liability coverage, fiscal and auditing standards, and the payment redirection process.

Opponents of the proposed regulations say the Wolf administration is attempting to use the regulatory process to circumvent the legislature for reforming the state’s charter school rules.

Who: Senator Scott Martin and members of the Senate Education Committee

What: Hearing on the Charter School Regulation Changes Proposed by the Wolf Administration. Those testifying include representatives of PDE, various charter schools, school boards and school business officials.

When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20

Where: North Office Building, Hearing Room 1 or streaming live online at the www.PASenateGOP.com and the Senate Republican Facebook page

Contact: Terry Trego

 

Public hearing to discuss the proposed regulation #6-349 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education on charter schools and cyber charter schools

Senate Education Committee 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | 10 a.m.

North Office Building, Hearing Room 1


Agenda

Public hearing to discuss the proposed regulation #6-349 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education on charter schools and cyber charter schools

Schedule

10:00 a.m. – 10:05 a.m.

Opening remarks

Senator Scott Martin, Majority Chair, Education Committee
Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair, Education Committee

10:05 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Panel #1

Dr. Sherri Smith, Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education

Adam Schott, Special Assistant to the Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education

Jess Sites, Director, Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Management, Pennsylvania Department of Education

Julie Kane, Policy Director, Pennsylvania Department of Education         

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Panel #2

Tina Chekan, Chief Executive Officer, Propel Charter Schools – Testimony, Testimony 1, Testimony 2

Lawrence F. Jones Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School – Testimony

Dr. Renee Gordon, Chief Administrative Officer, Charter School for Excellence – Testimony

Roberto Datorre, Executive Vice President of Operations, Commonwealth Charter Academy – Testimony 1, Testimony 2

Eileen Cannistraci, Chief Executive Officer, Insight Cyber Charter School – Testimony

Jane Swan, Chief Executive Officer, Reach Cyber Charter School – Testimony

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Panel #3

Allison S. Petersen, Esq., Levin Legal Group, Pennsylvania School Boards Association – Testimony 1, Testimony 2

Dr. Andrew L. Armagost, Director of Advocacy and Analytics, Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials – Testimony

1:00 p.m.

Adjournment

Additional Testimony

Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools – Testimony

Education Law Center – Testimony

The Public Cyber Charter School Association – Testimony

Meeting to consider HB 1332 and HB 1660

Senate Education Committee 

Monday, October 18, 2021 | 12:30 p.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A

Agenda

Meeting to consider HB 1332 and HB 1660

Schedule

House Bill 1332 (Lewis) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to require a school entity post certain curriculum information online.

  • Amendment A02575

House Bill 1660 (Sonney) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to revise the temporary emergency provisions available to a board of school directors.

  • Amendment A02581

 

Meeting to consider SB 603, SB 786 and SB 846

Senate Education Committee 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | 10:30 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-A


Meeting to consider SB 603, SB 786 and SB 846

 AGENDA 

Senate Bill 603 (Brooks) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to establish procedures for removing a tick from a student and provide information on Lyme disease.

  • Amendment A02165

Senate Bill 786 (Aument) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to permit additional school entities to participate in an open campus initiative.

  • Amendment A02394

Senate Bill 846 (Mastriano) – Amends the Public School Code of 1949 to allow a parent or guardian of a child of school age to opt the child out of a requirement to wear a mask or face covering imposed by a school.

  • Amendment A02252

Senator Martin’s Hearing on COVID in Schools Reveals Ongoing Frustration with State Agencies

(HARRISBURG) – Saying state agencies overseeing schools are slow to respond to COVID-19 questions while providing conflicting guidance on the virus to schools, educators from all levels today testified before the Senate Education Committee, chaired by state Senator Scott Martin (R-13), about their ongoing frustrations with the Wolf Administration’s oversight.

“Our parents are fighting for what they believe is best for their children,” Senator Martin said. “Our teachers are forced to play mask police, taking away from already scarce instructional time when they need to be focusing on educating our children.  Administrators are spending their days on compliance and begging for clarity and consistency.  Both they and our teachers are being threatened with losing their certifications, and in some cases, being harassed at home.  Our volunteer school boards are attempting to be responsive to a community with both hands tied behind their backs and being threatened with fines and lawsuits.  Child care facilities are struggling to get 2-year-olds to keep a mask on safely while being threatened with citations from the state. And our children are caught in the middle.”

Michael Bromirski, superintendent of the Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, said in his testimony that the current state Department of Health (DOH) order conflicts with the FAQs and emails that the district has received.

“We often receive emails late on Friday afternoons that state schools must, should, and/or are recommended to do certain things, but the order does not state these new instructions,” Bromirski testified. “So, are we to follow the interpretation as outlined in the FAQ or the actual order? If schools are to implement or enforce an order, we deserve the opportunity to get direct and timely answers to our questions …After being applauded for figuring out how to open our schools for in-person instruction, schools have become the new front line in the battle over mask wearing and other COVID mitigation efforts and it is simply not sustainable. Instead of being supported, we are being blamed and threatened. From all sides.”

Jessica Daugherty, who works for a state licensed child care facility in Lititz, Pa., said the state’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has ranged from vague to intimidating, with threats to remove the facility employees if the young children in daycare do not comply.

“(The Aug. 31) announcement gave a very vague update as to how the new requirements would need to be implemented in regards to licensing regulations,” Daugherty said. “After reaching out to my licensing certification representative, I was left with many unanswered questions…(A Sept. 15) update stated that OCDEL would give citations to child care centers for children not wearing masks without a doctor’s exemption from their child’s physician.  I was completely appalled at the length OCDEL and this administration would go to control the level of which masks are worn. Not only did the choice on wearing masks get taken away from a parent but the obligation of requiring to wear a mask was placed on the child care provider.  The newest announcement states ‘compliance with this order is not optional.’”

Barry Fillman, director of Jeff Tech, a career center in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County, testified that schools are on the front lines of frustrations from parents as part of a situation over which they have little control as “threats from the government pile on to an already intense situation.”

“We as school administrators have been put in a position to absorb everything that politics creates and it is breaking the will of decent, loving people,” Fillman said. “They cannot get at you to air their grievances. They come to us…we all deserve real help in this, a partnership. I long for the opportunity for teachers to teach and leaders to talk about and support education with their efforts instead of playing a game set up by people that do not understand the ramifications of their decisions and the manner in which they roll things out.”

The Department of Health and Department of Education declined to participate, citing pending litigation. Senator Martin said he and the Education Committee will continue to press the Wolf Administration for answers.  “I’m deeply sorry you will not be getting the answers from the administration that you were hoping to get, but we will continue to push for this, and I’m glad we have the chance to hear from you today,” Senator Martin said. 

Written testimony as well as the video from today’s hearing can be found at: https://education.pasenategop.com/education-092321/

Senate Hearing Highlights Important Role of Adult Education in Workforce Development

HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), and the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Scott Martin (R-13), today discussed the importance of adult education for workforce development at a joint public hearing.

During the hearing, the committees heard many success stories of Pennsylvanians who were able to achieve their professional dreams and begin earning family-sustaining wages despite previously struggling.

One barrier to success – as noted in testimony submitted by Sheila Ireland, deputy secretary for workforce development for the Department of Labor and Industry – is a low level of literacy. “We know that eradicating illiteracy would yield huge economic benefits. If all U.S. adults were able to move up to at least the minimum proficiency level for literacy, it would generate an additional $2.2 trillion in annual income for the country, equal to 10% of the gross domestic product.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 130 million U.S. adults aged 16-74 years old lack proficiency in literacy.

Increased literacy is strongly tied to increased compensation. For every 400,000 adults who earn a high school diploma, we gain $2.5 billion back in taxes and reduced expenses, according to testimony submitted by Marcus Hall, director of workforce development for Beyond Literacy.

In addition to improving literacy rates, workforce development programs also provide basic education skills in math to prepare students for career-specific coursework. For example, Literacy Pittsburgh teaches Math for the Trades in partnership with the Builders Guild of Pennsylvania’s pre-apprenticeship program.

The programs offer great training opportunities, but they must be packaged in a way that is accessible to adult learners.

“To obtain the knowledge required for those jobs, adults need education-to-career pathways that fit into the spaces of their lives, meet them where they are, allow them to leverage their experience to accelerate learning, and enable them to thrive – financially and otherwise,” Rebecca Watts, regional vice president in the northeast for Western Governors University, explained in her testimony.

“Adult education benefits the recipients who are able to transform their lives and truly put themselves in control of their destiny, as well as our local communities that are improved when resources for low-income residents are used at a lower rate,” Senator Bartolotta said. “Instead, after they receive training and begin to experience the American Dream, people begin to contribute financially for the benefit of others.”

As the Commonwealth struggles with critical staffing shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly in the health care industry, adult education can be a key solution.

Tec Centro offers affordable classes, including multiple training programs for positions in the health care industry, to low-income students who are underemployed and unemployed. The programs allow students to gain self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty while filling in-demand positions that are critical for the benefit of Pennsylvania communities.

“I am proud of the incredible work Tec Centro has done for our Lancaster community, placing more than 1,400 individuals in permanent employment since 2014 while generating $27 million that was driven back into the local economy,” Senator Martin said. “Tec Centro is a remarkable example of what we hope to accomplish, and I commend them for their work.”

In addition to the organizations mentioned above, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Association for Adult Continuing Education, Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon, Peirce College and the Manchester-Bidwell Training Center also provided testimony.

Click here for more information from the hearing.

 

CONTACTEric Kratz (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463

                        Terry Trego (Sen. Martin’s office), 717-787-6535

Public hearing on the impacts of PA Department of Health orders on Pennsylvania’s children and schools

Senate Education Committee 

Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 11:00 a.m.

East Wing, Hearing Room 8E-B

Public hearing on the impacts of PA Department of Health orders on Pennsylvania’s children and schools

11:00 a.m. – 11:05 a.m. – Opening remarks

Senator Scott Martin, Majority Chair, Education Committee
Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair, Education Committee

11:05 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – Testimony from Panelists

Michael Bromirski, Superintendent, Hempfield School District – Testimony

Jessica Daugherty, Director, Lititz Christian Early Learning Center – Testimony

Dr. Barry Fillman, Director, Jefferson County-Dubois Area Vocational-Technical School – Testimony
(Jeff Tech)

Krista Mathias, Superintendent, Somerset Area School District                                         

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  – Questions and Discussion

1:00 p.m.   – Adjournment

 

Additional Testimony

Acting Secretary Alison Beam, Pennsylvania Department of Health  – Testimony

Dr. Noe Ortega, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education  – Testimony

Media Advisory – Senate Hearing on the Role of Adult Education in Workforce Development on September 22

HARRISBURG – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46), and the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Scott Martin (R-13), will hold a joint public hearing on the role of adult education in workforce development on Wednesday, September 22 from 9-11 a.m. in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Main Capitol Complex and via Zoom.

The first portion of the hearing, focusing on the state perspective, will feature the following testifiers: Dr. Tanya Garcia, acting deputy secretary and commissioner for postsecondary and higher education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education; Amanda Harrison, chief of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education’s Division of Adult Education; and Sheila Ireland, deputy secretary for workforce development for the Department of Labor and Industry.

The second panel will cover adult education career pathways and feature the following testifiers from adult education providers: Cheryl Hiester, executive director for the Literacy Council of Lancaster and Lebanon; Carey Harris, chief executive officer for Literacy Pittsburgh; Dr. Mary Ellen Caro, president and chief executive officer for Peirce College; Carlos Graupera, chief executive officer for SACA and SACA Development; and Dr. Kim Rassau, executive director for Manchester-Bidwell Training Center. Adult education providers will be accompanied by employer partners and program graduates in offering testimony.

Watch live at PASenateGOP.com. 

CONTACTEric Kratz (Sen. Bartolotta’s office), 717-787-1463

                        Terry Trego (Sen. Martin’s office), 717-787-6535

Joint public hearing on the importance of adult education as part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system

JOINT HEARING

Senate Education Committee AND Senate Labor & Industry Committee

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 | 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

North Office Building, Hearing Room #1


Joint public hearing on the importance of adult education as part of Pennsylvania’s workforce development system

9 to 9:15 – Introductions

Senator Camera Bartolotta, Chair, Labor & Industry Committee
Senator Scott Martin, Chair, Education Committee
Senator Christine Tartaglione, Minority Chair, Labor & Industry Committee
Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair, Education Committee 

9:15 to 9:45 – State Perspective

Dr. Tanya Garcia, Acting Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Postsecondary and Higher Education – Testimony
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Amanda Harrison, Chief, Division of Adult Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education

Sheila Ireland, Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development – Testimony
Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

9:45 to 11 – Adult Education Career Pathways

Provider 1

Cheryl Hiester, Executive Director – Testimony
The Literacy Council of Lancaster and Lebanon

Ernesto Matos, RN
Union Community Care

Jenni Black, Chief Quality and Compliance Officer
Union Community Care

Provider 2

Carey Harris, CEO – TestimonyAttachment
Literacy Pittsburgh

Jeff Nobers, Executive Director – Testimony
Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania

Dimero Dixon, Laboror (written testimony only) – Testimony
Southwest Aluminum and Glass

Provider 3

Dr. Mary Ellen Caro, President and CEO – Testimony
Peirce College

Tara Butler, Medical Coding Professional – Testimony
Penn Medicine

Provider 4

Carlos Graupera, CEO – Testimony
Spanish American Civic Association and SACA Development

Sue Martin, Senior Recruiter – Testimony
Penn Medicine

Provider 5

Dr. Kim Rassau, Executive Director
Manchester-Bidwell Training Center

Angelo Nardozi, Mechanical Test Lab Supervisor
US Steel

Lorraine Wasky, Chemical Lab Technician
SKC, Inc.

Additional Written Testimony:

Beyond Literacy – Testimony

Rebecca Watts – Testimony

Public hearing on COVID-19 policies and guidance for schools

Senate Education Committee

Friday, August 6, 2021 | 1:00 p.m.

North Office Building, Hearing Room #1


Public hearing on COVID-19 policies and guidance for schools

AGENDA

1:00 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.         Opening remarks

                                          Senator Scott Martin, Majority Chair, Education Committee

                                          Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair, Education Committee

                                         

1:05 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.         Testimony from the Department of Health and Department of Education

                                          Alison Beam, Acting Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Health  –  Combined Testimony, Additional Combined Testimony

                                          Dr. Noe Ortega, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education  –  Combined Testimony, Additional Combined Testimony

                                          Dr. Sherri Smith, Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary

                                                Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education    

                                  

                                         

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.         Questions from Committee Members                                         

 

2:30 p.m.                            Adjournment

 

Written Testimony

The Arc of Pennsylvania  –  Testimony

Hearing Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education update regarding the latest report pursuant to Act 50 of 2020

 

Joint Hearing

Senate Appropriations and Education Committees

Tuesday, July 20 at 11:15 am | North Office Building, Hearing Room #1

Hearing Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education update regarding the latest report pursuant to Act 50 of 2020

  1. Both versions of the plans
    1. West (redlined and final)
    2. Northeast (redlined and final)
  2. Student survey
  3. Economic Impact study
  4. Change inventory deck
  5. Integration Deck