Pennsylvania’s teachers’ union is voicing concerns that the state’s public school voucher program will negatively affect public education in lower-income families and communities.
Upon becoming mayor of Philadelphia, Cherelle Parker announced that she will establish a working group on full-day and year-round schooling – an idea she had supported while campaigning. The group will develop a strategy to keep Philadelphia public schools open for longer hours during the week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as over the summer, and to provide “meaningful, instructive out-of-school programming and job opportunities for students.”
Pennsylvania lags only slightly behind national figures for the number of working-age adults who have earned college degrees or other professional certifications after high school.
Jeff Ney, vice president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, called it a historic investment aimed at leveling the playing field for long-underfunded districts.
Gov. Josh Shapiro said he wants to invest in the people of Pennsylvania with a $48.3 billion budget that directs new funding to education, economic growth, and creating better opportunities for residents.
Proposals to restructure Pennsylvania’s higher education system and boost public transit funding are expected to be centerpieces of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s upcoming Feb. 6 budget address.
These tax breaks are a lynchpin of Keystone Opportunity Zones, a 25-year-old state program that officials say spurs development on abandoned or underutilized land by waiving nearly all state and local taxes, including business and property taxes, in the zones for up to 10 years. Pennsylvania says the program is a strong economic development strategy. But by the district’s own estimate, the zones have cost Philadelphia public schools $59.9 million since 2017.
The proposal includes capping tuition at state universities and community colleges at $1,000 per semester.
In a rare move, the Philadelphia Board of Education voted Thursday to reverse its previous decision not to renew a charter school, meaning it can continue operating for another three years — with 19 separate conditions.
A conservative Pennsylvania policy group said expanded educational choice should be part of the mix of options to improve access to quality education as Gov. Josh Shapiro and lawmakers respond to a court ruling on educational equality in the next state budget.