Investing in Education
Creating Educational Excellence in Pennsylvania
“Every child in Pennsylvania should be ready to learn, ready to grow and ready to succeed. This budget builds upon the investments over the last three years and targets additional funding to ensure that all Pennsylvania students are provided with high-quality learning opportunities – because every dollar invested in a child is a dollar invested in the future of the Commonwealth.” -Governor Corbett
When Governor Corbett came to office, we faced vanishing federal stimulus money, so we had to make tough choices. But with every challenge comes great opportunity – and we used the past three years to reset and raise the bar for public education. We launched Ready to Learn – to ensure that every child is ready to learn, ready to grow and ready to succeed. We brought accountability into our schools with stronger academic standards and a teacher evaluation system to ensure that we support great teachers in our classrooms. We brought transparency to parents and taxpayers with the School Performance Profile so that they better understand the quality of the education their children are receiving. And, we developed stronger supports and resources to support learning in the classroom.
With this budget, Governor Corbett will launch the next phase of the Ready to Learn agenda – which is a new strategic investment at all levels of public education that is built upon the solid foundation of increased accountability, improved transparency and greater support for students.
• Early Childhood Education - This budget will invest an additional $10 million into Pre-K Counts – providing approximately 1,670 more pre-school age children with access to high-quality learning programs. Pre-K Counts programs have consistently delivered high-quality pre-kindergarten education to Pennsylvania’s three- and four-year olds who are at risk of academic failure. This builds upon recent funding increases of $46.5 million in additional early childhood funding that served more than an additional 11,000 children over the past three years. This investment also complements the recent $51.7 million Pennsylvania was awarded through the federal Race to the Top Grant Program to support increasing the quality of early childhood education programs across the commonwealth.
• Kindergarten to Grade 12: This budget will invest more than $250 million into Pennsylvania’s public schools through three core initiatives: the Ready to Learn Block Grant; the Governor’s Expanding Excellence Competitive Grant Program; and the Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grant Program.2oyment.
o Ready to Learn Block Grant: The Ready to Learn Block Grant will provide an additional $241 million to school districts that focuses on student achievement and academic success. Funds will be targeted through a student-focused funding formula to enhance early learning opportunities for students as well as provide resources for schools to innovate at the local level. Key examples of grant award uses include: Ready by Third-Grade: Ensuring that every student in Pennsylvania is reading and doing math on grade level by third grade; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education: Supporting STEM-related academic programs, which are the key to growing jobs of the future; Supplemental Instruction: Enabling more flexibility for schools to provide customized instruction for students; the Governor’s Expanding Excellence program: supporting school-to-school mentoring; Pre-K to grade 3 curriculum alignment and extended learning opportunities; and instructional coaches.
• Pennsylvania Hybrid Learning Grant program - This budget will provide $10 million in competitive grants to support educators to develop new educational strategies in the classroom to customize and improve student performance. Hybrid learning, which blends traditional and digital learning, has proven successful in K-12 education. This funding will enable approximately 100 schools in Pennsylvania to implement or expand hybrid learning techniques.
• Special Education - To ensure that Pennsylvania students who need access to specialized learning opportunities are able to succeed, an additional $20 million in special education funds will be distributed through use of a weighted student funding formula that will allocate funding to school districts based on three categories of students receiving special education.
• Ready to Succeed Scholarships - $25 million is proposed for a new Ready to Succeed Scholarships program to make postsecondary educational opportunities more affordable to middle-income Pennsylvania families – enabling students to pursue two-year or four-year postsecondary degrees at any Pennsylvania college or university.