Owlett Applauds Passage of Legislation to Improve PA’s Education System

Two measures passed to improve state’s education system

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 12, 2018

HARRISBURG – This week in the state House of Representatives two measures were passed to improve aspects of the state’s education system, said Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter), who supported each of the bills.

Senate Bill 1095 would give Pennsylvania students additional options for fulfilling high school graduation requirements beyond the Keystone Exams.

“I think most of us recognize that you cannot judge a student’s academic knowledge by one set of tests, which is what the Keystone Exams set out to do,” said Owlett. “That’s why I was happy to support Senate Bill 1095, which recognizes a variety of ways to allow students to demonstrate their readiness for the job market or higher education. Pennsylvania needs to update the way in which we judge success based on the knowledge that not all students are adept at standardized testing.”

Under Senate Bill 1095, students who do not score proficient on the Keystone Exams would be able to demonstrate their graduation readiness through alternative means, such as a student’s successful completion of work-based learning programs, a service learning project, or an offer of full-time employment as evidence of post-secondary readiness.

As part of the bill, the Keystone Exam graduation requirement would also be put on hold until the 2021-22 academic year. The alternate graduation options in Senate Bill 1095 would take effect when that delay expires.

Senate Bill 1095 now goes back to the state Senate for concurrence.

House Bill 1386 was also approved by the House this week. It would change the way current and future special education instructors are certified.

Current law certifies special education instructors to teach either preK-8 or grades 7-12. It also requires additional certification in an area of specialization.

House Bill 1386 would allow anyone who obtains a special education teaching certificate after Dec. 31, 2021, to teach preK through grade 12 or up to 21 years of age. It also would remove the need for additional certification.

Accommodations would be made to allow current special education instructors to teach PreK-12 or up to 21 years of age using their existing certificate through continuing education or assessment testing.

“We need more teachers to dedicate themselves to working with students with special needs and this legislation aims to make certification for that specialty more accessible,” said Owlett. “Streamlining these types of processes is essential to attracting good candidates to the field.”

This bill is currently waiting to be signed into law by the governor.

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