Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf joined the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Philadelphia.
Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf joined the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in Philadelphia. This event highlighted the significant progress Pennsylvania has made in its ability to prepare students with the skills for a successful career in the 21st century economy, and the substantial investments in education the governor has made to reverse years of cuts made by his predecessors.
WHYY reported on the success of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading thus far:
“In 2017, the portion of public school third-graders who scored proficient or better on the PSSA exam increased five percentage points — from 30 percent to 35 percent — and fourth-grade scores made a similar leap. When mixing in charter and Catholic school students, about 42 percent of Philly third-graders read on grade level, according to the Read by 4th campaign.”
“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.”
Additionally, this March, Governor Wolf secured $30 million for his workforce development initiative, PAsmart. The program helps connect Pennsylvanians with resources for working and training in Pennsylvania and is the first of its kind.
“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.
Governor Wolf has been a champion for schools since taking office in 2015. He has expanded state-funded preschool by $115 million which added thousands of slots in PA Pre-K Counts and in head start Supplemental Assistance program (HSSAP). Because of Governor Wolf’s funding increases in total, more than 29,250 children will receive services through both programs.