State of Pennsylvania

03/14/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/14/2019 14:06

Wolf Administration Visits Steelton-Highspire ES to Discuss Early Childhood Education, Investments in Teachers

Wolf Administration Visits Steelton-Highspire ES to Discuss Early Childhood Education, Investments in Teachers

Steelton, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Executive Deputy Secretary Dr. David Volkman today visited students and staff at Steelton-Highspire Elementary School to discuss Governor Wolf's commitment to expanding access to early childhood education and increasing investments in schools and teachers.

As part of a roundtable discussion, Dr. Volkman highlighted the governor's new Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP)Opens In A New Window, which will provide opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The plan calls for lowering the compulsory age for school attendance from 8 years to 6 years, raising the minimum age at which students can drop out of high school, and raising the minimum salary for teachers.

'Lowering the attendance age helps more children get off to a good start in school and will prevent students from falling behind their peers who enter school at an earlier age,' said Dr. Volkman, who was visiting the school as part of the Schools That Teach Tour. 'And working parents will have the comfort of knowing their child will have access to education at a critical time in their child's developmental years.'

The SWEAP plan also focuses on recruiting and retaining qualified teachers by raising the minimum salary for teachers from the current $18,500 to $45,000; and raises the age at which high school students can drop out of school from 17 to 18.

Dr. Volkman and school officials also discussed the importance of expanding student opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and in computer science. In January, the Steelton-Highspire School District received funding from PAsmart targeted grants to expand computer science classes and teacher training. In addition to helping schools introduce and expand computer science programming, the targeted grants will provide greater opportunities for students of color, low-income students and girls to learn critical skills needed to succeed in today's workforce.

Governor Wolf launched PAsmart last year as a groundbreaking approach to prepare students and workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Combined with $8.7 million in PAsmart targeted grantsOpens In A New Window, the Wolf administration has awarded nearly $20 million this year to bolster STEM and computer science in schools and nearly $10 million to expand apprenticeships and job training.

Investing in schools and improving education for all students has been the hallmark of Governor Wolf's vision for Schools That Teach. Under his leadership, Pennsylvania has increased access to high-quality education to ensure all students, regardless of zip code, are college and career ready.

Through the Schools That Teach Initiative, Wolf Administration officials from multiple agencies have visited dozens of schools across the state since 2015. View a Google map of all tour stopsOpens In A New Window.

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis - 717-783-9802, or [email protected]

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