PA Education Associations Release Shared Vision for Future of Public Education

Today, the Pennsylvania School Boards Assocaition (PSBA), the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA), the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) and the PA Principals Association announced a new collaborative effort to advance a shared vision for the future of public schools. This initiative, Education Next, was developed with guidance from each of the association’s governing boards and leadership and outlines four core educational priorities:

Students should have every opportunity to reach their full potential by receiving continuous and sustainable resources provided by their school and the support of their community. Every school district is demographically, geographically and financially different. The public school entity must identify what a “mutual benefit” means to its community and the resources available, such as mental health supports, social services, safe and secure buildings, and available staff members and supports.

PA public schools educate approximately 80% of our school-age children and have an obligation to meet the needs of all these students. The new phase of public education needs to balance flexibility and structure within educational programs. Our schools must consider time, place, pace and space regarding the most effective schedule, structure, and continuum of curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of their students.

To define success in public education and the students it serves, we need to determine the forward-facing criteria for success and the measurements that best fit these criteria. Federally mandated standardized assessments have their place in our testing structures, however, how we use them is to be determined. Other measures need to be established that respond to the students’, parents’/caregivers’, and communities’ definition of success in public education.

Public education’s future must include personalizing a student’s education to meet each student where they are and providing a path for them to identify and reach their individual educational and career goals in an environment where they feel safe, supported and a sense of belonging.

In the coming weeks, our organizations will unveil additional details under each of the four core educational priorities to ensure students throughout the commonwealth thrive in an ever-changing environment.

Education Next was motivated in part by both the Commonwealth Court ruling, a call to action for funding equitable opportunities for all students in the commonwealth, and the Commission on Education and Economic Competitiveness to discuss and develop the long-term education goals of the commonwealth. A summary of the shared vision was sent to Governor Josh Shapiro and the general assembly ahead of tomorrow’s budget address.

Together, we are calling on all Pennsylvanians to embrace the priorities outlined in this report and join with us in creating and implementing meaningful solutions for all Pennsylvania children.

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