Press Releases

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 10:02 AM

Congress has taken significant action to enact a full reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) - currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act.

Earlier this month, the Senate began consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) to renew the outdated law. We are asking you to send an email to your senators to let them know that you support S. 1177 because it will provide teachers and principals with the support they need to offer a high quality education for every student.  

While the bill is not perfect, it represents a bipartisan comprise of the laws renewal that is important for the nation's education system. NASSP, in collaboration with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators, we're pleased to see several of our recommendations included in S. 1177, and specifically support the following provisions of the bill:

  • The elimination of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures and the 100 percent proficiency requirements
  • Clarification of the term "School Leader" as the principal of an elementary, middle, or high school
  • Inclusion of use of funds in Title II for a "School Leader Residency Program"
  • Updated school leadership-focused activities to improve the recruitment, preparation, placement, support, and retention of effective principals and other school leaders in high-need schools
  • The removal of the unworkable school turnaround models that are required under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program regulations
  • The continued disaggregation of subgroup data and reporting
  • Allowable use of local Title II funds to develop induction and mentoring programs that are designed to improve school leadership and provide opportunities for mentor principals and other educators who are experienced, effective, and have demonstrated an ability to work with adult learners as well as provide "personalized" professional development for educators

As a leader in your school and community, your voice is extremely powerful in this debate. Please take a moment to send an email to your senators in Congress, and urge them to consider the voice of principals in the reauthorization of ESEA. While a sample letter has been provided for you, we strongly urge you to personalize the letter where possible.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 9:57 AM

This week, the State Board of Education approved the new PSSA cut scores for our students as the next step in a process that began several years ago. Now, as we prepare to receive official student and district PSSA data in the coming weeks it is important to remember a few things:

1. The PA Core Standards that were adopted in 2013 were expected to be much more rigorous.

2. The PSSAs in English Language Arts and Mathematics administered this past spring were comprised solely of the new, more challenging standards.

3. Our new, more rigorous standards have resulted in lower standardized test scores, particularly in Mathematics.

It is important to note that these anticipated results represent a snapshot in time of student progress on a more rigorous assessment. The PA Core standards that were adopted in 2013 set the bar high, purposefully, in order to better prepare our students to be college and career ready when they graduate, and be successful in the 21st century work force. Our students haven't changed, but the assessment has.

At PDE we understand there are secondary impacts of these scores, and we're committed to helping you --- the state's educators, school administrators and stakeholders -- in improving student achievement and communicating the new assessments and the results in your communities. Further, I assure you that we understand that standardized test results should not be the sole indicator of a student's or school's success, and will be part of a larger conversation on accountability and how we best serve our students.

You can see the new PSSA cut scores and preliminary impact data by visiting PDE's website:, under the K-12 tab: Assessment and Accountability. We [PDE] will be reaching out again in a few weeks with additional materials you may find useful in your discussions around this year's results.

--Pedro A. Rivera, PA Secretary of Education

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 10:28 AM

The No Child Left Behind Act, a George W. Bush-era law that expired in 2007, may finally be on its way to becoming fully defunct.  On Tuesday, the Senate debated its version of a No Child Left Behind rewrite, called the Every Child Achieves Act. Later this week, the House of Representatives is set to do the same with its version, called the Student Success Act. It is currently unclear where a final bill may land, but civil rights groups, politicians and teachers unions agree -- it is time for an update.  The No Child Left Behind Act, a 2002 bipartisan law enacted by Bush, emphasizes standardized tests and penalties for bad scores. Since 2011, the Obama administration has offered waivers to states, allowing them to elude some of the law's most stringent requirements. Amid this patchwork of state waivers, previous attempts to overhaul the law have failed.  This time around, Congress appears determined to make something work. Here are three things you should know about the Senate and House bills that are up for debate.

Click here for full article.

Source: The Huffington Post By Rebecca Klein 07/07/2015 7:57 pm EDT Updated: 07/07/2015 10:59 pm EDT.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 10:25 AM

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) commends the U.S. Congress for taking up the outdated No Child Left Behind law. As debate commenced today for floor action of the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), NSBA sent a letter to all 100 U.S. Senators urging their strong support for moving forward on a final bill that restores community ownership to local school districts, maximizes authorized funding for Title I, and advances academic achievement among all students.  During the Senate floor action, key amendments were introduced for debate and consideration. NSBA is pleased that Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced a bipartisan amendment focused on strengthening local governance. NSBA worked closely with Senator Fischer and Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Angus King (I-ME), who co-sponsored the amendment, to assure that S. 1177 includes strong support for local autonomy in managing school administration, budget development and related operations that support school district responsibilities for student achievement.  Additionally, the White House released a Statement of Administration Policy affirming the President’s intent not to veto the final Senate bill.

Click here for full article.

 Source: NSBA Press Release, July 7, 2015.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 9:25 AM

Math not your thing? Confused by the proposed formula proposed by the Basic Education Funding Commission? You're not alone. PSBA has produced a short video to help explain the formula and how it works with a real example. 

Source: PSBA Daily Edition, July 8, 2015.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 9:24 AM

Harrisburg's budget impasse isn't just a partisan staring contest threatening to hobble the commonwealth and those who count on it. There are principles at stake. Unfortunately, they include the principles that fossil fuels should be tax-free and the government should own all the liquor stores.
Click here for article.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, July 8, 2015.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 2:13 PM

Gov. Tom Wolf and top Republican legislative leaders resumed their on-again, off-again talks on Pennsylvania's delayed state budget Monday. While there was plenty of action, it was hard to see any discernible progress.

Click here for article.

Source:, July 7, 2015.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 2:13 PM

School districts across the Lehigh Valley are plodding ahead to comply with a new background check law that has been mired in confusion over who, among the hundreds of volunteers, requires clearances. A bill that passed the Legislature last month is supposed to bring clarity to the requirements that cover anyone who works with children. But even with the changes, educators say the new mandate is a major undertaking.

Click here for article.
Source: Allentown Morning Call, July 6, 2015.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 2:03 PM

The Senate today begins debate on a sweeping overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act, which set national education standards but quickly became unpopular with teachers and parents because of its emphasis on standardized testing.

Click here for article.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 7, 2015.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 10:02 AM

HARRISBURG (JULY 1, 2015) – In response to Governor Wolf’s veto of the FY2015-16 budget bill passed by the legislature, The Campaign for Fair Education Funding today called on the governor and General Assembly to come together to fix the state’s flawed basic education funding system.

“We’re disappointed that all sides could not reach agreement on a timely budget,” said Charlie Lyons, spokesperson for the Campaign.  “We urge them to now come together in good faith and in a bipartisan way to enact a fair funding formula and to pass a budget with sufficient basic education dollars to address the impact of prior cuts and move Pennsylvania toward the goal of ensuring that all students have an opportunity for success no matter where they live.”

“The bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, which unanimously approved strong recommendations for a new school funding formula, is an example of what can be accomplished when the Governor’s Office and legislators work together,” Lyons added. “We hope they will now approach the budget negotiations in the same spirit and quickly reach agreement on a budget that is good for all of Pennsylvania’s students.” 

“Our Campaign members will continue to serve as a resource for all parties as they work to ensure that every student, in every school, has access to the resources they need to meet state academic standards,” said Lyons.

The campaign is made up of more than 50 member organizations representing educators, labor, business leaders, faith-based organizations, child advocates, charter schools, traditional public schools, with representatives from rural, urban and growing school districts.  Learn more about the Campaign for Fair Education Funding at

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Source: Campaign for Fair Education Funding Press Release, July 1, 2015.


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