|Posted:||March 16, 2015 03:38 PM|
|From:||Representative Dan Truitt|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Extended School Program|
|Many studies show that it is more expensive to educate students who live in poverty. There are a range of reasons for this that could easily lead to a variety of discussions about social factors that are outside of the control of school districts, but, the fact remains that it is more difficult to educate children who live in poverty. While I believe that we have a moral obligation to give these children the education that they need to eventually lift themselves out of poverty, I do not believe that indiscriminately throwing more money at the problem does much good. We need to get smarter about how we allocate our resources to address this issue.
Studies also show that one thing that helps close the achievement gap for children who live in poverty is a longer school day and a longer school year. Again, there are a range of reasons for this that could lead to lots of great discussions about how the same benefits could be achieved outside of our school system, but, the fact remains that this method works. I believe that if we are going to spend more money on education, with the intent of closing the achievement gap for children who live in poverty, our money would be well spent on a targeted extended learning program.
Based on this understanding, I will soon introduce legislation to establish the “Commonwealth Extended School Program”. A copy of the proposed legislation is attached. Here’s what it does:
1 – Requires the Department of Education (PDE) to rank individual schools, not districts, according to their need for funding from the program. The formula shall be based on poverty rates and School Performance Profile (SPP) scores. Poverty rates shall carry the greatest weight since this program is being created on the premise that extended learning provides the greatest benefit in areas with high poverty.
2 – Requires PDE to establish a per-student funding rate to calculate the amount of funding that would be provided to a participating school.
3 – Requires PDE to offer the funds to eligible schools in the order established above (#1) in the amount established above (#2).
4 – Requires schools that fall in the bottom 5% of SPP scores to accept the funds, but, allows other schools to decline the funding. This maintains local control in most cases.
5 – Requires all schools that accept funding to increase the length of the school year to at least 1260 hours. This can be achieve by extending the school day, the school year, or both.
6 – Requires all schools that accept funding to establish supplementary math programs for all students scoring below “advanced” in math.
7 – Requires all schools that accept funding to establish supplementary reading programs for all students scoring below “advanced” in reading.
8 – Requires all schools that accept funding to offer academically-rigorous electives for all students to fill the remaining time. These electives may be provided by outside organizations under the supervision of school district personnel.
I hope that you will join me in supporting this concept by co-sponsoring the attached legislation!
Introduced as HB1554