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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 12, 2015 11:26 AM
From: Representative John Taylor
To: All House members
Subject: The Educational Opportunity and Accountability Act Legislation
I will soon be introducing legislation to provide relief to families and taxpayers by increasing accountability in our Commonwealth’s lowest-performing schools.

This past year, Pennsylvania spent nearly $1.3 billion of taxpayer dollars on schools that consistently fail to meet the needs of students. In the bottom five percent of high schools, for example, students are ten times more likely to drop out than be proficient on the state math exam.

To address this problem, my legislation, known as The Educational Opportunity and Accountability Act, will empower districts with additional tools to lead turnaround efforts in schools with a consistent track record of poor performance. Districts, at the discretion of local school boards, will be able to either operate the school directly or contract with outside providers.

Additionally, schools that fail to improve to be transferred to a new entity called the Achievement School District (ASD). The ASD will be led by an executive director who reports to a board appointed by Senate and House leaders as well as the Governor. The ASD will have the power to enact meaningful and transformative changes in a school, either by managing it directly or converting it to a charter school. The ASD may also close the lowest-performing charter schools without appeal to the Charter School Appeal Board and authorize new charter schools in the communities served by the worst one percent of schools in the state.

There are also safeguards in place to ensure that schools already in the process of a turnaround or schools that serve a specialized student population would be ineligible for transfer to the ASD.

Five states have already created similar entities, and two more are considering legislation this session. This isn’t surprising: taxpayers are demanding real academic results for their investment in education, and families trapped in consistently low-performing schools are demanding better options for their children.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1225