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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 11, 2021 08:44 AM
From: Representative Jim Marshall
To: All House members
Subject: Dual Enrollment for Charter Schools
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to allow charter schools, regional charter schools, and cyber charter schools ("charter school entities") to offer dual enrollment programs to their students.  This language will be similar to House Bill 358, which passed the House during the previous legislative session with bipartisan support.

A dual enrollment program allows high school students to enroll in concurrent college courses through an institution of higher education.  Under state law, only school districts are currently permitted to enter into concurrent enrollment agreements and offer dual enrollment programs to their students.  My legislation would allow charter school entities to enter into these agreements with institutions of higher education and ensure every student in Pennsylvania's public schools has the same access to this advanced coursework.

Increasing participation in "advanced coursework, such as dual enrollment" is part of Pennsylvania's Every student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan, which was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on August 1, 2019.  This plan, crafted by members of Governor Wolf's administration, notes that programs like dual enrollment are a "key strategy to help historically underserved students graduate from high school ready for college and careers" and will work to increase the number of students participating in these programs each year.

With Pennsylvania's public charter schools serving a higher percentage of minority and low-income students than school districts, my legislation will allow - for the first time - thousands of underserved students to access dual enrollment programs.

Not only does our current law put Pennsylvania's 160,000+ students at an academic disadvantage, it also impacts how charter schools are evaluated by the state Department of Education, Governor Wolf's newest school evaluation system - the Future Ready PA Index - calculates each school's success on a list of factors, several of which are based on the number of students participating in dual enrollment programs.  It is far past time for the General Assembly to fix the inequities that our current law has created for Pennsylvania's public charter schools and the students they serve.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation to ensure that every public school in our Commonwealth has the ability to offer their students a comprehensive and robust education that prepares them for future success.

Introduced as HB358