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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 24, 2017 03:57 PM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. and Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Development of Pennsylvania’s ESSA Plan
The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the broad new federal scheme for education, has given states an important opportunity to improve their educational systems. The federal legislation refers to the development of state plans by a state’s education agency (SEA). All states have Departments of Education like Pennsylvania, and in most states it is that department upon whom the responsibility lies to submit an ESSA plan. However, Pennsylvania is among the states which have a constitutional provision that places responsibility on the legislature to provide a system of education. In Article III, Section 14, it provides: “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth”

As chairmen of the Senate Education Committee, we take this obligation very seriously, and want to ensure that we meet our legal responsibilities in the crafting of what could be monumental improvements to our education system. We also desire to ensure the maximum ongoing participation of parents in any newly designed assessment system.

Therefore, we intend to introduce legislation in the near future which would require that an ESSA plan proposed by the PA Department of Education be submitted to the Education Committees of the General Assembly prior to its submission to the federal government, and would also require legislation to be enacted prior to its implementation.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this very important legislation.

Introduced as SB725