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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 4, 2021 02:30 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument and Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, Sen. Scott Martin
To: All Senate members
Subject: 2030 Commission on Education and Economic Competitiveness
In the near future we intend to introduce a concurrent resolution to create the 2030 Commission on Education and Economic Competitiveness.
Pennsylvania’s future depends on becoming a much stronger economic competitor to its neighboring states and, increasingly, a number of wealthy nations in a global economy. To meet the challenges of an interconnected, knowledge-driven global economic landscape, Pennsylvania must build the world-class education system necessary to produce a highly skilled workforce. 
The urgency to reshape our education system into one that meets the economic and workforce needs of the Commonwealth is significant. Coupled with the problems associated with Pennsylvania’s aging population, our unreadiness for current and future labor needs is evident. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began to reshape the labor market, Pennsylvania faced an uncertain economic future.
Large areas of Pennsylvania are heavily dependent on economic sectors that are currently in danger of job losses due to automation and are poised to see job losses accelerate in the wake of the pandemic. Though these changes will present new work opportunities in different industries, Pennsylvanians must be ready and able to fill these family-sustaining jobs.
Pennsylvania’s education system has become antiquated and is struggling to meet students’ needs. Fixing that problem in order to not only meet the needs of today’s students - but tomorrow’s as well - will require a more resilient, adaptable and future-ready approach.
To move Pennsylvania into a position of education and economic competitiveness, we must act quickly to:
  • Create a shared, state-wide, bipartisan vision for 21st century education that will prepare all students to be lifelong learners and compete in a globalized economy
  • Develop a shared, society-wide understanding of the needs of Pennsylvania’s current and future economy and the context in which its education system currently operates
  • Establish the policies and regulations necessary to give all school districts the support and flexibility they need to build world-class education systems
  • Build the data infrastructure to allow Pennsylvania to track how far it has come in competing in the world economy
Investing in a world-class, intentionally redesigned education system that meets the economic needs of the Commonwealth is urgent and necessary. It will provide all our educators with the supports and structures they need to thrive in their careers. It will guarantee that our students go on to enjoy fulfilling work, stable incomes, and lifelong careers.  And it will decrease our spending on prisons and healthcare and our reliance on social safety nets to support those trapped in intergenerational poverty. 
Ultimately, stronger education outcomes lead to economic prosperity, which can drive a much broader vision for prosperity: a healthy, happy, active, informed, and engaged citizenry, able to lead prosperous, comfortable lives, wherever in Pennsylvania they live.
In order to create a long-term vision for Pennsylvania’s education system in 2030 and a legislative action plan for getting there, we are proposing the creation of a bicameral, 18-month-long 2030 Commission on Education and Economic Competitiveness (the “2030 Commission”). The 2030 Commission have the authority to study the challenges within the current system, learn from approaches to systemic redesign all over the world – from Europe to Asia to leading districts within the Commonwealth – and come up with innovative policy solutions that will enable educators and students to meet the future head on. In addition, the 2030 Commission will be supplemented by a Subcommittee on Education Planning (the “Subcommittee”) consisting of representatives from key Pennsylvania stakeholder organizations, who will conduct more in-depth research and policy analysis to inform the work of the 2030 Commission.
The outputs of this work would include Pennsylvania’s own “2030 Plan” that will:
  • Analyze global educational and economic trends to forecast the skills and competencies Pennsylvania’s workers and citizens will need to be competitive in 2030 and beyond;
  • Set a vision for what Pennsylvania’s education system can look like in 2030 to meet that need;
  • Analyze Pennsylvania’s current context and compare it to the future vision and identify policies that will be needed to bridge that gap;
  • Offer concrete recommendations for the 2023 legislative session; and
  • Present a preliminary implementation plan for getting from the 2023 legislation to the 2030 vision.

For additional information on the need for the 2030 Commission on Education and Economic Competitiveness, please see the attached document.  We hope you will join us in creating a vision for brighter future in Pennsylvania.

View Attachment

Introduced as SR144