For more than 250 years, Pennsylvanians have striven to bring academic excellence within reach of their children. In the mid 1700s, when Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and William & Mary colleges were still chiefly seminaries for training clergymen, Benjamin Franklin led a campaign to found an academy of literary, commercial, and scientific studies. That precedent-setting academy went on to become the University of Pennsylvania. Though the Commonwealth of the time was far from wealthy, the same buildings that housed Franklin’s fledgling academy also hosted a free elementary school for poor children.
To this day, the people of Pennsylvania continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to education. Pennsylvanians spent $9,830 per pupil on public schooling in 2000-01, more than a thousand dollars above the national average, and public school teachers in this Commonwealth currently enjoy the highest cost-of-living-adjusted salaries in the nation at nearly $55,000 per year. Through initiatives such as the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), the Professional Development Assistance Program (PDAP), “Classroom Plus” tutoring grants, charter schools, and the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), the Commonwealth is actively seeking to improve teacher quality and student achievement and to undertake promising reforms in the way public education is delivered.
But are these efforts working? Are the energy and dedication of the Commonwealth’s citizens and educators translating into a high quality education for every child?
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The book, Reinventing Education in Pennsylvania: Fulfilling the Promise of Public Schooling, is available by calling 717.671.1901 to order your copy.