Committee Approves Three Bills

HARRISBURG (May 23, 2017) – The Senate Education Committee today unanimously approved three bills, including bipartisan legislation requiring legislative approval of any state plan that the Pennsylvania Department of Education submits pursuant to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Senate Bill 53 (Greenleaf) – The legislation would permanently allow for distance education inclusion in the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency State Grant Program.  Act 59 of 2013 created the five-year State Grant Distance Education Pilot Program (SGDEPP) and provides PHEAA grant funding to students who take more than 50 percent of their term credits online or are enrolled in programs of study that are structured to be more than 50 percent online.  The legislation would fully integrate the distance education grants from a pilot program.

Senate Bill 634 (Aument) – The legislation would amend current law to ensure that students who have taken Advanced Placement courses (and scored 3 or more) would receive college course credit from Pennsylvania public institutions of higher education.

Senate Bill 725 (Eichelberger) – The legislation would require that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state 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 require legislation be enacted prior to its implementation.

“As Pennsylvania’s Constitution grants authority to the legislature in providing a system of education in the Commonwealth, we are required by law to review the implementation and the Department’s proposed changes to accountability, academic standards and assessment in Pennsylvania’s education system. Many of my colleagues and I have heard from residents across Pennsylvania who have expressed concern about our education system and this legislation ensures their concerns are addressed,” Senator Eichelberger (R-Blair) noted.

For media inquiries specific to pieces of legislation, please contact the prime sponsor:

Senator Stewart Greenleaf: (717) 787-6599
Senator Ryan Aument: (717) 787-4420
Senator John Eichelberger: (717) 787-5490

For all other media inquiries, please contact Dr. Andrew Armagost at (717) 783-3563.