The Pennsylvania Senate last week passed with bipartisan support measures introduced by Landisville Republican Ryan Aument that would study the effectiveness of standardized tests and reduce certification requirements for vocational teachers.
These pieces of legislation, Aument said, would promote a more efficient education system and a stronger workforce.
“There is a vigorous debate regarding the effectiveness of the data produced by Keystone Exams and other standardized testing,” Aument said regarding Senate Resolution 322, which the Education Committee passed unanimously. “It is critical to ensure this data is reliable to provide teachers, schools, parents and taxpayers with feedback that will be useful in promoting a better system of education of students.”
His resolution mandates the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study standardized tests and whether they are clear indicators of student success.
Senate Bill 1104
The chamber passed the career and technical education-centered legislation — Senate Bill 1104 — by a 48-1 vote. Christine Tartaglione, a democrat from Philadelphia, was the lone no vote.
Aument’s bill, which was introduced in April and quickly made its way through the Senate, would reduce the number of credits career and technology teachers — who, unlike most teachers, start teaching after establishing themselves in the workforce — must take after being hired from 78 to 60.
This change, Aument said, would make the job more appealing and cut down the number of qualified teaching candidates Pennsylvania loses each year.
“Career and technical education teachers are already required to have several years of industry experience in addition to meeting continuing education mandates in their field of study,” Aument said. “Piling up even more requirements will only chase away our best educators, which could have a negative impact on our ability to build a workforce that can meet the growing need for skilled labor.”
A companion bill introduced by Rep. Stephen Bloom, who serves part of Cumberland County, was passed by the House in April and referred to the Senate Education Committee on May 18.
Aument’s bill awaits a vote in the House Education Committee.