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Investments in CTE Are Needed to Increase Student Access 

Career and technical education combines academic, technical and hands-on skill-building that prepares students to immediately enter high-priority occupations or better define career plans, including post-secondary education. Each year thousands of Pennsylvania students will have already earned higher education credits, completed a pre-apprenticeship program or gained on-the-job skills before graduation because of the CTE path they chose in high school. Unfortunately, not all students get to participate in CTE due to the lack of sustained state investments in funding to support programming. 

The cost of student attendance at a career and technical education center (CTC) relies heavily on local school district funding because state and federal dollars account for only 11% of the overall cost. Our new fact sheet calls on policymakers to support a total increase of $17.3 million in the 2023-24 state budget, including: 

  • $14 million in the CTE subsidy line: while the governor's proposal would divide the funding across several small grant programs, policymakers should support the FULL amount to be appropriated through the CTE formula to address enrollment growth and increase the subsidy rate.
  • $3.3 million in the CTE Equipment Grant line: CTCs utilize this critical program to update or purchase new equipment for hands-on learning. Policymakers should fully support the $3.3 million increase for this purpose. 

Policymakers must ensure districts have the resources necessary to increase access to CTE and that programs have the tools and equipment to continue to provide high-quality services by making this investment. 


New Fact Sheets Show Home Visiting Works, Unmet Need  

The Childhood Begins at Home campaign released new fact sheets that show the number of young children and their families receiving publicly funded, evidence-based home visiting services statewide and in each county. While a historic level of increased funding in last year's state budget helped serve more Pennsylvania low-income families—moving from 5% to 7% served—it still represents only a fraction of those most in need of services. 

In addition, the campaign released a new research-backed fact sheet showing the effectiveness of each of the campaign's eight evidence-based home visiting models: Child First, Early Head Start, Family Check-Up®, Family Connects, Healthy Families America, Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, and SafeCare Augmented®. Each model is profiled and features its mission and three strongest outcomes based on research literature. Because the models' strengths vary across outcomes, families can select the program that best meets their needs. 


Dems Maintain House Control After Special Election 

Last Tuesday's primary election results mean Democrats continue to hold their razor-thin majority in the state House. The special election wins of Democrat Heather Boyd in the 168th district in Delaware County and Republican Michael Stender Jr. in the 108th district in Northumberland County keep the chamber's partisan split at 102-101. The narrow margin in the House will make budget negotiations challenging as one legislative hold-out could stop a budget bill in its tracks, in addition to also needing the support of the Senate, which is still firmly in Republican control. 

Returning from last week's primary election, the House of Representatives is in session this week and moving a slate of bills as the June 30th budget deadline looms closer. For PPC, the House Human Services Committee met today and approved HB 931 by Rep. Pashinski, which would establish the Legal Services for Kinship Care Families Grant Program. PPC submitted a memo to the committee in support of the legislation. The House Appropriations Committee also advanced HB 611 by Rep. Harris along a party-line vote. The bill is a likely budget vehicle and does not contain any agreed-to language—Chairman Harris noted the bill is a "starting point" in the negotiations. Following this week's session, both chambers will be on break for Memorial Day before returning the week of June 5th. 


Data Did You Know?


In Case You Missed It...

  • Following the February decision of the Commonwealth Court in favor of the plaintiffs in William Penn School District et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et al, the legislature responded by reorganizing the Basic Education Funding Commission on May 10th. The court ruling found the state's education funding system unconstitutional for failing to adequately and equitably fund public schools and compelled the legislature to address a solution. This is the first time the Commission was reconstituted since it last convened in 2015. At the meeting, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) were named co-chairs. The Commission will meet on June 7th. In addition to both caucuses in each chamber receiving three appointees, the Shapiro administration also has three appointees to the body. 
  • Last week the Independent Regulatory Review Commission disapproved the proposed Subsidized Child Care Eligibility regulations per a request by DHS. The recommended disapproval was due to a provision that would have prohibited child care facilities from receiving a subsidy to charge the difference in the cost of care to families, creating a $16.5 million impact on child care providers annually. Start Strong PA supported this recommendation. DHS is expected to restart the regulatory process without this provision soon, as the regulations are required for federal compliance. 
  • The National Institute for Early Education Research released its 20th annual The State of Preschool 2022 report. It details state profiles that highlight specific details of the pre-k programs offered in each state. Per the NIEER's scoring, Pennsylvania met 6.9 of 10 quality standards benchmarks, with the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program and the Pre-K Counts Program receiving scores of 8 out of 10. 
  • With negotiations in Congress over the federal debt ceiling dragging precariously close to the June 1st default deadline, please read the latest blog from our partners at the Georgetown University Center for Children & Families that speaks to the impact of various work requirements for low-income parents.  
  • A recent report released by the Education Law Center finds that Black girls face "daunting educational barriers" in the state's K-12 public schools, including racism, sexism, and poverty. An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette summarizes its findings.  

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
200 North Third Street 13th Floor
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
(717) 236-5680

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