September 30, 2011

Latest Pennsylvania student achievement results demonstrate value of support for proven educational methods

Student achievement results for the 2010-2011 school year released September 29 by the Pennsylvania Department of Education confirm what educators already know: investments in proven educational methods work for students.

“These results are a credit to Pennsylvania’s educators, our students, and a decade of investments in programs that work to improve learning in our schools," said PSEA President Mike Crossey. When you make smart investments in proven programs you get results.”

The $860 million in state funding cuts resulting from the state budget Gov. Tom Corbett proposed have forced school districts to struggle to continue programs that work. A recent study released by Pennsylvania school business officials and superintendents indicated that 70 percent of school districts increased class sizes this year, and 44 percent cut elective courses – even in core subject areas – while 35 percent eliminated tutoring programs.

“Public schools are an investment in the future of our nation, our state, and our communities,” Crossey added. “If we want our students to continue to succeed, we need to continue to make these investments. We ask the governor and the General Assembly to provide the resources children attending public schools need.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education yesterday released the results of the 2011 Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA) exams. Crossey pointed out that the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced increased in all tested subject areas – math, reading, writing, and science. Just as significant, 93.5 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts made adequate yearly progress, the annual achievement benchmark required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

“Once again, Pennsylvania’s students showed remarkable performance gains,” Crossey said. “Even though the adequate yearly progress goals are getting steeper, our students are still meeting those benchmarks – and our public schools are among the best in the nation.”

Crossey indicated that Pennsylvania students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is among the nation’s best.

On the NAEP exams, only six states have statistically significant higher fourth grade reading scores than Pennsylvania. No states have statistically significant higher eighth grade reading scores than Pennsylvania.

In math, the NAEP results also show only four states have statistically significant higher fourth grade math scores than Pennsylvania, and only seven states have statistically significant higher eighth grade math scores than Pennsylvania.

In addition, nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s public school students go on to college or some form of higher education.

“Our public schools are working and Pennsylvania’s students are succeeding,” Crossey added. “If state lawmakers and educators work together, make smart investments, and reverse these unprecedented budget cuts, we can continue that success for all of our public schools and students.”

PSEA’s education reform agenda, “Solutions That Work,” is a blueprint for school improvement based upon investment in proven educational methods. Learn more about it at





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