Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PA Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera Lehigh Valley visit.

Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director,
Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board.
PA Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera Lehigh Valley visit.

On Monday, April 27, Pennsylvania Department of Education Acting Secretary Pedro  Rivera spoke to business and education leaders at a Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Investment Board forum at Lehigh University.  I was proud to moderate the question and answer session.  Among the questions were:

Q: Are there any plans to again fund and promote dual enrollment in Pennsylvania?
A: Yes, Rivera stated that Governor Wolf’s budget includes $9 million for dual enrollment to allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.

Q: Beginning in 2017 every high school student will have to pass the Keystone exams in order to graduate. What can be done to ensure that career and technical education students meet academic standards while still completing their career and technical training?
A: Rivera responded that it would be “criminal” if a student could not finish their career or technical education program just to demonstrate proficiency through the Keystone exams. Options being considered include allowing students to use the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) scores, SAT scores, or industry certificates to demonstrate proficiency.

Q: Will you continue the pathway to ensure graduates have the educational foundation they need to transition to post-secondary education without the need for remediation?
A:  Rivera expressed support for standard concepts that every student should learn by a certain age, but stressed the importance of allowing local control of how to develop curriculum and teach the concepts.

We look forward to working with Acting Secretary Rivera and have accepted an invitation to participate in a Pennsylvania Career Readiness Forum in Harrisburg on May 29, 2015. 

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