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Education Reform Bills Introduced in Pennsylvania Senate
December 26, 2013- Howard Ondick
HARRISBURG-An Allegheny County lawmaker is pushing a package of education reform bills including a measure that would require all future charter school teachers to be certified by the state.

Our speaker is Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County, sponsor of the legislation that addresses education accountability issues involving charter schools, cyber charter schools, teacher certification and the need for high-quality prekindergarten.

The package of education reform legislation sponsored by Senator Brewster includes a moratorium on the approval of any new charter or cyber charter school by the State Charter School Appeal Board or any new cyber charter school by the Department of Education.

 “My legislation (Senate Bill 1204) would halt the approval of any new charter or cyber charter by the state appeals board or the Department of Education,” Brewster said. “The moratorium would not be applicable to any charter or cyber charter that is currently in operation or already approved."

Senator Brewster’s education package also includes a measure (Senate Bill 1202) that requires teachers who are newly hired by charters to be certified. Teachers who currently work at a charter school but who do not possess state certification would not be impacted by the legislation.

 “My legislative package tries to make cyber charters and charters more accountable and it addresses areas where we can improve education for all children,” Senator Brewster said.

Included in Senator Brewster’s plan is legislation (Senate Bill

1203) that creates the Prepare All Kids program which is intended to use federal dollars to generate voluntary, high-quality pre-kindergarten opportunities for children.

Another measure (Senate Bill 1201) would create a pool of educators and support staff to be available to fill openings in nearby school districts if a school is forced to close.

 “This reform package would move Pennsylvania’s school districts and charters in the right direction by putting a child’s education above all else,” said Senator Brewster.

All four bills have been referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration.

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