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Mumin talks proposed education funding and changing landscape at Pa. Press Club luncheon

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Khalid Mumin speaks during a state House Appropriations Committee hearing on education funding. (Credit: Pennsylvania House video/ Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
April 29, 2024

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Khalid Mumin said Monday that the commonwealth has to keep up with the changes in education and how its students learn. 

“For those of us who were educated in the 1900s, like I was, education looks a lot different,” he said during remarks at the Pennsylvania Press Club’s monthly luncheon. “The careers and pathways are a lot different now.”

As hearings are taking place for Gov. Josh Shapiro’s education plans in Harrisburg this week, Mumin said that the DOE is taking all viewpoints into consideration, from Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million learners to its educators; from preschool all the way up through post-secondary programs. 

He highlighted a number of proposals from Shapiro’s budget request, including a $30 million increase to help the Pre-K Counts program, a $5 million increase to the student teacher stipend program, and the $1.1 billion investment in basic education funding for Pennsylvania school districts.

“Education has to take a spin off of tradition and into innovation,” Mumin said. 

Mumin said that of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania, 367 of them have an adequacy gap that the administration is aiming to address and said the goal is to find the bridge between policy and practice to provide meaningful experiences for learners across the state. 

During the Q&A portion of the program Mumin addressed several hot button topics, starting with the status of the Pennsylvania Achievement Student Scholarship (PASS) lifeline scholarship program.

“The governor has been very clear that he supports a PASS scholarship program, but not at the detriment of traditional public schools,” Mumin said. “My understanding is that those conversations are still happening. The door is not closed on it.” 

During Shapiro’s campaign for governor, he touted his support for Lifeline Scholarships and reached a deal with Republicans for a $100 million program on it during budget negotiations in 2023, which ultimately failed after Shapiro delivered a line-item veto following opposition from House Democrats.

Earlier this month, applications opened for the Pennsylvania Student Teacher Support Program. The program was inundated by thousands of applications, far exceeding the demand for the program. 

Mumin said he believed discussions about increasing funding for the program would be “fruitful,” and that legislators “have open ears and open minds to this.”

Mumin also emphasized the need for Pennsylvania to address a current teacher shortage.  “We need teachers,” Mumin said. “That didn’t exist when I was around. We had so many teachers and certifications granted by the state, now we have a true shortage.” He noted that the Pennsylvania House Education Committee would be holding a public hearing on Friday on teacher certification and teacher pipeline initiatives.

Also on Monday, the state Senate Education committee held a hearing to detail Senate Republicans’ own education program called “Grow PA” which focuses on many of the same issues. Mumin declined to comment directly on the Grow PA plan but said the education department is open for discussion on it.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.