PSBA 2022 January/February Bulletin PSBA 2022 January/February Bulletin - Page 31

Hill Talk

Sen . Camera Bartolotta

R - Beaver ( part ), Greene and Washington ( part )
Chair , Labor & Industry Committee
What are some key , education-related legislative priorities that you would like to see addressed in the remainder of the 2021-22 session ? Among my
education legislative priorities are Senate Bill 224 and achieving access to broadband for all students . I sponsored Senate Bill 224 with Sen . Wayne Langerholc ( R-Cambria ) ( R-35 ) in response to the teacher shortage facing the commonwealth . According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education ( PDE ), the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 66 % since 2010 . This legislation will encourage teachers to expand their professional careers into Pennsylvania .
First , the legislation would simplify the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in Pennsylvania by allowing a candidate who has completed any state-approved educator preparation program ( including field placement / student teaching ) from an accredited institution of higher education to be eligible for a comparable in-state instructional certification . The bill would also require PDE to recognize and accept out-of-state candidates ’ qualifying scores on equivalent content tests toward PDE ’ s testing and certification requirements .
Lastly , Senate Bill 224 would grant Pennsylvania certification to any candidate who holds a valid certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards .
An additional legislative priority for me is broadband access and quality education , which I believe go hand in hand . Students from rural communities like the ones I represent were at a severe disadvantage during the start of the pandemic when directed to do school at home because many do not have access to the internet . While I am pleased to share that my office has helped secure a grant of $ 225,000 to bring broadband to West Greene using a transponder system , what we really need is an aggressive statewide plan to ensure broadband access for all students .
It is well past time that Pennsylvania makes the strategic investments in broadband , which is why I am actively supporting legislative proposals in Harrisburg to make broadband a priority .
Thoughts from policymakers on public education
Why are legislators ’ visits to schools important ? Touring schools in the 46th
District has been beneficial for so many reasons . It affords the opportunity to talk with students , faculty and administrators , which helps to build strong partnerships that serve everyone . By getting out from behind my desk and going for a visit , I see firsthand the amazing work that our schools are accomplishing – like the Partial Program , which Bentworth School District has for students who are experiencing behavioral or mental health challenges .
These visits have also shown me the six schools that have Future Farmers of America ( FFA ) chapters in the 46th Senate District . It has been tremendous to learn how FFA offers students these valuable programs providing leadership

Hill Talk

It is well past time that Pennsylvania makes the strategic investments in broadband , which is why I am actively supporting legislative proposals in Harrisburg to make broadband a priority .
development , career growth and technical education .
When I know about the success stories , I can share best practices with other schools and connect them with officials who are already running programs other schools are considering creating and implementing .
I was fortunate not even the pandemic slowed that progress , as I conducted several student forum Q & As on Zoom with schools across the district . Of course , I prefer the inperson interaction with the students , which I was able to enjoy during my recent visit to Canon-Mac High School .
What are your thoughts on effective public school advocacy , and can you provide a useful advocacy tip to school directors across the state ? It is important
to use public officials as resources . Students will have the best chance at success when we work together as partners rather than working individually in our own roles . That is why I always encourage communication from school officials and public school advocates . Do not hesitate to reach out to an elected official to share your experience , concerns or questions . We can do amazing things for our students when we work together .
January / February 2022 PSBA Bulletin 29