Taylor bill would aid state’s lowest-performing schools

State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) plans to introduce legislation intended to rescue the state’s lowest-performing schools.

ldquo;This past year, Pennsylvania spent nearly $1.3 billion of taxpayer dollars on schools that consistently fail to meet the needs of students,” Taylor said. “Students in the bottom 5 percent of high schools are 10 times more likely to drop out than be proficient on the state math exam.”

To address this problem, Taylor will introduce a bill to be known as the Educational Opportunity and Accountability Act.

Under the legislation, districts, at the discretion of local school boards, will be able to either operate the school directly or contract with outside providers.

Additionally, schools that fail to improve will be transferred to a new entity called the Achievement School District.

The ASD will be led by an executive director who reports to a board appointed by Senate and House leaders as well as the governor. The ASD will have the power to enact meaningful and transformative changes in a school, either by managing it directly or converting it to a charter school. The ASD may also close the lowest-performing charter schools without appeal to the Charter School Appeal Board and authorize new charter schools in the communities served by the worst 1 percent of schools in the state.

There will be safeguards in place to ensure that schools already in the process of a turnaround or schools that serve a specialized student population would be ineligible for transfer to the ASD.

“Taxpayers are demanding real academic results for their investment in education, and families trapped in consistently low-performing schools are demanding better options for their children,” Taylor said. “This will help us make those changes.” ••