While having lunch in Pa. Press Club Mumin proposed financing education and changing the landscape

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

“For those of us who were educated in the 20th century, as I was, education looks very different,” he said during remarks at the Pennsylvania Press Club’s monthly luncheon. “Careers and paths are completely different now.”

As hearings on Gov. Josh Shapiro’s education plans take place this week in Harrisburg, Mumin said the DOE is considering all perspectives, from Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million students to teachers; from kindergarten to post-secondary programs.

He highlighted a number of proposals in Shapiro’s budget request, including a $30 million boost in aid for the Pre-K Counts program, a $5 million boost for the pre-service teacher scholarship program, and $1.1 billion investment in primary education funding for school districts in Pennsylvania.

“Education must move away from tradition and towards innovation,” Mumin said.

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

During the Q&A portion of the program, Mumin touched on several balmy topics, starting with the status of the Pennsylvania Achievement Student Scholarship (PASS) program.

“The governor has made it clear that he supports the PASS scholarship program, but not to the detriment of traditional public schools,” Mumin said. “I understand that these conversations are still ongoing. The door to it is not closed.”

While Shapiro’s campaign for governortouted his support for Lifeline scholarships and reached an agreement with Republicans during 2023 budget negotiations on a $100 million program that ultimately failed Shapiro presented a line item veto after opposition from Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Earlier this month, open applications as part of Pennsylvania’s Student Teacher Assistance Program. The program was flooded thousands of applicationsfar exceeding the need for the program.

Mumin said he believes discussions about increasing funding for the program will be “fruitful” and that lawmakers “have open ears and open minds to it.”

Mumin also emphasized the need for Pennsylvania to address its current teacher shortage. “We need teachers,” Mumin said. “It didn’t exist when I was around. We had so many teachers and state-issued certifications, and now we have a real shortage.” He noted that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Committee on Education will meet Public hearing on Friday on teacher certification and teacher pipeline initiatives.

Also on Monday The state Senate Education Committee held a hearing discuss in detail a Senate Republican education program called “Grow PA” that focuses on many of the same issues. Mumin declined to comment directly on the Grow PA plan, but said the education department is open to discussing it.

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