Ravenstahl: House approves coronavirus education bill

Landmark bill includes flexible instruction extension lawmaker proposed last week

HARRISBURG, March 25 – As the state continues to respond to the evolving coronavirus crisis, the Pennsylvania House today voted to approve an education bill that would allow the Pennsylvania Department of Education to adapt to the crisis.

Included in the bill was an idea proposed by state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, last week, which would lift the existing five-day cap on flexible instruction days for the duration of the emergency.

“As we adjust to this new reality, it is clear that it could be a question of if, not when, in-classroom education recommences in Pennsylvania,” Ravenstahl said. “Thankfully, last year Act 64 allowed the state Department of Education to initiate a limited flexible instruction day program prior to this crisis.

“I want to thank my fellow lawmakers for including this language in today’s legislation,” Ravenstahl said. “The sooner we can open this program up, the sooner that educators, schools and the state Department of Education can start responding to this ongoing situation and work together to find a system that benefits the students of Pennsylvania.”

In addition to lifting the cap on flexible instruction days, the bill would ensure that school funding remain level and give PDE the option of canceling public school, waiving the 180-days-of-school requirement, and applying for waivers of federal testing requirements and other measures.