New PA Law Affects Teen Drivers (October 27, 2018)

As part of a flurry of legislation passed earlier this week, Act 95 of 2018, formerly House Bill 163 was passed, which requires the suspension of vehicle operation privileges of any person 21 years of age or younger for a conviction or adjudication of delinquency for terroristic threats made against any school property. The bill also removes federally-mandated driver’s license suspensions for drug/controlled substance convictions, as well as state-imposed suspensions for the underage purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of alcoholic beverages; the misrepresentation of one’s age to secure alcoholic beverages by any person under the age of 21; purchasing or attempting to purchase tobacco by a minor; and carrying a false identification card by any person under the age of 21.

 

New Laws Focus on Student Safety, Well-Being (October 27, 2018)

Two new laws passed earlier this week focus on student safety. Act 80 of 2018, formerly Senate Bill 1090, expands PA’s anti-hazing law to include public and private secondary schools, as well as organizations affiliated with those schools. Those violating school hazing policies could face such disciplinary action as suspension, expulsion, diplomas or transcripts being withheld, and/or fines. Secondary schools are required to inform students of the school district’s hazing policy, including rules, penalties, and enforcement.

The other bill, Act 105 of 2018, formerly House Bill 1228, allows students to wear sun-protective clothing and/or use a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity, provided that parents/guardians and students fill out a required form. The law also allows the revocation or restriction of sunscreen use for students who misuse the sunscreen and state that students are responsible for applying their own sunscreen.

Act 158 Signed into Law, Provides Alternative to Keystone Exams (October 25, 2018)

On Wednesday, October 24th, Gov. Wolf signed into law Senate Bill 1095, which is now Act 158 of 2018. The new law revises PA’s one-size-fits-all mandate to pass three Keystone Exams to receive a diploma by instead establishing multiple pathways to demonstrate college and career readiness. New measures of success will be appropriately aligned to a student’s career goals and reflect the expectations, coursework, grades, activities and achievements earned. In addition to the Keystones, alternative assessments and other factors will be able to be counted towards graduation. The changes under the new law are effective beginning with the Class of 2022, impacting those students who are currently in 9th grade.

Source: PSBA

Act 82 of 2018 Signed into Law, Revamps Special Ed. Certification (October 25, 2018)

On Wednesday, October 24th, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 1386, which is now Act 82 of 2018. This legislation changes the grade spans and age levels for certification of special education instructional certificates in the Commonwealth. All special education certificates issued after Dec. 31, 2021 will cover PK-12, or up to age 21, and no additional content or dual certification will be required.

Teachers currently holding the special education certification for PK-8 and grades 7-12 will be able to expand the scope of their certificates under a yet-to-be determined PDE process. Teachers holding early childhood certification will be able to expand their certificate to include grades five and six by attaining the necessary scores on an assessment developed by PDE.

PDE Releases 2018 Keystone Exam Scores (October 24, 2018)

Keystone Exam scores for 11th graders taking the tests in 2018 have been released by PDE. Results show minor changes in data between 2017 and 2018. In algebra, 65.2% of students were advanced or proficient. In 2017, that number was 65.5%. In literature, 2018 scores showed 72.7% of students to be advanced or proficient, which was identical to 2017 scores. In biology, 2018 scores showed 64.4% of students to be advanced or proficient, a 1% increase from 2017. For more information, visit the PDE website at https://www.education.pa.gov/Data-and-Statistics/Pages/Keystone-Exams-Results.aspx.