'Hybrid learning' ahead, says Pa. Department of Education Secretary Tomalis
With help from the Internet, schools one day will tailor education to individual students, who might choose from among 100 languages to learn, the state's top education official predicted on Thursday.
“I think the new parents will drive that conversation,” Ronald Tomalis, secretary of the state Department of Education, said during a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune-Review editors and reporters.
Young parents are accustomed to having an abundance of choices, he said, making an analogy to the variety of channels on cable television they watched as children.
Tomalis believed they'll expect a similarly wide array of educational options for their children, ranging from the traditional brick-and-mortar schools to online lessons to “hybrid learning” that combines the best of both.
Tomalis is optimistic about Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to sell the state's wine and spirits stores and use the expected $1 billion in proceeds for four-year competitive grants to school districts. Districts could spend the money on one-time expenses in school safety; getting students to perform at grade level by third grade; individualized learning programs; and science, technology, engineering and math programs, he said.
The proposal requires the state Legislature's approval. The House passed it and, if it becomes law, schools could begin getting money in 2014-15, Tomalis said.
The state is making it a priority to reduce districts' pension costs. Its reimbursement to districts is projected to grow from $856.1 million this fiscal year to nearly $2.5 billion in 2017-18. Corbett's proposed budget would save districts $138 million in pension contributions next school year.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association, the statewide teachers union, argued that the governor's plan would gut pensions.
“The average public worker, including teachers, would see their pension diminish by 26 percent ... and that would be in the first month of their retirement and for the rest of their lives,” union spokesman Wythe Keever said.
He said Corbett's proposed $11.7 billion education budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 fails to include a “meaningful” Marcellus shale extraction tax and leaves open a loophole that allows corporations based in Delaware but doing business in Pennsylvania to avoid Pennsylvania taxes.
“Those two measures alone would have created several hundred million dollars in revenue a year,” Keever said.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starter Liriano strikes out 12, leads Pirates to series sweep of Mets
- Unquestionable courage & sacrifice
- Acme man’s ephemeral sculptures appear to defy laws of physics
- Cochran repair center planned in Harrison
- A family’s flag flies again in Mt. Pleasant
- Photo Gallery: The Zac Brown Band kicks off summer with First Niagara show
- Rossi: After L.A., NFL should tread carefully
- Kennywood fanatic, 82, rides Jack Rabbit 95 times in a row
- Pirates notebook: Substance rule a sticky subject
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Marlins, May 25, 2014
- Montoya passes Power on final lap to bring home Indy 500 win