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American Education Week Celebrates Schools, Teachers

Pennsylvania’s high school graduation rate of 86 percent is above the national average. (greymatters/Pixabay)
Pennsylvania’s high school graduation rate of 86 percent is above the national average. (greymatters/Pixabay)
November 12, 2018

HARRSIBURG, Pa. — This is American Education Week, a chance to celebrate public schools and recognize the valuable work of all those who contribute to children's education.

American Education Week has been celebrated nationally every year since 1921. Rich Askey, vice president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, called public schools the cornerstones of the communities they serve, welcoming students of all backgrounds and abilities. He said the success of those schools depends on everyone who plays a part.

"That includes educators, support professionals, parents and families, and the work that we do with community members,” Askey said. “Because, when it comes to educating the next generation of Pennsylvanians, we are all in this together."

For more information about American Education Week events, check PSEA's website at PSEA.org/AmericanEducationWeek.

Askey pointed out that Pennsylvania schools are making great progress, and said one indicator is the statewide high school graduation rate of 86 percent.

"That's above the national rate, and it's on the rise over the past few years,” he said. “And it is no coincidence that, with Gov. Wolf and the lawmakers working together and restoring nearly a billion dollars in funding cuts, you're seeing this improvement."

He noted that Pennsylvania also ranks well within the top ten states for the percentage of college students who complete a bachelor's degree.

Askey has had plenty of firsthand experience seeing what public education can do. He taught music for 32 years in a low-income community in Harrisburg - not only teaching classes, but working with arts organizations to bring performers and seminars into the schools.

"That was the special part about being a teacher, for me - to give those kids the opportunities that they would never have had if I wasn't working with them,” Askey said.

He added that American Education Week is also a time to look ahead, and to ensure that the educators of tomorrow will have what they need to succeed.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA