In response to calls from educators and school districts in Pennsylvania seeking greater flexibility in delivering educational opportunities to students across the state, the House has unanimously approved a significant legislative change proposed by Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton). The newly approved legislation aims to adjust the instructional time requirement for schools, allowing for either 180 days of instruction or the equivalent of 990 hours for secondary education and 900 hours for elementary education.
Rep. Topper emphasized the importance of this change, noting that while it may appear to be a minor adjustment in instructional time accounting, it holds the potential to greatly benefit both teachers and administrators in meeting the diverse needs of students. He cited the feedback received during his visits to various school districts across Pennsylvania, where there was a consistent demand for increased individualized education, enhanced student support, and a more focused approach to workforce development. According to Topper, House Bill 1507 addresses these critical areas of concern.
Under current law, Pennsylvania schools are required to provide 180 days of instruction during each school year. However, the law also allows school boards to request that a school week be condensed to 27.5 hours, effectively accounting for five school days. Additionally, the Secretary of Education has the authority to approve, upon request, a school term that consists of a minimum of 990 hours for secondary education or 900 hours for elementary education as a substitute for the standard 180 school days.
House Bill 1507 seeks to simplify this process by eliminating the need for approval and automatically establishing the standard instructional time requirement as 180 days or the equivalent of 990 hours for secondary education and 900 hours for elementary education. This change offers much-needed flexibility to school districts, intermediate units, and career and technical centers when scheduling instructional time to better align with the specific needs of their students.
With the unanimous approval of the House, House Bill 1507 will now move to the Senate for further consideration, potentially paving the way for more adaptable and student-centric educational practices in Pennsylvania’s schools.