Apple, Governor Team Up for Pennsylvania Learns Launch

Lawmakers, superintendents, teachers, higher education representatives, and education partners gathered in Garnet Valley School District – Pennsylvania, and joined with Governor Tom Corbett to launch Pennsylvania Learns on  iTunes U – a collection of free online educational resources.

This online addition of resources for Pennsylvania students brings state standards-aligned courses to the largest online catalog of content in the world which will assist educators in creating courses. Pennsylvania Learns includes lectures, assignments, books, quizzes, and syllabi, and makes them available to millions of iOS users on iTunes U.

“This initiative, which is the culmination of nearly a year of work among various education partners, is designed to provide middle and high school students, parents and teachers with access to no-cost, high-quality, state standards-aligned resources to increase student achievement,” Corbett said.

This is one of several initiatives Corbett has supported to ensure that students have access to tools which will  increase their skills and knowledge to prepare them for the workforce, the military, and post-secondary education.

For the past three years, Corbett’s Ready to Learn education agenda has transformed the state’s education system.  Now, with the first phase of Pennsylvania Learns on iTunes U having launched, students, teachers, and parents are privy to resources for grades 6 – 8 in math, Algebra I, biology, and grades 9-12 in English language arts.

“As schools continue to shift to more digital-based classroom instruction and course materials, Pennsylvania Learns provides teachers with additional resources to help students achieve,” said Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq.  “As we raise the academic bar, we must ensure that high-quality, aligned materials are available to students and teachers.  Pennsylvania Learns is not just a repository, but rather and online, on-demand network that allows students, teachers and parents to access the tools they need, whenever they need them.”

The Department of Education continues to work with Pennsylvania educators to provide more course offerings through Pennsylvania Learns in the future.

The governor calls the initiative a “one-stop shop of high quality information” for Pennsylvania’s students, reports Kathy Boccella for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He says that Apple, owner of iTunes, will be offering the program to Oregon, Texas, Florida, and Virginia.  In all, the program will be offered to 2.1 million public school students.

Pennsylvania Learns is ideal for remediation, but also has rigorous content so that all students can access Advanced Placement courses,  In fact, students who have internet access could “expand their skills beyond the classroom” if desired.

Anthony Gabriele, supervisor of curriculum instruction at Garnet Valley School District, worked with educators statewide to develop the Pennsylvania Learns program, says Susan Serbin of the Delaware County Daily Times.  The program’s development costs were about $341,000, the Pennsylvania Department of Education reported, and federal Race to the Top grants paid for that. The more-than-60 educators who worked on the program donated their time.

A group of people representing Delaware County Democrats were at the gathering in the Garnet Valley School District, but were concentrating on Corbett’s continuing misinformation concerning what they called his “failed educational leadership”.

The group also brought up the question of Corbett’s refusal to address the reasons that former Department of Education Secretary Rom Tomalis was being paid a $140,000 salary “to do no work“.

According to David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Committee…

“Tom Corbett’s $1 billion cuts to education have forced schools in Delaware County and throughout the commonwealth to raise property taxes, layoff educators and cut vital programs.”

“And now we learn that while forcing schools to make cuts, Corbett paid his political allies large salaries to do no work. The people of Delaware County and Pennsylvania deserve answers. An investigation is needed as to why Ron Tomalis was able to collect government money while doing no work, and why Tom Corbett and his education department are trying to cover up scandals in his administration.”