EPLC Education Notebook – Monday, March 14, 2011

Content in this edition:
State Budget Watch
– House
– Senate

PA Department of Education
US Department of Education

Research & Reports

The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at https://www.eplc.org/category/education-notebook/.


Governor Corbett’s proposed education budget for 2011-2012 provides for major cuts affecting basic education and higher education.  More than $1 billion is cut from state support for K-12 education and more than $500 million cut from state support for higher education.  The impact of these cuts, if approved by the Legislature, will be higher local taxes, higher college tuition, and fewer educational programs and opportunities for students of all ages.  Read the Notebook in coming weeks for more details about the proposed budget and its impact on students and Pennsylvania’s workforce. 



On March 7, the House Appropriations Committee approved House Bill 915, which takes $388 million federal Education Jobs Fund award for hiring of teachers and other school personnel and uses most of it to offset a reduction in the current year’s state funding for basic education ordered by Governor Corbett.  HB 915 will next be considered by the full House.  


On March 7, the Senate Education Committee voted unanimously (11-0) to recommend the nomination of Ronald Tomalis as Secretary of Education.  The Committee’s approval will be reported back to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee for consideration by the full Senate.  The Senate is expected to vote on the Tomalis nomination next month after the budget hearings are completed.

On March 7, Senate Resolution 54, sponsored by Sen. Leach (D-17), which directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of the museums in the Commonwealth and research and evaluate how funding and resources are allocated for museums, was referred to the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.

Also, the Senate unanimously approved (48-0) Senate Bill 159, sponsored by Sen. Robbins (R-50), which would authorize the state to join an Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to address difficulties that children of military families encounter often as a result of frequent moves and deployment of their parents. SB 159 has been referred to the House Education Committee for its consideration.


The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has made available online the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS) reports. The PVAAS reports provide indicators of the effectiveness of school districts in making academic progress with students. The reports provide a more objective and precise way to measure student progress.  For PVAAS reports, visit https://pvaas.sas.com.  Achievement results (the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA) and growth results (PVAAS) should be used together to get a more complete picture of student learning.   To view the achievement/PSSA results and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) of Pennsylvania’s public districts/schools, click here.


Sandra Dungee Glenn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Cities Foundation has been appointed to serve on the US Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.  Sandra Dungee Glenn served on the Board of Education for the School District of Philadelphia in 2001, and as a Commissioner on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) from 2002 to 2007.  In September 2007, Gov. Rendell appointed Ms. Dungee Glenn to the position of Chairwoman of the SRC and in 2009 appointed her to the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.


Earlier this month, the New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force, a nine-member committee charged with studying and developing recommendations to guide the creation of a fair and transparent system of educator evaluations, centering on student learning and achievement and demonstrated practices of effective teachers and administrators, released their findings.   The report includes recommendations for new teacher evaluation and new principal evaluation systems, successful implementation and identifying next steps to begin the process of achieving reform.  To read the full report, click here.


EPLC is completing a series of regional workshops for school board candidates and other voters interested in education issues.  The final all-day workshop in this series will be held on Saturday, March 19 in Mechanicsburg.  Look for agenda and registration details at www.eplc.org.


The Pennsylvania Education Advocacy Network (PEAN) held a statewide conference call on Thursday, March 10 to update advocates on Governor Corbett’s proposed education budget and other legislative activities, including recent activity regarding on Senate Bill 1.  To learn how to become a member of the network, click here.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is holding a Budget Forum on March 14 in Harrisburg.  The forum provides an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget; the federal budget and its impact on the states; the legislative budget process; and what to expect in the areas of Medicaid, privatization and education. To learn more, click here.


    • The Pennsylvania House reconvened at 1:00 PM on Monday, March 14, 2011.
    • The Pennsylvania Senate will reconvene at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
    • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education will hold a meeting on March 15-16 in Harrisburg. Click here for the agenda. 
    • The Senate Appropriations Committeewill hold state budget hearings as follows:
      • State-Related Universities on Wednesday, March 16 at 1:00 PM
      • PSERS/SERS on Monday, March 21 at 9:30 a.m.
      • State System of Higher Education on Wednesday, March 23 at 3:00 p.m.
      • Department of Education on Tuesday, March 29 at 9:30 a.m.
    • The House Appropriations Committeewill hold state budget hearings as follows:
      • PSERS/SERS on Monday, March 21 at 1:00 p.m.
      • State-Related Universities on Monday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m.
      • State System of Higher Education on Monday, March 28 at 1:30 p.m.
      • PHEAA on Monday, March 28 at 2:30 p.m.
      • Department of Education on Tuesday, March 29 at 1:00 p.m.
      • Community Colleges on Wednesday, March 30 at 10:30 a.m.
      • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology on Wednesday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m.
    • March 23 is the last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions for the Pennsylvania May primary Election.
    • April 18 is the deadline for registering to vote in the primary election.
    • The 5th Annual Student Teaching and Supervision Conference will be held Thursday, April 28- 29 at Slippery Rock University.  For more information, visit http://www.student-teacher-supervision.org.

For information on upcoming events, please visit www.eplc.org and click on “Events Calendar”.


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