EPLC Education Notebook – Monday, May 9, 2011

Content in this edition:
Pennsylvania Policymakers
– House
– Senate
PA Department of Education



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



On May 3, the House Education Committee called a meeting off the floor of the House to reconsider House Bill 1330, a proposal to expand the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by increasing the available tax credits to businesses donating to Scholarship Organizations (ESO), Pre-K Scholarship Organizations (PSO) and Educational Improvement Organizations (EIO).  The bill was amended to establish how the total aggregate amount of all tax credits approved for FY 2011-2012 and FY 2012-2013 would be distributed.  The bill was reported from Committee by a vote of 22-1.  HB 1330 awaits further action by the full House.

On May 4, the House Education Committee reported the following bills which are awaiting further action by the full House:

  • House Bill 1363 (Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-65) would suspend the requirements of continuing professional development for professional educators until June 30, 2013. 
  • House Bill 1407 (Rep. Paul Clymer, R-145) would establish a moratorium on requirements for staffing and professional development of teachers of early childhood education and Head Start /child care programs in school districts until December 31, 2012.
  • House Bill 1411 (Rep. Brian Ellis, R-11) would require the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare to suspend the collection of certain data through the Pennsylvania’s Enterprise to Link Information for Children Across Network (PELICAN) and the Pennsylvania InformationManagement System (PIMS) for the school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

This week, the following bills were introduced and referred to the House Education Committee:

  • House Bill 1421 (Rep. Daniel Deasy, R-27) would amend current articulation agreements between community colleges and the institutions of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to increase the number of credit hours from 30 to 60 that would be accepted for transfer degrees.  This legislation would require institutions of higher education to accept with full junior standing the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree into a parallel baccalaureate program.  Under this proposal, private institutions and State-Related Universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) may elect to participate through the adoption of equivalency standards.


On April 25, Senate Bill 691, which would move adult education from the administration of the Department of Education to the Department of Labor, was referred to the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.

On May 2, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported the following school mandate relief bills which are awaiting further action by the full Senate:

  • Senate Bill 612 (Sen. Mike Folmer, R-48) would allow school districts to furlough professional educators for economic reasons and require proportionate reduction of administrators.
  • Senate Bill 857 (Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-13) would repeal language that requires school districts to use increases in basic education funding for new programs and expansion of existing programs.
  • Senate Bill 858 (Sen. Michael Waugh, R-28) would allow districts to hire a person as a superintendent or assistant superintendent if he or she holds a graduate degree in business or finance.
  • Senate Bill 872 (Sen. Michael Brubaker, R-36) would remove requirements for the establishment of concurrent enrollment (also known as dual enrollment) committees and quarterly meetings.


On May 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) made available the 2011-2012 Estimated State Property Tax Relief per Homestead and the 2011-2012 State Property Tax Reduction Allocation Distribution to School Districts on its website.  In mid-April, Budget Secretary Charles B. Zogby certified that $776.2 million in gaming revenue will be available for property tax relief this year.  The average statewide property tax reduction for each household is approximately $200.  School districts will receive their share of property tax relief in two equal installments in August and October. 


The Education Commission of the States (ECS) has recently published a report on states’ definitions of Truancy and Habitual TruancyAccording to the ECS research, most compulsory attendance laws do not specify the number of times a student must be truant before sanctions are enforced. The ECS StateNote on Truancy provides such examples of how states define truancy and habitual truancy. For more information, click here.

On April 28, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released the “Interstate Teacher and Assessment Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards:  A Resource for State Dialogue.”  The standards, a state-led effort, represent clear expectations about what all teachers should know and be able to do if they are to improve achievement of our next generation of students and are intended to set the foundation for educators, states, and policymakers to achieve their education reform goals.  The standards were developed in partnership with the teaching profession by a committee of the InTASC, convened by CCSSO. The committee includes practicing teachers, teacher educators, and state education agency staff.  To view the standards visit www.ccsso.org/intasc.

The RAND Corporation has recently released a reportthat examines expanding measures of school performance beyond mathematics and English language arts to give educators better data when evaluating the academic achievements of schools.  The study finds that many states already measure student achievement beyond requirements of the “No Child Left Behind (NCLB), including test performance in additional subjects and growth in student performance over time.”  The RAND researchers make several recommendations:

  • Congress should broaden the range of performance measures beyond those mandated under NCLB.
  • New federal legislation would encourage states to expand their measures and evaluate their success, but avoid requiring specific measures.  As new measures are evaluated and determined to be successful, they can be incorporated into the system over time.
  • Leverage existing federal grant programs to encourage the development and evaluation of additional school performance measures.


On May 6, Governor Corbett nominated the following individuals to the Pennsylvania Council on the ArtsLaura E. Ellsworth (Sewickley), Jeffrey W. Gabel (Gettysburg), Stephen J. Harmelin (Philadelphia), Gayle Isa (Philadelphia), Justin Laing (Pittsburgh), William Lehr, Jr. (Palmyra), James A. West, Jr. (Pittsburgh) and Jen Holman Zaborney (Harrisburg).  The nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.


  • The Pennsylvania House and Senate will reconvene at 1:00 PM on Monday, May 2, 2011.
  • The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is hosting “Teacher Appreciation Week” from May 2-6.  For more information, click here.
  • The Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenues (CLEAR) will hold a “Rally for a Responsible Budget” in Harrisburg on May 3 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.  For more information, click here.
  • The House Education Committee will hold a meeting on Wednesday, May 4 at 9:30 AM to consider the following bills:  HB 1363, HB 1407 and HB 1411
  • Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 17.
  • The State Board of Education will hold a meeting in Lancaster on Wednesday, May 18.

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


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