EPLC Education Notebook – Friday, July 15, 2011

Content in this edition:
– U.S.
House of Representatives

Research / Resources
Education Policy Fellowship Program

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


U.S. House of Representatives

On July 13, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the “State and Local Funding Flexibility Act (H.R. 2445),” which is intended to provide states and local school districts flexibility in the use of federal education funds.  To read a summary of H.R. 2445, click here

While several national education organizations endorse H.R. 2445, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan released a statement regarding the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Passage of H.R. 2445.  Secretary Duncan’s statement echoes concerns voiced earlier in the month by U.S. Rep. George Miller, Democratic Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, when Representative Miller issued a press release in regards to H.R. 2445.


  • On July 12, President of EPLC Ron Cowell testified at the House Democratic Policy Committee hearing in Lancaster, PA. The focus of the hearing was on the impact of state budget cuts to education.  Cowell’s testimony centered on how these cuts will negatively impact students.  He noted that while some in Harrisburg have been talking about creating more choices for students, the new budget in fact has the effect of reducing the academic options available to many students.

    Other testifiers included Lancaster School District Superintendent Pedro Rivera, Executive Deputy to the President and Chief of Staff of Millersville University Dr. James McCollum, and Director of Public Advocacy from the Education Law Center Baruch Kintisch. Superintendent Rivera gave testimony on the state of his school district, where 20 percent of students are classified as special needs and another 20 percent are English language learners. Dr. McCollum of Millersville University testified on the necessary increase in tuition and the funding gap that still remains with the 19 percent cut to funding.  Baruch Kintisch focused on the disproportionately greater impact of budget cuts on the poorest school districts.

  • EPLC is recruiting for a current undergraduate or graduate student to serve as a part-time intern during the fall 2011 semester, beginning in early September in the downtown Harrisburg offices.  The internship will support the culminating events of year one of the Arts and Education Initiative, and preparations for the public policy advocacy campaign of 2012.  Ideal candidates have a demonstrable background in the arts and education, strong skills in research, writing, and speaking, as well as a commitment to grassroots advocacy organizing.  The internship is unpaid, but free parking is available.  Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable and may fluctuate due to special events.  To apply or to suggest a candidate, please email AEI Director Jordie Crosby for further information: crosby@eplc.org.


Education Week will hold a webinar on “Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum” on Tuesday, July 19 from 2-3 PM.  The webinar will explore the potential of bringing together the arts with other subjects in a mutual learning experience and point to promising examples, as well as the challenges to ensure that such efforts achieve their academic goals.  Presenters will be Sandra Ruppert, Executive Director of the Arts Education Partnership; and Shana Habel, dance demonstration teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District, and co-president of the California Dance Education Association.  For more information, click here.

The National Civic League (NCL) is inviting communities to apply for the All-America City Award, given to 10 communities that exemplify outstanding civic accomplishments.  For 2012, NCL will focus the award on communities that have developed comprehensive, realistic, and sustainable plans to increase grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third-grade. Winning communities will develop strategies in three areas: school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning.  A letter of intent is due by October 14, while applications are due by March 12, 2012.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is accepting proposals, through August 23, that advance the role of the humanities at community colleges through curriculum and faculty development on the theme of “Bridging Cultures.”  NEH expects to award two or three cooperative agreements, of up to $360,000 each.  Proposed projects should provide support for faculty and administrators to develop new courses on Bridging Cultures topics; design new course sequences, concentrations, and core curricula; or conduct scholarly research that will improve faculty preparation and enrich teaching.

On July 28, the Equity and Excellence Commission will hold an open meeting in Washington, DC to collect information, analyze issues and obtain broad public input regarding how the federal government can increase educational opportunity by improving school funding equity. The Commission is tasked with making recommendations for restructuring school finance systems to achieve equity in the distribution of educational resources and further student performance, especially for the students at the lower end of the achievement gap.  Individuals interested in attending the meeting must register in advance because seating may be limited.  Please contact Kimberly Watkins-Foote at (202) 260-8197 or by e-mail at equitycommission@ed.gov.


  • The Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011 which provides updates on the well-being of children and families in the United States across several key areas including infant mortality and in fatal injuries to teens.  This year’s report includes a special feature on adoption.  The Forum on Child and Family Statistics is a working group on 22 federal agencies that collect, analyze and convey data on issues related to children and families. To learn more, visit http://childstats.gov/.
  • The USDE National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Institute of Education Sciences (IES), has issued two new reports.  The first is “Achievement Gaps: How Hispanic and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the NAEP,” describing the achievement gaps between Hispanic and White public school students at the national and state levels and how the gaps have changed.  The second report is “Students with Disabilities at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions,” which includes nationwide estimates on student enrollment, services, and accommodations provided to students with disabilities at two- and four-year institutions of higher education during the 2008-09 academic year.


The new class is filling quickly, but applications are still being accepted for the 2011-2012 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) which is sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).

The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 8-9, 2011 and continues through June 2012.  Applications are being accepted now.  For schedule and more information or to download an application, please click on https://www.eplc.org/leadership_fellowship_about.shtml.


  • The State Board of Education will meet July 19-20 in Harrisburg, PA.  To view the agenda, click here.
  • Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrator’s (PACTA) Summer Conference will be held July 27-29 in State College, PA.  For more information, click here.
  • The Senate will reconvene on Monday, September 19 at 1 PM and the House will reconvene on Monday, September 26 at 1 PM. 
  • SAVE THE DATE!   EPLC’s Arts and Education Initiative (AEI) will hold a day-long symposium on Thursday, October 13 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA.  More details will be available soon.  

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


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