EPLC Education Notebook – Friday, July 8, 2011

Content in this edition:

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/.


Here is a summary of several actions in the Senate and House Education Committees that occurred during the last week of session before the summer recess, and which we did not report last week.


On June 28, the Senate approved by a vote of 50-0 Senate Resolution 147 which directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to examine the Commonwealth’s programs for postsecondary education in the state’s rural communities.

The resolution directs that the study include at a minimum an analysis of the following:

(1) the current system for funding community and technical colleges in Pennsylvania and the impact of that system on this Commonwealth’s rural counties and communities;

(2)  the location of postsecondary educational institutions in Pennsylvania’s rural counties;

(3)  the role of the ECUA in collaboration with Community Education Councils in supporting additional community college educational opportunities for Pennsylvania’s rural citizens; and

(4) funding approaches used in other states to support community college educational opportunities in rural areas.

It further directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to provide recommendations necessary or desirable to improve the postsecondary educational opportunities, particularly through community and technical colleges, available to citizens living in this Commonwealth’s rural counties; and to provide recommendations for the best approach to funding community college programming in rural areas.  The report is due by October 31, 2011. 


On June 28, the House Education Committee reported as committed the following bills:

  • Senate Bill 200 introduced by Sen. Patrick Browne (R-16) would create the “Safety in Youth Sports Act,” which would require the PA Departments of Health and Education to develop and post on their internet websites guidelines and other relevant materials to inform and educate student athletes and their parents and coaches about the risk of concussion and traumatic brain injury.  The bill further provides for removal from play of student athletes exhibiting signs or symptoms of head injury, requires training and certification in concussion management for athletic coaches, and imposes penalties for coaches violating the law.  SB 200 awaits further action by the full House.

    Senate Bill 389 introduced by Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-36) would amend the Public School Code to expand and update the definition of vocational agricultural education. SB 389 awaits further action by the House.

    House Bill 1610 introduced by Rep. Mike Vereb (R-150) would establish standards for preventing sudden cardiac arrest and death in student athletes.  HB 1610 was re-committed to the House Rules Committee.

    The Committee approved a motion to re-refer House Bill 704 introduced by Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-29) to the House Appropriations Committee.  HB 704 would amend the Public School Code to further provide for definitions and address reforms to the special education funding system. HB 704 would establish a formula for the distribution of monies for special education for each school districtin future years when the legislature decides to increases appropriations for this line item.  The bill would also establish a Legislative Commission on Special Education and task the commission with developing certain components of a funding formula. The department would also be required to develop a competitive grant program for school districts to recognize effective practices that improve achievement for students with disabilities.  HB 704 also addresses issues of special education oversight by PDE,including the submission of special education plans, amendments, and revisions by districts.


  • EPLC is recruiting for a current law student or graduate student to serve as a part-time intern for the fall term 2011 in the downtown Harrisburg offices.  Work will support activities related to EPLC’s Arts and Education Initiative (AEI).   Ideal candidates have a demonstrable background in the arts and in education, strong skills in legal research, critical thinking, and writing, as well as a commitment to the study of public policy.  The internship is unpaid, but free parking is available.   Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable.  To apply or to suggest a candidate, please email Jordan Crosby for further information at crosby@eplc.org.
  • EPLC is recruiting for a current undergraduate or graduate student to serve as a part-time intern for the fall term 2011 in the downtown Harrisburg offices.  Work will support education policy research and programs as well as the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign.  Ideal candidates have an interest/course work in political science, social studies, education and/or public policy and also have strong research, communications, and critical thinking skills.  The internship is unpaid, but free parking is available.  Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable.  To apply or to suggest a candidate, please email Anita Weikel for further information at weikel@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.

On July 6, the Wallace Foundation announced that they will be conducting a 3-year, $50 million research project  to determine the long-term effects of summer learning programs.  The project will provide grants to six urban districts (Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Duvall County, FL) to support their summer academic programs while at the same time collecting longitudinal data on students.  Specifically, researchers from the Rand Corporation will be tracking cumulative academic progress, summer learning loss, behavior and transitions into middle school.   The Wallace summer learning study is intended to build on another study report released in June 2011 which found that students in poverty disproportionately lose academic ground during the summer, compared to wealthier peers.  For more information on the Wallace Foundation studies, visit http://www.wallacefoundation.org/Pages/default.aspx.


Applications are available now for the 2011-2012 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) which is sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).

With more than 300 graduates in its first eleven years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  Act 48 credits are available to individuals holding Pennsylvania teaching or administrative certificates, and State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.

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 House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on impact of the state budget on education on Tuesday, July 12 in Lancaster, PA.  For more information, click here.

The State Board of Education will meet July 19-20 in Harrisburg, PA.  To view the agenda, 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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