EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, July 22, 2005

    Election Results

  • Republican Karen Beyer was elected Pennsylvania State Representative on Tuesday after a special election in Legislative District 131 (parts of Lehigh and Northampton counties). Beyer, who defeated Democrat Laura Minger with 51% of the vote, fills the House seat vacated by Republican Pat Browne when he was elected to the State Senate by special election in April. Beyer says her top priorities are property tax reform, health care, small-business development, medical malpractice insurance and tort reform, and land-use planning issues including farmland and open space preservation. The State House now has 110 Republicans and 93 Democrats.

  • Research and Reports

    Teacher Quality and Supply

  • The National Center for Education Information (NCEI) has released the results of its survey of alternate route teachers. Among the significant findings, NCEI found that 35,000 teachers entered the field in the United States through alternate routes in 2004, with nearly half reporting that they would not have become teachers if alternate routes were not available. Of survey respondents, 72% were over age 30, 47% were over 40, and 20% were older than 50. Nearly 80% held at least a bachelor's degree or higher in a field other than education, and just under half worked in a non-education job before they pursued alternate route certification. Furthermore, less than 20% of survey respondents indicated that they would have gone back to college to receive their teaching certificates. NCEI suggests that the growing number of alternate route teachers in the U.S. not only helps states meet the demands for new teachers, but brings qualified professionals to the field who would otherwise not enter the teaching profession. Locate "Profile of Alternate Route Teachers" at www.ncei.com/part.html.

  • "Financing Professional Development in Education," by The Finance Project, compares professional development in education to that of six other professions - law, accounting, architecture, nursing, firefighting and law enforcement. The study uses these comparisons to highlight areas for additional study and potential policy development. The report is available for purchase at www.financeproject.org/pubs/index.asp.

  • Higher Education

  • "College Readiness Begins in Middle School," a survey of 3,000 middle and high school students in six different states conducted by ACT, suggests that American youths are not considering their postsecondary education plans early enough, and, that those children who do begin the process early are failing to adequately prepare themselves with the appropriate coursework. Survey data indicated that nearly one-fourth of all eighth- and ninth-grade students had not even thought about college yet, with just two-thirds of respondents who said they did want to attend college taking college-preparatory courses. It also was discovered that young students are relying more heavily on outside guidance for their future plans rather than their school guidance counselors, a reason that ACT reports could be to blame for a lack of college planning. Read more at www.act.org/path/policy/pdf/CollegeReadiness.pdf.

  • The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WW) recently released a report on the correlation between ethnicity and Ph.D. recipients. It discovered that, despite decades of efforts to increase minority enrollment in Ph.D. programs across the country, minorities like African Americans and Hispanics are still severely underrepresented, making up only 11% of all Ph.D. recipients annually. Moreover, the study also found that of the 32% of minority candidates for these programs, less than 7% become doctoral recipients, including international students. WW sums up the data by offering suggestions for a solution to the problem, using evidence gathered from doctoral programs across the U.S., such as coordinating various isolated efforts into one national agenda; utilizing more rigorous measurement of program results; and, increasing efforts to promote awareness among younger students by presenting doctoral education as a relevant and promising career path for students of color at the middle school, high school, and community college levels. To read "Diversity and the Ph.D.", go to www.woodrow.org/newsroom/News_Releases/WW_Diversity_PhD_web.pdf.

  • "Add and Subtract: Dual Enrollment as a State Strategy to Increase Postsecondary Success for Underrepresented Students," a new publication from Jobs For the Future (JFF), acts as a policy foundation manual for states aspiring to offer dual enrollment to a greater number of students. Using concise case studies, the report offers an overview of the dual enrollment strategy, as well as rationale for its implementation. This study is part of the Double the Numbers series initiated by JFF to enhance support for government policies allowing greater numbers of low-income students to attend institutions of postsecondary education. Access the report at www.jff.org/jff/PDFDocuments/Addsubtract.pdf. Pennsylvania's new state budget includes a first-time state appropriation to support efforts to make dual enrollment opportunities available to more Pennsylvania high school students.

  • New EPLC Project on Higher Education

  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center has undertaken a new project that will produce a report on the "Condition of Higher Education in Pennsylvania." The project is a partnership of EPLC and The Learning Alliance based at the University of Pennsylvania. Research is being led Dr. Robert Zemsky of The Learning Alliance with a nationally prominent team of higher education experts. The project will consider several key questions involving access to higher education in Pennsylvania, costs related to remedial programs for new higher education students, and links between available higher education programs and the workforce needs and opportunities in Pennsylvania. A report is expected late this year.

  • Other

  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center continues to accept applications for the 2005-2006 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). Participants in this professional development experience develop a broadened understanding of the policy process and the various aspects of education policy, enhance communication and decision making skills, refine their potential for leadership, and expand their network of professional colleagues through participation in nine full-day seminars, national conferences, and a unique strategic leadership training experience conducted by the U.S. Army War College. For more information about the program and an application, see www.eplc.org/fellows.html.

  • Next week...The U.S. Department of Education hosts a Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop on July 25-27 in Bethesda, MD. The 12th Annual Education Law Conference takes place July 25-28 in Portland, ME. The National Center for Education Statistics hosts its annual forum and summer data conference on July 25-29 in Washington, D.C. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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