EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, May 23, 2005

  • At its May 19 meeting, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education adopted a resolution supporting an extension of the June 30 deadline to enroll in the Bridge Certificate program in order to allow additional teachers to participate. Approval of an extension lies with the governor's office. The Bridge is an alternative path through which certain middle level, special education, alternative education and English as a Second Language teachers can attain "highly qualified" status as required by federal law. For details about the program, see www.teaching.state.pa.us/teaching/cwp/view.asp?Q=107572&A=7.

  • The House Subcommittee on Basic Education met Thursday to consider two bills that will now move to the full Education Committee. House Bill 193 permits school boards to adopt resolutions that allow plumbing, heating and ventilation, and electrical work on a project to be done under separate contracts. House Bill 1012 allows schools to display the national motto "In God We Trust" in classrooms, school cafeterias, and school auditoriums.

  • All legislation from the Pennsylvania General Assembly, including bills cited in this Notebook, can be found at www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm.

  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that rejected a request by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to delay the May 30 deadline by which school districts must choose whether or not to opt-in to Act 72 (The Homeowner Tax Relief Act). The Court previously rejected a similar suit brought by a coalition of school districts.

  • Democrats picked up two seats in the state Senate in the May 17 Primary Election. State Representative LeAnna Washington was elected to fill the 4th district (Philadelphia/Montgomery County) seat vacated when Allyson Schwartz was elected to Congress. Former Allegheny County Councilman Wayne Fontanna defeated current State Representative Mike Diven to represent the Pittsburgh-area 42nd district. Fontanna fills the seat of former Senator Jack Wagner who was elected Auditor General last year. Republicans now hold a 30 to 20 Senate majority.

  • Pennsylvania has lost two long-time education advocates. Al Fondy, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) and the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers (PaFT), passed away after a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Fondy served as president of the PFT since May 1967 and served as an elected leader for the PFT and PaFT for 37 years. Prior to his election as PFT President, Fondy taught math at Carrick High School in Pittsburgh.

    Judith Rice, education specialist for the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters passed away on May 12. She was an outspoken advocate for public education and a more fair education funding system. During her teaching career, Judy taught initially in the Philadelphia School District and later taught math at Haverford High School for 25 years. She also served as a Pennsylvania State Education Association local union president. At the time of her death, Judy was serving her second term as President of the Haverford Township League of Women Voters.

  • This week...Wednesday: EPLC hosts a Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum Capital Breakfast Series. The House Education Committee holds an informational meeting on legislation related to student safety. The State Board of Education holds a public hearing on proposed Academic Standards for Career Education and Work in Pleasant Gap. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

  • The Pennsylvania House and Senate are in recess and return to session on Monday, June 6.

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