EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, November 5, 2004

  • George Bush was re-elected to a second term in a heated race for the presidency in which Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes went to challenger John Kerry. During the campaign, Bush said if re-elected his education agenda would: continue to demand accountability as required under No Child Left Behind; improve high schools through expanded state testing, increased funding for advanced placement courses for low-income students, and use of 8th grade assessment data to develop performance plans for beginning high schoolers; focus Head Start on academics and allow states to incorporate Head Start into existing state pre-K programs; and promote teacher quality by expanding loan forgiveness for certain teachers in hard-to-staff areas and funding an adjunct teacher corps of professionals who teach one or more course while on leave from their jobs.

  • Nationally, the Republican Party increased its majority in both Congressional chambers in the November 2 election. The Pennsylvania GOP also increased its majority in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives. GOP gains in the Pennsylvania Senate would bring their majority to 30-20, however, three current Senators (two Democrats and one Republican) won election to other offices, leaving the Senate with three vacancies to be filled by special elections. House Republicans will hold a 110 to 93 majority in the 2005-2006 session, a net gain of one seat.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education released results of a survey on technology access and usage with school, district, and state level data. Find data on student, teacher and administrator technology use and more at http://reports.pa.ontargetus.com/0304/.

  • Pennsylvania collected $1.7 billion in General Fund revenue for October, 6% more than anticipated, according to figures released by Revenue Secretary Gregory Fajt.

  • ACT recently released a report on preparing students for college and work. According to the report, a high majority of high school students are unprepared to enter the workforce or succeed in college, based on results of students tested by ACT. ACT recommends all students take courses that it refers to as Courses for Success, which are courses above ACT's recommended requirements for graduation, such as advanced math and science classes. However, ACT recognizes that not only should students take these courses for preparedness, these courses must be more rigorous and challenging. Find recommended actions for educators, policymakers and parents to help prepare students for college and the workforce at www.act.org/path/policy/index.html.

  • Student loans are outpacing grant aid, with the biggest growth in private loans, according to annual reports on trends in college pricing and student aid by The College Board. The Board released a companion report that documents the personal and civic benefits of a college education. Access the reports at www.collegeboard.com.

  • Next week...Monday: The Senate Transportation Committee meets to discuss House Bill 1315. Tuesday: The Senate Education Committee holds a confirmation hearing for Education Secretary-designee Francis Barnes. The Senate Judiciary Committee meets to discuss House Bill 2262. The House Judiciary Committee meets to discuss House Bill 2331. Wednesday: The House Education Committee meets to discuss House Bills 2573, 2588 & 2505, Senate Bill 931, and regulatory changes to Chapter 12 (Students and Student Services). EPLC hosts the Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum Western PA Breakfast Series. Other: The National Association for the Education of Young Children holds its annual conference in Anaheim Nov. 10-13. The Education Trust hosts its national conference Nov. 11-13 in Washington, D.C. For details, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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