EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, October 22, 2004

  • School districts exploring new construction projects could exempt costs associated with making the building environmentally friendly when estimating the project's price tag if House Bill 1914 becomes law. This exemption applies to determining whether costs exceed a certain threshold that would trigger a requirement for voter referendum on the project. Because environmentally friendly designs can be more expensive than traditional construction, districts may opt for cheaper "non-green" buildings to avoid voter disapproval of the construction project, though buildings with "green" technology provide savings in long-term operating expenses. The House Education Committee adopted the bill on October 20. It has since been placed on the "tabled" calendar in the House.

  • The House Appropriations Committee moved forward House Bill 2432 on October 19. The bill exempts retired educators from state-required professional development requirements needed to keep their professional certification, unless a retiree returns to teaching for more than one school year. HB 2432 now goes to the full House.

  • On October 19, the House Judiciary Committee amended and passed Senate Bill 668, which outlines uniform standards for the reporting of crime at colleges and universities. Senate Bill 668 has been placed on the "tabled" calendar in the House.

  • Legislation establishing the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education Program is on its way to the Senate. House Bill 2775, passed by the House on October 20, allows schools to apply for state Department of Education grants to support watershed education programs.

  • The Education Trust looks at elementary math and reading achievement on state assessments since the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted in its new report "Measured Progress: Achievement Rises and Gaps Narrow, But Too Slowly." According to Pennsylvania fifth grade achievement data available on the Trust's web site, overall reading achievement in the Commonwealth has increased by 6 points since 2002, while overall math achievement has increased by 9 points. Since 2002, the gap in reading achievement between Pennsylvania's African American and Caucasian students has decreased by 8 points and decreased by 1 point for Latino students. The state's fifth grade math achievement gap has decreased by 3 points for African American students and remains the same for Latino students. Access the report at www.edtrust.org.

  • "Profiles in Leadership: Innovative Approaches to Transforming the American High School," a collection of essays published by the Alliance for Excellent Education, is available at www.all4ed.org/publications/ProfilesInLeadership/index.html.

  • Next week...The PA Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals holds its annual conference October 24-26 in Pittsburgh. A Pennsylvania team organized by the state Department of Education will participate in the National Value-Added Conference October 25-26 in Columbus, Ohio. Project REAL (Rural Education for Accelerated Learners) holds its annual conference October 25-26 in State College. Communities in Schools of PA hosts its state conference October 28-29 at Seven Springs. The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on sexual violence on college campuses Thursday, October 28 at Lehigh University. For information on additional events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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