EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, October 29, 2004

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 2. Do you know where the candidates stand on education issues? For information about President George Bush's education agenda, see www.georgewbush.com/Education. For information about Senator John Kerry's education agenda, see www.johnkerry.com/issues/education. Learn what candidates for the PA General Assembly think about public education at www.eplc.org/survey2004.html.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education released its 2004 State Report Card, which provides information about student achievement on state reading and math assessments. Assessment results show that while achievement is rising, a significant gap still persists between student subgroups. 70% of white fifth graders scored advanced or proficient in math, compared to 31% of black fifth graders and 38% of Latino fifth graders. In fifth grade reading, 71% of white students are advanced or proficient, while 35% of black students and 36% of Latino students are advanced or proficient. Achievement gaps were similar for the eighth and eleventh graders tested. Access the Report Card at www.pde.state.pa.us.

  • The U.S. House and Senate have appointed a conference committee to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of legislation reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For a list of committee members, see www.pacer.org/legislation/houseIDEA.htm. Areas of difference include the definition of a highly qualified teacher under NCLB, student discipline provisions, enforcement/compliance and attorney's fees. Congress must approve new IDEA legislation by the end of session in December or the reauthorization process must start again in the next Congressional session.

  • The Economic Policy Institute released a report titled "Exceptional Returns: Economic, Fiscal and Social Benefits of Investment in Early Childhood Development." The report focuses on the long-term benefits that Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs could have on society and the economy. While ECD programs require an investment up front, they can provide a substantial payoff in the future. ECD programs offer early education as well as health services such as immunizations and screenings. Four follow-up studies have found that investment in these programs bring a cost-benefit ratio of 3 to 1 - for every $1 invested, there is a $3 return to the economy. Studies also have found that poor children involved in ECD programs have higher academic performance, decreased rates of criminal conduct, and higher adult earnings than peers not involved in similar programs. To read the report, visit www.ourfuture.org/docUploads/epi_kids_report.pdf.

  • New regulations governing student attendance (Chapter 11) are now in effect. Changes made to student enrollment procedures and other regulations are published in the October 23 Pennsylvania Bulletin at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol34/34-43/1916.html.

  • The Armstrong School District has adopted the model Governance-Management Compact and the model Code of Conduct developed by The Education Policy and Leadership Center for use by school boards and superintendents. The tools are included in EPLC's report "Strengthening the Work of School Boards in Pennsylvania" at www.eplc.org/k12governance.html.

  • Next week...Election Day is Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program, sponsored by EPLC, meets Friday for a seminar on Standards-Based Education Reforms. For information about additional events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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