EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, September 27, 2004

  • On September 22, James Nevels, chair of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC), spoke on "Progress and Issues for the Philadelphia School District" at EPLC's Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum in Harrisburg. Nevels discussed the state of the public school system in Philadelphia prior to the SRC's creation in 2001 and new programs that have since been implemented. New initiatives that have already shown success for the district include the implementation of a standardized curriculum throughout the city; class size reduction; stronger disciplinary actions; and more professional development for teachers. The SRC is currently in negotiations with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers seeking to adopt site selection of teachers to replace Philadelphia's current seniority transfer program. With the proposed site selection system, principals would choose their own staff rather than teachers transferring based on seniority.

  • The Education Policy Analysis Archives released a research article that looks at the differences between teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and non-National Board certified teachers. The study found that students in classrooms with NBPTS-certified teachers had higher academic performance than those with non-National Board certified teachers. Researchers compared 35 National Board certified teachers and non-NBPTS certified teachers in 16 Arizona school districts' elementary classrooms. To read the study, visit http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v12n46/v12n46.pdf.

  • Fifteen states - including Pennsylvania - increased support for pre-K by $205 million in their FY 2005 budgets, according to The Trust for Early Education's "Quality Pre-Kindergarten for All: State Legislative Report." The report provides state-by-state information on 2005 pre-K funding and state policy initiatives. Access the report at www.trustforearlyed.org/docs/Legislative%20Report-9-9.pdf.

  • The Southern Governors' Association released a report on strategies to improve rural high schools. The report recommends that governors invest in school leadership preparation; improve teacher quality through professional development and mentoring for new teachers; expand the local teacher pool by engaging community colleges in teacher preparation; and broaden the vision of assessment beyond testing. Read "New Traditions: Options for Rural High School Excellence" at www.southerngovernors.org/indexPDF/SGANewTraditions.pdf.

  • Looking for information about dropout prevention, exit exams, or the high school senior year? Check out EPLC's new Education Policy Information Clearinghouse section on High School Reform for research on these topics at www.eplc.org/clearinghouse_highschool.html.

  • This week...EPLC will host an all-day Seminar on The Use of Demographic Data and Social Trend Information for State Education Policymaking. The House Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the Commonwealth Caucus' tax reform plan in Harrisburg on Tuesday. The House Education Committee will meet in Harrisburg on Wednesday to discuss House Bill 2483 (would create the Independent Higher Education and Community Financing Act).

    EPLC will host the first annual Education Policy Leadership Award Dinner and honor Edward Donley on Friday, October 1 in Hershey. The annual School Leadership Conference, jointly sponsored by the PA School Boards Association and the PA Association of School Administrators, will be held Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Hershey. The Pennsylvania Child Care Association will hold its annual conference in Harrisburg on Sept. 28-29.

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