EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, September 3, 2004

  • The House Education Committee held an informational meeting on the state's Master Plan for Higher Education on August 31. Representatives of independent colleges, the State System of Higher Education (SSHE), PHEAA, and the State Board of Education testified as to what the plan should include. Under state law, the State Board is required to adopt a master plan every five years to serve as a guide for policymakers and state-supported higher education institutions; the last plan was adopted in 1986 (Yes! 1986).

    Peter Garland, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at SSHE, said the plan should reflect the state's vision for the future and address how higher education can help attain future goals. Garland said development of the next master plan must include the business community given universities' role in economic development. Richard Bunn, a member of the State Board's Council of Higher Education, said the plan should provide a framework for allocating funds to institutions and directly to students, using allocations to promote specific policy goals, linking the K-12 and higher education systems, and establishing accountability and data collection methods to assess return on investment. Bunn also said the state legislature and the governor must play a central role in the plan's development in order for it to have a lasting impact in guiding higher education policy. Speaking on behalf of independent colleges, Alvernia College President Laurence Mazzeno stressed the need for the state to increase PHEAA grants as a means of expanding college access for the neediest students. For copies of the testimony presented at the meeting, contact the office of Committee Chair Jess Stairs at (717) 783-9311.

  • The U.S. Department of Education has released a new guide on implementing NCLB-required supplemental education services. Read "Creating Strong Supplemental Service Programs" at www.ed.gov/admins/comm/suppsvcs/sesprograms/index.html.

  • On October 17-20, 2004, the 30th Annual Family Involvement Conference will be held at the Valley Forge Scanticon Hotel & Conference Center in King of Prussia. The event is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Coalition for Parent Involvement, Ltd. The conference will discuss the importance of family involvement in school systems and its relationship to student achievement. Anyone may nominate a group or individual who has initiated projects toward improving family and parent involvement in the schools for awards that will be presented at the conference. To register for the conference or to make a nomination, visit www.familyinvolvementconference.com or call (610) 250-9455.

  • The first annual Edward Donley Education Policy Leadership Award Dinner, sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center, will be held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center on October 1, 2004. For details about the event, including information about dinner reservations and program ads, see www.eplc.org/news.html.

  • Next Week...The House Education Committee will meet with representatives of the College Board, the Educational Testing Service and the PA Department of Education on September 8 to discuss tests used for college admission and teacher certification. Also on the 8th, the House Finance Committee will continue public hearings on the Commonwealth Caucus' proposal to expand the state sales tax in order to eliminate local school property taxes. The Committee, which has held hearings throughout the state this summer, will meet in Ebensburg on Wednesday.

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