EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, August 18, 2006

    Pennsylvania Education Policy Activity

  • The House Education Committee met Tuesday in State College for an informational meeting on the American College Test (ACT), one of two national scholastic exams used to determine college readiness. For more information, contact the office of Committee Chair Jess Stairs at (717) 783-9311.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education has issued grant application guidelines for partners to assist teachers currently teaching with a Type 01 emergency permit become highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. Eligible partners with either a higher education institution or intermediate unit as the lead organization will provide innovative two to three year programs through which emergency permit holders may complete a teacher intern certificate. Three to five contracts will be awarded on a competitive basis with grants not to exceed $750,000. For additional details, see the August 12 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-32/1546.html.

  • Research and Reports

  • The Washington D.C.-based Center on Education Policy (CEP) has released its fifth annual report on high school exit exams. CEP found that, over the past year, growth in the number of states adopting new exit exam requirements has stalled; however, two-thirds of U.S. students live in states that require such exams. According to CEP, 25 states currently require or are phasing in exit exams. CEP also reports that controversy surrounding the exams - usually focused on the withholding of diplomas - "tends to settle down in the years after diplomas are first withheld". States also are creating greater flexibility in exit exam policies, including allowing students to submit SAT or ACT scores to meet exam requirements, using satisfactory course grades to meet the requirements, accepting other states' test scores for transfer students, and expanding options for students with disabilities. CEP says while increasing flexibility can help build public support for exit exams and ensure that special needs students are treated fairly, states need to be careful that they do not dilute the purpose of the exam by providing too many options for passage. Finally, CEP found that state support for remediation of students who fail the exams seems to decline once the exam has been in place for a few years. For more information, access the full report, "State High School Exit Exams: A Challenging Year", at www.cep-dc.org/pubs/hseeAugust2006/CEPHSEEPressConference8-10.pdf.

  • For more information about high school reform, including links to informational resources and additional research and reports, see EPLC's Education Policy Information Clearinghouse at www.eplc.org/clearinghouse_highschool.html.


  • Next Week...The House Education Committee holds an informational meeting on House Bill 2616, related to cyber charter school funding, in Allentown on Tuesday. The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee holds a public hearing on House Bill 1675, which establishes an emergency uniform numbering system for public schools, in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The House Labor Relations Committee holds an informational meeting on House Bill 2635, related to collective bargaining for school employees, on Wednesday in Harrisburg. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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