EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, July 24, 2006

    Pennsylvania Education Policy Activity

  • The Pennsylvania House and Senate recessed the current legislative session for the duration of the summer following adoption of the 2006-2007 state budget on July 1. The General Assembly will return to session in September.


  • Governor Ed Rendell recently signed into law a number of bills authorizing the FY 2006-07 state education budget and funding for other education entities. The Governor also recently signed legislation (Act 67 of 2006 - Senate Bill 300) that exempts contributions to and some distributions from TAP 529 college savings plans from state income tax. Links to this legislation and other information about the enacted state budget are available on EPLC's Education Policy Information Clearinghouse at www.eplc.org/clearinghouse.html.


  • Pennsylvania Bulletin...Recent editions of the Pennsylvania Bulletin included the following education-related items:

    The July 15 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin included publication of final form changes to Chapter 49 (Certification of Professional Personnel). These regulatory changes took effect upon publication. Changes now require that teacher preparation programs, induction programs and professional development programs provide instruction in working with diverse learners; extend the timeline for teacher preparation program approval reviews from every five to every seven years (to align with the review timeline used by national program accrediting bodies); and establish Program Endorsement Certificates in areas where formal teacher certification does not exist (such as classroom management and classroom technology). The changes do not include a proposal to realign the state's teacher certification system, which is still under consideration. For a copy of the regulatory changes now in effect, see www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-28/1320.html.

    The July 15 Pennsylvania Bulletin also included publication of final form changes to Chapter 31 (Higher Education General Provisions). The regulations now allow certain institutions that offer the majority of their degree program through distance learning to petition the state Department of Education to operate as a college or university in Pennsylvania. Other changes require institutions to address levels of professional development support provided to faculty based on faculty rank and status. Read the regulations now in effect at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-28/1319.html.

    The July 8 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin included publication of the final Academic Standards for Career Education and Work. The standards, which took effect upon publication in the Bulletin, outline the knowledge all Pennsylvania students should have (at grades 3, 5, 8 and 11) related to career awareness and preparation, career acquisition, career retention and advancement, and entrepreneurship. Access the standards online at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-27/1267.html.

    The July 1 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin included proposed changes to Chapter 36 (Foreign Corporation Standards), which governs the operation of out-of-state postsecondary institutions in the Commonwealth. Public comments on the draft revisions will be accepted by the State Board of Education until July 31. Instructions for submitting comments, as well as a copy of the proposed regulatory changes, are available at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-27/1267.html.

    The July 1 Pennsylvania Bulletin also included proposed Keystone Educational Accountability Best Management Practice Standards. The standards would add a new chapter (Chapter 405) of indicators designed to measure improvement in school district operations. The standards are required by the Keystone Educational Accountability Act, which established an assessment system for district management practices and use of resources and requires all school districts to undergo a compliance review conducted by PDE every six years. Directions on submitting public comments on the proposed standards, as well as a copy of the standards, are available at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-26/1205.html. Comments will be accepted until July 31.


  • All legislation from the Pennsylvania General Assembly, including bills cited in this Notebook, can be found at www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm.


    Research and Reports

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools' graduation rate is on average with other larger urban school districts, according to a new study conducted for the district by RAND. RAND estimates the district graduates 64 percent of students within five years, while 35 percent of students drop out and less than 2 percent are still enrolled in high school six years later. The findings are in discrepancy with the state's calculation which estimates that Pittsburgh has a 74 percent graduation rate. However, RAND researchers say their methodology - which followed individual students from their entry into high school until they graduated or dropped out - is more reliable than the state's measurement. Citywide, researchers estimate Pittsburgh graduates 59 percent of male students, 69 percent of female students, 58 percent of black students and 70 percent of non-black students. Researchers say "the lower graduation rates for black students and males students are consistent with other findings nationwide". Within the district, RAND found significant variance in graduation rates among the districts 11 high schools - ranging from 52 percent at one school to 85 percent at another. For more information about the district and about the challenges in defining and measuring graduation rates, read "Estimating Graduation and Dropout Rates with Longitudinal Data: A Case Study in the Pittsburgh Public Schools" at www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/2006/RAND_WR372.pdf.



  • Other

  • Rep. Stephen Stetler (D-95) will resign his House seat on September 29 to take the helm at the Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL). Stetler, who has represented York City in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 1991, will replace current PEL Executive Director Karen Miller who is retiring.


  • Applications are still being accepted for the 2006-2007 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program. Program information, including schedule and the application form, are available at http://www.eplc.org/fellows.html.



  • Datebook

  • This Week...A number of Governor's Institutes for educators will take place, including programs on technology education and improving school climate. A complete schedule is available on the EPLC web site. The Penn Center for Educational Leadership and partners host the 1st Superintendents' Summer Institute on Governance on July 24-27 in Philadelphia. The annual Education Law Conference will be held July 24-27 in Portland, ME. The Keystone Research Center and partners host the Pennsylvania Tax Justice Seminar on Friday in Camp Hill. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.



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