EPLC Education Notebook
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Content in this edition:
- PA Department of Education
- State House
Research and Reports
The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is
available by visiting the EPLC website at
- EPLC's regional Policy Forum Breakfast
Series will continue with fall programs beginning in September.
These free programs are held several times per year at sites in
Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia area. An invitation
and RSVP are needed to attend. If you wish to receive an invitation
to the Policy Forum programs in your area, and you were not on the
invitation list previously, please e-mail your name, affiliation,
mailing address and e-mail address to Ron Cowell at
PA Department of Education
- The Pennsylvania Department of Education released
2006-07 PSSA scores and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results
this week, which include results from the 4th, 6th and 7th grade
assessments which were added in 2006. Statewide, 92 percent of
school districts and 77 percent of schools made AYP or were making
progress, down from last year. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak
said the decline resulted from schools needing to meet targets for
more student subgroups due to the addition of grades 4, 6 and 7
in the state's accountability system. In other words, given a
greater number of subgroups, there were more opportunities to fail
to meet AYP. The state now tests all children in grades 3 through
8 and 11 in math and reading. Schools with 40 students in a subgroup
- identified by race/ethnicity, low-income, special education and
English language learners - must meet academic proficiency targets
for every subgroup.
Although 2007 saw a drop in the number of schools and districts making AYP compared to last year, results over time paint a positive statewide picture moving forward. Aggregated statewide results show that achievement has risen in all grades and for all student subgroups since 2002. Additionally, all grades tested surpassed the 2007 proficiency goals of 45 percent for math and 54 percent for reading, and six of the seven grades tested already have exceeded next year's proficiency targets, which will increase in 2008. No Child Left Behind requires all students to attain proficiency in reading and math by 2014. Pennsylvania has set gradually increasing targets to reach 100 percent student proficiency by 2014.
Access state, school district and school level PSSA and AYP data at
- Over the past two weeks, the House Finance Committee
traveled to Fairless Hills, Oley, Stroudsburg and Pottsville to
gather public input on a plan (
House Bill 1600) that would increase state sales and income
taxes in order to deliver property tax relief. The Committee
heard from representatives of school districts, senior citizen
service agencies, local government leaders and taxpayers. HB 1600
would add a 0.5% surtax to the state sales tax and a 0.22% surtax
to the state personal income tax (PIT). Revenues generated by
the PIT surtax would be placed in a new Personal Income Tax
Surcharge Fund; revenues generated by the sales tax surcharge
would be placed in the state's existing Property Tax Relief Fund,
which houses state gaming revenue for property tax relief. Dollars
in the Personal Income Tax Surcharge Fund would be distributed to
school districts for the purpose of providing property tax relief
based on a proposed formula considering each district's average
daily membership (enrollment) and local tax effort.
Information about the Pennsylvania General Assembly, including
details on contacting your local state representatives and locating
bills cited in this Notebook, is available at
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
- The Center on Education Policy (CEP) has released a new paper,
"Reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
of 1965: Recommendations from the Center on Education Policy."
CEP has monitored the effects of the of the No Child Left Behind Act
(NCLB) since it was signed into law in 2002, This paper presents
CEP's recommendations for changes to the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended by NCLB. These recommendations
grow out of the main findings of CEP's research on the effects of NCLB.
You will find the report on CEP's website at
- The Center for American Progress has released a new report,
"Choosing More Time for Students: The What, Why, and How
of Expanded Learning." You can read the report at
- The Task Force on School Cost Reduction meets Wednesday.
- The Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program, sponsored by EPLC, holds its opening retreat for the 2007-2008 class Thursday and Friday.
For information on these and other upcoming
EPLC Education Notebook is published by The Education
Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Permission to reprint
or electronically redistribute the Notebook in whole
or in part is granted provided attribution to EPLC is provided.
The Education Policy and Leadership Center is an independent,
non-partisan and not-for-profit organization. The Mission of
EPLC is to encourage and support the enactment and implementation
of effective state-level education policies in order to improve
student learning in grades P-12, increase the effective operation
of schools, and enhance educational opportunities for citizens
of all ages.
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