EPLC Education Notebook
Friday, December 14, 2007
Annual Education Policy and Leadership Conference March 13-14
Education Issues Workshops for Legislative Candidates and Campaign Staff
PA Statewide Education Costing-out Study
- State House
- State Board of Education
The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.
ANNUAL EDUCATION POLICY AND LEADERSHIP CONFERENCESAVE THE DATES! The Annual Education Policy and Leadership Conference is March 13-14, 2008. Registration begins January 1.
EDUCATION ISSUES WORKSHOP FOR LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES AND CAMPAIGN STAFFEPLC will again conduct a series of non-partisan day-long regional Education Issues Workshops for Legislative Candidates and Campaign Staff. Look for dates and locations soon.
PA STATEWIDE EDUCATION COSTING-OUT STUDYIn preparing detailed spreadsheets to support the recently released education costing-out study, the authors of the report discovered two errors in demographic data they initially used to prepare the report. These were:
Because these impact the five-year ADM used to calculate the base adequacy amount and the number of special education students used to calculate the adequacy figure for special education, this actually results in somewhat different adequacy amounts for every district in the state. It is important to note that this does not change the overall conclusions of the report nor any of the actual components of the adequacy calculation itself - the base amount per student, the weights for students with disabilities, low-income students, English language learners, and gifted students, the district size adjustment, and the regional cost of living adjustment. The numbers APA has now changed will all be changed again in the coming months, as updated data for 2006-07 become available.
Here are the key results of the changes:
For an updated summary from the State Board of Education, click on Costing-Out Study Revised Summary 12-10-07 (PDF) or go to http://www.pde.state.pa.us/stateboard_ed.
PENNSYLVANIA POLICYMAKERSPennsylvania House
The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution to establish a Joint Legislative Commission on Public School Finance. The Commission created by House Resolution 460 would be responsible for using the results of the recently-released statewide education costing-out study to develop a new formula for funding Pennsylvania's public schools. This joint resolution now goes to the full House for consideration and requires subsequent passage by the Senate. Since the Legislature recessed on Wednesday for the Holiday Season, no further action can occur until January at the earliest.
Specifically, the proposed Commission would:
The 41-member Commission composed of policymakers, business and non-profit leaders, parents and professional educators would be chaired by an education finance expert from a Pennsylvania college or university. Appointments to the Commission must be made within 45 days of adoption of the resolution by both chambers, and the Commission must hold its first meeting no later than 30 days following the appointment of members. The group would have one year to develop at least two formulae for the adequate and equitable distribution of state public education funds, and must make an interim report of its findings mid-way through the year.
State Board of Education
High School Graduation Requirements
The State Board of Education this week traveled to Clarion and Williamsport to solicit public input on issues related to high school graduation requirements. Conversation at these roundtable discussions will help inform draft regulatory changes to Chapter 4 the Board may advance in January. Recently, the Board released a revised discussion paper that outlines changes the Board could recommend to the state's current high school graduation requirements.
The proposal in the Board's discussion paper would require students to demonstrate proficiency in science and social studies, in addition to reading, writing and math. School districts could use any combination of the following assessment options to determine student proficiency: state PSSAs, local assessments (that are independently validated as aligned to state standards and proficiency levels), graduation competency assessments administered by PDE, and advanced placement and International Baccalaureate exams.
The proposal maintains current regulations for students with disabilities to be granted a regular high school diploma after successful completion of a special education program developed by an IEP team. Finally, the proposal would require appropriate testing accommodations (following state guidelines) for students with disabilities and English language learners.
State Academic Standards
The State Board of Education is embarking on a two-year review of the state's academic standards in order to update, consolidate and add clarity to the standards. Work initially will focus on the academic standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Mathematics, then move to review standards for Science and Technology, Environment and Ecology, History, Civics and Government, Economics and Geography. The Board is soliciting input from educators on this project that will be coordinated by the Capitol Area Intermediate Unit in conjunction with several other IUs. To participate in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards Review Survey, visit http://standardsproject.caiu.org. Surveys will be available for completion until midnight on December 31, 2007.
Information about the Pennsylvania General Assembly, including details on contacting your local state representatives and locating bills cited in this Notebook, is available at www.legis.state.pa.us/index.cfm.
PENNSYLVANIA BULLETINThe December 8 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin includes proposed changes to Chapter 711, Pennsylvania Department of Education rules related to charter school and cyber charter school services and programs for children with disabilities. The changes are necessary to comply with new federal regulations and recent court rulings (Chapter 14, the state special education regulations for school districts which are undergoing similar revisions, does not apply to students in charter or cyber charter schools). Proposed changes were informed by a series of stakeholder meetings held in December 2006 and January 2007. To review the proposed changes and for instructions on how to submit public comment to PDE on the proposal, see www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol37/37-49/2201.html.
DATEBOOKThe Pennsylvania General Assembly adjourned its legislative session for the remainder of 2007 this week and will return to session in January 2008.
House Session Schedule for the beginning of 2008:
January 1 (non-voting), 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, and 30
February 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13
March 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 31
April 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9
May 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14
June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30
Senate Session Schedule for the beginning of 2008:
January 1, 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, and 30
February 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12
March 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 31
April 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 28, 29, and 30
May 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21
June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 30
For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.