EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, December 7, 2007

    Content in this edition:
    Annual Education Policy and Leadership Conference March 13-14
    PA Statewide Education Costing-out Study
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State House
    - State Senate
    - PDE
    - IRRC

    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 Conference
    SAVE THE DATES! The Annual Education Policy and Leadership Conference is March 13-14, 2008. Registration begins January 1.

    The PA State Board of Education traveled to Clearfield County and Allegheny County this week to present the findings of the recently-released statewide education costing-out study to interested citizens. These forums wrapped-up the Board series of six public briefings on the study, which was mandated by the PA General Assembly by Act 114 of 2006. The costing-out study provides important information intended to help inform state-level and community discussions about public education funding in Pennsylvania. The study reports on costs related to having 100% of Pennsylvania's students achieve the academic proficiencies defined by the state's academic standards. For a summary of the study, see www.eplc.org/CostingOutSummary.pdf.

    Pennsylvania House

  • On Wednesday, the House Education Committee by a vote of 22-6 approved an amended version of legislation ( House Bill 446) that changes the way cyber charter schools are funded. The bill creates a new single statewide cyber charter school tuition rate based on the most efficient and effective cyber charter school's actual expenditures. It also requires a 3% penalty if a school district fails to a make a payment and causes the cyber charter school to seek its monthly payment from the Department of Education. The bill places limits on cyber charter school fund balances and subjects cyber charter schools to the same budget deadlines and bidding requirements as school districts. It also grants the Department of Education the power and duty to promulgate regulations to ensure that cyber charter students are receiving the appropriate number of hours of instruction. Finally, the bill addresses enrollment increases and notification requirements to school districts. Cyber charter school employees must undergo criminal history checks and are prohibited from sitting on the school's board of trustees. HB 446 has been placed on the House Tabled Bills Calendar.

  • Next Wednesday (December 12), the House Education Committee will hear an informational presentation about the recently released Costing-Out Study and will consider legislation ( House Resolution 460) to establish a Joint Legislative Commission on Public School Finance. The proposed Commission comprised of members of the General Assembly, education experts, teachers and parents, would be tasked with using the results of the study to make recommendations to reform Pennsylvania's current school funding formula.

  • Pennsylvania Senate

  • The Senate Education and Communications & Technology Committees held a joint hearing Tuesday on the Classrooms for the Future program. Click here for remarks about the program, which provides high schools with academically-supportive technology, from PDE Deputy Secretary Diane Castelbuono. For more information, contact the office of Education Committee Chair Senator James Rhoades at (717) 787-2637.

  • Pennsylvania Department of Education

  • This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released an independent evaluation of the first year of the Classrooms for the Future program. The evaluation found that the program led to teachers spending more time working with students in small groups and individually, fostered more collaborative student learning, and shifted the nature of assignments from worksheets toward real world topics and more hands-on learning projects. Classrooms for the Future also saw students spending less time off task and increased levels of student engagement, as well as a change in teachers' attitudes, reflecting an increased value in incorporating technology into the learning process, increases in effort and hours, and increases in levels of preparation to teach their subjects.

  • PDE staff was in Monroeville (Tuesday), Pleasant Gap (Wednesday), and Schnecksville (Thursday) this week for public hearings on the Perkins IV Five Year State Plan. For more information about the plan, see www.able.state.pa.us/career_edu/cwp/view.asp?a=113&Q=116413&career_eduNav=|6619|&career_eduNavPage=|&tx=0.

  • On Thursday, PDE held an informational hearing on applications to establish four new cyber charter schools that would begin operations in the Commonwealth during the 2008-09 school year. PDE is expected to issue decisions on each application by late January 2008.

  • Independent Regulatory Review Commission

  • On Thursday, IRRC approved final form regulatory changes submitted by the State Board of Education to Chapter 36 (Foreign Corporation Standards). These regulations governing post-secondary degree-granting institutions that are not Pennsylvania corporations will take effect upon their publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

  • 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.

  • The state's Office of Child Development and Early Learning and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are working together to fund a new pilot program to foster program-to-program articulation agreements between two- and four-year higher education institutions for students in early childhood education or child development coursework. For more information about the initiative and three projects already selected for funding, see www.pdenewsroom.state.pa.us/newsroom/cwp/view.asp?Q=133157&A=3.

  • Dr. Alex Johnson has been named the new president of the Community College of Allegheny County. Previously, Johnson led Delgado Community College in Louisiana.

    Next Week...

  • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education Committee on Chapter 4 holds public roundtable discussions on the state's high school graduation requirements in Clarion on Monday, in Williamsport on Wednesday, and in Kingston on Thursday.

  • The 2nd Pennsylvania Conference and Summit on Educational Excellence for Latino Students takes place December 10-11 in State College.

  • The House Education Committee meets for an informational presentation on the recent statewide education costing-out study and to consider House Resolution 460 on Wednesday.

  • EPLC hosts a Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum breakfast program in Philadelphia on December 13.

  • For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

    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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