EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, January 19, 2007

Reminder: Tuesday, February 13, will be the first day to circulate petitions for school board elections in 500 of Pennsylvania's 501 school districts (only Philadelphia has an appointed board). More than 2000 school board positions across the Commonwealth will be on the May 15 Primary Election ballot.

    Pennsylvania Education Policy Activity

  • The Task Force on School Cost Reduction, established by Special Session Act 1 of 2006, continued to examine historical education spending data at its fourth meeting on Wednesday. The group reviewed expenditure figures for the transportation of public and non-public school students, as well as trends in energy expenditures and use of a state grant program that supports environmentally friendly building projects that lower energy consumption. It also reviewed the process school districts must go through to apply for waivers of certain state mandates from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).

    The Task Force also discussed future activity, including upcoming meetings and its pending quarterly report. The committee will next come together at the legislative conference of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association on February 26 to receive comments to inform its work from school directors and school administrators. It also will meet to gather input from school business officials and public school teachers on March 13 and June 13, respectively. The next working meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for April 11.

    A quarterly report that reviews the group's work-to-date will be available in the next few weeks. The report likely will identify areas the committee may explore in-depth, such as shared services, purchasing, tax collection, special education, charter schools, and NCLB. For more information about the Task Force and its duties, see www.pde.state.pa.us/k12_finances/cwp/view.asp?a=305&q=123154&k12_financesNav=|10481|&k12_financesNav=|4339|.

  • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education took action on the following items at its meeting on Thursday, January 18:

    Chapter 36 (Foreign Corporation Standards): The Board approved changes to the rules for companies located outside of Pennsylvania to operate for-profit higher education institutions in the Commonwealth. The changes are necessary to comply with a law passed in 1997 that allows for-profit institutions to become colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. A copy of the final form regulatory proposal will be made available at www.pde.state.pa.us/stateboard_ed/cwp/view.asp?a=3&Q=76688&stateboard_edNav=|5466|&stateboard_edNav=|. (NOTE: The version of Chapter 36 currently available at this link as of 1-18-07 is current as of November 2005 and does not reflect changes approved by the Board at its January 17, 2007 meeting.)

    Student Representation: The Board will submit a grant application to the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) for funding to explore including student participation on the Board. NASBE is currently offering $15,000 grants to two states to develop a plan of action for adding student representation to the Board.

    PennAEYC: The Board granted five-year approval for the Pennsylvania Association of Young Children (PennAEYC) to accredit Pennsylvania nonpublic and private academic school kindergarten and prekindergarten programs. PennAEYC has been accrediting private schools in the Commonwealth since October of 1983.

  • Also at Thursday's State Board meeting, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Education Sharon Brumbaugh presented an update on the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership Program (PIL). This job-embedded professional development program for school leaders became active in all eight program sites statewide during the current school year. PIL provides training tailored for novice principals and experienced administrators. This year, PDE added a new mentoring component for novice principals, with mentors provided through the State System of Higher Education's Principals Leadership Induction Network. PDE also has contracted with Temple University to conduct a multi-year evaluation of the program and its impact on student achievement; the evaluation began in the fall of 2006.

    In March, the Department will present proposed regulations for the Board's consideration that would require all new principals to get training in PIL's three core standards, and require all school leaders to receive training in PIL's nine total standards to complete their state mandated professional development requirements. A description of PIL's three core and six corollary standards is available at www.pde.state.pa.us/pas/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=119836. PIL training will be offered by PDE at no charge; the Department also will approve other providers, including higher education institutions, to offer the program. For more information about PIL, see www.pde.state.pa.us/pas/cwp/view.asp?a=3&Q=119829&pasNav=|10411|&pasNav=|10411|.

  • Pennsylvania General Assembly News

  • House Speaker Dennis O'Brien has appointed Democratic Rep. Josh Shapiro to the newly created position of Deputy Speaker.

  • House and Senate Democrats have announced Democratic Committee Chairs for the 2007-2008 legislative session. Senator Raphael Musto will continue as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee. Representative James Roebuck will move from minority to majority chair of the House Education Committee.

  • Information about the Pennsylvania General Assembly is available at www.legis.state.pa.us/index.cfm.


  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center will again offer regional Workshops for 2007 school board candidates. The Workshops are being offered by EPLC with the cooperation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. The Workshops are intended for incumbent board members and new candidates, as well as all citizens who plan to be actively involved in school board elections as campaign volunteers or community leaders.

    Day-long Workshops are planned for Valley Forge (February 10), Mechanicsburg (February 24), Allentown (March 3) and Monroeville (March 10). EPLC also is presenting the same program at a Workshop hosted by the League of Women Voters of Indiana County on Saturday, January 20. Registration is $30 which includes lunch, break refreshments, and materials. For more information and a registration form, please see www.eplc.org/schoolboardworkshop.html.

  • Next Week...The Pennsylvania State Board of Education hosts a meeting for stakeholders with interest in the statewide education costing-out study on Wednesday in Harrisburg. For information on this and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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