EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, January 5, 2007

    Pennsylvania Education Policy Activity

  • Philadelphia GOP Representative Dennis O'Brien was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday. Democratic designee-for-Speaker William DeWeese surprised colleagues by instead nominating O'Brien for the post, placing him in opposition to fellow Philadelphia GOP Representative John Perzel. O'Brien defeated former Speaker Perzel by a vote of 105 to 97, with six Republicans voting for and three Democrats voting against O'Brien. Democrats currently hold a slim 102-101 majority in the House. O'Brien has said he will remain a member of the Republican Party.

  • Research and Reports

  • The 2007 edition of Education Week's "Quality Counts" report expands beyond its annual evaluation of K-12 state education policy to encompass the continuum of educational experiences from birth through adulthood and examine state efforts to create a seamless education system. The report's new Chance-for-Success Index uses 13 indicators to evaluate how students fare in the early years, the school years and the adult years. It also includes a new K-12 Achievement Index that takes into account student achievement and improvement over time. The report continues to assess states' standards, assessments and accountability policies, but does not rank indicators of school climate, efforts to improve teacher quality or school finance as it has in the past. Quality Counts 2007 is available at www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2007/01/04/index.html.

    The Report is an excellent source of information about education policies and performance among the 50 states, but readers need to remember that the performance data and policy information is current only as indicated by dates on the various charts.

    Pennsylvania ranks 15th nationally on the Chance-for-Success Index. The state performed above average in terms of family income, parent education, parental employment, linguistic integration, elementary reading, high school graduation, postsecondary participation and steady employment, but was ranked subpar for preschool enrollment. On indicators of kindergarten enrollment, middle school math, adult education attainment and annual income, PA performed at the national average. The state fared poorly in efforts to connect its K-12 education system with early learning, higher education and the world of work, having in place only one of the 15 alignment policies identified as important by Quality Counts.

    The report also ranks the Commonwealth 10th nationally in terms of K-12 Achievement, based on reading and math performance, high school graduation rates and AP exam scores. A Pennsylvania state highlights report is available at www.edweek.org/media/ew/qc/2007/17shr.pa.h26.pdf.

  • Datebook

  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center will present at a School Board Candidate Workshop sponsored by the Indiana County League of Women Voters on Saturday, January 20. Information is available at www.eplc.org/schoolboardworkshop.html.

  • During February and March, EPLC will host full-day regional Workshops for School Board Candidates in Valley Forge (2/10), Harrisburg (2/24), Lehigh Valley (3/3) and Monroeville (3/10). The Pennsylvania School Boards Association will cooperate in presenting at each of these workshops. Details about these Workshops will be posted on the EPLC web site next week.

  • Next Week...The PA State System of Higher Education Board of Governor's meets January 10-11 in Harrisburg. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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