EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, December 19, 2008

    Content in this edition:
    Independent Regulatory Review Commission
    U.S. Department of Education
    Research and Reports
    Appointments and Nominations
    EPLC News

    The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.


    The EPLC Education Notebook will resume publication in January 2009.



    The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) this week approved the State Board of Education’sFinal-omitted regulations on Disciplinary Placements, which amends Chapter 14 Special Education Regulations. The amendment will align Chapter 14 with the Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens (PARC) Consent Decree by correcting an overly broad reference to federal regulations.  The regulation does not change existing reporting, record keeping or other paperwork requirements.  The PARC Consent Decree, which has been in force since 1971, sets forth certain protections for students with mental retardation, limiting the circumstances under which they may be excluded from their educational placements without due process protections.



    On December 9th, the U.S. Department of Education published in the Federal Register the Final regulations on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which clarify and give schools greater flexibility in making determinations about disclosures of information from students’ education records in order to address threats to the health and safety of students and others.  The final regulations are a result of public comments received from numerous organizations and individuals and also in response to the “Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy.”  The regulations will take effect January 8, 2009.  For additional information on FERPA, click here



    The Education Commission of the States (ECS) has released three new policy briefs on promoting academic success in high school, specifically examining 9th grade transitional year, parental involvement and teacher preparation.  The 9th grade transitional year brief reviews current research indicating that the freshman year is a “make or break” year for many students and identifies successful approaches and policies to deal with the challenges.  The second brief on parental involvement examines which types of parental support activities have the greatest impact on student success at the high school level.  The third brief on teacher preparation highlights seven components to strengthen teacher professional development at the high school level and provides state policy options for each.



  • President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Chicago Public Schools’ CEO Arne Duncan to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education.  Duncan has led the third-largest U.S. school system since 2001.  Click here for a profile on Arne Duncan from Education Week.

  • Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman (D-Chester) will serve as the new Democratic Chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee.  Dinniman replaces Sen. Raphael Musto (D-Luzerne) in that role; Musto will retain his chairmanship of the Environmental Resources & Energy Committee and pick up an additional chairmanship of the Local Government Committee.  Click here for a listing of Senate Democratic Committee Chairs for the 2009-2010 legislative session.

  • Tim Nyquist has come on board as Chief of Staff for new Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre).  Nyquist, who previously served on the staff of Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, replaces COS Don Houser who left to work in the private sector.  The Senate Appropriations Committee will experience additional changes with the retirement of long-time Republican Executive Director Tom Starke.

  • Newly-elected Pennsylvania State Senator Larry Farnese (D-Phila.), who will serve as a member of both the Senate Education and Appropriations Committees, announced staff appointments this week.  This is the State Senate seat formerly held by Vincent Fumo who did not seek re-election.  Anthony V. Mannino will serve as Chief of Staff to Farnese.  Mannino most recently served as COS to State Representative Bryan Lentz (D-Delaware) and previously worked as a Civil Litigator.

  • Dr. Greg Weisenstein, provost and vice president of the University of North Dakota, has been selected as the new president of West Chester University.  Weisenstein previously served as Dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development at Montana State University, and began his career as a high school teacher in Washington state.  He will replace Dr. Madeline Wing Adler who retired in June.



    Delaware County Community College (DCCC) will offer free tuition to workers who have been laid-off from full-time positions to receive job training in certain fields.  Those who qualify will be able to enroll in certain certificate programs and courses during the Spring 2009 semester.  Participants will be responsible for the cost of all applicable fees, textbooks and other instructional materials.  DCCC will waive the sponsoring fee of $90 per credit hour.  Interested students must attend an information session, the last of which is scheduled for Monday, December 22.  For more information, contact the DCCC Enrollment Management Office at (610) 359-5141.



    2009 School Board Candidate Workshops

    EPLC will again sponsor a series of School Board Candidate Workshops early in 2009.  Conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and local sponsors, the Workshops are intended for those considering a 2009 run for school board (incumbents and non-incumbents), anyone interested in helping others run for school board, or those who just want to know more about the work of school boards and school directors.  The EPLC Candidate Workshops are all-day events to be held as follows:
    Saturday, February 7 – Montgomery IU
    Saturday, February 14 – Allegheny IU
    Saturday, February 21 – PSBA Headquarters - Mechanicsburg
    Saturday, March 7 – Lehigh Valley

    A special workshop also will be held on Saturday, January 31 in Indiana County, sponsored by the Indiana League of Women Voters.

    On-line registration will be available after January 1 at www.eplc.org.

    Coming in January 2009 - Education and Policy Jobs Listings

    Employers will soon be able to list education and policy employment opportunities on a special page of the EPLC web site.  It will be a great meeting place for those offering and seeking positions in pre-K programs, elementary and secondary schools, higher education, public policy agencies, statewide associations, advocacy organizations, and more.  Details available in January at www.eplc.org!



    Members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate will be sworn in for the 2009-2010 legislative session on Tuesday, January 6.

    For a listing of upcoming events in 2009, 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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