EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, May 9, 2008

    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State House
    - State Senate
    - Legislation Introduced
    Independent Regulatory Review Commission
    Pennsylvania Bulletin
    News from NAEP

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

    The Pennsylvania State Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives return to session next week on Monday, May 12.

    There is no more important state policy priority this spring than for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to enact a permanent school funding formula and fully fund it with at least $2.6 billion in additional state funds in no more than six years.

    For more information on the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign and additional tools and resources for citizen advocacy, please go to http://www.paschoolfunding.org. You can help. Please use the Campaign web site to contact your legislator today!

    State House

  • On Monday, May 5, the House State Government Committee adopted legislation (House Bill 2084) to provide a cost of living adjustment to school and state retirees in 2008. HB 2084 has been re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

  • The House State Government Committee also adopted legislation (House Bill 146) that requires state agencies to notify local officials of a political subdivision before issuing a permit for a project within the subdivision (including constructing, reconstruction, alteration or repair work with a cost of more than $25,000). Notice must be provided in a reasonable amount of time to allow local officials to make necessary adjustments in order to ensure safety and ease any hardship the project might cause. HB 146 has been re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee. The definition of ďpolitical subdivisionĒ seems to include school districts, although a committee staff member told EPLC that this was not intended and that an amendment may be necessary.

  • State Senate

  • The Senate Education Committee approved the following legislation on Tuesday, May 6 (each bill awaits further consideration by the full Senate):

    Senate Bill 395: Requires the Departments of Public Welfare and Education to consult to establish a child abuse identification training program. An amendment adopted by the Committee completely replaced the language in the original bill. As amended, school employees who, by law, must report suspected abuse would be required to complete the training program; professional educators would receive Act 48 professional development credit for the training.

    Senate Bill 1281: Allows students who live outside of Pennsylvania due to a parent serving active duty military service (other than training) to continue being considered a resident of the school district they attended prior to the parent being stationed outside of the Commonwealth, as long as the parent maintains the residence in the district.

    Senate Bill 1277: Ensures that charter schools that provide alternative education as part of their central mission are eligible to apply for certain state alternative education grants.

    House Bill 503: Allows constables to serve as school board members. Currently, constables are among a number of government employees that are precluded from serving as school directors.

  • The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved legislative to establish a Science Technology Partnership Program (Senate Bill 472). Under the program, the Department of Education would award grants to higher education institutions that partner with public or non-public schools to provide technical equipment and instructional programs in science and provide professional development opportunities to science educators. To qualify, a partnership program must include at least three public schools or school districts. SB 472 also requires annual reporting on the program. The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

  • Legislation Introduced

  • Rep. Mario Civera (R-164) has introduced legislation (House Bill 2505) that would allow colleges and universities to share personal information about a studentís academic standing, grades, discipline and conduct, physical and behavioral health, and financial balances and liabilities, if authorized by the student to do so. The bill requires PDE to develop a form on which students could designate individuals, such as their parents, who are authorized to receive this information, and a second form on which students could designate individuals authorized to execute power of attorney on matters related to the studentís tenure and residency at the institution or the studentís health.

    Colleges and universities would be required to post the forms online and provide the forms to students with information sent in anticipation of enrollment for each academic period. Use of the forms would be voluntary for students, and students would have the opportunity to make changes to or revoke either form they have submitted. Further, colleges would be responsible for notifying persons authorized on the forms of any changes made to them, and for making timely responses to requests for student information from individuals authorized by the student.

    House Bill 2505 has been referred to the House Education Committee.

    Last week, the Senate Education Committee also addressed the issue of parental notification by colleges and universities. The Committee adopted legislation (Senate Bill 1285) which would require institutions to provide parents with written copies of various institutional policies related to drug and alcohol violations, as well as policies related to the disclosure of a studentís personal information without the studentís consent when it is necessary to protect the student or others.

  • House Education Committee Chairman James Roebuck has introduced legislation (House Bill 2466) to establish an Office of Dropout Prevention and Data Collection within the state Department of Education. The office would be responsible for collecting information about dropouts, as well as providing grants for dropout prevention programs and reengagement programs for students who have already left school. The bill will be the subject of a House Education Committee meeting on May 14, at which the Committee will hear presentations on current dropout initiatives and also plans to vote on the bill.

  • 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 Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) plans to take action on final revisions to the stateís special education regulations (Chapter 14) at its June 5 meeting. Comments on the regulations must be submitted to IRRC and the State Board of Education by 10:30 a.m. on June 3. Click here for a copy of the regulatory changes under consideration.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education has proposed new auditing standards for approved private schools and the stateís four chartered schools for the deaf and blind. The proposal amends interim audit standards that were adopted on April 7, 2006. A copy of the proposed standards is available in the May 3 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. PDE will accept public comments on the proposed standards until June 2.
  • The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) has issued comments on proposed changes to state regulations governing school immunizations which will be considered by the Department of Health in drafting final regulatory changes. Read IRRCís comments in the May 3 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

    There are two websites for the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). They are http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard and http://nationsreportcard.gov. These websites have recently added new features that include videos for teachers and students, data tools, and reference guides. Here are some of the new features:

    Information for selected schools has been updated to include videos for teachers and students, and fact sheets for teachers:

    How many students and schools were in the sample for NAEP assessments, and how many students and schools did those small samples represent? See http://nationsreportcard.gov/faq.asp#q2
    How are students with disabilities and English-language learners included in NAEP? See http://nationsreportcard.gov/faq.asp#q3

    See a list of all NCES NAEP reports released in 2007 and 2008:
    To read what NAEP assessments are planned for 2009 and what was assessed in 2008:

    For a one-stop portal to NAEP tools, quick data tables from the most recently reported assessments, and for Quick Reference Guides for the Questions Tool, Item Maps, State Comparisons, and Data Explorer:

    NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics within the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education.

    Next Week...

  • The Senate Education Committee holds a public hearing on Chapter 4 (proposed graduation competency assessments) on Wednesday
  • The House Education Committee meets to consider House Bill 2466 on Wednesday.
  • EPLC hosts a Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum – Capital Breakfast Series on Wednesday.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Education Foundations holds its Pennsylvania State Conference in Harrisburg on Thursday.
  • The Independent Regulatory Review Commission meets to consider regulation No. 2621 Public School Employees' Retirement Board #43-10: Formalization and Clarification of Current Practices on Thursday.

    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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