EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, October 17, 2008

    Content in this edition:
    EPLC News
    Election 2008
    Research and Reports

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



  • EPLC’s annual Education Policy Leadership Awards Reception takes place next week on Wednesday, October 22.  This year, EPLC will honor Carolyn Dumaresq with the Edward Donley Education Policy Leadership Award.  The Center also will recognize with the EPLC Partner Award the Education Law Center and Good Schools Pennsylvania.  In addition, the Center will present the EPLC Leadership Program Alumni Award to Laura Cowburn and Dr. A. Lee Williams.  For reception tickets and program ad information, visit www.eplc.org/awards/reception.html.

  • Residents of the Philadelphia region are invited to submit applications for EPLC’s new Parent and Community Leadership Institute.  The Institute is for individuals who want to know more about education policy issues and want to join a network of community leaders who are able to influence important statewide and local education policies.  The free, 12-hour program will be held over four Wednesdays (November 12 & 19 and December 3 & 10) from 6:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.  Subjects include (Session 1) Governance of Education; (Session 2) Standards, Assessments and Accountability; (Session 3) Financing Public Education; and (Session 4) Parent, School and Community Partnerships; Public Advocacy.  For program details and to apply online, see www.eplc.org/PCLI.html.

  • EPLC’s annual Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium will take place Thursday, November 20 in Harrisburg.  For event and registration information, see www.eplc.org/financesymposium.html.


    ELECTION 2008

  • The Public Education Network has developed a side-by-side comparison of the presidential candidates’ positions on Education matters.  Where do Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain stand on topics such as No Child Left Behind, teacher recruitment, early childhood education, school choice/vouchers, special education, and college affordability?  Click here to find out.

    View each candidate’s plans for education – Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

  • On Tuesday, October 21 from 7-9 p.m., Teachers College, Columbia University will host “Education and the Next President,” a debate with Linda Darling-Hammond, education advisor to Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, and Lisa Graham Keegan, education advisor to Republican nominee John McCain.  The event will be webcast by Education Week with support from National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).  Click here to register for this event.



    Reading First

    The U.S. Department of Education recently released an evaluation of the implementation of the Reading First Program (RF).  The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 established RF to help ensure that all children can read at or above grade level by the end of third-grade, and required such an evaluation be conducted.  The major findings of the report are:

    • Reading programs implemented in RF schools differ from those in non-RF Title I schools in several ways: RF schools devote more time to reading instruction in K–3 classrooms, and are more likely to: a) have reading coaches who assist teachers in implementing their reading programs; b) use reading materials aligned with scientifically based reading research; c) use assessments to guide instruction; d) place struggling readers into intervention services; and e) have their teachers participate in reading-related professional development.

    • Non-RF Title I schools increasingly report activities aligned with the principles of Reading First, including a) providing assistance to struggling readers, b) teacher knowledge and use of materials and strategies aligned with scientifically based reading research, and c) staff participation in professional development in the five dimensions of reading instruction (phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension).

    • Based on analyses of states’ reading assessment scores, there is limited but statistically significant evidence that successive cohorts of third- and fourth-grade students in RF schools improved their reading performance over time more quickly than did their counterparts in non-RF Title I schools. There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between only one of four measures of RF and non-RF Title I schools’ implementation of RF-aligned activities, as measured through surveys, and their levels of third-grade reading achievement.


    The Education Commission of the States has published a summary and comparison of state policies on Adolescent Literacy.  The term “Adolescent Literacy” refers to the set of skills and abilities that students need in grades 4 through 12 to read, write, and think about the text materials they encounter.  To see what states are doing to improve Adolescent Literacy rates, click here.

    Community Colleges

    A review of the latest research on student success in community colleges was recently released by the Education Commission of the States.  ECS’s latest edition of the Progress of Education Reform provides insight on the strategies that show the most promise in promoting greater education achievement for students attending community colleges.  Specifically, the report addresses policy implications for community colleges in dealing with students who are academically under-prepared, first generation students or who come from minority or low income households.

    Big Ideas for Children

    First Focus has released “Big Ideas for Children: Investing in Our Nation’s Future, a collection of essays by numerous experts in economics and children’s public policy issues.  The book highlights policy options aimed at improving the well-being and quality of life for children and their families.  The topics discussed are poverty, child health, early childhood, education, home and community, child welfare, and child safety.  First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization working to make children and their families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.



    Next week…

  • The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals holds its annual conference in Pittsburgh on October 19-21.

  • PDE hosts the 2008 Charter School Conference on October 20 in Harrisburg.

  • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education holds a public hearing on Chapter 33 (College and University Security) and Chapter 34 (Branch Campuses for State Supported Institutions) on October 20 in Downingtown.

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for a Competitive Workforce holds an Education and Workforce Summit in Philadelphia on October 20-22.

  • The School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania holds its annual conference on October 20-23 in Seven Springs, PA.

  • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education begins its series of public hearings on college affordability in Pennsylvania, meeting in Nanticoke on Thursday and in Philadelphia on Friday.

  • 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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