EPLC Education Notebook
Friday, January 23, 2009
Content in this edition:
The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate will return to voting session on Monday, January 26.
The Governor’s Budget Message is scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday, February 3, but may be delayed until February 4. A decision is expected very soon.
SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE WORKSHOPS
EPLC will sponsor a series of regional full-day workshops for 2009 School Board Candidates. Workshops will be held in the Philadelphia region (Saturday, February 7), Pittsburgh region (Saturday, February 14), Harrisburg region (Saturday, February 21) and the Lehigh Valley (Saturday, March 7). Conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the Workshops are intended for those considering a 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. Click here for details and to register online.
EPLC and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association will also be participating in a Candidate Workshop for School Board positions sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Indiana County on Friday, January 30. Click on Additional Information and Registration Form for details.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
PENNSYLVANIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
The State Board of Education met this week and took action to amend Chapter 14 (Special Education Services and Programs) to reference federal regulatory updates. In December 2008, the U.S. Department of Education issued 34 CRF, Part 300 (Assistance to states for the Education of Children with Disabilities Program) final regulations, which amended sections of federal regulations regarding parental consent for continued special education and related services, non-attorney representation in due process hearings, state monitoring, technical assistance, enforcement and allocation of funds. The addition to Chapter 14 will take effect upon its publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The Board also approved proposed revisions to Chapter 33 (College and University Security). Opportunity for public comments on the proposed changes will be available as they move through the regulatory review process. Click here for a copy of the proposed changes.
The Board also identified priority areas it will focus on during 2009 – high school reform; student health, wellness and safety; and, teacher and administrator quality. To support this work, the Board approved allocating $10,000 from the State School fund for the School Safety Working Group in which it previously agreed to participate, and announced its intention to host invitational roundtable discussions on student health, wellness and safety and a series of public hearings on high school reform.
Finally, the Board’s Council of Higher Education adopted a White Paper on College Affordability which makes recommendations for state policymakers’ consideration. The recommendations are based on testimony from public hearings, a survey of current students and recent graduates convened by the Board and a recent PDE analysis of college costs. Among its recommendations, the Council suggests expanding need-based student aid, expanding community college opportunities across the state, and establishing a low-cost, no-frills institution that offers accelerated baccalaureate degrees. Click here for a copy of the draft White Paper reviewed by the Council during its deliberations. The final version of the paper approved by the Council will be posted on the State Board’s web shortly.
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
A new report from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) says the rising rate of college costs is outpacing families’ ability to pay at a time when postsecondary education is becoming more necessary for employment. According to the report, 75% of future jobs in Pennsylvania require education and training beyond high school, but less than half of today’s workforce has the skills and education to fill these jobs. PPC says the cost of college in Pennsylvania – the sixth most expensive in the nation – may be shutting out some students.
The report says it takes 29% of family income to send a student to a Pennsylvania community college (after financial aid and student loans) and 41% of family income to pay for four-year state institutions, with low-income families dedicating a significantly higher percentage of their income for college costs. Moreover, students graduated with an average debt of almost $24,000 in 2007, and pressures will be compounded for students in today’s credit market where private loans are being limited and interest rates are rising.
The report recommends that the state help Pennsylvania students and families pay for college by implementing last-dollar scholarships for low-income students to cover all remaining costs of attending a community college or state system university after all other forms of financial aid have been exhausted. PPC also recommends that the state consider indexing tuition to family income. To learn more, read “The High Cost of Higher Education” at www.papartnerships.org/collegeafford/.
PennAEYC Announces the Appointment of First Executive Director
Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children opened an office in Harrisburg earlier this year and has been preparing for its first full time Executive Director as part of a strategic plan to play a greater role in the Commonwealth's early education policy. With almost 5,500 members, PennAEYC is now the second largest affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in the country.
Ms. Askins will begin her work on February 2. She can be reached at the Harrisburg office, 301 Market Street, 8th Floor, Harrisburg; 717-213-0581 or by email, email@example.com.
For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.