EPLC Education Notebook
Friday, September 25, 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.
Almost three months after a budget was due and a week after the “budget agreement” was declared by the Governor and leaders of three legislative caucuses, negotiating and lobbying continue. One legislative leader said today that it was unlikely a budget would be voted until after October 2. Budget details have not been made available, in some cases because there has been no final decision made. Meanwhile, this week school districts missed their third monthly subsidy payment due from the state. And many not-for-profits that provide vital services across the Commonwealth have received no state funds and have had to curtail programs and services, often to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Secretaries of Agriculture and Education announced a new Farm to School Program which brings locally grown foods into school cafeterias and provides instruction about the importance of the state’s leading industry – agriculture. The Farm to School program is an expansion of the Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Farms and Healthy Schools Program, which was established to educate kindergartners and their families about the importance of choosing healthy, locally produced foods while increasing awareness of Pennsylvania agriculture.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced 314 schools as 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon Program recognizes public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement. In order to be eligible, schools must either have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance in accordance with state assessment systems or score in the top 10 percent on state assessments. Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation.
The following Pennsylvania schools have been awarded 2009 Blue Ribbons by the USDE:
AD Prima Charter School (Bala Cynwyd, PA)
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have released the first official public draft of the college and career-readiness standards in English language arts and mathematics as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The initiative is a state-led effort to develop and adopt a core set of academic standards that define the knowledge and skills that all students should have to succeed in college and in workforce training programs. Click here for more information.
They standards were developed based on the following guiding considerations:
Fewer, clearer, higher: It is critical that any standards document be translatable to and teachable in the classroom. As such, the standards must cover only those areas that are critical for student success.
Evidence: Each document includes sources of evidence for the standards. Evidence informed what was included in the standards.
Internationally benchmarked: These standards are informed by the content, rigor and organization of standards of high-performing countries and states.
Special populations: In the development of these standards, the inclusion of all types of learners was a priority.
Assessment: The standards will ultimately be the basis for a system of high-quality assessments.
Standards and curriculum: Standards are not curriculum. The curriculum that follows will continue to be a local responsibility (or state-led, where appropriate).
21st century skills: The draft English-language arts and mathematics standards have incorporated 21st century skills.
The NGA Center and the CCSSO will accept feedback on the draft standards until October 21st at www.corestandards.org. Once the feedback period is over, the standards will be reviewed to ensure they are research- and evidence- based by an expert Validation Committee composed of national and international experts on academic standards. Members of the Committee are in the process of being selected and will be formally announced in a few weeks.
A draft of the K-12 standards that will enable students to meet the validated college and career-readiness standards is expected to be released in December 2009.
For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.