EPLC Education Notebook

Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Transition to Corbett Administration
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State Senate
    - State House
    Research and Reports
    EPLC News

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


    Governor-Elect Tom Corbett continues to make key appointments for his new Administration that takes over on January 18,  While he has not yet named a new Secretary of Education,  he has announced his selection of Charles Zogby to be Budget Secretary.  Mr. Zogby served as Policy Director and then Secretary of Education during the Ridge-Schweiker Administrations. 



    On December 13, Senator Jeffrey Piccola (R-15), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee issued a press release on a potential new tool aimed at education reform in Pennsylvania.  Earlier this month, parents in California became the first in the nation to use a so-called “parent trigger” to force change at a school ranked in the bottom ten percent of elementary schools.  Pennsylvania could be the next state to implement the “trigger”.  Senator Piccola plans to introduce legislation that he says will give parents the power to petition for a school closure or change in management when a school is ranked as one of the state’s lowest performing.  The legislation would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to publish a web-based State Report Card, identifying those schools scoring in the bottom five percent on state assessment exams. 

    Similar to the law in California, if the parents of at least 51 percent of the students in a struggling school sign a petition, they can pursue one of three options: 1) school closure and student transfer to another school; 2) school closure and reopening as a charter school; or 3) the execution of a new management agreement with a for-profit or nonprofit organization or another school district.  The petition would require action under a strict timeline, with the goal of improving academic achievement and/or student safety.  Districts that refuse to honor a valid petition would face severe financial penalties.

    The “parent trigger” reform completes a trifecta of acknowledged priorities from the Senate Education Committee chair – others are school choice and charter school reform – and will be the main topic of a public hearing when the Senate reconvenes in January. 


    Republican and Democratic Caucus leaders in the House of Representatives have announced committee chairs for the new legislative session.  The chairs of the Education Committee remain the same as last session — Representative Paul Clymer (R-145) will be Republican chair and Representative James Roebuck (D-188) will be the Democratic chair.


    The Schott Foundation for Public Education recently released a report entitled Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Educationwhichexamines the systemic inequalities in all 50 states for Black males to access quality education and substantive opportunities to learn.  According to the report, only 47% of Black males graduate from high school. Furthermore, the rate at which Black males are being pushed out of school and into the prison pipeline outpaces the rate at which they are graduating from high school.  Yes We Can suggests that a deliberate and intense focus is needed to disrupt and redirect the current educational trajectory for Black males.  To read the full report, click here.


    EPLC continues to plan for the formal launch of our new Arts and Education Initiative (AEI) after the start of the new year.  Through AEI, EPLC is working to strengthen partnerships between the arts and the education communities, and to increase public and policymaker awareness of key arts issues.  An EPLC-sponsored Study Group will work throughout 2011 to develop policy recommendations designed to strengthen the arts and arts education in Pennsylvania.  Other activities of AEI will include a series of regional community forums on arts education, a day-long symposium, and workshops and materials intended to help improve capacity in the arts community for effective public advocacy at the state and local levels.  To sign up to receive updates in the AEI Note each month via email, contact Jordan Crosby, Director of the Arts and Education Initiative: crosby@eplc.org.

    EPLC will again conduct a series of regional workshops for school board candidates and other voters interested in education issues early in 2011.  The all-day workshops will be held on Saturdays between late January and late March.  Look for details soon at www.eplc.org.

    EPLC is recruiting for a current law student or graduate student to serve as a part-time intern beginning January of 2011 in the downtown Harrisburg offices.  Work will support the arts policy mapping/review related to EPLC’s new Arts and Education Initiative (AEI).   Ideal candidates have a demonstrable background in the arts and in education, strong skills in legal research, critical thinking, and writing, as well as a commitment to the study of public policy.  The internship is unpaid, but free parking is available.   Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable.  To apply or to suggest a candidate, please email Jordan Crosby for further information at crosby@eplc.org.


    Last week Acting Secretary of Education Tom Gluck announced that he will resign from the position, effective December 31.  Beginning January 1, Gluck will take a position as senior advisor to the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU).  Amy Morton, currently PDE Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, will assume the role for the balance of Rendell’s term. 

    The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) has announced that Dr. Kathleen Kelley, Superintendent of the Williamsport Area School District, has been named the 2011 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year.  The goal of the awards program is to further inspire exemplary educational leadership and promote a sense of confidence and pride in the nation's public schools.  Dr. Kelley has served as a school administrator in Pennsylvania since 1978 and as superintendent in the Williamsport Area School District since 2006.  As the Pennsylvania honoree, Dr. Kelley is a candidate among other state winners for National Superintendent of the Year, to be announced at the AASA convention on February 17, 2011 in Denver. 

    Registration is now open for the 21st Annual PACTA (PA Association of Career and Technical Administrators) Symposium to be held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center on March 3-4, 2011.  The event is titled:  Preparing Pennsylvania’s 21st Century Workforce: An Education and Workforce Development Symposium.  For registration go to www.pacareertech.org you may register on-line or down load a registration form.  Symposium registration is $170 per person.  One day registration is $95.  The registration deadline is February 18, 2011.  Questions should be directed to Jackie Cullen at (717) 761-338 or Jackie@pacareertach.org.

    The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) Women's Caucus is now accepting nominations for the Wanda McDaniel Award, awarded each spring to an aspiring school administrator who shows evidence of great leadership potential.  Please complete and submit the nomination form by February 18, 2011 to jolenez@pasa-net.org.

    For more information on upcoming events, please visit www.eplc.org and click on "Events Calendar".

    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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