EPLC Education Notebook

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State House
    - State Senate

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



    State House

    On January 6, Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak presented an overview of Pennsylvania’s plan to compete for federal Race to the Top (RTTT) dollars to members of the House Education Committee.  Under the RTTT program, Pennsylvania could potentially receive $200–$400 million of the $4.35 billion in competitive grants available to advance major education reforms in the areas of:  improving teacher and principal effectiveness; adopting internationally bench-marked standards and high-quality assessments; turning around the lowest-achieving schools; and, improving the collection and use of data to improve instruction.

    Click here for Secretary Zahorchak’s presentation to the Committee which describes why Pennsylvania is well-positioned to receive RTTT funds, the six objectives of PA’s RTTT plan, mandatory reforms schools would be required to implement as a condition of receiving RTTT funds, and details on how charter schools may participate in RTTT. 

    In mid-December, school districts were asked to submit preliminary letters of intent to participate in RTTT to PDE based on a draft state proposal.  Nearly-two thirds of the state’s 500 school districts did so.  School districts have until January 13 to submit a final Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to PDE affirming their participation.  District participation agreements must be “OK’d” by the district’s superintendent, school board president and local teachers’ union president.  The state’s RTTT application to the U.S. Department of Education must be submitted by January 19.

    Click here for the most recent Race to the Top update prepared by PDE for school district superintendents.  Click here for the most recent RTTT update prepared by PDE for charter school leaders.

    State Senate

    Senator Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has announced plans to introduce legislation that would create a new Education Empowerment law intended to strengthen the options, incentives and penalties for schools and school districts that fail to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act.  The state’s current Empowerment law is set to expire on June 30, 2010.  The Senate Education Committee has scheduled public hearings on the proposed legislation for January 21 and 22 in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, respectively.  For more information on the hearings, contact Senator Piccola’s office at 717-787-6801.  Click here for a summary of the proposed legislation.



    The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) recently announced its vision for what it takes to achieve strong public schools for all children in Pennsylvania.  To read the full document, The Power of a Great Education, PSEA’s 20/20 Vision for the Future, visit www.psea.org.



  • The House Appropriations Committee has announced its schedule for FY 2010-11 state budget hearings.  On Tuesday, February 23, the Committee will hear from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (9:00 a.m.), the State System of Higher Education (11:00 a.m.) and state-related universities (1:00 p.m.).  For the full House budget hearings schedule, see http://www.hacd.net/budget/201011/documents/000011110.pdf.

  • EPLC will again sponsor the Education Policy Workshops for Legislative Candidates during March.  Details about the day-long regional workshops will be announced soon.

  • This Week and Next Week…

  •  “Back from the Brink: The Recovery Act One Year Later” is a conference sponsored by Keystone Research Center, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Pennsylvania Works!, EPLC and other partners on Friday, January 15 in Harrisburg to assess the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s impact on the state’s economy

  • The Pennsylvania State Board of Education meeting scheduled for January 20-21 has been re-scheduled for January 27-28.

  • The Senate Education Committee holds public hearings on education empowerment on Thursday, January 21 in Harrisburg and on Friday, January 22 in Pittsburgh.

  • For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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