EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, July 30, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    State Budget Update
    EPLC News
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - Governor
    - State Senate
    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.


    The Congress has not yet acted to approve an extension of FMAP funding, and this has potentially dire consequences for the recently enacted Pennsylvania state budget.

    FMAP provides matching federal funds to help Pennsylvania pay for Medicaid and child welfare services. The enhanced federal matching rate, or enhanced FMAP, was part of the federal stimulus act and has helped Pennsylvania maintain services to vulnerable children and families without large cuts to programs during the recession. The enhanced FMAP rate expires on December 31, 2010. Without an extension, Pennsylvania will need to fill the $850 million gap with state funds, since Medicaid is a mandated program.

    Governor Rendell has scheduled a meeting with legislative leaders for Monday, August 2, to discuss the contingency plans to balance the state budget if FMAP funding does not come through. During the meeting they will begin to discuss possible program cuts and timing of cuts. No deadlines for possible cuts have been set.


    Education Policy Fellowship Program

    Applications are still being accepted for the 2010-2011 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).

    The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 16-17, 2010 and continues through June 2011.

    Click on http://www.eplc.org/fellows.html for complete details.

    Since space is limited to approximately 30 positions, and there are fewer than 10 positions still available, it is advisable to submit an application as soon as possible.  The application may be downloaded online, but must be submitted by mail with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.

    If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or cowell@eplc.org.

    Save these Dates!

    • EPLC will host its 2010 Education Policy Leadership Awards Reception on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.

    • EPLC’s 2010 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium will take place Thursday, November 18, 2010 at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.



    On July 12, legislation that allows colleges to offer lower, in-state tuition rates for on-line courses to military personnel was signed into law.  Act 57 of 2010 permits a community college, state-related or state-owned institution of higher learning to charge resident tuition rates to active duty military personnel and dependents receiving courses or other services through the Internet or other electronic means.  Previous state law did not allow these institutions to offer the in-state tuition rate to servicemen and women unless they are state residents.

    State Senate

    Pennsylvania Senate plans for 9 session days in the fall. The state Senate has released its tentative scheduled for session days in the fall. The chamber will be in session on Sept. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29. The Senate also plans on one session week in October, starting with Tuesday, Oct. 12, and continuing through to Thursday, Oct. 14. There will be no Session Monday, Oct. 11, in observance of Columbus Day.


    School Districts’ Perspectives on the Economic Stimulus Package: Teaching Jobs Saved in 2009-10 But Teacher Layoffs Loom for Next School Year.  In the spring of 2010, the Washington DC-based Center on Education Policy (CEP) surveyed a nationally representative sample of school districts to learn about their fiscal situation and how the funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have impacted them over the last year. CEP found that the federal funds helped districts save or create teaching jobs and stabilize budgets, but that most districts expected to layoff teachers in the 2010-11 school year. The report also addresses districts’ efforts to carry out ARRA’s four reform areas; district uses of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds and supplemental Title I and IDEA funds; and problems faced by districts in implementing ARRA.  Click here for the full report.
    A new report released earlier this month by the Alliance for Excellent Education indicates that lowering the high school dropout rate among students of color will greatly increase the nation’s economic vitality.  According to the study’s findings, students of color made up a significant portion of the estimated 600,000 students who dropped out from the Class of 2008 in the nation’s forty-five largest metropolitan areas. The Alliance report examines the scenario of cutting the number of these dropouts in half and what that would mean in terms of economic gains for just one class of dropouts.  The report estimates the likely contributions that the 300,000 “new high school graduates” would add to the nation’s economy are:

  • Increased earnings of $2.3 billion in an average year;

  • Increased home sales of an additional $5.9 billion in mortgage capacity over what they would spend without a diploma;

  • An additional 17,450 jobs from the increased spending in their local areas;

  • An increase in the gross regional product by as much as $3.1 billion;

  • An additional $1.6 billion spent and an additional $636.6 million invested each year;

  • An additional $1.58.6 million spent on vehicle purchases; and

  • Increased tax revenues of $249.7 million.

    To read the full report and specific statistics for each of the US metropolitan areas studied (including Philadelphia, PA), please click here.
    A recent study rethinks the importance of Kindergarten teachers.  Early this year, Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist, and five other researchers examined the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s. The children are now about 30, well started on their adult lives.  The researchers found that students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more. All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Click here for the complete New York Times article.


    Race to the Top
    18 States, D.C., Named Race to Top Round 2 Finalists – Pennsylvania is a finalist.
    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 18 states and the District of Columbia will advance to the final round of Race to the Top, where 10 to 15 grants totaling $3.4 billion will be awarded in September. Together, these states asked for $6.2 billion, nearly twice the amount that's left in the Race to the Top pot. The scores for the finalists improved by an average of 26 points, according to the Education Department. Scores and the peer reviewers' comments will be released once the winners are announced. See the list of Round II states, their pay-for-performance proposals, and the U.S. Department of Education's press release.

    Eleanor Taylor, a former Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1976 to 2006, has died at the age of 89. She served as House Republican Caucus Chairman and Caucus Secretary and was a long-time member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Board (PHEAA). A career educator before entering the House, she served on the House Education Committee for much of her career.


  • The National Forum on Education Statistics is having its STATS-DC 2010 Data Conference on July 28-30, 2010.

  • The Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Administrators will have its Summer Conference on July 28-30, 2010 in State College, PA.
  • The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs and the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program in association with the Pennsylvania Department of Education will be hosting the 7th Annual PA Migrant Students General Assembly on August 5, 2010 at the State Capitol from 10:00AM – 3:00PM.
  • 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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