EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, June 18, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Parents’ Rally for Education Funding
    Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign
    EPLC News – Education Policy Fellowship Program
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State Senate
    - State House

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



    Parents and others will rally at the State Capitol on Monday morning, June 21, to support state funding for education.  Governor Ed Rendell and U.S. Senator Bob Casey will be speaking at the Rally along with parent representatives.  For more information about the rally, click here.



    With a June 30 deadline looming for most school districts to approve new budgets, more and more districts are approving cuts in their budgets for next school year.  Almost one-quarter of districts across the state and OVER HALF of the districts in southeastern PA have approved or proposed cuts to close serious gaps in local revenue.  

    In many districts, full-day kindergarten, special education services, foreign languages, alternative education as well as cutbacks in teaching positions, transportation, technology and extra-curricular activities are all on the chopping block and might not be able to be saved for next year.  Damaging cuts to our children’s education can be prevented.

    Pennsylvania’s students and school districts need the General Assembly to approve a $354.8 million increase for basic education funding in the 2010-11 budget to prevent further damage to students’ education programs, opportunities, services and achievement.

    Pennsylvania has been one of the worst states in the country for state support for basic education.  Only about 36% of K-12 costs are supported with state funds, ranking Pennsylvania among the bottom six states.  Also, Pennsylvania’s appropriations of state dollars per student rank us below everyone one of our contiguous states.

    Click here for a detailed map of cuts statewide and a pull-out map of cuts in southeastern PA.

    Click here to contact your local legislators and tell them you don’t want your school district to have to make any more cuts.



    Applications are available now for the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)which is sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).

    With nearly 300 graduates in its first eleven years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  Act 48 credits are available to individuals holding Pennsylvania teaching or administrative certificates, and State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.

    The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 16-17, 2010 and continues through June 2011.  Applications are being accepted now.  For schedule and more information or to download an application, please click on http://www.eplc.org/fellows.html.

    Since space is limited to approximately 30 positions, it is advisable to submit an application as soon as possible.  The application may be copied from the EPLC Web Site, but must be submitted by mail with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor. 



    State Senate

    The Senate this week passed legislation (Senate Bill 954) which allows approved private schools and chartered schools for the deaf and blind to request from PDE an emergency, long-term or day-to-day substitute teaching permit when a fully qualified and properly certificated applicant is not available.  Senate Bill 954 has been referred to the House Education Committee.

    State House

  • The House passed legislation this week (House Bill 2497) to address pending funding issues with the retirement funds for state and school employees.  HB 2497 would spread out the two pension systems’ liabilities over a 30-year period and would reduce benefits for new employees.  Click here for a summary of the retirement system changes that would be made by the bill.  HB 2497 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

  • The House Education Committee approved the following bills this week (each bill has been re-referred to the House Rules Committee):

    House Bill 1803: would expand the current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) instruction requirements for school entities to include training in using Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).  HB 1803 would require school entities to make available to district employees and volunteers instruction in the principles and techniques of CPR and the use of AEDs once every three years.  This training may be included as part of a school entities continuing education plan.

    HB 1803 also would require each occupied building on a school’s premise or campus to have at least one ADE.  A school entity would be required to assure that at least five persons are trained and certified in the use of AEDs at each AED location.  In addition, the bill would require that at least one person trained and certified in the use of AEDs must be in the immediate vicinity of the AED location during school hours.  Whenever a school entity uses its facility for its own school sponsored or school approved interscholastic athletics, the school must, in cooperation with the PIAA, make an AED available and at least one school employee who is trained and certified must be on site.  The presence of emergency services personnel would fulfill this requirement.  This legislation does not waive any liability or immunity of a school entity or its officers or employees nor does it create any liability for or cause of action against a school entity, its officers or employees.  School employees who render care with an AED would be covered by the Good Samaritan civil immunity provisions.

    Non-public or private schools that receive an AED from the Pennsylvania Department of Education or receive funding to purchase or lease an AED must comply with provisions of the bill.  This legislation would allow PDE to accept and distribute donations, including equipment, for use in providing instruction in CPR or AED training to school entities.  Provisions initially included in HB 1803 establishing a cardiovascular screening pilot program were removed as part of a comprehensive amendment, but may be introduced in separate legislation later.

    House Bill 2060: would require public and non-public school students participating in athletic activities, their parents and coaches to receive information about the nature and risk of concussion and head injuries.  Athletic activities include all interscholastic athletics, cheerleading, noncompetitive cheerleading, and club sponsored activities, practices and scrimmages.  Under this proposal, any student who exhibits signs or symptoms of a concussion or head injury while participating in an activity must be removed from play immediately.  Before a student athlete can resume participation in the activity, they must be evaluated and cleared, in writing, by a licensed physician trained in the management of concussions.  HB 2060 would require coaches to complete a concussion management certification training course.  The bill sets forth penalties for coaches that violate the requirements of this new article.  The state Departments of Health and Education would be tasked with developing guidelines and materials to inform and educate student athletes about the dangers of head injuries and risks associated with continuing to play after such an injury.

    House Bill 2454: changes the definition and scope of vocational agricultural education in state law to include skills and knowledge necessary to prepare an individual to enter or advance in careers in the food, agriculture and natural resources sciences, such as production agriculture, agribusiness management and marketing, agricultural research, energy systems, agricultural mechanics and engineering, food science, processing and retailing, banking, agricultural education, forestry, horticulture, landscaping, rural-urban interfacing and other related fields.



    Next week…

  • The Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign hosts a Parents’ Rally for Education at the State Capitol Rotunda on Monday.  Click here for details.

  • The House Health and Human Services Committee meets Monday to consider House Bill 891.

  • The House Education Committee meets Wednesday to consider House Bill 2061, House Bill 2519 and House Bill 2540.

  • 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.

To return to the EPLC Education Notebook homepage, click here.

To return to The Education Policy and Leadership Center homepage, click here.