EPLC Education Notebook

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - Governor Rendell
    - Legislature
    State Board of Education
    EPLC News
    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.



    Governor Rendell signed two bills on November 23 that are relevant to the education community.  They are:

    • Senate Bill 441, which expands the list of individuals qualified to certify mental and physical fitness of teachers to include licensed or certified physicians’ assistants and certified registered nurse practitioners.  It also includes provisions for tuition for students in third class school district under fiscal distress. The receiving school districts will be paid a calculated tuition rate and additional stipend for two years.  The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will provide an annual report on the status of the distressed school district by February 1 of each year to the House and Senate Appropriations and Education Committees.

    • House Bill 2497, which will reduce short-term pension contributions for state government and school entities, curtail long-term costs to the two systems and reduce pension benefits for future members of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS).  This legislation will reduce a pending spike in annual required employer contributions that was expected to dramatically increase the cost to state and school district taxpayers.  HB 2497 accomplishes that partly by spreading over more years the employer contributions needed to cover costs for current employees, reducing benefits for new hires, and making structural changes. The new law includes provisions that largely reverse more generous pension benefits that resulted from changes to the law in 2001.  As a result, future state and school employees, including new legislators whose initial terms begin on December 1 of this year, will have less generous benefits than current employees and lawmakers.


    • Recently, both the House and Senate adopted motions to override the Governor’s Veto of House Bill 101, the omnibus school code bill.  As a result of the veto override,  HB 101 became Act 104 of 2010 on November 22. 

    Although both the State Senate and State House completed their work last week, the 2009-2010 Legislative Session ends officially on November 30.


    At the November meeting of the State Board of Education, the Board welcomed four new members: Dr. Ivory Nelson, President of Lincoln University, Philadelphia; Mr. Jonathan Peri, Vice President and General Counsel, Neumann University; Wendy Beetlestone, Esq., Hangley, Aronchick, Segal & Pudlin, Philadelphia; and, Kirk Hallett, Founder and Director, The Joshua Group, Harrisburg.

    The Board also adopted resolutions acknowledging the contributions of the four members whose respective terms on the Board have ended.  The members leaving the Board are Dr. Arnold Hillman of Camp Hill; Shelia Dow-Ford of Harrisburg; Esther Bush of Pittsburgh; and Corrinne Caldwell of Philadelphia.   The Board also adopted a resolution acknowledging the work of Barbara Baker, Administrative Officer to the State Board of Education, who will be retiring this December. 


    • EPLC is recruiting for a current college student to serve as a part-time intern beginning January of 2011 in the downtown Harrisburg offices.  Work will support education policy and programs as well as the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign.  Ideal candidates have an interest/course work in political science, social studies or education and also have strong research, communications, and critical thinking skills.  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 Anita Weikel for further information at weikel@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.


    • A recent study conducted by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University examined the benefits received by children who participated in New Mexico’s Pre-K program.  Researchers analyzed classroom quality, the economic impact and parent perceptions toward the Pre-K program.  The Rutgers study showed consistent benefits for children who participated in New Mexico’s program, compared to those who did not.  Specifically, the research showed positive impacts in the areas of language, literacy and math while also yielding a 5:1 return on the state’s investment.  To read the complete report, click here.


    This week…

  • EPLC is hosting a Capital Region Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum in Harrisburg on December 1.

  • The Education Law Center is presenting a discussion that addresses the drop-out rate among African – American boys in Philadelphia on December 3.

  • The National Assoc. of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) in conjunction with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is having its annual convention November 30 – December 4 in Nashville, TN.

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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