EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, October 25, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Election Day
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - Governor Rendell
    - Auditor General
    - House of Representatives
    - State Senate
    Research and Reports
    Announcements
    Datebook

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

    ELECTION DAY AND EDUCATION PLANS OF CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 2.  Pennsylvania voters will choose a new governor and new United States Senator.  All state House seats, one-half of the Pennsylvania Senate, and all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be on the ballot.
  • Both candidates for Governor have released plans for education.  Here are links to their education plans.
    To read Dan Onorato’s plan on Pre-K – 12 education click here
    To read Dan Onorato’s plan on Higher Education click here.
    To read Tom Corbett’s plan on Education click here.

    PENNSYLVANIA POLICYMAKERS

    Governor Rendell

    Governor Rendell Vetoes Omnibus School Code Legislation

    Governor Rendell has vetoed HB 101, the Omnibus School Code legislation, based on his objection to provisions which would provide for tax exempt status for property owned or leased by charter schools.  House Bill 101 was originally introduced by Rep. Mark Longietti (D-7) and was eventually amended by placing provisions from several education-related bills altogether in this single piece of legislation.  The amended version of the legislation passed the Senate on September 29, 47-0 and passed the House October 5, 180-19.  In addition to the language concerning tax-exempt status for the charter school properties, the bill contains language that establishes the Science Technology Partnership Program, adds requirements to PDE’s Office of Safe Schools, creates the Economic Education and Personal Financial Literacy Program, creates the Higher Education College Textbook Affordability, Accountability Accessibility Act, and requires PDE to report graduation and dropout rates as well as develop a model dating violence policy.

    Auditor General

    Pennsylvania’s Auditor General recently released a special report on Charter School Funding which identifies several problems with the funding formula used to provide charter schools with financial support and the process for reimbursing school districts whose students attend charter schools.  The report concludes that “Pennsylvania’s current methods for funding charters schools are inequitable, inefficient and bear no relationship to the actual cost of educating the students attending these schools.” The report makes specific recommendations for revising certain provisions of the Public School Code, calls for a moratorium on authorizing new charter and cyber charter schools until policymakers correct the current system and recommends PDE conduct a study of charter school funding in other states to identify other potential funding methods and revenue streams.  For more information, click here.

    House of Representatives

  • On October 6, the House adopted House Resolution 980 introduced by Rep. Thomas P. Murt (R-152), 194-0.  HR 980 promotes youth suicide prevention education for all administrative, teaching and counseling personnel in all public and private high schools in Pennsylvania.
  • House Resolution 923 introduced by Rep. Harry A. Readshaw (D-36) was adopted by the House on October 6, 194-0.  HR 923 designates the week of November 14 through 20, 2010, as "American Education Week" in Pennsylvania

    Senate

  • On September 24, the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on College and Career Readiness, Completion and Retention at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.  Testifiers included college and high school students, and representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the College Board, the Pennsylvania Business Council, and the State Building and Construction Trades Council.  To read the full testimony, click here.

  • On October 12, the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on Student Data Privacy (Higher Education) and Senate Bill 1449 introduced by Sen. Jeffrey A. Piccola (R-15) as a proposal to prohibit the PDE from obtaining from an institution of higher education identifying information concerning a student for any purpose.  Representatives from the state-related universities, state system of higher education, community colleges and private universities expressed concerns over security of the data, scope of the data collection and use of the data collected as part of the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS), a database designed to track students from the time they enroll, through elementary and secondary school, and college into the workforce.  To read the full testimony, click here.

  • The Senate Education Committee held a day-long hearing on October 13 to discuss school choice benefits and Senate Bill 1405 introduced by Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-8) that would provide Opportunity Scholarships to low-income children living in a school district with at least one chronically failing school  members of the Committee said it was likely that school choice legislation will be a major subject before the Committee inn2011.  .  Click here to read the full testimony.


    RESEARCH AND REPORTS

    Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children has released its 2010 School Readiness report which details how well the state is doing in preparing children for school.  The report shows that Pennsylvania lost ground on 6 of 16 measures compared to last year.  The number of children living in low-income families in Pennsylvania grew this past year to nearly 40% of children birth to five.  The report also identifies other areas of concern such as the number of children lacking health insurance, access to child care subsidy and the availability of public pre-kindergarten.  Progress on third grade PSSA scores stalled as the percentage of third graders in school districts and charter schools scoring below proficient on the PSSA exam in reading increased over last year.  The good news is that Pennsylvania has made improvements in the availability of high-quality child care as well as full-day kindergarten programs.  To read the full report, click here.


    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Information on the state’s Early Learning Network (ELN), which provides a comprehensive record of children’s experiences within the early childhood system in the state was presented at the October 7 meeting of the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention (SICC) in Harrisburg.  For more information, email the Office of Child Development and Early Learning at pasicc@pattan.net.


    DATEBOOK

    This week…
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PAESSP) is holding its State Conference in Pittsburgh October 24 – 26.

  • The Keystone State Reading Association is hosting its 2010 Conference October 24 – 27 in Hershey.

  • The Pennsylvania Art Education Association is holding its annual conference: Art Bridges Community in Pittsburgh from October 28 – 31.
    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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