EPLC Education Notebook

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Election Day
    State Budget Update
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - House of Representatives
    - State Senate
    EPLC News

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


    • 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.


    Senate Bill 1155:  Late in the evening on September 29, the Pennsylvania House voted 104-94 to enact a severance tax on natural gas drilled in the Marcellus Shale.  SB 1155, as amended by the House, would set a fixed tax rate of 39 cents per thousand cubic feet of gas produced.   Wells producing less than 60,000 cubic feet per day would be exempted from the tax.  The plan does not include any front-end tax breaks.  SB 1155 sets a tax rate that is comparable to severance taxes in many Western energy-producing states – Pennsylvania would be the last of the large, energy-producing states to impose a tax on natural gas.  Some of the new funds to be generated by this tax are necessary to balance the 2010-2011 state budget adopted this past summer.  SB 1155 is awaiting action in the Senate, which reconvenes on October 12.


    House of Representatives

    • On September 29, the House Education Committee held a public hearing on Advanced Placement (AP).  The committee heard testimony from Marcus Lingenfelter, Director of Government Relations, and Catherine Nti, Executive Director of K-12 Services from The College Board.  They shared their view that the AP Program is important because it directly affects college readiness, college costs, and college completion.  They also highlighted that the issues surrounding educational disparities among ethnic/racial/socio-economic groups compound these problems.  According to the testimony, only 18.8% of the Class of 2009 in Pennsylvania (PA) took an AP Exam as compared to 26.5% of their peers nationally, 40% in Maryland, 36.8% in New York, 27% in Delaware, and 25.1% in New Jersey.  In PA, 60 school districts offer no AP courses and another 60 school districts have 10 or fewer students enrolled in AP courses.  PA ranks last in the nation for the percentage of African American students who are achieving success in the AP Program.   African American students in PA were only 1.8% of the AP examinee population scoring 3 or better – the worst rate in the nation.  Similar results were reported for Hispanic and Native American students as well.  Click here to read the full testimony.


    • On September 28, the Senate Education Committee held a briefing to discuss the recently approved teacher contracts in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the School District of Philadelphia.  Superintendents from the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia school districts, Mark Roosevelt and Dr. Arlene Ackerman, along with presidents of the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, John Tarka and Jerry Jordan, testified before lawmakers on the historic collective bargaining agreement reached in both districts.  The panelists highlighted the collaborative efforts between the districts and union leadership to craft agreements that focus on improving student outcomes, implementing important educational reforms and retaining the best and most effective teachers.  To read the full testimony, click here.     


    • EPLC will host its 2010 Education Policy Leadership Awards Reception on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.  EPLC will present the 2010 Edward Donley Education Policy Leadership Award to Governor Ed Rendell and also present the EPLC Partner Awards and the EPLC Leadership Program Alumni Awards.  Click here for information on purchasing tickets and advertising opportunities. 


    • EPLC’s 2010 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium will be held on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.  More details soon.
    • Please contact Jordan Crosby at Crosby@eplc.org if you would like to receive the AEI Note, EPLC’s new Arts in Education Initiative newsletter.


    • The Arts Education Collaborative is holding its Regional Arts Education Day 2010 in Pittsburgh on October 11.  Please click here for more information or to register.

     The Pennsylvania Senate is not in session this week and will return to session on Tuesday, October 12. 

    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is scheduled to return to session on November 8 following the completion of session this current week of October 4.

    This week…

    • EPLC hosts a Pennsylvania Education Policy Forum in Harrisburg on Wednesday

          Education Week editor Virginia Edwards is the speaker.

    • The Senate Education Committee is hosting a public hearing on School Success and Education for Non-Traditional Students in York on October 8.

    Next week…

    • Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and Pennsylvania School Boards Association are having their Annual School Leadership Conference October 12-15 in Hershey.

    • Educause is holding its Educause Annual Conference October 12 – 15 in Anaheim, CA.

    • American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) is hosting its 72nd Annual Conference October 12 – 15 in Myrtle Beach, SC.

    • The Senate Education Committee is holding a public hearing on SB 1449 and the Collection of Data in Higher Education and Student Privacy on October 12 in Harrisburg.

    • The Senate Education Committee is holding a public hearing on the Future of School Choice and Opportunity Scholarships in Pennsylvania on October 13 in Harrisburg.

      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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