EPLC Education Notebook

Wednesday, September 2, 2010

    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State House
    Pennsylvania Bulletin

    Federal Policymakers
    - U.S. House of Representatives
    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.


    House of Representatives

    • The following legislation was recently introduced:

    House Bill 2669 introduced by Representative Chelsa Wagner amending the Public School Code of 1949: Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, school districts would have to inform parents and guardians of each student in writing ten days before the start of the school year regarding the date of radon testing conducted in the past school year; the highest radon level recorded and in what building; notice if no testing has been conducted in any school building; and that the US Environmental Protection Agency considers radon levels above four picocuries per liter to be potentially dangerous.  This bill has been referred to the House Education Committee.

    House Bill 2670 introduced by Representative James Roebuck amending the Public School Code of 1949: The Secretary of Education would be given authority to grant a provisional vocational education certificate to every person who presents to the Department of Education satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and who has completed work in vocational education as may be required by the standards of the State Board of Education, which certificate will allow the recipient to teach for eight annual school terms.  This bill has been referred to the House Education Committee.

    HB 2680 introduced by Representative Anthony DeLuca amending the Public School Code of 1949: Adds that current employees of a public or private school, intermediate unit or vocational-technical school, who has direct contact with children attending any of these entities shall undergo background checks once every seven years as a condition of continued employment.  This bill has been referred to the House Education Committee.

    • The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday, September 1, at Immaculata University to review legislation that would increase safety on college campuses by expanding the powers of campus police.  Under the bills, sponsored by Rep. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne, state colleges and universities, community colleges and private colleges and universities would have the opportunity to expand the duties of campus police.  House Bill 2592 would give campus police the same law enforcement and arrest powers granted to municipal police and House Bill 2593 would allow private colleges or universities to hire campus police officers. Both bills would: require each officer to be certified by the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission; limit jurisdiction to the grounds and buildings of the schools; and allow campus and municipal police to enter into reciprocal agreements to provide law enforcement during emergencies. 


    Notice has been published in the PA Bulletin that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will consider the application of the University of South Florida (USF) to operate its College of Medicine in Allentown, PA to form a branch campus in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).  The campus would offer third and fourth year medical education as part of the Scholarly Excellence, Leadership, Experiences and Collaborative Training (SELECT) program.  The department will act upon this application without hearing, unless within 30 days after this notice, a written request for a public hearing is filed with the department.  For more information, contact Carol M.D. Gisselquist, Higher Education Specialist, PDE 717-787-4448


    U.S. House of Representatives

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res. 275 designating the second week of September 2010 as "Arts in Education Week”.  The resolution was introduced by California Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) and resolves that the Congress:
       Supports the designation of Arts in Education Week;
       Calls on governors, mayors, and other elected officials from across the United States to  
                     issue proclamations to raise awareness of the value and importance of arts in
    •   Encourages the President to issue a proclamation encouraging the people of the United
        States to observe such week with appropriate activities.


    Arts and Education Initiative

    The Arts and Education Initiative (AEI), a new project of the Education Policy and Leadership Center, represents a commitment to strengthen public and policymaker support for the arts in Pennsylvania.  Increasing access to the arts for all Pennsylvanians effectively supports the Commonwealth’s educational objectives and nurtures an educated and successful citizenry. Working with regional, statewide, and national partners, AEI will strengthen partnerships between the arts and education communities, build public and policymaker awareness of key issues, develop recommendations for public policy, develop strategies to implement existing policy, and build capacity for effective advocacy at the state and local levels.  EPLC is currently working to convene interested stakeholders in the Initiative and to explore with them its scope, timeframe, and funding opportunities.

    Education Policy Fellowship Program

    There remain only a few days to apply for the 2010-2011 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The nationally prestigious 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.

    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.  More details soon.

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


    • Recently, researchers from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Social and Economic Sciences presented results that show children who learn more in kindergarten earn more as adults and are more successful overall.  The NSF study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, shows  students who progress during their kindergarten year from attaining an average score on the Stanford Achievement Test to attaining a score in the 60th percentile can expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than students whose scores remain average.  Taking into account all variations across kindergarten classes, including class size, students who learn more as measured by above average score on the Stanford Achievement Test and are in smaller classes, earn about $2,000 more per year at age 27.  In addition to these findings, the research indicates that students who learn more in kindergarten are more likely to go to college than students with similar backgrounds, less likely to become single parents, more likely to own their own home by age 28, and save for retirement earlier in their work lives.  For more information visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811085412.htm


    • Pennsylvania’s retirement fund for teachers and other school workers received a 14.6 percent return on its investments for the year that ended June 30.  The Public School Employees Retirement System’s investments added more than $6 billion over the year and far exceeded the 8 percent assumed rate of return.  The fund is averaging about 3 percent for the past five years, and 3.5 percent over the past decade and serves nearly 280,000 employees and 179,000 retirees.  It has about $46 billion in net assets and calls itself the country’s 17th largest state-sponsored defined benefit public pension fund.

    • Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and House Majority leader Todd Eachus announced the launch of a new website that will help Pennsylvanians stay connected with their elected officials from the convenience of their cell phones.  The website, www.palegis.us is compatible with mobile devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Droid.  You will be able to find bills by number or keyword, or contact members of the General Assembly from your smart phone.


    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will reconvene at 1:00 PM on September 13, 2010.

    The Pennsylvania Senate will reconvene at 1:00 PM on September 20, 2010.

    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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