EPLC Masthead
EPLC Education Notebook

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In this issue

The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC web site at http://www.eplc.org/publications-reports/weekly-policy-notebook/


On September 21, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a public hearing on "Education Reforms: Ensuring the Education System is Accountable to Parents and Communities." The hearing focused on the importance of public school accountability, examined successful state and local models for accountability and continued the discussion on what is the federal government's role in ensuring accountability. To view a webcast and to read the written testimony submitted, click here.

On September 21, the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on SB 1225
, Library Code reform legislation. Testimonies were given by the prime sponsor of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Dominic F. Pileggi (R-9); the Deputy Secretary for Commonwealth Libraries, PA Department of Education, Clare Zales; Executive Director of the PA Library Association, Glenn Miller; Dennis Leeper and Nan Cavenaugh, Vice President and Board Member, respectively, of the PA Citizens for Better Libraries; and library directors David Belanger (Delaware County Library System), Kate Geiger (Indiana Free Library), Bill Hudson (Lancaster Library System), Molly Rodgers (Wayne County Public Library), and Rob Lesher (Adams County Library Systems).


Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-19) hailed libraries as imperative to a healthy democracy and economy and stressed the need for citizens to be able to access the printed and electronic word. Updates were recommended based on a study of the Joint State Government Commission which was prompted by Senate Resolution 343 of 2010; report findings, and subsequent provisions of the legislation, call for modernization of the code to include language on service standards that reflect current and evolving technology, review of all library regulations and standards, more librarians on the Advisory Council on Library Development, flexibility in state enforcement of standards, and continuing education for librarians.  


Testimonials expressed the increasing use of libraries as educational and community centers. There was shared praise for the efforts of updating the current Library Code, written in 1961, and an emphasis on the need for adaptation to new technologies. Nearly all parties expressed concern over the need to clarify the funding responsibilities for libraries and both the PA Library Association and PA Citizens for Better Libraries cited recent budget cuts and inconsistency as major difficulties. Stronger networks, local incentives for library improvement, and continuing education for librarians were among some of the other recommendations made in testimonies. A complete list of testimonies and video recording of the hearing can be found at Senate Education Chair Jeffrey Piccola's website.


The State Board of Education will accept written public comment on the draft Chapter 10 (Safe Schools) regulations and the draft model Memorandum of Understanding, through September 30. The purpose of the Chapter 10 regulations is toestablish and maintain a cooperative relationship between school entities and local police departments in the reporting and resolution of incidents that occur on school property, at any school sponsored activity, or on any conveyance (such as a school bus) providing transportation to or from a school or school sponsored activity.  Public comments may be submitted to [email protected].

The State Board of Education approved the 2012 Meeting Schedule at its September 21 (Erie) meeting.  The next meeting of the State Board of Education is November 15-16 in Harrisburg.



On September 21, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that 104 K-12 entities(including nine career and technical centers, nine charter schools and nine intermediate units) have agreed to participate in the new teacher and principal evaluation pilot program.  The PDE began developing a new comprehensive educator assessment system two years ago with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Beginning in January 2012, participating pilot schools will use the new evaluation method and provide feedback to the PDE. However, the new evaluation tool will not be used to determine an educator's official 2011-2012 assessment.  Under this proposal, fifty percent of an educator's evaluation will be comprised of multiple measures of student achievement.  The remaining parts of the evaluation (considered traditional practices) would include such areas as classroom observations.  Once the pilot program has been completed, the PDE will review the feedback and make any necessary changes before being implemented in the 2012-2013 school year.

On September 23, the Obama administration released its plan to provide states with flexibility from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for state-driven efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, and ensure that all students graduate college and career ready. 


The ESEA flexibility proposal, which was developed with the input from chief state school officers from 45 states, was advanced under the waiver authority granted to the U.S. Department of Education under the ESEA, and has been exercised by the previous Administration.  The Obama administration's plan for greater flexibility for schools comes nearly a decade after the enactment of NCLB and four years after it was due to be re-authorized by Congress. 


To view FAQ on the ESEA flexibility plan, click here.





Join arts and education leaders from across the state and nation to participate in discussions about public policy issues related to the arts in Pennsylvania's schools and communities at the Arts and Education Symposium on Thursday, October 13 from 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.


The Symposium is sponsored by the Education Policy Leadership Center and co-sponsored by Citizens for Arts in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations, Pennsylvania Art Education Association, and Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.  

Symposium discussions will inform the work of EPLC's Arts and Education Initiative (AEI), which is generating a report including actionable policy recommendations for legislators and other audiences to be released in February of 2012.  

In addition to nine concurrent workshops, keynote speakers for this event will be:

         Dr. Jonathon Katz, Chief Executive Office of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

         Dr. Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Professor of Art Education, Pennsylvania State University. 


For additional information and to register online, please click here.

EPLC will host a Community Forum about the arts and education at the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, September 27.  Attendance is free and all are encouraged to attend, but RSVP to reserve a seat by emailing [email protected].

Registration and refreshments begin at 6:00 p.m. and program runs from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

Please save these dates for upcoming EPLC events:


Annual EPLC Awards Luncheon - Thursday, October 27 in Harrisburg.
Annual Education Finance Symposium - Thursday, November 17 in Harrisburg.


More details will be available soon for each of these events.



The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in partnership with the National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA) and Parenting has published a "Countdown to School Success", a month by month guide for parents to help their children succeed in school.  This booklet includes advice, tools and online resources to help parents support learning.

NBC News is hosting the 2nd annual Education Nation Summit 2011 in New York City beginning the week of September 25.  This year's summit will bring together educators, parents, policymakers, elected officials, business leaders, students and engaged citizens in a national discussion about the challenges facing the nation's public education system  and potential solutions.  Discussions on teaching and testing, the brain science behind early learning, and the value of higher education in today's economy will be included.


The House and Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, September 27 at 11:00 AM.


EPLC and the Arts in Education Initiative (AEI) will host a community forum on the arts and education in Allentown, PA on Tuesday, September 27 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  For more details, click here.


EPLC and AEI will hold a day long Arts and Education Symposium at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA on Thursday, October 13.  Registration, networking and refreshments will begin at 8:00 AM and the program runs from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Click here for more information and online registration. 


The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing on legislation affecting the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in Harrisburg, PA on Thursday, October 13 at 10:30 AM.


The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on the impact of FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act and other various topics at Lincoln University on Thursday, October 13 at 1:00 PM.


The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing to receive testimony from Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis on the results of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's investigation and analysis of 2009 PSSA testing anomalies on Wednesday, October 19 at10:30 AM. 

For information on upcoming events, please visit www.eplc.org and click on "Events Calendar".
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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 the Education Policy and Leadership Center is to encourage and support the development and implementation of effective state-level education policies to improve student learning in grades P-12, increase the effective operation of schools, and enhance educational opportunities for citizens of all ages.