EPLC Masthead
EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, February 13, 2012

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/



The Pennsylvania House of Representatives reconvenes in voting session on Monday, February 13 at 1:00 PM.   The Senate reconvenes onMonday, March 5 at 1:00 PM.  On February 13, the Senate Appropriations Committee will kick off their annual series of budget hearings beginning with Governor's Budget Office, Executive Offices and the Office of the Governor.  For more information, click here


As reported last week in the Special Edition of the Notebook, Governor Tom Corbett presented his proposed 2012-2013 budget on February 7 before a joint session of the House and Senate. Following the Governor's remarks, the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign (PSFC) -a coalition of more than 35 statewide and regional education and advocacy organizations -- expressed its disappointment in the Governor's Proposed Budget for PK-12 education. It is a budget that purports to reflect the Commonwealth's responsibility to provide an education to the children of Pennsylvania with a world-class education while giving school districts greater fiscal flexibility.   In reality, it is a budget that further cuts state funding to school districts, ignores the need to create high quality learning opportunities for all of Pennsylvania's children, and shifts more of the school funding burden to school districts and local taxpayers. Click hereto read the statement from the Campaign.


A summary of the proposed funding levels for Education Appropriations for FY 2012-2013, along with allocation guidelines for the new Student Achievement Education Block Grant, Special Education, and Secondary Career and Technical Education are now available on the PDE website. Copies of the PDE 2012-2013 budget presentation and highlights of the education budget are also posted.


To view an analysis of the impact of the Governor's proposed Student Achievement Education Block Grant on local school districts, as prepared by the staff of the Senate Republican Appropriations Committee's, click here. Please note that this analysis and the spreadsheet reporting funding to individual districts does not take into account the loss of each district's funding from the $100 million Accountability Block Grant that the Governor has proposed to eliminate.


To view the House Democratic Appropriations Committee's spreadsheet for the Governor's proposed 2012-2013 Student Achievement Education Block Grant, click here.

Responding to the Smith lawsuit, Senator Daylin Leach (D-17),Senate Judiciary Committee Minority Chairman, held a press conference on January 31, to announce that Senate Democrats will intervene as a party to the state lawsuits to argue that the 2001 lines have never been found to be unconstitutional. Leach asserts that the Smith lawsuit is an attempt to replace the district lines that have been found to be constitutional for the last 10 years with district lines that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled were unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission is in limbo with re-drawing those lines until the State Supreme Court issues its opinion saying exactly what is unconstitutional in the Reapportionment Plan and what needs to be fixed.


To view more about the Smith lawsuit, click here.


On February 3, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rendered its redistricting ruling but declined to lay out a specific plan for the 2012 elections.  In its decision, the court cited an excess of municipal division, and not the Legislative Reapportionment Commission's (LRC) decision to move districts from some parts of the state to others, as its major complaint with the plan.  To read the court's ruling, click here.


On February 8, Federal Judge R. Barclay Surrick denied the motions of Republican leadership as well as representatives of a Latino group asking that the existing Pennsylvania House and Senate legislative districts be thrown out.  Surrick ruled that "because there does not appear to be any alternative redistricting plan readily available, the harm to the public in delaying either the primary or general election, or even changing the rules as they now stand, substantially outweighs the likely benefit to the plaintiffs of granting a preliminary injunction."  He further went on to express concern that a delayed primary election this year could deprive Pennsylvania voters of their right to choose delegates to the National Conventions and their candidate for the Presidency of the United States.




On February 8, the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 1381 (Sen. Anthony Williams, D-8), which would create a new employment review for certified and non-certified educators and other prospective employees in school entities who have direct contact with children.  The intent of SB 1381 is to prevent school employees with a history of misconduct from moving from one district or school to another.  


On hand to testify at the Senate hearing were Carolyn Angelo, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Practices Commission; Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman; Rick Burridge, Esq., Legal Field Manager for the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), Dr. Chester Kent, Esq., Professor at the University of Pittsburgh/ expert witness in sexual abuse cases; Stuart Knade, Esq., Chief Counsel to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA); and parents Hope Egli and Angie Victor. 


A video and audio account of the hearing, along with written testimony, is available by clicking here.



A newly released survey by the Northwest Evaluation Association and Grunwald Associates shows that parents and teachers want timely, actionable assessments that monitor individual student performance and progress across a range of subjects and skills to help improve teaching and learning. The report examines which assessments parents, teachers and administrators found most useful, tested the most relevant knowledge and were most cost effective.  According to the study, "most educators and parents say monitoring individual student performance should be among the top priorities for education.  While year-end, high stakes tests provide a useful snapshot of overall student and school performance, educators prefer more timely formative assessments to track student progress and adjust instruction accordingly."



National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association(ASCA) runs February 6-10.  For more information, click here


EPLC will again conduct a series of regional workshops for legislative candidates and other voters interested in education issues.  The workshops will be held on Tuesday, March 6 in Monroeville; Monday, March 12 in Harrisburg; and Tuesday, March 13 in Valley Forge.  Click here for registration details.


On February 14, students and parents from across the state are coming together to demand that

Governor Corbett and the Legislature make equitable school funding a top priority in the next budget. To register for the "Fall Back in Love with Education: Valentine's Day Rally for Public

Education" visit www.showloveforeducation.eventbrite.com.  For more information about the event,

contact [email protected].


On February 28, the National Center for Education Statistics is hosting a webinar on Testing Integrity, which will feature expert panelists in the following areas: prevention of testing irregularities; detection and analysis; response and investigation; and testing integrity practices and procedures for online and computer-based assessments. For questions about event content, please contact Dr. Eunice Greer at [email protected] or (202) 502-7488.

  • The House Education Committee will hold an informational meeting on cyber charter school funding and other operating issues on Wednesday, February 15 at 9:00 AM.  This meeting was originally scheduled January 26 but was cancelled.
  • The House and Senate Appropriations Committeeshave announced their state budget hearing schedules. The Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing for the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is on Monday, February 27 at 9:30 AM. The House Appropriations Committee hearing for PDE is scheduled for Monday, March 5 at 10:00 AM.
  • The Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference will be held February 12-15 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. For more details, click here.
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators (PACTA) is holding its 22nd annual conference "Preparing Students for the Workforce of Tomorrow: An Education and Workforce Development Symposium" February 21-22 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey. For more information and registration details, click here.
  • The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will hold a 2012 Budget Summit at the Harrisburg Hilton on Thursday, February 23 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. To register online, click here.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education's Annual Conference "Making a Difference: Educational Practices that Work! " will be held February 29 - March 2 at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey. For more information and registration details, click here.
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) will hold its 57th Annual Conference and Exhibits on March 6-9 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey. For more information, click here.
  • The Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSAs) will be administered:
      • March 12-23    PSSA Math and Reading (Grades 3-8, 11)
      • April 16-20       PSSA Writing (Grades 5, 8 and 11)
      • April 23-27        PSSA Science (Grades 4, 8 and 11) 

                 To view the complete 2011-2012 PDE Testing Calendar, click here.

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.