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Education Policy in Pennsylvania. Governance & Leadership. Group Members. Rosemary Nilles Lee Burket Dale Keagy Elaine Tischer Jim Thomas. Outline. Task Obsolete school code School Board Demographics Term Length School Board professional development Creating consensus Conclusions.

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education policy in pennsylvania

Education Policy in Pennsylvania

Governance & Leadership

group members
Group Members
  • Rosemary Nilles
  • Lee Burket
  • Dale Keagy
  • Elaine Tischer
  • Jim Thomas
outline
Outline
  • Task
  • Obsolete school code
  • School Board
    • Demographics
    • Term Length
  • School Board professional development
  • Creating consensus
  • Conclusions
slide4
Task
  • Identify issues concerning governance and leadership in Pennsylvania education policy that require state action.

Focus

  • Legislative accountability for student achievement
pennsylvania school code
Pennsylvania School Code
  • Findings
    • Written in 1949,
      • Many Amendments
      • No comprehensive update since
    • Contradictory and outdated sections
    • Language confusing on duties of board
  • Assessment
    • School Code is obsolete and lacks vision
pennsylvania school code1
Pennsylvania School Code
  • Examples of obsolescence in school board responsibilities
    • 24 PS 7-740 Water-closets or out-houses
    • 24 PS 11-1146 Part-time teachers, etc.
    • 24 PS 15-1516 Bible reading
    • 24 PS 15-1543 William Penn Day
school board background
School Board Background
  • Originally active in day-to-day operations, now focus on policy
  • Federal and state legislation has moved control away from local boards
    • Curriculum
    • Student achievement standards
    • Personnel
  • Superintendents and staff now handle day-to-day issues
  • State holds school administrators responsible for teacher quality and student achievement
  • Local boards now have little accountability for student achievement to meet mandated standards
  • Local community holds board responsible for preparing graduates to enter workforce
school board accountability
School Board Accountability
  • Complicated
  • Requires strengthening credibility and relevance with the community by establishing:
    • Policy connected to achievement
    • Budget connected to achievement
    • Vision
    • Close relationship with school administration
    • Culture of ethical school governance
    • Requirement for Board member development
school board selection and qualifications issues
School Board Selection and Qualifications - Issues
  • School board election cycles
  • School board director development
3 3 3 election cycle
3 – 3 – 3 Election Cycle

Cycle1

3 Directors – 6 year term

Cycle 2

3 Directors – 6 year term

Cycle 3

3 Directors – 6 year term

5 4 election cycle
5-4 Election Cycle

Cycle 1

4 Directors – 4 year term

Cycle 2

5 Directors – 4 year term

Cycle 1

4 Directors – 4 year term

Cycle 2

5 Directors – 4 year term

election cycles in pa
Election Cycles in PA
  • Until early 1980s, Boards in PA elected on 3-3-3 cycle with 6 year terms
  • Given reason for change to a 5 –4 cycle
    • Difficult to find people willing to commit to 6 years of service
    • High turnover rate
  • Other reasons
  • Time for a change…?
advantages disadvantages
Advantages/Disadvantages
  • 3 – 3 – 3 Boards
    • Stability
    • Continuity of leadership
    • Assurance of experienced board
  • 5-4 Boards
    • Quick response to single issues
    • Potential for “take-overs” and instability
  • Recommendation – Return to 3-3-3
school board election cycles
School Board Election Cycles
  • Findings
    • Current law specifies 9 members for most districts
    • Election of 5 members one election and 4 the next, for term of 4 years
    • Election cycle produces turbulence
  • Assessment
    • Member turbulence can causes dramatic policy shifts
    • Election law could be changed to provide for fewer members each election and/or longer terms providing more stability
board director development
Board Director Development
  • Findings
    • Aging board members
    • Board members well educated
    • No background checks or formal training required
    • School code specifies members to be 18 years old and of good moral character.
    • Other states have successfully implemented mandatory training to develop board members
    • Ability of boards to govern and provide leadership not consistently displayed
board director development1
Board Director Development
  • Assumptions
    • Older board members may have interest in taxation issues over education mission
    • Lack of formal training lends towards members functioning in their “comfort zone” and furtherance of personal agendas and/or risk aversion
    • Developmental training increases member efficiency, focus on board functions and consistency in governance
    • Learning organizations serve their constituents better
board director development2
Board Director Development
  • Recommendation
    • Legislature amend laws to require:
      • All newly elected Board members attend orientation training (12 hrs)
      • Annual professional development (4 hrs)
      • All Board members successfully pass background checks prior to assuming duties.
    • Variety of options
    • Administered by state Bd. of Ed.
    • Funded by school board
    • Incentives
board director development3
Board Director Development
  • Training Content
    • Overview of Education in PA
    • Legal and Regulatory Environment
    • District Goals, Programs, Policies
    • Board Operations
    • Roles and Responsibilities
    • Creating a Vision
    • Personal/Professional Development
building consensus
Building Consensus
  • Enlist Support of Stakeholders in the Educational Community to:
    • Educate the Legislature
    • Educate the Public About the Importance of School Board
creating a critical mass of support
Creating a Critical Mass of Support
  • Small Scale: Build Support within the Organizations
  • Larger Scale: Communication to Legislature and General Public
  • Full Scale: Bill Introduced
  • Consider the Opposition
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Legislature has role in student achievement through school code
  • School code must be revised to reflect changes in school board roles and responsibilities
  • Complexity of school policy environment dictates development for school board members
education policy in pennsylvania1

Education Policy in Pennsylvania

Governance & Leadership

references
References
  • Institute for Educational Leadership. (2001). Leadership forStudent Learning: Restructuring School District Leadership. Washington D.C.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education. Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949. Harrisburg, PA.
  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center. (2004). Strengthening the Work of School Boards in Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, PA.
  • Bloomington
  • Cunningham
  • Gehring
  • Land