Finance - September 12, 2014

Corbett urges review of Common Core, legislature schedules hearings

Last week, Governor Tom Corbett issued a news release urging a review of education standards in English and math in elementary and secondary schools. The Pennsylvania Core was approved last fall by the Board of Education and is a version of the national Common Core that’s been adopted across much of the US.  Corbett has been attempting to remove the Common Core implemented by former Governor Ed Rendell.  The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed the national standards which were approved by PA in 2010; several changes were made to those standards last fall to create the Pennsylvania Core. Those changes were part of the effort to “repeal and replace” the national standards with Pennsylvania-specific ones.

Corbett says the national standards are “overly influenced by the federal government.” Acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq has asked that the state board conduct hearings on the matter. Two Republican state Representatives, Reps. Ryan Aument and Seth Grove, spoke out against Corbett’s latest move; saying they’re disappointed in the consideration of “reversing its own policy” since Corbett supported the change last fall. They’ve asked for public hearings on the matter. The House Education committee will hold two meetings on the issue in the coming weeks. The Governor’s office and Secretary Dumaresq will have an opportunity to explain their position at the first hearing and the second will feature testimony from stakeholders.

NCAA lifts some PSU sanctions

The NCAA has lifted some of the sanctions it imposed two years ago on Penn State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse charges.  PSU will be bowl game eligible this year and football scholarships will be fully restored next year. The NCAA sighted PSU’s “significant progress toward ensuring its athletics department functions with integrity” as the reason for lifting those two sanctions. The $60 million fine and wins vacated from 1998 to 2011 still stand. The NCAA agreed to allow the fine to stay in the state of Pennsylvania after several lawsuits were filed on both sides. The NCAA had originally planned to use the money across the nation and state lawmakers fought to keep the money here by passing a law designed to do just that.