Monday, January 24, 2011

Updates from the House Education Committee and the Senate Public Education Subcommittee

As expected, HB 1720 (Del. Massie), which requires school boards, among other things, to provide 80 hours of training for aides assigned to teachers of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, was reported out of the House Education Committee and referred to the House Appropriations Committee today. We will continue to oppose this bill.

HB 2395 (Del. Rob Bell), which would have required the VHSL to permit home schooled students who meet certain requirements to participate in interscholastic athletics, was passed by indefinitely in the House Education Committee today. The Committee referred the issue for study by a special subcommittee to be composed of members of the House Education and the Senate Education and Health Committees. The Senate Committee must still agree to have its members participate in the study.

SB 1320 (Sen. Obenshain) would have, among other things, allowed charter schools to employ unlicensed teachers. Under this bill, up to 25% of charter elementary school teachers and up to 50% of charter middle and high school teachers, could be unlicensed. We opposed this bill. The Public Education Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted to recommend to the full Committee that SB 1320 be passed by indefinitely. 

SB 946 (Sen. Howell) was reported out of the Public Education Subcommittee today. This bill allows school divisions to utilize video monitoring systems on school buses to detect drivers passing stopped school buses. This bill is permissive only. It does not require school divisions to use this new technology.