Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recap of House Education SOQ Subcommittee

Here is a recap of what happened in the House Education SOQ subcommittee today:

HB 2144 (Landes) creates a pilot program that will allow certain schools to seek waivers from the third grade science, social science, or history SOL assessments in order to focus on reading. The bill was recommended for reporting.

HB 1502 (Krupika) would expand the Virginia Index of Performance incentive program to recognize and reward schools and school divisions that make progress towards narrowing achievement gaps.  The patron explained that the purpose of the bill was to recognize and reward teachers and schools who are making significant achievements in challenging circumstances.  The bill was passed by indefinitely.

HB 1503 (Krupika) would, among other things, prohibit a school from receiving the highest accreditation rating is any one subgroup failed  to demonstrate proficiency on any SOL assessments.  The patron explained that schools in which one or more subgroups were failing did not "deserve an A."  Members of the subcommittee observed that this goal ran counter to the purpose that Del. Krupika was trying to achieve with HB 1502.  The bill was tabled on a unanimous vote.

HB 2098 (Tata) would allow BOE to waive staffing standard 2 to allow a school division flexibility in determining whether to hire librarians, guidance counselors, or other staff members to meet staffing standards.  A school board that is granted a waiver would have to employ the requisite total number of staff members but would have the ability to determine how many to hire in each category.  The subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend that the bill be reported and referred to Appropriations.

HB 2066 (Peace) would amend Standard 2 to allow school boards to meet the staffing requirements for librarians, guidance counselors, and clerical staff on a division-wide basis, rather than meeting the standard for elementary, middle and high schools separately.  The subcommittee voted to recommend that the bill be reported.

HB 1350 (Albo) is targeted to end the use of calculators on math SOLs.  Del. Albo brought a similar bill last year.  The bill was amended in subcommittee so that it provides that no student in the seventh or eight grade who fails the non-calculator portion of the end-of-grade mathematics assessments shall be placed in Algebra I or higher. (The original version of the bill would have prohibited the use of calculators on the SOL assessment.) After much discussion and amendment, the bill was passed by for the day so that Del. Albo could bring back another amendment to the bill. 

HB 2068 (LeMunyon) would require school boards to provide early reading intervention to certain students in grades K-2 and algebra readiness intervention to certain students in grades 6-9.  The bill was recommended to be reported and referred to Appropriations. 

HB 1730 (Cole) would require every school board to establish a collaborative agreement with local law-enforcement agencies to employ one full time SRO in every school.  The bill was passed by for the day to allow time for the Governor's recently appointed school safety task force to make a recommendation.