Thursday, January 30, 2014

Update from Senate Education and Health

The newly constituted Senate Education and Health Committee acted on a number of education related bills this morning.  Below is a summary of the most pertinent of these bills:

SB 155 (Miller) was amended to require students in grades K through 5 to have at least 20 minutes per day or 100 minutes per week on average of physical activity. For students in grades 6 through 12, the bill requires a program of physical activity with a goal of 150 minutes per week.  It is important to note that the bill requires a program of physical activity rather than physical fitness.  The bill also specifies that physical activity includes recess.

SB 240 (Carrico) would have made it a misdemeanor for a principal, assistant principal or supervisor to refuse to release a student to the custodial parent.  The VSBA and many other groups opposed this legislation.  The bill was carried over to 2015.

SB 291 (Carrico) which would impose certain evaluation requirements, including evaluation by a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, for students with visual impairments was reported and referred to Senate Finance. 

SB 324 (Miller) would delay implementation of the A-F legislation until October 1, 2017 and would impose certain requirements on BOE;s development of the grading criteria.  This bill reported on an 8-7 vote. 

SB 441 (Garrett) was amended, at VSBA's request, to clarify that in cases of weapons and drug offenses, the school board may, but is not required to expel the student.  The bill was reported unanimously. 

SB 499 (Hanger) would delay the takeover of any public school under last year's OEI legislation for one year, so that no school could be taken over by OEI until after the 2014-2015 school year.  This bill reported in a vote of 8-6-1. 

SB 599 (Cosgrove) relating to student data and cloud computing was passed by indefinitely and will be referred by letter to JCOTS.

SB 636 (Hanger) which directs BOE to review the SOL assessments  and develop a plan to reduce the number of assessments by 25 % by the 2015-2016 school year.  The bill was reported.