Thursday, February 13, 2014

A snowy Senate Education and Health Committee

The Senate Education and Health Committee met at a snowy Capitol this morning. It was a relatively short docket for the first meeting post crossover.

HB754 (Rust) was conformed to the substitute for Senator Black’s SB588 that unanimously passed the Senate last week. The substitute for HB754 allows school boards to review and modify a student’s suspension or expulsion.

HB758 (Rust) reported unanimously from the committee as it did from the House last week. This bill requires every teacher seeking initial licensure with an endorsement in the area of career and technical education to have an industry certification credential in the area in which the teacher seeks endorsement.

HB1007 (Byron) reported unanimously from the committee. The bill replaces references throughout the Code to a General Education Development (GED) program or test with "a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education.” The GED is owned by a private company and there is concern that if the company goes out of business, there would be no alternative. It has also been previously explained that this bill would allow the use of other tests made by other testing companies, which could result in a possible cost savings.

HB1187 (McClellan) requires the Virginia Center for School Safety to use the definition of bullying found in § 22.1-276.01 of the Code of Virginia for purposes of training on evidence-based anti-bullying tactics and in the effective identification of students who may be at risk for violent behavior and in need of special services or assistance. That definition says that bullying means “any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma."Bullying" includes cyber bullying. "Bullying" does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.” HB1187 reported unanimously from the committee.