Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A snowy morning at the General Assembly

Early this morning the House Education Reform subcommittee met to take up a number of bills related to A-F school grading and alternative assessments. Below is a summary of their actions.

HB1672 (Greason) was reported from the subcommittee. This legislation repeals the A-F school grading system and requires the Board of Education, in consultation with the SOL Innovation Committee, to redesign the School Performance Report Card so that it is more effective in communicating to parents and the public the status and achievements of the public schools and local school divisions. HB1313, HB1566, and HB2180 were all tabled in lieu of HB1672 which will be the vehicle used for A-F school grading moving forward.

HB1675 (Greason) was reported from subcommittee with amendments. The new bill incorporates components of HB1491, HB1592 and HB1684. The bill requires the Board of Education, in establishing course and credit requirements for a high school diploma, to allow local school divisions to waive 1) the requirement for students to receive 140 clock hours of instruction to earn a standard credit or 2) the requirement for students to achieve a satisfactory score on a SOL assessment test to earn a verified credit upon providing the Board with satisfactory score on a locally developed alternative assess or on an Advanced Placement  or International Baccalaureate examination.

HB2238 (LaRock) which creates Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts reported from subcommittee on a 3-2 vote. This bill will allow parents of qualified students to apply to the Department of Education for the Savings Account to consist of the student’s state per pupil funding and certain special education funds. Those funds may be used for certain expenses of the student including tuition, fees, or required textbooks at a private school, preschool, or program of home instruction, educational therapies or services, tutoring services, curriculum, tuition or fees for a private online learning program, fees for a nationally standardized norm-references achievement test, contributions to a qualified tuition program, or tuition, fees, or required textbooks at a public two-year or four-year higher education institution or an accredited private higher education institution in the Commonwealth. A qualified student means a resident of the Commonwealth and who:
  •  Has a 504 or IEP plan;
  • Has a parent who is a member of the armed forces of the United States;
  •  Lives in a permanent foster care placement; or
  • Was accepted for placement for foster care and was adopted.

HB2318 (Orrock) reported with an amendment 6-1. This bill would require the Board of Education’s formula for assessing high school graduation rates, as used for the Standards of Accreditation, to exclude from rates of on-time graduates each student who fails to graduate on time based on circumstances that are outside of the control of the local board in extenuating circumstances.

HB1448 (McQuinn) and HB2005 (Torian) were stricken from the docket in subcommittee at the request of the patrons.  

All of the bills that reported from the House Education Reform subcommittee are on the full House Education committee docket for tomorrow morning. More updates to come!