Monday, January 19, 2015

Update from Senate Subcommittee on Public Education

The Public Education Subcommittee of the Senate Education and Health Committee met and considered a number of bills today.  Below is a summary of the actions recommended by the subcommittee today.

The subcommittee recommended reporting SB724 (Black), which would prohibit the Board of Education from implementing the Common Core Standards. 

The subcommittee also recommended reporting SB823 (Miller), which changes the requirement that school provide a program of physical fitness to a program of physical activity.  The bill also requires that the program of physical activity for grades kindergarten through five consist of at least 20 minutes per day or an average of 100 minutes per week during the regular school year.  The bill does not alter the minutes (150 per week on average) that the program of physical activity be made available to students in grades six through twelve.   

The subcommittee also rolled SB897 (Miller) and SB757 (Barker) in SB874 (Cosgrove) and amended the remaining bill to  direct the Board of Education to promulgate regulations to provide the same criteria for eligibility for an expedited retake of any Standards of Learning test, with the exception of the writing Standards of Learning tests, to each student regardless of grade level or course.  The amended bill was recommended for reporting.

The subcommittee recommended SB900 (Barker), which would require the Board of Education to promulgate regulations authorizing local school divisions to determine the date for administering SOL assessments.  Currently, BOE determines the timing of SOL assessments. 

The subcommittee adopted an amended in the nature of a substitute for SB727 (Black).  AS amended, the bill repeals the A-F school grading legislation and directs the Board of Education to redesign the School Performance Report Card to make it more effective in communicating the status and achievements of the public schools and local school divisions.  The subcommittee recommended the substitute for reporting.

The subcommittee considered SB782 (Favola), which would require the Board of Education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint that, among other things, incorporate BOE's  Guidelines for the Development of Policies and Procedures for Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations and the Fifteen Principles contained in the U.S. Department of Education's Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document.  The subcommittee amended the bill to require the BOE to adopt regulations that are consistent with (rather than that incorporate) the BOE Guidelines and the U.S. DOE's Fifteen Principles.  The subcommittee recommended this bill, as amended, for reporting.