Wednesday, February 4, 2015

An early start to the day

Today started very early with the House Education Reform subcommittee at 7:00a.m. With crossover next week each body is busy finalizing their actions on legislation. Immediately following the subcommittee, the full House Education committee met to take up a lot of bills that went through the subcommittee process earlier this week. Below is a summary of the actions the Education Reform subcommittee took this morning.

HB1303 (Farrell) reported with a substitute. The legislation requires the Department of Education to make the Standards of Learning assessments for middle and high schools available by December 1 of the school year in which the assessments will be administered or when newly developed assessments are available, whichever is later.

HB1713 (LeMunyon) failed to report from the subcommittee on a 2-5 vote. This bill required the Board of Education to establish and implement a policy, with certain conditions and limitations, that would allow any student assigned to a school accredited with warning for three consecutive years or denied accreditation to enroll in the same grade level at another school in the division that is fully accredited or accredited with warning for fewer than three consecutive years  as long as the students enrollment didn’t exceed the schools enrollment capacity.

HB1714 (LeMunyon) gives flexibility to the Board of Education relating to the science assessment for middle school students. It will allow the Board to permit the student to take the SOL assessment in science after the student receives instruction in the grade 6 science, life science, and physical science SOL and before the student completes grade 8. Current law permits the Board to require each student to the SOL assessment in grade 8.  The bill reported unanimously.

HB1752 (LaRock) reported from the subcommittee. This bill prohibits the Board of Education from adopting the Common Core State Standards without prior approval from the General Assembly.

HB1872 (Bulova) requires the Board of Education to develop a training program for principals and assistant principals that imparts the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to oversee the improvement of student performance in elementary, middle, or high schools that have been denied accreditation or accredited with warning for two consecutive years. Additionally, the bill allows the school board in which the principal and each assistant principal of an elementary or secondary school that has been denied accreditation or accredited with warning for two consecutive years have successfully completed the training program to request, and requires the Board to grant, release from (i) state regulations currently granted to any school in the school division or (ii) school division policies and state regulations currently granted to any public charter school in the school division. These releases will remain in effect for five years or until any such administrator no longer meets the criteria for training program completion or is not enrolled in the training program and may be renewed for additional five-year periods. 

HB2220 (Davis) was tabled in the subcommittee. Many education stakeholders worked with the patron on this legislation but a compromise couldn’t be reached. As originally drafted, the bill required per-pupil funding to be allocated to the charter school by the local school division on a noncategorical basis.

HB2271 (Futrell) requires the Board of Education, as part of its regular waiver process, to request a waiver under ESEA authorizing the use of an English language proficiency assessment such as the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs assessment as an alternative to the 11th grade Standards of Learning End-of-Course English/Reading test for students with limited English proficiency.