This morning there were dueling meetings of the House Education committee and Senate Finance committee followed by the House Elementary and Secondary Education subcommittee. The VSBA team split our time between the two meetings to ensure we shared your positions and priorities.
The House Education committee took up several bills from yesterday’s Education Innovation subcommittee.
HB525 (LeMunyon) requires the SOL Innovation Committee to review and make recommendations to the Chairs of the House Education and Senate Education and Health committees on the number, subjects, and question compositions of standardized tests administered to public high school students in the Commonwealth by November 1, 2016. The bill was unanimously reported from the committee 21-0.
HB241 (Lingamfelter) directs the Board of Education to consider assessments aligned to the Standards of Learning that are structured and formatted in a way that measures the content knowledge of students who are English language learners and that may be administered to such students as Board of Education-approved alternatives to the SOL end-of-course English reading assessments. The bill was unanimously reported from the committee 21-0.
HB842 (Cline) requires every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license to receive professional development in the indicators of dyslexia and the scientific methods of teaching a student who is dyslexic. It also requires the Department of Education to collaborate with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to ensure that all teacher preparation programs offered at public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth convey information on the identification of students at risk for dyslexia and related disorders.
HB954 (Keam) requires each local school division’s policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes to include a "Return to Learn Protocol" that requires school personnel to be alert to cognitive and academic issues that may be experienced by a student who has suffered a concussion or other head injury. The bill also broadens the scope of the "Return to Learn Protocol" in the Board of Education's guidelines for school division policies and procedures on concussions in student-athletes to require school personnel to (i) be alert to cognitive and academic issues that may be experienced by any student who has suffered a concussion or other head injury and (ii) accommodate the gradual return to full participation in academic activities of all students who has suffered a concussion or other head injury. Under current law, the "Return to Learn Protocol" only imposes such requirements on school personnel with respect to student-athletes.
In the Senate Finance committee it was anticipated that the statewide health insurance bills, SB384 (Vogel) and SB675 (Chafin) would be heard and voted on. However, the bills were taken by for the day as the patrons along with Delegates Jones and Kilgore and the Director of the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management work on an agreement between the House and Senate. We continue to strongly support this legislation which would give local school boards the option to join the state employee health plan and are appreciative of the efforts to reach a compromise.
The day was capped off with the House Courts of Justice Civil Law subcommittee where HB168 (LaRock) was on the docket. This bill allows a locality who has authorized the installation and operation of a video-monitoring system on school buses for recording violations of unlawfully passing a stopped school bus to execute a summons for these violations by mailing a copy of the summons to the owner of the vehicle. Current law requires that the summons be delivered by a law enforcement officer. HB168 was unanimously reported from the subcommittee and will now move on to the full House Courts committee.