Senate Ed Reform Bill

The Senate Education Committee has filed its own education reform bill (SSB 3171) instead of moving ahead with Governor Branstad’s proposed bill (SSB 3009).

The Senate bill, filed yesterday, is forty-four pages long, making it considerably shorter than SSB 3009.

Here’s the short version of this blog post:  Competency-based instruction and teacher collaboration time is in.  Automatic third-grade retention for non-proficient readers is out but there will be parental contracts for parents of students identified to have a substantial deficiency in reading.  The 3.0 GPA requirement to enter teacher training is out but the issue is to be studied.  Annual teacher reviews are in but two of the three years will be peer review without employment status consequences.  Limitations on online (internet) learning and no charter school law changes.

Here’s the longer version of what made the cut:

Competency-based instruction, which will allow high school students to earn credit for demonstrating competence (in a manner to be determined by the district) rather than requiring seat time.

Adding music and other fine arts, applied arts, foreign languages, physical education, character education, and entrepreneurship education to the Iowa Core.  Create a core curriuclum framework and core content standards advisory council.

Direct the AEA boards to create regional parent advocacy networks.  School board directors choose the parent representative(s) for the district.

Directs the State Board of Education to establish a statewide teacher evaluation system and a statewide administrator evaluation system that school districts, charter schools, and accredited nonpublic schools will be required to use.

Teacher quality committees will have an additional duty to provide leadership in professional development.  The DE is directed to collaborate with the teacher quality committees while coordinating a statewide network of professional development.  School districts will be required to set aside not less than two hours per week for educator collaboration.

Annual teacher reviews, with two years of peer review, that cannot be used to affect employment status, followed by a third year review by a certified evaluator.  Administrators will be reviewed annually, as well.

Establish a statewide educator evaluation system task force and an administrator preparation and licensure review task force.  Direct the State Board of Education to submit a teaching and administration standards report by January 1, 2013.

Prohibit the use of nicotine products on school grounds.

Direct the State Board of Education to establish an advisory committee to make recommendations about educational instruction delivered primarily over the internet.  Internet courses must be taught by or under the supervision of an appropriately licensed teacher.  Districts will not be permitted to open enroll a student if more than twenty percent of that student’s coursework is deliverd over the interent.  Not more than fifty percent of a student’s coursework may be delivered over the internet.  Establish an Iowa learning online initiative.

The governor shall appoint an executive director of the board of educational examiners who shall possess a background in education licensure and administrative experience.

Direct the State Board of Education to set standards and procedures for approval of school administration manager training programs.

Add two weeks to the student teaching experience.  Direct the State Board of Regents to study admissions requirements for practitioner preparation programs and cumulative grade point averages of all students entering and exiting the programs.  Establish a STEM initiative at UNI to identify, recruit, prepare, and support K-12 math and science teachers.

Establish an Iowa reading research center.  Require school districts to provide intensive reading instruction to any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading until the reading deficiency is remedied.  Parents of any student in K-3 who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading shall be notified in writing that the child has been identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading, a description of current and proposed services to remediate the deficiency, and strategies for the parents to use to help the child become a proficient reader.  School districts shall provide a minimum of a daily ninety-minute block of scientific-research-based reading instruction to students identified as having a substantial deficiency in reading and provide a plan outlined in a parental contract, including participation in regular parent-guided home reading.  No automatic third-grade retention.

Establish an instructional time pilot project to study the effectiveness of adding more instructional time to the school day or school year and add supplementary funding for participating students.  The pilot project is repealed June 30, 2016.

Establish a parent liaison counselor pilot program for persistently lowest-achieving schools.  The pilot project is repealed June 30, 2016.

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