SF 2284 Conference Committee Report [updated]

Update 2:  The House passed SF 2284 as amended [87-9].

Update:  While I was posting, the Senate passed SF 2284 as amended [31-15].

The SF 2284 conference committee report was filed in the Iowa House today.  It is thirty-three pages long and strikes and replaces everything after the enacting clause of SF 2284 as amended and passed by the Senate.

The short summary:  no charter school law changes, Senate version of annual teacher evaluations, limits on online learning, school administration managers, third grade retention significantly curtailed (it appears that only children with a substantial reading deficiency not remedied by the end of third grade and whose parents do not enroll them in the intensive summer reading program will be automatically retained–see Division IX below or in the bill), teacher collaboration time, changes to teacher preparation program assessments, and five-year-olds enrolled in district kindergarten programs to be considered to be of compulsory attendance age.

The task forces (with reports due October, November, and January) indicate that competency-based instruction; a statewide educator evaluation system; Iowa teaching standards and criteria; teacher performance, compensation, and career development; online learning programs; and, instructional time are likely to be issues in the next legislative session.

Division I:  Competency-Based Instruction.  Allows the award of high school credit to an enrolled student upon the demonstration of required competencies for  a course or content area.  The district or school will determine how the competencies will be assessed.  There will also be a competency-based instruction task force.  A preliminary task force report is due January 15, 2013.

Division II:  Assessment of Student Progress on Core Academic Indicators.  The core academic indicators are the math and reading scores for 4th, 8th, and 11th graders, and the science scores for 8th and 11th graders.  Appears to require all districts to use the same assessments (which are the assessments used statewide in the 2011-12 school year).  The state board may recommend modifications of assessments of student progress.  [Does this allow the state legislature to control whether the state moves from the Iowa Assessments to the SMARTER Balanced assessments?]

Division III:  Teacher and Administrator Matters.  Requires at least thirty-six hours of teacher collaboration or peer review time during the school year (not replacing instructional or teacher preparation time).  Annual teacher reviews with two of every three years a peer group review (Senate plan).  Annual evaluations of administrators.  There will also be a statewide educator evaluation system task force, an Iowa teaching standards and criteria review task force, and a teacher performance, compensation, and career development task force.  Each of these task forces is to submit findings, recommendations, and proposals this fall.

Division IV: Online Learning.  Restricted to educational courses delivered primarily over the internet (defined to exclude coursework that ay have fallen under prior telecommunications rules).  Restrictions on open enrollment into districts to participate primarily in online courses (with a limited exception for the two school districts already offering online programs: CAM and Clayton Ridge Community School Districts).  Limitations on overall student enrollment in online learning courses.

An Iowa learning online initiative is established within the department to partner with districts to provide distance education to high school students.  Courses will be taught by Iowa licensed teachers.  Students must be enrolled in a participating district or accredited nonpublic school.  [Does this exclude homeschool students?  What if they are enrolled in a district Home School Assistance Program?]

The legislature finds and declares that prior legislation was not intended to authorize open enrollment for purposes of attending online schools, contracts to provide exclusively or predominantly online coursework to students, or online coursework that does not use Iowa licensed teachers.

The director shall establish an online learning program model.  The legislative council is requested to establish an interim study committee to review the appropriate use of online learning by school districts, the appropriate levels and sources of funding for online learning, partnerships between school districts and private providers of online programs, and the potential use of online learning as the exclusive means to provide coursework required under the state’s educational standards.  Findings and recommendations to be submitted by December 14, 2012.

Division V:  Board of Educational Examiners Provisions.  Governor to appoint an executive director of the BOEE.  Student teaching experience extended from twelve weeks to fourteen weeks.

Division VI:  School Administration Manager.  A SAM is a person authorized to assist a school principal in performing non-instructional administrative duties.  The state board will set standards for SAM training programs.

Division VII:  State Board of Regents Provisions.  Brings continuous improvement plans to undergraduate programs.  For each undergraduate course the institution shall collect and use the results of formative and summative assessments in its continuous improvement plan.  The state board of regents may establish programs designed to increase college readiness and awareness programs in potential first-generation college students and underrepresented populations.

Division VIII:  National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Awards.  Creates awards for teachers registering for and achieving national board certification.

Division IX:  Early Childhood Literacy.  The state board is directed to adopt guidelines for implementation of the reading program and to adopt rules for the Iowa reading research center and for implementation of the intensive summer literacy program.

The Iowa reading research center is to apply current literacy research to the development and dissemination of instructional strategies to achieve literacy proficiency; strategies for identifying and providing evidence-based interventions for students at risk of not achieving literacy proficiency; models for effective school and community partnerships; reading assessments; professional development strategies and materials; data reports on progress toward literacy proficiency; and, an intensive summer literacy program.

Kindergarten readiness assessments aligned with state early learning standards, with the assessment information to be collected in a statewide longitudinal data system.  Iowa Assessments for 10th graders.

School districts shall assess the reading level of all K-3 students at the beginning of each school year.  A district shall provide intensive reading instruction to any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading.  The intensive reading instruction is to be provided until the reading deficiency is remedied.  Parents of a student who exhibits a substantial reading deficiency shall be notified at least annually in writing.

Beginning May 1, 2017, if the reading deficiency is not remedied by the end of third grade, the student’s parents will be notified that the child may be enrolled in an intensive summer reading program.  If the child is not enrolled in the summer program, they shall be retained in third grade unless the child is eligible for a good cause exemption.  If the child completes the summer program but the deficiency is not remedied, the child may be promoted to fourth grade with the district continuing to provide intensive reading instruction until the student is proficient.

Intensive reading instruction includes a minimum of ninety minutes daily of scientific, research-based reading instruction and other strategies, which may include tutoring or an extended school day, week, or year.  Parents will be provided with a plan outlined in a parental contract which will include regular parent-guided home reading.  Intensive summer literacy programs to begin the summer of 2017.

In determining whether to promote a child to fourth grade, the district shall place significant weight on any not yet remediated reading deficiency but shall also weigh the child’s progress in other subject areas and the child’s overall intellectual, physical, emotional, and social development.

Reading proficiency shall be a part of comprehensive school improvement planning.  Good cause exemptions to retention and intensive summer reading programs are limited to those listed in the bill (less than two years of English Language Learner instruction, students with certain IEP provisions, students who demonstrate acceptable performance on an alternative performance measure or through a student portfolio, or, students who have received intensive remediation instruction for two or more years and have been previously retained).

Division X:  School Instructional Time Task Force.  Director shall appoint a task force to study the length of the school day and school year, year-round calendars, and uniform statewide school year start dates.  Findings, recommendations, and pilot project proposal due October 15, 2012.

Division XI:  Class Sharing Agreements.  Special weighting for Project Lead the Way classes offered by a district in collaboration with a community college.

Division XII:  Practitioner Preparation Program Assessments.  Nationally recognized testing service  exams to be passed both prior to entry into a preparation program and prior to completion.  A student shall not successfully complete the preparation program unless the student scores above the 25th percentile nationally on the assessment.  Director to approve choice of assessment.

Division XIII:  Kindergarten Requirement.  Five year olds enrolled in a school district kindergarten program is considered to be of compulsory attendance age unless the child is removed from enrollment in writing.

Division XIV:  State Mandate.


One thought on “SF 2284 Conference Committee Report [updated]

  1. Chris Liebig

    Ugh — that bill sounds nightmarish. I see virtually nothing in it that isn’t intruding on decisions that local communities should be able to make for themselves (and they would probably make better ones). And the slew of “task forces” promises more of the same. I guess I should just be thankful that at least some provisions were stricken from the final bill. Too bad they didn’t strike all of it.

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