Friday, February 12, 2016

Senate Bill 1: Changes from the Senate Committee (With A New Overview)

| By Susan Perkins Weston | 

Senate Bill 1 is the proposed legislation to revise Kentucky standards, assessments, and accountability rules.  Yesterday, the Senate Education approved a substitute provision of the bill, keeping many major features but making a number of changes as well. 

For those who liked the PrichBlog summary of the original language, here's a downloadable next edition in the same two-page format.

This post will give a quick tour of the changes, with one clarification about the original bill included at the very end.

The arts language in the state law defining student capacities that schools must increase will not be amended. The original bill would have changed that wording to allow “application experience in coursework that incorporates design content, techniques of creativity, and interpretation” to be part of the arts expectation. That change has been deleted.

The Commissioner will participate in the standards revision process, presenting recommendations to the Interim Joint Committee on Education and serving as a non-voting member of the recommendations committee composed of legislators and members appointed by the governor.

Standards for arts & humanities and practical living/career studies will be revised in 2017-18 (and every six years after that). Those standards were not addressed in the original bill.

Students with disabilities who spend more than four years in high school will not be exempted from testing during those added years.

An assurance form will require principals to describe how social studies, arts & humanities, practical living/career studies, and writing are integrated into the school curriculum. School council members will sign off on the form. Students, parents, and staff will be able to take concerns about those subjects first to the school council and (if needed) on to the Kentucky Department of Education for investigation. The form and the approach to concerns are new provisions.

Graduation rates will include alternate diplomas. That is a new provision.

College admission and placement scores will be included using increases in percent of students earning composite scores that meet benchmarks. The original bill called for using the scores rather than change in scores.

Intervention schools will not be exempted from the vacancy definition found in KRS 160.380. The sentence on that has been deleted.

For priority schools, there are four new provisions.
  • Audits done by the Kentucky Department of Education will be an option if a local board cannot find another outside team of educators.
  • Turnaround teams will not have to have to be organized as nonprofit organizations.
  • Turnaround plans will need approval from the Kentucky Board of Education as well as the superintendent and local board, but will not need Kentucky Department of Education review and recommendations.
  • Superintendents will report to local boards and the Commissioner on turnaround plan implementation.
The original bill and the committee substitute both call for state-level intervention if schools fail to leave priority status or focus status for four years. The previous summary noted that provision for priority schools but not for focus schools.

To see PrichBlog's two-page summary of the complete provisions, click here.  To see the complete legislative language in the committee substitute, click here.

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