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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sen. Wil Schroder Legislative Update

State Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, (left) studies a bill with Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, on Feb. 12 in Frankfort. LRC. 

By Wil Schroder

Heated floor speeches, passionate committee hearings, and the observance of Presidents' Day highlighted the seventh week of the 2016 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. As we have passed the halfway point of this session, the countdown begins as we in the Senate anticipate the forthcoming 2016-2018 budget bill from the House of Representatives.

There was no shortage of bill movement in the Senate this week, as we passed one of our priority bills, Senate Bill (SB) 1.

Senate Bill 1 offers fundamental reforms to education which reduces the bureaucratic load on teachers who spend too many hours each day filling out paperwork and not enough hours teaching. In short, Senate Bill 1 is a steadfast approach to education reform that lets the teachers get back to teaching.

Unfortunately, there have been many distortions about the content of this bill circulated in the media by certain interest groups, as well as some honest misunderstandings about the effects of the bill.

(FTM note: Bill history and summary at the end of this article).

I want to put these misconceptions to rest. In particular, some constituents have voiced their concern about the bill’s original plan to remove social studies from required state testing. We heard these concerns and amended the bill to restore social studies to the list of subjects required to be a part of state testing. I am confident that our proposed standards and assessments review structures will allow teachers once again to focus on teaching traditional core social studies content—content that develops civic-minded, critical thinkers, who through the study of history come to understand the values that built our great nation.

A second misconception that arose in debate over this bill is that it would decimate against Arts education. Some Arts leaders objected to common sense statutory reforms mentioned in the original bill. This led to a constructive dialogue with the arts community. As a result of this dialogue, SB 1 will maintain statutory support, review, and assurance of coverage of arts and humanities standards in all school, while also allowing more access to foreign language, computer or technologically-related courses to prepare our students for the job market.  

Senate Bill 126 concerns enclosed three-wheeled vehicles sometimes referred to as “autocycles” that have increased in popularity in recent years. It would specify that autocycles be classified as a type of motorcycle under Kentucky law when dealing with titling, registering, and selling of the vehicles. When autocycles wreck, however, they would be classified as a motor vehicle and not a motorcycle. The legislation also excludes autocycles from a law requiring anti-lock brakes.

Senate Bill 137 is a proposed state constitutional amendment relating to legislative redistricting. It would remove the state constitutional requirement that counties not be split and replace it with a requirement that the General Assembly only divide the number of counties necessary to achieve substantial population equality. In addition, SB 137 would require the legislature to remain in session--without pay--if they fail to redistrict as required by law.

While the Senate waits for the House of Representatives--where spending bills must originate-- to pass out the budget bills, the Senate has moved ahead with hearing testimony on the budget proposed by the Governor. The Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations and Revenue has taken testimony on the proposed budgets from cabinets that include justice and health and family services.

This week on the floor, Appropriations and Revenue Chairman Chris McDaniel drew a timely analogy which compared the operating budget of the Commonwealth to that of a Kentucky family. He explained that if Kentucky was a family, even with the proposed tough cuts in place, at the end of this two-year budget cycle, we would have a household income of $60,000 with $3,000 in savings but $200,000 in debt. Commonsense tells us all that such a scenario is unsustainable.


Senate Bill 1

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - received in House

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - passed 25-12 with Committee Substitute (1) floor amendment (2)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - floor amendments (1) and (4-title) withdrawn

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - floor amendment (3) defeated

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 3rd reading

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - floor amendment (2) and (3) filed to Committee Substitute, floor amendment (4-title) filed

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016 - 2nd reading, to Rules

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - floor amendment (1) filed to Committee Substitute

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - reported favorably, 1st reading, to Calendar with Committee Substitute (1)

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - to Education (S)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - introduced in Senate

Senate Bill 1
Summary (does not include amendments):
Amend KRS 156.557 to require schools districts to develop and implement a professional growth and effectiveness system based on a statewide framework; 

prohibit the Kentucky Department of Education from imposing reporting requirements related to the system on local districts; 

prohibit the system from using student growth data in the system; 

require the local school board to adopt guidelines for its superintendent to use in implementing the system; require evaluations annually for teachers who have not attained continuing service status and every three years for teachers with continuing service status, principals, and assistant principals; 

and prohibit evaluation results from being included in school accountability;

 amend KRS 156.160 to allow a foreign language course, career and technical education course, or a computer technology or programming course to meet the arts and humanities requirement for high school graduation; 

amend KRS 158.305 to require the Department of Education to provide assistance in implementing a response-to-intervention system if requested by a local district; 

amend KRS 158.645 to expand sufficient grounding in the arts to include specific coursework application experience; 

amend KRS 158.6453 to implement a process for reviewing academic standards and assessments; 

require the Kentucky Board of Education to promulgate regulations for the administration of the process; 

delete program reviews and audits from the statewide assessment system; 

delete social studies from the statewide assessment requirements; 

require a college admissions and placement exam to be given in the fall of grade nine and require the Kentucky Department of Education to pay for it; 

prohibit norm-referenced exams from being used as a measure of academic growth; 

and delete provisions regarding WorkKeys assessments; amend KRS 158.6455 to delete program reviews and college admissions and placement exams from the accountability system; 

require school improvement results to look at growth over three years as compared to similar schools; 

include progress toward English proficiency, quality of school climate and safety, high school graduation rates, and postsecondary readiness in the accountability system; 

require the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to annually compile a list of industry-recognized certifications; 

require the Kentucky Department of Education to pay for the cost of initial assessments taken to achieve industry-recognized certifications; 

prohibit scores of certain exceptional children or youth from being included in a school's accountability scores; 

and amend the criteria for schools and districts receiving consequences and assistance under regulations promulgated by the Kentucky Board of Education; 

amend KRS 158.649 to requires schools to set achievement gap targets every three years and require reporting to the commissioner of education when gap reductions do not occur in three years; 

amend KRS 158.782 to change the criteria for the Kentucky Board of Education providing highly skilled education assistance to schools and districts; 

amend KRS 158.805 to allow Commonwealth school improvement funds to be used for personnel costs; 

amend KRS 158.840 to prohibit the Kentucky Department of Education from requiring intervention reporting except in certain circumstances; amend KRS 160.345 to delete language regarding principal replacement; 

amend KRS 160.346 to add definitions for focus school, initial intervention school, and priority school and add provisions for each; 

define and describe a turnaround audit and intervention process for priority schools; 

delete provisions pertaining to current school audit process; delete the current intervention options approved by the Kentucky Board of Education; 

require schools that meet certain criteria to participate in an intervention option approved by the Kentucky Board of Education; 

require schools that are not successful under the current audit and intervention process to implement the turnaround audit and intervention process; 

and allow a district that has success with the turnaround intervention process to implement it in other priority schools; 

amend KRS 158.6458, 158.6459, 160.107, and 164.7874 to conform; EMERGENCY.

Senate Bill 1

SFA1 (Wilson, Mike) - Require assessment reports to include an operational subset of test items instead of a copy of each assessment.

SCS - Retain original provisions except delete changes to KRS 158.645 regarding the arts and revise language regarding the arts and humanities requirement; add the commissioner of education as a member of the standards and assessments recommendation committee; revise the standards review process; direct the Kentucky Board of Education to promulgate administrative regulations regarding the staggering and sequence of the standards review process; delete the phrase "and placement" from the term "college admissions and placement examinations"; require the Kentucky Department of Education to implement a review process for academic standards in arts and humanities and practical living skills and career studies; require the department to provide recommendations for integrating arts and humanities, practical living and career studies, social studies, and effective writing within the curriculum; require the Kentucky Department of Education to develop a standards assurance form for a principal's use in assuring a school's integration of the standards in social studies, arts and humanities, practical living and career studies, and writing and implement an inquiry and review process regarding the integration of the standards; require an exceptional student to be counted as a graduate in the school's graduation rate if the student participates in the alternate assessment and receives an alternative high school diploma; allow the local board of education to form a turnaround team of staff and community partners; require the local board to select the Kentucky Department of Education as the turnaround team if the board is unable to use a private entity or form their own team; require the turnaround plan to be reviewed by the superintendent and local board and require the Kentucky Board of Education to approve the plan; make technical amendments to conform.

SFA2 (Wilson, Mike) - Include social studies in the review of academic assessments; make the commissioner of education a voting member of the standards and assessments recommendation committee; restore original language regarding statewide social studies assessments in KRS 158.6453; require assessment reports to include an operational subset of test items instead of a copy of each assessment; delete social studies from the new standards assurance process; make technical amendments to conform.

SFA3 (Neal, Gerald A.) - Delete all sections of bill and replace with new text directing the Department of Education to establish a task force to study the changes made to public education as a result of the directives of 2009 Senate Bill 1; include the commissioner of education and legislators on the task force; create an advisory panel to the task force composed of public school teachers and higher education representatives; require the task force to report its findings by October 9, 2017.

SFA4 (Neal, Gerald A.) - Make title amendment.

1 comment:

  1. While SB 1 does not specifically eliminate social studies (which includes government) requirement, it does allow students to substitute other subjects thus having fewer students taking these important subjects. This from the bill---amend KRS 156.160 to allow a foreign language course, career and technical education course, or a computer technology or programming course to meet the arts and humanities requirement for high school graduation;