Wednesday, February 14, 2018

We Have Passed the Half-Way Mark


We have passed the half way point of the 2018 General Assembly session. It has been an interesting month to say the least. I am sad to report that that the VEA initiated bill on Tax Credits (HB624) and changes to the SOL Innovation Committee Voting (HB1501) both died before crossover. Sadly our House bill requiring a school climate survey (HB1119) died in the House Appropriations Committee unexpectedly on Friday. It was looking like it was going to pass and we were going to get the funding in the budget to make it happen, but the K-12 Appropriations Sub took it down. We do still have the Senate version of that bill (SB456) that passed 38-0, but it has been assigned to the Appropriations Committee in the House, so I fear it is being sent there to die. All is not lost, as there may still be an appropriation in the Senate budget for the survey and we can fight for that in budget conference.

The House and Senate will announce their budgets on Sunday, so we will know soon. We will also see what the House and Senate will do for teacher salaries. We expect something in the first year, but we will have to wait and see what they do and how they do it (I believe the House will look at using lottery revenues again, which is a terrible idea). We do have a cyber lobby alert out on increasing the At-Risk Add On Funding in the budget. You can click this link to take action.

There are 4 main bills we are watching closely. Two are the teacher licensure bills (HB1125/SB349). The VEA worked closely with the House patron (with Delegate Bulova doing our work) to make that a good bill. The Senate patron was not as willing to listen, but the bill isn’t terrible. Our main worry of allowing a local superintendent to waive license requirements if someone has “content knowledge” is no longer in either bill. That was our focus, frankly. Below you can see a side-by-side of the two bills so you can see the differences. The House bill puts a study component onto ABTEL (the BOE’s Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure) which is great. In case you didn’t know, the VEA has about 8-10 members on ABTEL and I serve as the VA PTA representative, so we have ABTEL stacked!!! These two bills will go to conference and I believe the House version will be the vehicle, but I will keep you updated.

The next bill that has gotten a lot of action and attention is SB261, the librarian bill. There is a whole lot of confusion about this bill and, from my perspective, it is getting more attention than any other bill right now. In its original form, SB261 would add permissive language to the SOQ staffing standard for school librarians. The current staffing standard requires two librarians for each 1,000 students in a middle or high school. The original bill would allow a school divisions to employ one librarian and one media specialist, resource teacher, instructional coach, personalized learning, lab facilitator, or content coordinator to satisfy the 2 for every 1,000 staffing requirement. The VEA opposed this bill. The patron, Senator Sutterlein, didn’t have the votes to get the bill off of the Senate floor, so he amended it to move it along. The amended bill still offers permissive flexibility on the 2 librarian for each 1,000 students in middle and high schools, but only allows for one librarian and either one media specialist or one resource teacher. The VEA still opposes this bill. The VEA supports the staffing standards in the SOQs and we know that when we offer flexibility to those standards, inequities develop for our students. For some reason there is a rumor that the VEA supports this bill. Please help me by sharing that we OPPOSE the bill. I have written about it at length in the Daily Reports, but that doesn’t seem to be getting the message out. This bill is on the Governor’s radar. His office is getting bombarded with calls from folks who oppose this bill.

The other troubling bill is SB969. This bill puts into law that every public school student must earn a verified credit in Social Studies to graduate. This verified credit is earned ONLY by passing an end-of-course SOL test. No division my use a performance based assessment (which is what the Board of Education established in their revised Standards of Accreditation on graduation requirements). The patron, Senator Steve Newman, did add some flexibility for students who can’t pass an SOL (special education and ELL) after he realized the issues with requiring the SOL as the only means to earn a verified credit and to graduate from high school for these student populations. What is very troubling in this bill is the overreach of the General Assembly to 1. Set graduation requirements and testing standards into law and 2. To undermine the Board of Education’s authority to set the Standards of Accreditation. Our concern isn’t about Social Studies, it is about the General Assembly using their authority to write laws to override the BOE. The bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly which really shows the power of Senator Newman in the K-12 world. We are hoping to kill it in the House. This one is going to take some work and some Republican friends to support our position. BTW all of the education groups oppose this bill. It is also on the Governor’s radar.

Teacher Licensure Comprehensive Bills - Comparison


HB 1125 (Landes)


SB 349 (Peake)
Regulations Governing Licensure:

·         Eliminates initial license technology proficiency requirement and for those seeking initial license or for any renewal eliminates PD in instructional methods to support SOL achievement

·         Local Superintendent may waive any applicable requirements in C or D new 2, 4, or 6 for person they seek to hire as a CTE teacher.

·         Increases the on-line teacher license from 5 years to 10 years
·         Provisional license grace period of one year to meet requirements in D new 1 (child abuse recognition), new 3 (CPR), new 6 (dyslexia)

Regulations Governing Licensure:

·         Eliminates initial license technology proficiency requirement and for those seeking initial license or for any renewal eliminates PD in instructional methods to support SOL achievement


·         Local Superintendent may waive any applicable requirements in C or D new 2, 4, or 6 for person they seek to hire as a CTE teacher.









·         Allows local superintendent to waive any requirements in C and D for a provisionally licensed teacher and they are eligible for renewable 5-year license so long as other requirements are met (no timeframes)

Reciprocity:

·         Full Reciprocity - individuals must establish a file at VA DOE; no testing requirements, no service requirements

Reciprocity:

·         Full Reciprocity - individuals must establish a file at VA DOE; no testing requirements, no service requirements

Alternative Routes to Licensure:

·         Board to establish alternative route for PK-6 and special ed general K-12. Must complete all assessments, and alternative program certification as established by the BOE

Alternative Routes to Licensure:

·         Board to establish alternative route for PK-6 and special ed general K-12. Must complete all assessments, and alternative program certification as established by the BOE



Licenses of teachers; provisional licenses; exceptions:

·         Provisional license extended for military deployed
·         Extension of provisional license by the BOE for at least one year, but up to two so long as certain requirements are met

Licenses of teachers; provisional licenses; exceptions:

·         Provisional license extended for military deployed
·         Extension of provisional license by the BOE for at least one year, but up to two so long as certain requirements are met

Waiver of Licensure CTE:


Waiver of Licensure CTE:

·         Increases local superintendent waiver from 1 to 3 years

Regulations governing education programs:

·         Establishes a 4-year Bachelor’s degree teacher education program

Regulations governing education programs:


Career and technical education; three-year licenses:

·         Issue 3-year license to those qualified to teach- increases from part-time to full-time
·         Mentor assigned increased from one year to two



Career and technical education; three-year licenses:






·         Moves hours of experience to a separate section, but maintains 4,000 hours of recent or relevant work experience, but lowers the years from 4 to 2
·         Virginia Communications and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) is optional

Renewable License Duration:

·         Increases current 5-year renewable license to 10 years with a requirement of 360 Professional Development (PD) points (which simply doubles the number to match the doubling of length of license).
Renewable License Duration:

ABTEL Study/Report:

·         Adds language tasking the Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure (ABTEL) to study multiple components of the relationship between teacher licensure and teacher shortages and report to all by June 1, 2019.

ABTEL Study/Report:






2 comments:

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