Friday, February 6, 2015

Calendar Bills Revived, Three Person Panel Dead, Sometimes They Listen, A Bad Choice, Check in Sunday

Yesterday the House school calendar bills came back to life when they were reconsidered and reported by the House Education Committee.  Delegate Greason's HB1550 and Delegate Robinson's HB1838 both eliminate the post-Labor Day opening requirement.

This morning, Delegate Hugo's HB1744, the bill to give local school boards the option of employing a three person panel rather than a hearing officer for teacher dismissals, was heard in the House Committee on Counties, Cities, and Towns.  They re-referred the bill to House Education on a voice vote.  The problem is that House Education will not meet again before crossover - OUCH!  We requested another meeting of House Education to no avail.  That’s one way they kill bills – no fingerprints.  Every vote on this bill was procedural in nature.  This bill is dead, but no one can be held accountable for its death by the voters.  Welcome to the Virginia General Assembly.

It is very good news that the House Appropriations Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education tabled Delegate Cline's HB2374, a bill to require dyslexia training for initial licensure and license renewal.  VEA's message that training for teachers should be provided by our employers - not required of the teacher for licensure, often at the teacher's expense.  Delegates Cox, Landes and Greason offered very helpful remarks.

This same committee reported Delegate LaRock's HB2238, which creates Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts, transferring public dollars to private schools and home schoolers at a time when insufficient funds are provided to our public schools.

The House and Senate will report their budget bills on Sunday, so please check this blog on Sunday evening for VEA's first take.  Carol Donohue will offer an in-depth analysis during next week.