Wednesday, February 18, 2015

One Additional Step Closer to Repealing A-F, A Lot on the Line Tomorrow

We are one more step in the right direction towards the repeal of A-F grading for schools.  Senator Black’s SB727 was reported from the House Education Committee on a 21 to 1 vote.
YEAS--Landes, Lingamfelter, Rust, Pogge, Massie, Greason, Bell, Richard P., LeMunyon, Robinson, Yost, Yancey, Farrell, Davis, Leftwich, McClellan, Tyler, Bulova, Keam, Hester, Preston, Lindsey--21.


A committee substitute was adopted, which is an improvement over earlier versions.  Here is the critical portion of the bill:
No later than July 1, 2016, the Board of Education, in consultation with the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee, shall redesign the School Performance Report Card so that it is more effective in communicating to parents and the public the status and achievements of the public schools and local school divisions in the Commonwealth. The Board, in redesigning the School Performance Report Card, may consider (i) the standards of accreditation, (ii) state and federal accountability requirements, (iii) state-mandated assessments, (iv) any alternative assessments developed or approved for use by the relevant local school board, (v) student growth indicators, (vi) student mobility, (vii) the experience and qualifications of school staff, (viii) total cost and funding per pupil, (ix) school safety, and (x) any other factors that the Board deems necessary to produce a full and accurate statement of performance for each public elementary and secondary school and local school division in the Commonwealth. No later than October 1, 2016, the Board shall provide notice and solicit public comment on the redesigned School Performance Report Card. No later than December 1, 2016, the Board shall make a summary of the redesigned School Performance Report Card available to the public and submit such summary to the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health. No later than October 1, 2017, and each October 1 thereafter, the Board shall make available to the public a School Performance Report Card for each public elementary and secondary school and local school division in the Commonwealth.

The bill now goes to the full House.  Since there was one negative vote, it will be on the contested calendar.  Following probable House passage, we can hope the Senate will accept the House amendments, rather than sending the bill to conference.
We have a number of key bills up in committee tomorrow:

House Privileges and Elections (7 A.M.) will take up two redistricting bills, Senator Watkins’s SB840 , and Senator Vogel’s SJR284. 

The Senate Education and Health Committee (7:45 A.M.) is taking up numerous significant bills including one that will siphon off public school dollars to private schools, home-schooling parents, institutions of higher learning, and even auto dealers, HB2238 – Parental Choice Savings Accounts.

The Compensation and Retirement Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (4 P.M.) is taking up SB866, Senator Chafin’s bill to offer a statewide health insurance option to public school divisions.
So, please check in tomorrow.