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UPDATE: Senate Education leader confirms Senate will concur in new version of bill to let state order improvements at failing schools

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on April 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm | No Comments »
April 17, 2013 6:27 pm

Once called the Superintendent Schools bill, Senate Bill 5329 has been rewritten and could be sent to the desk of Gov. Jay Inlsee sometime after Wednesday’s bill cutoff.

The bill seeks to deal with schools and school districts that continue to perform poorly and are resistant to attempts to improve.

Initially the bill, which was a centerpiece of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus education reform package, would have directed the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to take over and run persistently failing schools. It was seen as the final hammer to get struggling schools to implement restructuring and reform to improve performance of students.

The education community, however, rallied against it.

Now, a new version has emerged from talks between House and Senate education leaders, the SPI and the state board of education. The provisions mirror criteria for “school turnaround” laid out by Inlsee last week in his Education Accountability Vision (see below).

After passing the House Monday, 68-29 which strong bipartisan support, the bill will return to the Senate. If senators simply concur in the striking amendment that contains the deal, it will head to Inslee whose spokesman David Postman said: “The governor supports it and our office worked with members on the compromise.”

UPDATE: A spokesman for Litzow confirmed this afternoon that the Majority Coalition Caucus position is to concur in the House amendments. That means the Senate won’t seek to amend it again and their agreement will move the bill to the governor.

The process described in the bill would come at the end of existing federal and state school improvement efforts that require struggling schools to pick one of four school transformation models including replacing school leadership, replacing up to half the faculty or closing schools.

Only schools that still do not show improvement for students would face the consequences set up in SB 5329. But unlike earlier versions, the SPI wouldn’t take over a school but could order a district to implement an improvement plan.

Here is what it does, based on the House Bill report:

- Updates the criteria used by the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to
identify persistently lowest-achieving schools to conform to revised federal
rules and guidance, to be applied equally to both Title I and non-Title I
schools.

– Permits state as well as federal funds to be used for school improvement in a
Required Action District (RAD).

– Replaces a requirement that a RAD use one of four federal intervention
models with a requirement for use of a school improvement model approved
by the SPI.

– Authorizes the State Board of Education to designate a RAD that has
implemented a required action plan for at least three years and has not made
adequate progress to a new Level II RAD process.

– Directs that the SPI work with the school board to develop a Level II Plan that
includes specified interventions and conditions binding on the district.

– Provides a process and authority for the SPI to direct actions if the school
board does not agree to a Level II Plan, or if the Level II Plan is not
implemented as specified.

– Directs the SPI to design a system of support, assistance, and intervention that
applies equally to Title I and non-Title I schools if funds are available, and is
implemented in the 2014-15 school year.

– Establishes a legislative task force to oversee implementation and monitor
outcomes from the educational accountability system.

Here is Inslee’s Accountability Vision

Governor Inslee Education Accountability Vision

3rd GRADE READING

Budget includes targeted funding for 3rd grade reading: $12.5 million.

Schools not meeting 3rd grade literacy target (60% of students) will be required to implement evidence-based curriculum and instruction practices.

Concerned Senate Bill 5237 tries to manage a parent and teacher decision about retention and summer school placement from Olympia rather than the classroom.

BILINGUAL STUDENTS

Budget includes funding for exited students $21.9 million

If a district’s median time for students exiting the bilingual program is longer than 5 years, the district must implement evidence-based practices on K-3 language acquisition and fluency for students in bilingual program.

DROPOUTS

Budget includes funding to prevent dropouts $25.3 million

If the high school dropout rate for the district is greater than 14%, the district must implement evidence based practices.

Concerned the Senate Budget reduction to Career and Technical Education will impact the district’s ability to provide robust course options to high school students and may interfere with the state’s ability to make progress on reducing the high school dropout rates.

SCHOOL TURNAROUND

Budget includes $12.5 million

Implement a new statewide system to apply to all schools, regardless of Title I Status.

Challenged schools and persistently lowest-achieving schools will be identified annually, consistent with federal requirements.

Builds off the required action process already passed into law in 2010 for Level 1.

State money will be provided for turning around these schools.

Turnaround models are the four federal turnaround models, plus the state’s collaborative schools model partnering with higher education.

Schools that do not improve will go into Required Action District Level 2—the state will work together with this district on a new turnaround model (turnaround, restart, transformation, or the collaborative school for innovation and success).

If the district and state disagree, the state can impose binding conditions on a Level 2 district.

Binding conditions process is now used only for financial problems—this would use that framework for accountability for the first time.

ASSET

Budget includes $1.2 million

Establish a program to match students (often those at risk of dropping out) with businesses to provide “work-integrated learning” through pre-apprenticeships, visits to worksites and job shadowing.” (SB 5754)

STEM

Budget includes $10.9 million

Design a statewide strategy to improve STEM education.
(see SB 5755/HB 1872)

A-F GRADING

Can embrace an A-F grading system that will help parents and communities fully understand the performance of schools and districts and help encourage their support of our schools. It needs to include:

-Multiple measures—a grade for each of the following:
a. closing the opportunity and achievement gap
b. student performance on state assessments
c. school performance relative to peer schools
d. high school graduation and dropout rates
e. college and career readiness

System must recognize differences in student learning needs regarding English language learners, students with disabilities, poverty and demographic differences between schools and districts.

Stakeholders have opportunity to provide their best thinking and expertise in development of the system. Components must have a high level of scrutiny for fairness and accuracy before it is implemented.

The system will include funding to support any school or district that receives less than a C, to implement a research-based improvement plan.

MUTUAL CONSENT

Philosophically disagree, as do superintendents, principals and teachers.

The bill does not work with collective bargaining, due process, or district management structure.

ACADEMIC ACCELERATION

Districts must adopt a policy that accomplishes the following: If students demonstrate standard on statewide assessment, then the student automatically enrolls in at least one AP or dual credit course. Student may opt out.

ASSESSMNET

Implement Smarter Balance and stick with current end-of-course tests for high school graduation. Believe in assessing kids as they complete courses—not two or three years later.

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