Student Growth Component of the Educator Evaluation Bills Debated
The House Education committee heard testimony on legislation that would prohibit the student growth component of teacher evaluations from rising to 40% and instead cap the percentage at 25%. Many school groups voiced their support for the legislation, however, Education Trust Midwest and several members of the business community opposed the legislation with concerns that watering down student growth requirements would not allow us to have the best skilled workforce for our students.
The committee did not vote on the legislation.
Innovative Schools Legislation Introduced
The House Education Committee met this week to discuss two new bills that were introduced by Chairman Tim Kelly. HB 6314 and HB 6415 would allow a school district to apply to the State Superintendent for permission to operate as a "public innovative district" (PID). The bill creates an application process, outlines new responsibilities for MDE, and what requirements must be met to qualify as a PID. Among other requirements, the district must identify innovative practices and detail what benefits they expect to receive from their implementation. "Innovative practices" is defined as approaches to learning that are student-centered, competency-based, and not bound by measures of time and place.
Additionally, the bills create the Education Accountability Policy Commission which is charged with selecting a statewide auditor to perform audits of all the qualifying districts.
The legislation was up for testimony only this week. The committee heard from a couple of school districts that have been focusing on competency-based learning. Testimony from these districts focused on the merits of the legislation but also identified suggested amendments to the legislation.
Similar legislation has been passed in other states with varying results.
MDE Updates Pupil Accounting Manual Regarding Cyber Schools
Last week we reported that new language in the Pupil Accounting Manual had upset some cyber schools due to the requirement that the 1098-hour requirement be met without regard to what point in the year the student started school. Since that point, MDE issued a revision if the Pupil Accounting Manual that states the rule "does not prevent a district from enrolling a pupil who will not receive 1,098 hours of instruction if no membership will be claimed." This language clarifies that cyber schools may take a student midway through the school year but does not allow them to claim membership and the funding associated with that claim.
We are certain the issue is not resolved, and we will keep you posted as we learn more.