|Tomorrow marks the end of June, and with it, the end of the 2011 state legislative season throughout much of the country.|
These final days offer some good reform stories.
By the way, if you've ever wondered about the dates for legislative session in other states, that information is on the PIEn website in our State Snapshots. The only states with network members that regularly meet past June 30th are California (session ends Sept. 9) and Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Michigan (meet throughout the year.)
The House has passed a bill placing charter schools under tighter financial oversight. The full Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on the last day of the session.
The Foundation for Florida's Future applauds Gov. Rick Scott signing SB 1546 into law,"establishing Florida as a national leader in charter school laws." The law recognizes top charter schools and removes unnecessary barriers.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on bills impacting teacher tenure and collective bargaining today or tomorrow. SB 503 changes tenure regulations but doesn't eliminate collective bargaining, while the House version would end bargaining rights and provide a way to remove ineffective teachers.
The House is expected to approve a conference committee's version of the budget today, following yesterday's approval in the Senate. Fordham Institute reports education reformers can declare a few victories, especially in terms of teacher effectiveness. Provisions require that:
However, Fordham reports today that the final version of the budget removed "incompetence" and poor ratings as good and just cause for teacher dismissal. See Jamie Davies O'Leary's observations on the overall budget debate.
- By 2013-14, all Ohio school districts must implement a rigorous, multiple-measure teacher evaluation system that is based 50 percent on student performance data
- Schools participating in Race to the Top must develop a merit-pay system for teachers based in part on that evaluation
- Seniority is no longer the primary determiner of teacher lay-offs and may only be used as a tie-breaker.
The Columbus Dispatch reports the budget also allows people or groups to establish as many as 20 charter schools a year over the next five years through the Department of Education instead of a traditional nonprofit sponsor.
Gov. Kitzhaber signed a bill yesterday creating an Education Investment Board, one of his top priorities. He hopes it will take over governance of education from birth through college.
That was one of 14 education bills approved last week. Another, SB 290, asks the Board of Education to adopt performance standards for Oregon educators, which will incorporate multiple measures of student learning. See the joint statement from Chalkboard Project, the Oregon Business Association, and Stand for Children on the passage of the historic package of bills.
The Statesman-Journal applauds SB 552, which will end the elected position of state superintendent of public instruction. The paper says innovative groups like the Chalkboard Project have been "filling the void" in education leadership. And House Education Committee co-chairman Matt Wingard called the emergence of Stand for Children "pivotal."
Last night the Texas House and Senate approved a bill that cuts $4 billion from public schools over two years.
With the special session ending at midnight tonight, the Houston Chronicle reports, "Lawmakers have scrambled to balance the deficit-ridden state budget without raising taxes or spending the Rainy Day Fund, and have largely done so by slashing education." The House and Senate approved a measure allowing districts to cut teacher pay and furlough them beginning in 2012, in an attempt to avoid mass layoffs.