Governor Fallin Signs Appeals Bill for High School Seniors
Last week Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2970 into law, which takes effect immediately. The bill formalizes the process the State Department of Education already has in place for high school seniors who do not meet the current graduation requirement of passing four out of seven End of Instruction Exams. Currently, students who are unable to complete the end-of-instruction exams have a variety of alternative tests they can take. In addition, a special project can be performed in lieu of testing. If a student believes they have an extenuating circumstance as defined in the current State Board of Education rules, the matter can come before the Board.
Supt. Barresi Reiterates Budget Request
As the Legislature approaches the end of this year's session, Superintendent Janet Barresi has reiterated a budget request that asks for an increase to make up for funds lost last year and to help implement reforms.
The Board of Education in December approved a $157.9 million budget increase requested by the State Department of Education for Fiscal Year 2013. The budget allows the department to implement reforms passed this year – such as changes to the Reading Sufficiency Act, which will put an end to social promotion for students not reading on grade level by the end of third grade; an A-F grading system for schools; and the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System. The budget also allows the department to meet state requirements for funding programs such as Teacher Retirement and the Flexible Benefits Allowance. And it restores funding to FY 2011 levels for programs such as National Board Certified Teacher bonuses, Advanced Placement incentives and Achieving Classroom Excellence remediation, which had to be cut last year due to state budget cuts. The increase is the smallest amount sought in many years.
Commission for Education, Instruction Quality and Accountability
Senate Bill 1797 by Senator Clark Jolley would combine many of the functions of the Commission for Teacher Preparation and the Office of Accountability into a new agency known as the Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability. The State Department of Education would take responsibility for Professional Development programs currently provided by the Commission for Teacher Preparation. In addition, the SDE would also become responsible for National Board of Professional Teaching Standards program.
The responsibility for setting “cuts scores and performance levels” would move from the State Department of Education to the new Commission.