This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Bob Kefgen's picture

On Tuesday, the House Workforce and Talent Development Committee reported out a pair of education related bills: SB 344 would create an optional state-recognized STEM diploma endorsement that school districts could give students at their discretion and HB 5907 would require districts to inform students about college-credit-by-testing options like AP, IB, and CLEP, which most districts do already. Also Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee reported out a trio of school safety bills then took its first testimony on a host of bills aimed at addressing substitute teacher and teacher shortages by reducing the minimum requirements for those positions: HB 4069 would reduce the number of credits required to be a substitute teacher from 90 credits down to 60 credits (though a district could choose to have a higher bar if it wanted), HB 4084 would eliminate the requirement that teachers take a three credit course in diagnosing reading disabilities in order to progress to a Professional Teaching Certificate (this currently applies to ALL teachers regardless of grade level or subject), and SB 909-910 would significantly expand the allowable use of uncertified teachers on a short-term (and in some cases long-term) basis. MASSP testified in support of the two House bills and in opposition to the two Senate bills, emphasizing the difference in scope between the two approaches and urging the committee to focus on moderate adjustments rather than sweeping reductions in minimum standards. On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted out the vehicle bills for the Governor’s Marshall Plan (SB 941-942) exactly as proposed by the Governor, though the Chair indicated that both House and Senate Fiscal analysts are working through a number of concerns raised through testimony, and that the bills will be amended on the floor. Finally, the House passed a 27-bill sexual assault prevention package (that is an amalgam of House and Senate legislation introduced in response to the Nassar sexual abuse case…both the original House and Senate bill packages had some significant implications for K-12 education, but the potential impact has been reduced greatly over time as the scope of the bills is becoming more limited the further it moves through the process.