View the agenda for the January 29, 2020 meeting of the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development. Bills on the agenda are listed below.
SB 295 Various education matters. Directs the state board of education (state board) to establish the Indiana Innovation Council (council). Defines the membership of the council and describes certain duties of the council. Allows school corporations to apply for flexibility regarding or waivers from state and federal regulations. Requires the council to approve the applications. Extends the deadline for school corporations, charter schools, and accredited nonpublic schools to incorporate age appropriate research based instructions on child abuse and child sexual abuse to students. Requires that outlines and materials about child abuse and child sexual abuse used for instruction must be effective and promising. Removes the requirement that school buses have black reflective tape affixed on the bumpers and sides of the bus.
Our comment: If the rules are important, keep them. If they are not, why should they apply to some but not all schools? Allowing waivers may produce a patchwork of regulations, rules for some but not others, and introduce or increase inequities.
And why, after the 2018 death of three children crossing the road for the bus, would legislators remove a requirement for school buses to have black reflective tape?
SB 398 Various education matters. Removes the topic of high ability students (including high ability curriculum) from the list of statutes that the legislative council is urged to assign to a study committee during the 2021 legislative interim. Defines a patriotic organization as a youth membership organization listed in Title 36 of the United States Code. Requires school corporations to allow representatives of patriotic organizations to speak with students about participating in a patriotic organization and provide information to students about how the patriotic organization may better the students' school and community. Requires the department of workforce development to ensure that the high school equivalency test is administered under certain conditions and by certain vendors.
Our comment: This bill would apparently require districts and charters to allow Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts to use any school building, apparently giving these "patriotic organizations" precedence over the school’s own activities.
SB 445 Micro-credentialing. Requires the state board of education (state board) to establish a micro-credential program to supplement current teacher renewal requirements or that allows a micro-credential to be obtained as part of a professional growth plan. Requires the state board to approve one or more micro-credential programs to meet the state board's requirements. Provides that the state board shall prioritize certain criteria in establishing a micro-credential program. Requires the commission for higher education (commission) to study whether a micro-credential program can be used toward a master's degree. Requires the commission to submit a report to the state board about its findings.
SB 244 Teacher supplemental pay and evaluations. Establishes additional circumstances for which a school corporation may provide supplemental payments to teachers in excess of the salary specified in the school corporation's compensation plan. Provides that a teacher rated improvement necessary in the teacher's annual performance evaluation may receive a partial raise or increment. (Current law provides that such a teacher may not receive a raise or increment.) Relocates provisions regarding supplemental payments for teachers. Amends requirements regarding school corporation annual performance evaluations.
SB 263 Handgun training for teachers. Provides that a school corporation, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school may use grant money received from the Indiana safe schools fund to pay for part or all of specialized weapons training for employees who are required to successfully complete or who request to attend the specialized weapons training. Establishes requirements for specialized weapons training. Provides that, before an employee or any other staff member of a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school may carry a firearm in or on school property as authorized by a school board of the school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school, the employee or staff member shall do the following: (1) Successfully complete certain specialized weapons training. (2) Provide proof to the school board that the employee or other staff member has successfully completed the specialized weapons training. (3) Complete the Minnesota multiphasic personality inventory 2 (MMPI-II) and provide proof of completion to the school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school. Requires an employee or any other staff member of a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school to successfully complete eight hours of weapons training each year that the employee or staff member intends to carry a firearm in or on school property. Requires that for a person or entity to provide specialized weapons training to certain employees and other staff members of a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school, the person or entity apply and receive approval from the secured school safety board. Provides that a public school or an accredited nonpublic school may not conduct a training or drill for an employee of the school that includes, as any part of the training or drill, the expelling of any type of projectile at the employee unless: (1) the school informs the employee of the use of projectiles in the training or drill; and (2) the employee consents, in writing, to the use of projectiles during the training or drill. Allows a school to barricade or block a door during an active shooter drill or during an active shooter emergency occurring in a school building.
Our comment: A tragic situation in Bloomington in the past week, in which a four-year-old was killed by a bullet discharged when his father's gun fell to the floor as they were wrestling, is yet another reminder of the danger that would be introduced by guns in schools.
SB 319 Practitioner or accomplished practitioner license. Provides that 15 of the professional growth experience points required to renew a practitioner license or accomplished practitioner license may be obtained through one or more of certain professional development experiences. (Current law requires 15 of the professional growth experience points to renew a practitioner license or an accomplished practitioner license must be obtained through one or more of certain professional development experiences.) Amends the list of professional development experiences.
This bill responds to a groundswell of teacher outrage as it would repeal the externship requirement.
SB 346 Students with disabilities. Provides that at least one member of the Indiana technical advisory committee of the state board of education must have expertise in special education. Requires, to the extent permitted under federal law, the department of education (department) to provide the same text-to-speech, screen reader, or human reader accommodations to a particular student on every section of the statewide assessment program as provided as part of the student's individualized education program (IEP), service plan, or choice scholarship education plan. Prohibits the department from issuing certain guidance or recommendations to a school corporation or school regarding an individualized education program (IEP), service plan, or choice scholarship education plan.
SB 412 21st century scholars program. Provides that the commission for higher education may allow a twenty-first century scholars program student who fulfills the observance of a religious discipline or call to mission to delay enrollment in a college or university or to meet course completion requirements for a period of up to two years.
Please call committee members, including chair Senator Raatz, at 800-382-9467, with your comments. Also, you can email committee members at the addresses below.
Republicans: Raatz, Crane, Buchanan, Donato, Freeman, Kruse, Leising, Rogers, Spartz
Democrats: Melton, Mrvan, Niezgodski, Stoops
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