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Major Education Policy Reforms Survive First Bill Deadline

By March 17, 2013 No Comments

Last Thursday the House and Senate Education Policy committees put together omnibus education policy bills. Several major reforms made it into those House and Senate policy bills. There are always differences between House and Senate policy positions, but this year those differences are more nuance than substance.

Here’s a look at what the current bills would mean:

Grad Tests

High-stakes state graduation exams including the MATH GRAD would be retired if these policy bills were to become law. Instead of GRAD tests in reading, math and writing, students would take, but would not be required to achieve a particular score on a new series of tests before graduating.

Teacher Tests

Teachers candidates would no longer need to pass the basic skills tests in order to obtain a license. Instead, a task force would come up with recommendations for the Board of Teaching and the Legislature on how teacher candidates can demonstrate mastery of basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills.

School Calendar

The one substantive area of difference between education policy initiatives in the House and Senate this year is on school calendar requirements.  The House education policy bill would allow school districts to begin the school year before Labor Day, though they would not be allowed to hold classes on the Thursday or Friday before the holiday.

An amendment to allow school years to create year round school years was defeated in the Senate Education Policy committee during Thursday’s mark up of the omnibus bill.