Later today, the State Senate will vote on Senate Bill 437, a bill relating to low-performing schools and school districts. SB 437 was introduced to improve Wisconsin’s chances of securing funds in President Obama’s Race To The Top initiative.
Setting the rhetoric aside, The MacIver Institute has put together a summary of the legislation, point by point.
SECTION 1 (page 1, line 8 ) – Straightforward provision prohibiting tenure for principals. “No principal or assistant principal may be granted tenure.”
SECTION 2 (starts on page 2, line 1) – Deals with low performing school districts and tools the local school board would use to fix the situation.
1) If the State Superintendent determines a school district is in need of improvement for 4 consecutive years, the SCHOOL BOARD shall:
A) Employ a standard curriculum that is aligned with the state’s model academic standards.
B) Use academic performance data to “differentiate instruction to meet individual needs.”
C) Implement a system of supports and strategies to improve reading and mathematics instruction and promote positive behavior.
D) Provide additional learning time for students who are struggling.
2) If State Superintendent determines (page 2, line 19) that a public school was in the lowest performing 5 percent of all public schools in the state in the previous school year and is located in a district in need of improvement for 4 years, the SCHOOL BOARD shall:
A) Use rigorous and equitable performance evaluation systems for teachers and principals (page 2, line 23) including:
i) Annual performance evaluations including improvement in pupil academic achievement and observation-based performance assessments. Improvement in pupil academic achievement is “based on at least 2 measures.”
ii) A method of identifying mitigating factors, such as mobility, large class size, insufficient preparation time, insufficient paraprofessional support, insufficient professional development and insufficient resources that could affect a teacher’s or principal’s performance.
B) Adopt a policy establishing criteria for evaluating whether the distribution of teachers and principals is equitable (page 3, line 10). If the SCHOOL BOARD determines the distribution is inequitable, the SCHOOL BOARD shall:
i) Perform a comprehensive review of current policies and constraints that prevent low-performing schools from getting the best teachers.
ii) Provide additional support to teachers and principals for courses related to their professional duties.
C) Establish teacher and principal improvement programs that include all of the following (page 3, line 24):
i) Supplemental mentoring for those w/ emergency licenses.
ii) Opportunities to pursue other professional certifications.
iii) 60 hours of professional development each year.
iv) A joint labor-management program designed to objectively identify teachers and principals who continue to demonstrate serious performance deficiencies after opportunities for improvement, including weekly observation, mentoring, ongoing conferences, modeling, and professional development…(page 4, line 7).
D) Adopt placement criteria for principals that include performance evaluations and measures of pupil academic achievement.
3) If state superintendent (page 4, line 15) determines that a school district has been in need of improvement for 4 years, the STATE SUPERINTENDENT MAY direct the school board to do one or more of the following after consulting with the board, the school district superintendent and each collective bargaining unit:
A) Implement or modify activities described above in section 1, A-D.
B) Implement (page 4, line 22) a new instructional design, which may include expanded hours or additional supports and services.
C) Implement professional development programs that focus on improving pupil academic achievement.
D) Implement changes in administrative and personnel structures that are consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements.
E) Adopt accountability measures to monitor the school district’s finances or “other interventions.”
4) If the superintendent (page 5, line 6) determines that a school is located within a district in need of improvement for 4 years and the school itself is in need of improvement for 5 years or among lowest performing 5 percent of schools in the state, the SUPERINTENDENT MAY direct the school board to do the following after consulting with the board, local superintendent, and the collective bargaining units:
A) Implement a new instructional design, including expanded hours or additional pupil supports and services.
B) Create a school improvement council to make recommendations to improve the school.
5) If the State Superintendent issues a directive under 3) or 4), the Superintendent shall:
A) Notify the education committees and legislators impacted.
B) Provide a system of support to the school board (page 6, line 1).
C) If the school board receives a directive, the local school board shall seek input from everyone.
6) The state superintendent (page 6, line 6) shall promulgate rules establishing criteria and procedures for determining whether a school or school district is in need of improvement and whether a school is among the lowest performing 5 percent of all public schools in the state.
7) Nothing in this section alters or otherwise affects the rights or remedies afforded school districts and school district employees under federal or state law or any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
SECTION 3 (page 6, line 13) – various statutory references.
SECTION 4 (page 7, line 1) – various new requirements of the MPS School Board.
1) Master Facilities Plan – by July 1, 2011, evaluate all buildings and develop master plan.
2) School Board shall prepare a budget for each school
3) School Board shall collaborate with nonprofit organizations and government to provide pupils with social services and educational support.
4) School Board shall provide alternative methods for graduating.
5) If School Board determines money is available, the Board shall participate in a educational research consortium.
6) School Board shall conduct a parent survey annually (page 8, line 5).
SECTION 5 (page 8, line 10) Any MPS school may apply to set up a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pilot program for K – 5 if money is available.
SECTION 6 – If State Superintendent withholds state aid, school board my request a hearing.
SECTION 7 – “Comply with a directive issued by the state superintendent under s. 118.42(3)(a) or (b).”
SECTION 8 – Non-statutory provisions – In promulgating the rules required, the State superintendent shall consult with everyone impacted by this law.
SECTION 9 – Initial applicability – “The treatment of section 118.24(10) of the statutes first applies to contracts entered into, modified, or renewed on the effective of this subsection.