Sunday, February 14, 2016

BATs LEGISLATIVE TEAM WEEKLY UPDATE





FEDERAL UPDATE

Let the Federal Government know what you think about collecting the personal private data of our children.

Send them your thoughts in public comment here http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=ED-2015-IES-0100-0002

You can get talking points for your public comment here from Leonie Haimson and Parent Coalition for Student Privacy  http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=ED-2015-IES-0100-0002

DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE BAT ELECTION SCORE CARD 
http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2016/01/bat-election-scorecard-common-core.html

STATE UPDATE

New Mexico

Right To Work Bill was killed once again in New Mexico. This is the second year in a row that this has happened. Our Koch- funded Governor really wants to see this but the NM Senate stands strong against this happening.

Third Grade Retention (ba
sed on Jeb Bush's Florida Model) Bill has passed through the House but looks like it will most likely die in the Senate.

An ALEC Adjunct Teacher Bill which makes it possible for anyone who has a degree to teach passed the House but will die in the Senate.

AFT-NM member and House Rep, Andres Romero has a bill that moved out of committee today. The Bill removes the 9th and 19th grade short-cyle diagositic assessments in reading, language arts, and mathematics from the state's readiness assessment.

Representatives Williams-Stapleton and Christine Trujillo, both AFT-NM members have declared February 15th Public Education Day at the Capitol. Presidents' Day is our annual teachers' statewide rally and lobby our legislators at the Capitol Day.

Today, Feb. 10 was the 1000 Kids March in Santa Fe. Children, their parents and teachers came to Santa Fe to demand quality early childhood for ALL children in New Mexico. The children dellived paper dolls presenting the 35,000 NM children without current early childhood education to the Govenor's office.

The Budget is dreadful and the Governor has millions below the line for her pet projects, such as merit pay.



Wisconsin


Committee advances measure on voucher school funding  http://m.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/legislators-to-hear-stalled-measure-on-voucher-school-funding-b99667310z1-368333471.html



Montana

Still researching a candidate for governor Greg Gianforte. So far he is pro "school choice" and owns the Petra Academy which does not allow disabled students!! Also, he is connected to the Koch brothers super PAC, but I want more details before I get this out there.


Florida

A constitutional amendment that would set up a statewide entity with the power to approve charter schools anywhere in Florida -- bypassing local school districts -- is headed to the House floor, along with a bill that would allow parents to send their children to any unfilled schools in the state.

Both measures gained approval Tuesday from the House Education Committee on party-line or nearly party-line votes.

The constitutional amendment (HJR 759) was approved on a party-line 9-6 vote after some committee members had left the room when the meeting ran late. The "open enrollment" bill (HB 669) passed, 13-5, with Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, joining committee Republicans in voting for it.

Supporters of the constitutional amendment say it would give potential charter schools an option to launch if hesitant local districts unfairly lock them out. School boards are supposed to approve any charters that meet state requirements, backers of the legislation say, but often take other factors -- perhaps even a fear of competition -- into account.

Florida HJR 759 Statewide Charter Schools Authorizer by Rep. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) This BAD bill proposes a ballot amendment to State Constitution that would require the State Board of Education to establish a statewide charter school authorizer to authorize, operate, control, and supervise charter schools. This is extremely misleading. It suggests that we need a governmental entity to authorize charters, when in fact our 67 school districts are currently authorizing charter schools within their counties. It’s a blatant power grab by some politicians and bureaucrats in Tallahassee who want charter school corporations put in charge of our local schools and accountable only to them.
This bad bill:
Creates another layer of government and more bureaucracy in Tallahassee and eliminates local control;
Forces school districts and local taxpayers to accept financial responsibility for charters with no authority over those schools;
Forces parents that have problems, concerns or questions with local charter schools to navigate a maze of state bureaucracy rather than allowing them to take local issues to their locally elected school boards;
Erodes local control of our schools; and
Mandates that communities accept unneeded schools with no recourse and no elected office directly involved in those schools’ supervision or accountability.

FLORIDA HB 669 Educational Choice by Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater) is a mixed bag of provisions. It requires districts to provide parents the average amount spent per student in their child’s school, outlines the process for a parent to pursue enrollment in, and transport his or her child to, any public school that has not reached capacity in the state; and requires districts to establish process for parents to request their child be transferred to another teacher. The bill also defines more choice programs to include: career and professional education (CAPE) digital tools, CAPE industry certifications and collegiate high school programs as public school choice options and the Personal Learning Scholarship Account program is a private educational choice option, and more. The bill was amended to require a course syllabus be provided in courses in grades 6-12 and notification of parents when mature or adult materials are used in those courses. The bill is ready to be heard on the floor of the House. There is no identical senate version, but parts of this bill are contained in several senate bills.


Tennessee

Voucher bill change could create Shelby County program
Dave Boucher, dboucher@tennessean.com 9:34 a.m. CST February 11, 2016
NAS-VOUCHER-PREVIEW-001Buy Photo

(Photo: Andrew Nelles / File / The Tennessean)
The sponsor of school voucher legislation in the Tennessee House supports a significant change to the controversial legislation aimed at making the measure more palatable for fellow lawmakers.

An amendment from Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, filed Wednesday would scale back the scope of the proposed program and allow a limited number of vouchers only in Shelby County through a multi-year pilot program.

THE TENNESSEAN
Voucher bill stalls in Tennessee House

Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, who sponsored the initial legislation, said Wednesday he is OK with the proposed changes.

THE TENNESSEAN
Tennessee House delays school voucher vote

"A pilot program, so that we would go ahead and give the children in the failing schools the opportunity to attend another school. And then part of the bill would be that it would be studied and look at the results," Dunn said.

"I think we'll find out the kids are better off having an opportunity, and then we can expand the program."

It's one of at least 22 amendments filed for the bill, but it was the only one specifically mentioned by Dunn when asked about possible amendments. Amendment sponsor Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, said Wednesday it's "hard to say" what could happen to the voucher bill.

The proposal would drop the number of possible vouchers from 20,000 anywhere in the state to 5,000 in Shelby County.

"The purpose of the pilot project shall be to evaluate the effectiveness of the scholarship program before broadening its scope to other school systems," reads language from Hawk's amendment.

THE TENNESSEAN
Tennessee school voucher vote too close to call

It's still unclear if the chances for the bill's passage are any better with the amendment on the table. Dunn said he was still checking to see if a pilot program would make a difference in the vote total.

As the bill stands, Shelby County schools — specifically Memphis schools — would already be affected more by vouchers than any other district. Although the bill could affect some students in Nashville, several prominent private schools have already said the proposed dollar amount associated with the vouchers wouldn't cover the cost of tuition.

The bill is the most controversial measure to make it to the House floor thus far in the legislative session. After advancing from the committee process, a first in the years that pro-voucher supporters have championed the bill, Dunn had to push to delay voting on the bill Monday for fear it would fail.

THE TENNESSEAN
Gov. Bill Haslam talks education and vouchers

As it reads without the pilot program proposal, the program would be eligible to students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches and are zoned for or attend a school in the bottom 5 percent of all schools. There's a cap of 20,000 student applications, but the program could become eligible to all at-risk students with at least one failing school in their district if enough eligible students don't apply.

Opponents argue the program siphons money from schools that need it the most, without enough evidence vouchers produce better results for students. Supporters say it gives students an opportunity to escape failing schools and enter an environment that can turn around their educational careers.

The bill is still slated for a vote on the House floor Thursday morning.

Reach Dave Boucher at 615-259-8892 and on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.

SRJ 461, sponsored by Brian Kelsey in the Tennessee Senate and Bill Dunn in the House tries to remove the responsibility of public schools from the Tennessee General Assembly. Interesting that it is the same sponsors of the stalled voucher bill. A bicycle helmet bill turned into a payroll dues deduction bill through a caption attached. It is designed to remove the ability of LEAs to deduct union dues from teachers' checks through payroll.   Representative Mike Stewart and his wife have publicly opted their children out of testing.


Arizona

Idaho
The 2016 session has been a tough one for education and Idaho's public school teachers. There appears to be hope on the voucher bill as Governor Otter is expressing reservations about changing the constitution to allow payment to religious schools. However loosening teacher certification requirements faces a fight. We are watching several bills on school board elections carefully. One being proposed by a State Senator who is involved in a recall against 4 of 5 board members would allow the governor to appoint board members.  http://idahoea.org/hotline/otter-weighs-in-on-hjr1-comments-needed-on-charter-teacher-bill/


Mississippi
More information on John Moore's Educator Gag Bill. We're not sure what's more galling--that Rep. Moore only seems to think K-12 employees need silencing (you'll recall that some admins at the state's colleges and universities were vocally anti-42, which apparently is okey dokey) or that he speaks about our professional educators like they don't have the intelligence to know what's in their own best interest.

What do other FED UP Mississippians think about all this? We think it's time to stop the excuses and fund our schools.



Maine
February 18th is the Maine Education Association's Lobby Day at the State House in Augusta. We hope to see many Maine BATs and ACEs (the MEA's activist group) lobbying our legislators on pertinent issues.




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