University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

News From The Capitol: February 26, 2015

In AR Legislature on February 26, 2015 at 4:31 pm

 

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This morning the House Committee on Education recommended Do Pass on a resolution to recognize teachers with national board certifications and bill that would provide a waiver from consolidation.

Teacher Recognition

Rep. Clark Tucker presented HR1025 that would honor Arkansas teachers who have achieved National Board Certification. The resolution moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. Board certified teachers will be at the state capitol on Monday, March 2.

School Consolidation

Rep. Bruce Cozart presented HB1263 that would provide a waiver from consolidation for a school district with fewer than 350 students that is not in fiscal, academic, or facilities distress. The bill would not affect already-consolidated schools. Several representatives expressed concern that schools with fewer than 350 students may not meet the court-mandated requirements for adequacy. Arkansas Education Association Executive Director Rich Nagel spoke against HB1263, saying that the outcome of pending legislation on accreditation and minimum standards may affect this bill. Renee Carr, Executive Director of the Rural Community Alliance, spoke in favor of HB1263 and said that students and families of consolidated schools “have not been well served.” Former representative Randy Alexander also spoke for the bill, highlighting research findings that he said do not support consolidation’s supposed benefits of academic achievement and cost efficiency. After lengthy and vigorous discussion, the committee voted to recommend Do Pass, and HB1263 moves to the full House.

Several K-12 related bills moved through the Senate today.

School Choice

The Senate passed SB179 that would allow a K-12 student to attend school in a nonresident district. The bill also stipulates that districts declaring exemption because of desegregation orders must provide a copy of the federal order to the Arkansas Department of Education. SB179 moves to the House Committee on Education.

Make-up School Days

The Senate passed HB1313 that would allow schools to make up missed time in 60-minute increments. Districts would still have to submit a plan to ADE for approval. Now awaiting the signature of Gov. Hutchinson, this legislation has an emergency clause that would apply its provisions to the current school year.

Leadership Training

The Senate passed HB1382 that would permit the Arkansas Leadership Academy (ALA) to form partnerships with public or private entities, such as corporations or local chambers of commerce, to enhance leadership development opportunities for public school stakeholders. This bill also moves on to the governor’s office for approval.

Live Streaming

We recently reported in error that both the House and Senate education committees provide live video streaming of their meetings. In fact, only the House of Representatives offers live video streaming of committee meetings. The House also provides live video streaming of its sessions; Senate sessions are  live streamed in audio. We apologize for the error.

 

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