- Legislation providing for the implementation of computer science in every school in Alabama passed the Senate. HB 216, sponsored by Rep. David Faulkner, now heads to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.
- An early literacy bill, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, passed the Alabama legislature. HB 388 establishes a comprehensive early literacy curriculum, which will provide additional supports for schools and struggling readers. It now heads to Gov. Ivey for her signature.
- Jared Polis signed into law legislation to ensure greater accountability and transparency in the READ Act, in addition to providing additional teacher training, professional development and support based in the science of reading. SB19-199, sponsored by Sen. Nancy Todd and Sen. Bob Rankin, unanimously passed through both legislative chambers during the regular session.
- A bill that creates an innovative learning pilot program for grades 9-12 was also signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis. SB19-216, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Bridges and Rep. Shannon Bird, allows participating local education providers of innovative learning to count students as full-time regardless of whether they meet the required number of teacher-pupil contact hours in traditional classroom settings.
- Computer science instruction would be added to the curriculum in all public schools under SB 957, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Witkos. The bill received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Appropriations.
- SB 1129, sponsored Sen. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, would establish a statewide computer coding curriculum for all public schools, make changes to computer science certification laws and create teaching permits for adjunct computer science instructors. It received a favorable report and moves to the Senate floor.
- Ron DeSantis signed SB 7070, sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr., an omnibus education bill that creates the Family Empowerment Scholarship program. The program will provide approximately 18,000 Florida K-12 students with education scholarships to attend participating private schools in the first year and will add around 7,000 enrollment slots each year thereafter.The bill also provides additional stability for the state’s Hope Operators, high-impact charter organizations, by authorizing them to serve students who live in one of the 427 Opportunity Zones.
- HB 7071, sponsored by Rep. Amber Mariano, passed both the House and Senate unanimously. This workforce education bill:
- Creates the SAIL to 60 Initiative, which seeks to have 60 percent of Floridians in the workforce with post-secondary credentials by 2030.
- Annual review of career and technical education programs to align with workforce needs of the state.
- “Reverse transfer” provisions to help students earn associate degrees who begin in the state college system and transfer to the university system.
- Creates a Last Mile College Completion Program for students who are within 12 credits of completing an associate or bachelor’s degree and who stopped progress toward their degree within the last eight years. The state will award the cost of in-state tuition and fees for them to complete their degree.
- Doubles the number of opportunities for elementary and middle school students to earn digital tools certificates.
- DeSantis signed HB 7123, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Avila, which requires school districts to share their local funds, generated by additional millage approved by local referendum, with charter schools.
- HB 807, sponsored by Rep. Vance Aloupis, requires a review of the civics education course standards and requires that all instructional materials for the middle school civics course be reviewed and approved by the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with stakeholders. It also directs the commissioner to review the end-of-course assessment.
- Brian Kemp signed SB 108, sponsored by Senate Education and Youth Chairman P.K. Martin. The bill will expand access to high-quality computer science coursework to all middle and high school students and build a pipeline of educators to implement this work.
- The computer science legislation received $750,000 in HB 31, the final 2019-2020 budget, which Gov. Kemp also signed. In addition, the budget includes $2 million for charter school facilities grants, bringing total funding for this critical need to $3.5 million.
- Kemp also signed SB 48 by Chairman Martin, which creates a statewide screening program to detect dyslexia in kindergarten students and also helps identify and support other students who may be struggling readers.
- Kemp signed HB 68 by Rep. John Carson, which ensures that organizations granting tax credit scholarships to students to attend private schools cannot also accredit schools.
- Legislation to create a Reading Assistance Program, which would provide a $500 voucher for struggling readers to seek additional supports, passed the House. HB 446, sponsored by Rep. Steve Carter, now heads to the Senate for consideration.
- The Joint Committee on Education heard HB 567, sponsored by Chairman Jeffrey Roy, which would require schools to receive a list of high-need, high-wage occupations that need an industry-recognized certification and provides incentive funds for each student who earns a certification.
- The House version of the two-year budget (HB 966) includes:
- An additional $1.25 million for computer science (bringing the total to $2 million a year);
- $1 million for third-party development of a student-centered funding model;
- $500,000 to hire a nonprofit organization to market the state’s private choice programs;
- Combining the special needs ESA and special needs voucher programs;
- An additional $150,000 for the Advanced Placement partnership (for a new total of $2.4 million); and
- Consolidating prior bonus programs for teachers whose students pass AP, IB or Cambridge exams, earn high-value industry credentials or perform well on state math or reading assessments.
- The Senate version of the budget increases the fee for the authority that administers the state’s private choice programs by $500,000 (for a new maximum of $2 million), although the use of the extra funds was not prescribed. The Senate also included combining the special needs ESA and special needs voucher programs and consolidating the teacher bonus programs. The other items above were not included. The two chambers will work out their differences in conference.
- Legislation to improve Read to Achieve, the state’s early literacy initiative, passed the full Senate. SB 438, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, awaits consideration in the House.
- The Senate also passed the following bills, which now move to the House for consideration:
- SB 354 by Senate Appropriations Co-Chair Kathy Harrington, which would require parents receive notice prior to closing a charter school.
- SB 609 by Sen. Todd Johnson, which would expand eligibility for the state’s special needs ESA and traditional voucher programs.
- SB 621 by Senate Education Co-Chair Jerry Tillman, which would eliminate certain local standardized testing.
- The full House passed the following bills that now move to the Senate for consideration:
- The FY 2020-2021 operating budget as proposed by Governor DeWine (HB 166) contains $30 million in each of the next two years to incentivize high-quality charter school networks to establish schools in Ohio. It also includes $25 million in each of the next two years to incentivize students to earn industry-recognized credentials prior to graduation. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Scott Oelslager, was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
- The House introduced a package of bills (HB 355, HB 356, HB 357 and HB 358) that would strengthen ethical requirements for charter schools, grant charters a right of first refusal for facilities, improve the chartering process by creating a standard application and allow charter schools to offer dual enrollment programs. The bills have all passed the House Education Committee and await floor consideration.
- HB 800, sponsored by Speaker Turzai, passed the full House and has been referred to the Senate Education Committee. The bill increases the amount of tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $100 million, adds a funding escalator to the program, ensures more dollars go to student scholarships than administrative overhead and increases the income limit so that more families qualify for the program.
- Lawmakers held a short special session on the budget (H 4000), which includes $500,000 for computer science teacher development and $2.5 million for industry credentials (bringing total credential funding to $3 million).
- The budget also requires the Department of Education to screen and approve the hiring of reading coaches who serve in schools where at least one-third of third grade students scored at the lowest level on the state test; allows districts to have more than one school of choice/innovation; and requires the Education Oversight Committee to recommend to the Legislature how charter schools should be funded.
- Governor Bill Lee signed HB 939 by House Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn, creating an ESA program for low-income students in Memphis and Nashville. The Governor also signed:
- HB 1508, the 2019-2020 budget, sponsored by House Majority Leader William Lamberth. The budget includes $1.8 million for literacy coaches in priority schools, $1 million for Tennessee’s new state charter authorizer and $25 million for the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) initiative. It also doubles facilities grants for charter schools (to $12 million).
- HB 1339 by House Education Chair Mark White, creating a computer science task force that will report its findings back to the legislature in 2020.
- HB 982, also by Chair White, returning the state to paper testing for one year to ensure a smooth transition to online testing.
- SB 442 by Sen. Mike Bell, creating a study committee to review portfolio assessments in the state’s teacher accountability system.
- HB 664 by Rep. Antonio Parkinson, creating alternative education options for expelled charter school students.
- Significant changes to public school funding, including outcome-based bonuses for college, career or military readiness, were included in HB 3, sponsored by Rep. Dan Huberty, that passed the Legislature. The bill next moves to Gov. Greg Abbott for signature.
- The Legislature also passed SB 2293, sponsored by Sen. Pat Fallon, which provides equal protection to charter schools by extending the same exemption from collective bargaining currently available to traditional schools. The bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for signature.
- The West Virginia Senate released a draft of their Student Success Act. The legislation proposes to increase educational opportunity in the state via creation of public charter schools and open enrollment. It also includes changes to the state’s Innovation in Education program and provides for block grant funding to county school systems. The legislation is slated for consideration during special session beginning on June 1.
- Legislation for educational savings accounts was introduced by the Senate and will also be considered during the special session.