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New Hampshire House Bill 604

 

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House Bill 604, Kill Bill to Subsidize Community College Tuition: Passed 188 to 161 in the state House on February 15, 2017

 

Kill Bill to Subsidize Community College Tuition

 

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Arizona Senate Bill 1293

 

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Senate Bill 1293, Remove licensing requirements for small vocational training programs: Passed 29 to 0 in the state Senate on February 20, 2017 and 43 to 12 in the state House on April 20, 2017

 

To exempt private instructional programs that have fewer than 40 in-class or online hours and charge less than $1,000 from state licensing requirements.

 

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Pennsylvania House Bill 121

 

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House Bill 121: Mandate opioid abuse curriculum: Passed 196 to 0 in the state House on June 26, 2017

 

To require that students in grades 6 through 12 must be given courses in the prevention of opioid abuse and that the state must develop model curriculum for such instruction.

 

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New Hampshire Senate Bill 44

 

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Senate Bill 44, Ban common core: Passed 14 to 9 in the state Senate on February 23, 2017

 

To prohibit the state from requiring implementation of common core standards.

 

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Michigan Senate Bill 401

 

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Senate Bill 401, Overhaul school employee retirement system: Passed 21 to 17 in the state Senate on June 15, 2017

 

To replace the current school pension system with one that requires more cost-sharing by new employees, and contains provisions intended to limit state management practices responsible for the $29.1 billion of unfunded liabilities in the status quo system. New employees could choose instead to receive substantial employer contributions to 401(k) accounts. If the overhauled defined benefit component is not properly funded then enrollees would have to pay half the cost of correcting this, and if underfunding exceeds specified levels this option would be closed to new hires.

 

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Iowa House Bill 642

 

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House Bill 642, To suspend the statewide report card for public schools for two years: Failed 42 to 55 in the state House on April 17, 2017

 

Starting with the 2015 school year, the Iowa Department of Education has released report cards for public schools in the state. This amendment to the bill that funds the education department would suspend further report cards until the 2020-21 school year, thereby allowing for two years of data to be collected on a new statewide student assessment.

 

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New Hampshire House Bill 103

 

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House Bill 103, Mandate notice of objectionable course material: Passed 203 to 51 in the state House on February 2, 2017 and 14 to 9 in the state Senate on March 30, 2017

 

To require school districts to provide advance notice to parents and legal guardians of course material involving discussion of human sexuality or human sexual education.

 

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Virginia House Bill 1536

 

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House Bill 1536, Ban grade school suspensions and expulsions: Passed 49 to 47 in the state House on February 6, 2017 and 33 to 7 in the state Senate on February 13, 2017

 

To prohibit students up to third grade from being suspended for more than five days or expelled except for drug, firearm, and certain other criminal offenses.

 

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Wisconsin Assembly Bill 240

 

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Assembly Bill 240: Strengthen school attendance requirements for Wisconsin Works recipients’ kids: Passed 62 to 35 in the state Assembly on May 10, 2017

 

To impose penalties on Wisconsin Works participants if their children are habitually truant or fail to meet school attendance requirements. Current law requires that children of Wisconsin Works participants must be enrolled in school.

 

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Tennessee Senate Bill 524

 

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Senate Bill 524, Allow sign language to count as foreign language in schools: Passed 33 to 0 in the state Senate on March 6, 2017

 

To allow courses in American Sign Language to count towards foreign language requirements in school.

 

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North Carolina House Bill 800

 

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House Bill 800, Allow some enrollment preferences at charter schools: Passed 72 to 47 in the state House on April 25, 2017

 

To allow enrollment preferences at charter schools for children of permanent employees of a "charter partner," which is a corporation, partnership, or nonprofit that gave land, provided a building, made renovations, or donated technology to a charter school. The bill would cap the preferences to 50% of enrollment. It would also let charter school boards contract with outside education organizations to provide teachers, and require State Board of Education decisions over granting a charter to be made in 90 days of a charter application submission.

 

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Missouri House Bill 441

 

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House Bill 441, Require school free speech policies: Passed 148 to 6 in the state House on March 13, 2017

 

To require each school districts and public colleges to adopt a written student freedom of expression policy which must include reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of student expression, and to affirm the right of student journalists to the exercise of freedom of speech and of the press in school sponsored media.

 

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Virginia House Bill 1392: Allow some school security officers to carry firearms

 

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House Bill 1392, Allow some school security officers to carry firearms: Passed 24 to 16 in the state Senate on February 17, 2017

 

To permit a school security officer to carry a firearm if he or she retired as law enforcement officer in the previous 10 years, takes a training course, and the local school board grants him or her authority to carry a firearm.

 

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Michigan Senate Bill 249: Ban government, school district discrimination against charter schools

 

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Senate Bill 249, Ban government, school district discrimination against charter schools: Passed 25 to 13 in the state Senate on May 23, 2017

 

To prohibit a school district or local government from refusing to sell property to a charter or private school, or taking other actions designed to keep these potential conventional public school competitors from using property for a lawful educational purpose. Prohibited actions could also include imposing deed or zoning restrictions. A number of local governments and conventional school districts have adopted such restrictions in the past.

 

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Nevada Senate Bill 45: Remove requirement for state inspection of public university buildings

 

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Senate Bill 45, Remove requirement for state inspection of public university buildings: Passed 21 to 0 in the state Senate on February 22, 2017

 

To eliminate the requirement that the State Public Works Division periodically inspect all buildings at the State universities. All buildings and physical plant facilities owned by any part of the Nevada System of Higher Education would be exempt from the requirement of periodic state inspections.

 

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Virginia Senate Bill 1359: Mandate lead testing in schools

 

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Senate Bill 1359, Mandate lead testing in schools: Passed 99 to 1 in the state House on February 23, 2017

 

To require school districts develop a plan to test school drinking water for lead, starting in schools built before 1986. If necessary, schools must find a way to remediate water found to have high lead levels.

 

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Iowa Senate Bill 166: Increase State Funding for Schools by 1.1 Percent

 

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Senate Bill 166, Increase state funding for schools by 1.1 percent: Passed the state Senate 28 to 21 on February 2, 2017 and 55 to 40 in the state House on February 6, 2017

 

To increase the state funding of public schools by 1.1 percent for the next year. Also, the bill removes a requirement that the legislature fix the amount of state aid two years in advance.

 

Ohio House Bill 89: Use Medicaid Funding for Individualized Education Programs

 

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House Bill 89, Use Medicaid funding for individualized education programs: Passed 31 to 1 in the state Senate on December 7, 2016

 

To classify service providers in school individualized education programs as "a licensed practitioner of the healing arts" in order to get federal reimbursement for student educational assistance.

 

Homeschooling Legislation Advancing in the States

 

Once strictly regulated or even banned in most states, homeschooling now encompasses 3% of the U.S. student population. Individual states have authority over the laws and rules governing homeschooling. That means that every year during state legislative sessions, there are efforts to change these laws in ways both big and small.

 

Here are some of the bills being considered this year that could affect homeschooling:

 

“Tebow Bill”: Tim Tebow was a top player in the NFL who was allowed to play football at a public high school while he was being homeschooled. Tebow grew up in Florida, but not all states allow homeschoolers to play sports or participate in other school activities with public school students. This year legislators in Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas are considering bills that would allow them to do this. Virginia legislators passed a similar bill last year, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed it.

 

Registration with local districts: In 2013, Iowa ended the requirement that homeschooling parents register with their local school districts. But In 2016, two homeschooled students within the state suffered abuse and died at the hands of their parents. Some Iowa legislators are now pushing to require parents who homeschool to once again register with the government, and for local school districts to make home visits every four months.

 

Shift rule-making authority: In New Hampshire, a homeschooling legislator plans to introduce legislation that would remove the authority of the state board of education to set rules about homeschooling. Instead, this authority would move to the state legislature.

 

Constitutional protection: Homeschooling is legal in Texas, but one state legislator wants to ensure that it has a higher level of protection. Rep. Mark Keough has introduced a measure that would add parents’ right to homeschool their children to the state constitution.

 

What do you think about homeschooling? Should parents have significant freedom to teach their children at home? Or should the state have regulations in place to govern how students are taught at home?

 

Nothing Closer to Eternal Than a Failed Michigan Public School?

State education officials have been unable or unwilling to say whether they have ever used their power to close a Michigan public school that has persistently failed academically. (Some low-performance school districts have been closed by the state because they became fiscally unviable.)

 

Whether that will change is uncertain. A few weeks ago, an official with a state School Reform Office told an education news website that with a few exceptions, schools that rank in the state’s bottom 5 percent on academic performance will be closed after the current year.

 

But apparently that was news to officials in the state Department of Education, who said no closings were planned.

 

Which brings us to the release this week of the latest update to the worst-performing schools report,  essentially the lowest 5 percent of school on what the state calls its “Top to Bottom” list. The bottom 5 percent includes 116 schools, of which 58 are in Detroit.

 

This list of so-called “priority schools”comes from the same School Reform Office from which the earlier “bad schools will be closed” report originated. The press release accompanying the updated rankings says nothing about closing schools, with instead just a vague reference to “a next level of accountability.”

 

However, an aide to Gov. Rick Snyder told the Detroit Free Press that no Detroit schools on the worst schools list – precisely half of the total  – will be closed for at least three years, based on some legal interpretations of a Detroit school bailout bill Snyder championed and recently signed.

 

One school reformer is skeptical. Gary Nayaert of the Great Lakes Education Project told the Detroit News, “Legal opinions are not hard to come by, not hard to purchase…I would encourage the governor to seek a second legal opinion.”

 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress has named Detroit’s as the nation’s worst performing urban school district in each of the four biannual rankings released since 2009.

 

Snyder has been under stress since the Flint water contamination debacle hit the news almost a year ago. At the end of 2016 the term-limited Republican will have two years left before a new governor takes office on Jan. 1, 2019.

 

 

 

http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/detroit/2016/08/15/scores-michigan-schools-shuttered-based-test-scores-told-wouldnt-count/#.V8hvovkrLiw

 

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/sro/2015_Lowest_Achieving_5_List_v.2016.09.01_533522_7.pdf%20

 

http://www.michigan.gov/sro/

 

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2016/09/01/snyder-aide-failing-detroit-schools-unlikely-face-closure-yet/89680796/

 

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/09/01/snyder-adviser-forced-detroit-schools-closures-soon/89681518/

 

https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/publications/dst2015/pdf/2016048xr8.pdf

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