Senate education committee schedules public hearing and vote

The Senate Committee on Education will hold an executive session and a public hearing on Tuesday, September 17 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 330 Southwest, State Capitol.

The committee is chaired by state Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and is scheduled to take public testimony on the following bills:

PUBLIC HEARING

Senate Bill 138 Relating to: professional development training in character education for teachers, pupil service professionals, principals, and school district administrators, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation.

By Senators Darling, Larson, Carpenter, Johnson, L. Taylor and Wirch; cosponsored by Representatives Rodriguez, Crowley, Anderson, Duchow, Fields, James, Kulp, Mursau, L. Myers, Novak, Ohnstad, Sinicki, Skowronski, Snyder, Subeck, C. Taylor and Tittl.

This bill authorizes the Department of Public Instruction to award grants to
school districts for teachers, pupil service professionals, principals, and school
district administrators to participate in professional development trainings in
character education. Under the bill, DPI is authorized to make these grants for 24
months.

The WASB supports SB 138 based on WASB Resolution 3.28 (Character Education), which supports the integration of comprehensive character education into school curricula to foster among students such traits as respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring, sense of justice and fairness, civic virtue and citizenship. The integration of ethical principles in school curricula should be designed to complement the efforts of parents/guardians, religious communities and civic organizations.

Senate Bill 160 Relating to: the method for providing notice of a special meeting of a school board.

By Senators Olsen, Bewley, Kooyenga and Wanggaard; cosponsored by Representatives Gundrum, Ballweg, Brandtjen, Edming, Felzkowski, Horlacher, Knodl, Kulp, Milroy, Skowronski, Subeck, Tittl, Tusler and Wichgers.

Under current law, the clerk of a school district (other than a first class city
school district) or, in the clerk’s absence, the president of the school district must
notify each school board member in writing of the time and place of a special meeting
of the school board at least 24 hours before the meeting. Currently, the notice must
be delivered personally to each school board member or left at or mailed by first class
mail to the member’s usual place of abode.
This bill makes the following changes to the requirements for providing notice
of a special meeting of a school board:
1. The bill requires a school district clerk or, in the clerk’s absence, the school
district’s president to notify each school board member of the meeting in a manner
likely to give the member notice of the meeting.
2. The bill specifies that the date, time, and place for the meeting must be set
by the clerk of a school district or, in the clerk’s absence, the president of the school
district.
3. The bill provides that, if a school district clerk or, in the clerk’s absence, the
school district’s president determines that providing notice at least 24 hours before
the meeting is, for good cause shown by the clerk or president, impossible or
impractical, the clerk or president may notify each school board member of the date,
time, and place of the meeting less than 24 hours, but not less than 2 hours, before
the meeting.
The WASB helped initiate SB 160 (as well as its Assembly companion, AB 170) upon the request of a former school board president and supports its passage.  The changes made by these bills  are patterned on 2017 Assembly Bill 145, which modernized the method required to be used by city governments when providing notice of a special city council meeting to alderpersons.  That bill was enacted into law as 2017 Wisconsin Act 50.

Senate Bill 183/Assembly Bill 194 Relating to: requirements for initial licensure as a special education teacher.

By Senators Marklein, Darling, Kooyenga, Testin and Tiffany; cosponsored by Representatives Tranel, Dittrich, Edming, Felzkowski, Knodl, Kuglitsch, Kurtz, Mursau, Novak, Rohrkaste, Tittl and Wittke.

This bill allows the Department of Public Instruction to issue an initial license
as a special education teacher to an individual who successfully completes a course
in the teaching of reading and reading comprehension, provided the individual
satisfies all other requirements for licensure by DPI. Specifically, the course must
satisfy all of the following:
1. The course provides rigorous instruction in the teaching of phonemic
awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency.
2. A student in the course receives feedback and coaching from an individual
who holds either a masters degree in reading or a reading specialist license issued
by DPI.
3. A student in the course demonstrates competence in phonemic awareness,
phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency by providing a portfolio of
work.
Current law requires, as a condition for receiving an initial license to teach in
special education, that an individual passes an examination identical to the
Foundations of Reading test.
The WASB registered in support of AB 194 when it was before the Assembly Education Committee.

Senate Bill 184/Assembly Bill 195 Relating to: a license to teach based on reciprocity and granting rule-making authority.

By Senators Marklein, Cowles, Darling, Kooyenga, Nass and Testin; cosponsored by Representatives Tranel, L. Myers, Dittrich, Edming, Felzkowski, Gundrum, Knodl, Kulp, Kurtz, Novak, Rohrkaste, Skowronski, Spiros, Tittl, Wichgers, Wittke, Zimmerman and Tusler.

Under current law, the Department of Public Instruction must issue an initial
license to teach to an individual who holds a license to teach in good standing from
another state if the individual taught under that license for at least one year. A
license to teach issued based on these qualifications is known as a “license to teach
based on reciprocity.” This bill requires DPI to also issue a license to teach based on
reciprocity to an individual who holds a license to teach in good standing from
another state if the individual taught in this state under a license or permit issued
by DPI for at least two semesters and the school district or charter school where the
applicant taught under that license or permit confirms that the applicant’s teaching
experience was successful.
This bill also changes a license to teach based on reciprocity from an initial
license to a provisional license. Under the bill, DPI must issue a lifetime license to
an individual who obtains a provisional license to teach based on reciprocity if the
individual successfully completes six semesters of teaching experience, as defined by
DPI. Under current law, DPI issues a lifetime license to an individual who holds a
provisional license obtained based on other qualifications. Finally, the bill specifies
that DPI must issue a provisional license to teach to any individual who holds an
initial license to teach based on reciprocity on the date the bill becomes law.
The WASB is currently monitoring this bill.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

Before the public hearing begins, the committee will vote on whether to recommend the following bills to the full Senate (for more information on these bills see this post):

Assembly Bill 53 Relating to: pupil records.

By Representatives Born, Jagler, Plumer, Brooks, Novak, Thiesfeldt, Tusler and Vruwink; cosponsored by Senators Olsen and Darling.

The WASB testified in favor of AB 53 when it was before the Assembly Education Committee.

Assembly Bill 54 Relating to: fire, tornado, and school safety drills for public and private schools.

By Representatives Born, Jagler, Plumer, Ballweg, Dittrich, Mursau, Novak, Pronschinske, Ramthun, Rohrkaste, Skowronski, Spiros, C. Taylor, Thiesfeldt and Vruwink; cosponsored by Senators Olsen, Bernier, Darling, Marklein, Kooyenga and L. Taylor.

The WASB testified in favor of AB 54 when it was before the Assembly Education Committee.

Assembly Bill 67 Relating to: information on the school district and school accountability report.

By Representatives Kitchens, Thiesfeldt, Duchow, Hebl, L. Myers, Novak, Pope, Ramthun, Skowronski, Steffen and Vruwink; cosponsored by Senators Kooyenga, L. Taylor, Cowles and Olsen.

The WASB registered as neutral on AB 67, along with other K-12 education advocacy groups.   We continue to monitor this bill.