The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Tuesday, November 12, 2002, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Lindy Casebier, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Lindy Casebier, Co-Chair; Representative Frank Rasche, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins, Brett Guthrie, Ray Jones II, Alice Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Gerald Neal, R.J. Palmer II, Dan Seum, Johnny Ray Turner, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Buddy Buckingham, Mike Cherry, Hubert Collins, Jon Draud, Tim Feeley, Gippy Graham, Mary Lou Marzian, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly, Russ Mobley, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Arnold Simpson, Dottie Sims, Kathy Stein, Gary Tapp, Mark Treesh, and Charles Walton.
Guests: Jim Applegate, Council on Postsecondary Education; Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools and Kentucky Association of School Superintendents; Scott Trimble and Cindy Owen, Kentucky Department of Education; Cindy Heine, Prichard Committee; Jane C. Lindle, University of Kentucky College of Education; Mike Carr, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Fayette County Schools; Roland Haun, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents; Ken Hines, Kentucky Education Association; Michael Gritton, Kentuckiana Works; and John Cooper, Coca Cola Company.
LRC Staff: Audrey Carr, Ethel Alston, Jonathan Lowe, Sandra Deaton, Kelley McQuerry, and Lisa Moore.
A motion was made to approve the minutes of the October 7, 2002 meeting by Representative Collins and seconded by Representative Rasche. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Kevin Noland, Deputy Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), reviewed Administrative Regulation 703 KAR 5:070 that explains the procedures for the inclusion of special populations in the state-required assessment and accountability programs. He said this change was made to conform with a federal law relating to students with limited English proficiency and including them in assessment after completing one year in an English speaking school.
A motion was made to accept the administrative regulation by Representative Collins and seconded by Representative Stein. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Mr. Noland reviewed Administrative Regulation 701 KAR 5:090 on teacher disciplinary hearings which provides for a pool of retired people to voluntary serve on teacher tribunals, and required the state board to amend its regulation to provide adequate training for those people. He said KDE has had 211 people volunteer to do this and they have completed training.
A motion was made to accept the administrative regulation by Representative Collins and seconded by Representative Rasche. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Senator Casebier introduced Dr. Susan Sclafani, Counselor to the United States Secretary of Education, who presented the intent and proposed implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, “No Child Left Behind”. Dr. Sclafani said Kentucky made reform a topic of national discussion before it was a federal issue.
Dr. Sclafani said Congress has set a goal of all students being proficient by 2014. She said currently the United States has 68 percent of inner city fourth graders reading below grade level, five percent of African-American students are at or above proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at the fourth grade level in both reading and mathematics, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) results for 8th and 12th graders are poor, and there is an over-identification of minorities in special education.
Dr. Sclafani said most states think that performance problems are remedied by receiving more federal dollars, however, federal dollars have increased enormously over the last two decades, and performance has not improved.
Dr. Sclafani emphasized that change leads to improvement. She said the four pillars of the No Child Left Behind Act include accountability, local control and flexibility, parental choice, and doing what works.
Dr. Sclafani said in the area of accountability all students should be proficient in 12 years. She said annual assessments will be required in school grades, three through eight, in reading and mathematics, which will be in addition to Kentucky’s assessments that are already in place. Dr. Sclafani said states will be required to disaggregate data at the state, district, and school level for the sub-populations that exist in those schools in order to determine where the achievement gaps exist. The disaggregation will be by gender, by major racial/ethnic groups, English proficiency status, migrant status, students with disabilities compared to the non-disabled, and economically disadvantaged students compared to the non-disadvantaged.
Dr. Sclafani said challenging academic content standards and challenging academic achievement standards will be required. She said mathematics and reading/language arts standards are needed immediately, and science will be added in 2005-2006. Dr. Sclafani said the expectations are the same for all children with at least three achievement levels: basic, proficient, and advanced.
Dr. Sclafani said the adequate yearly progress is the area that is the most highly prescriptive in the bill. She said there is not much flexibility in this area. Dr. Sclafani explained that adequate yearly progress measures have to be the same for all schools and districts in the state. She also said it is applied to all students and each subgroup. Dr. Sclafani said different levels of proficiency can be determined for the starting points for the elementary, middle, and high schools. She said the levels must be set separately for reading/language arts and mathematics. Dr. Sclafani said adequate yearly progress should be based primarily on state assessments, including the graduation rate for high schools and one other indicator for elementary and middle schools. She also said that for each subgroup, at least 95 percent of students enrolled must be assessed.
Dr. Sclafani said that effective schools correlate to strong instructional leadership, high expectations for achievement for all students, pervasive and broadly understood instructional focus, safe and orderly school climate conducive to teaching and learning, and measures of student achievement as a basis of program evaluation. She said these things were first identified by Ron Edmonds in 1975.
Dr. Sclafani said research findings indicate schools with high test scores and high rates of poverty focus on the academic success of every student. She said performance levels are examined on each student, and the instructional program is customized. Dr. Sclafani said teachers, parents, and principals agreed to not make any excuses for poor performance. She said these schools were also willing to experiment with different strategies until they found the ones that worked.
Dr. Sclafani said schools that are not successful often lack focus, and offer too many programs. She said schools need to align their processes to their goals in order to be successful.
Dr. Sclafani said flexibility and local control are important pieces, but it is difficult with 50 state systems and 16,000 districts with unique circumstances. She said the No Child Left Behind Act leaves room for states to be innovative, and allows the opportunity to transfer up to 50 percent of any funds (Title II, III, IV, or V) from where they are currently to any other purpose for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Dr. Sclafani explained that the federal government is trying to reduce the regulations for states wherever the laws allow.
Dr. Sclafani said parental choice factors in a number of different ways. She said schools that are in their first year improvement, after not having made adequate yearly progress for the school as a whole, or any of its sub-populations, for two years will be in school improvement, and in that year the school district must offer a choice to parents. Dr. Sclafani said the reason is to offer lower achieving students the opportunity to get in another environment to get a better education while the school is improving. She said research shows that each year children spend with a mediocre teacher, they are losing 15-30 percentile points of growth that they may have had, and they never overcome it. Dr. Sclafani said all children will not be able to move because of transportation costs and other factors. She said children must be ranked according to achievement levels within the low income category and first choice will be given to the students that are the most needy. Dr. Sclafani said parents can also request supplemental services such as additional tutoring. She said states should find providers willing to serve children through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
Dr. Sclafani said research has shown that if the five components of reading are taught: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension, 95 percent of children will learn to read on grade level in first grade. She said teacher development is based on the practices that lead to higher student achievement. Dr. Sclafani said evidence-based decision making is used to help students improve when research in an area is not available. She said data from assessments can help schools determine where to make changes in their programs.
Dr. Sclafani said roughly 20 percent of the differences in student achievement are associated with the schools children attend, another 20 percent is associated with individual classrooms and teachers, and the remaining 60 percent is associated with differences among the children in each classroom, including the effects of their prior achievement and their socio-economic background.
Dr. Sclafani said William Sanders conducted value-added studies in Tennessee which showed that children assigned to three effective teachers in a row scored at the 83rd percentile in math at the end of fifth grade, while children assigned to three ineffective teachers in a row, scored at the 29th percentile. She said teachers are the major difference in the performance of children.
Dr. Sclafani said the impact of certification on teacher quality is equivocal at best. She said research does not suggest certification as a critical point in teacher quality. Dr. Sclafani said studies of the effects of teacher experience on student achievement suggest a positive effect after five years through eleven years, but after eleven years, experience makes no difference. She said the bulk of evidence is there are no differential gains across classes taught by teachers with a master’s degree or other advanced degree in education compared to classes taught by teachers who lack such degrees. Dr. Sclafani said when the master’s degree is in the field of the subject the teacher is teaching, it does have a positive impact.
Dr. Sclafani said the biggest determinant of student achievement is the general cognitive ability of the teachers. She said smart and capable teachers need to be actively recruited. She said every study that has included a valid measure of teacher verbal or cognitive ability has found that it accounts for more variance in student achievement than any other measured characteristic of teachers.
Dr. Sclafani said high school math and science teachers with a major in their field of instruction have higher achieving students than teachers who are teaching out-of-field. These effects become stronger in advanced math and science courses in which the teacher’s content knowledge is presumably more critical. She said around the nation, more than 50 percent of middle school math teachers have neither a major nor a minor in mathematics, and 40 percent of science teachers have neither a major or a minor.
Dr. Sclafani said when professional development is focused on academic content and curriculum that is aligned with standards-based reform, teaching practice and student achievement are likely to improve. She said principals need to follow-up to ensure teachers are implementing what they learn in professional development training. Dr. Sclafani said principals and superintendents are expected to improve student achievement, improve the positive school culture, and engage the community in these efforts. She said this is the reason why Title II funds, entitled Teacher Quality, can also be used for leadership quality because it is understood how critical principals and superintendents are in the educational process.
Dr. Sclafani said educators must focus on the complexities that are engaged in any school environment, ensure there is a coherent instructional program, and provide continuity over a period of time. She said other leadership challenges include the relationships with the board, staff and community, and the expectations that the local, state, and national governments impose.
Dr. Sclafani summarized that Kentucky’s reform efforts have led to high expectations for the students. She said Kentucky’s biggest change to implement will be to analyze the performance of the sub-populations in the accountability system.
Representative Rasche asked for clarification on the phrase “same expectations for all children.” Dr. Sclafani said this means that all children are held and measured against the same set of standards. She also said that states are encouraged to focus on getting students to the advanced levels, and not to be satisfied with proficient. Representative Rasche asked Dr. Sclafani to explain the requirement under adequate yearly progress. Dr. Sclafani said Kentucky has been setting an individual trajectory at each school. She said the No Child Left Behind Act says that the same standard and starting point has to be the same for all schools at each level. Representative Rasche said this would mean that 80 percent of Kentucky schools would be rid of their current trajectory. Dr. Sclafani said Kentucky will use the aggregate level of their schools at the 20th percentile for their starting points, however that also becomes the standard for the sub-populations and the schools as a whole. Representative Rasche said he did not understand why one elementary school’s results should affect other schools. Dr. Sclafani said the system says there will be one starting point for all schools across the state, while this bar can be different for the elementary, middle, and high schools, it cannot be different for each individual school. Representative Rasche said this means that Kentucky will be lowering the bar for current expectations for some schools and that makes no sense. He said this reverts back to the very same principles that he thought Kentucky was trying to get away from. Representative Rasche asked, “If the low-performing students are transferred out of the school, where do their scores show up in the next accountability year?” Dr. Sclafani said their scores show up in the school they are attending. Representative Rasche said this means that schools that fall into crisis get immediate help by transferring these low-performing students out. He believes the students who fall behind should have their problems addressed in that school instead of being transferred into another school. Dr. Sclafani said this gives the school time to work on improvement practices.
Representative Draud asked about attracting fully-certified teachers into the middle schools in Texas and competing against business. Dr. Sclafani said most teachers were certified, but had K-8 certification. She said they got the teachers additional training, but fully certified math teachers were not brought into the school system on a regular basis. Representative Draud asked about the correlation between student achievement and a teacher that possesses a master’s degree in his/her field. Dr. Sclafani said she will get some research documentation to Representative Draud on this subject.
Representative Miller asked about the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) testing and the No Child Left Behind Act. He said that teachers will be spending a majority of their time testing instead of teaching. Dr. Sclafani said the annual testing is required to get baseline data. She said most states are planning to use a combination of their current testing system, and another test in between. She said we have to be able to compare the data from year to year. Representative Miller asked if the states would have any flexibility in testing. Dr. Sclafani said yes, that the federal government is already working with some states to look at the tests they are currently using, and trying to help them combine assessments with neighboring states. Representative Miller said he believes parents should be held more accountable for student performance. He said that students should be in school, or the schools need more resources in order to go get the children. He said too much of the load is placed on teachers, principals, and superintendents, and parents should be held accountable as well. Dr. Sclafani said regardless of what the parents do, schools can have an enormous impact on the child. She said schools should not assume that children who come from unstable backgrounds cannot learn. She said many schools have been very successful holding parents accountable through parent contracts.
Senator Casebier asked about parents having to enter into contracts if their child is transferred to another school because he/she was performing poorly. Dr. Sclafani said there has been no discussion about this requirement, but Kentucky could incorporate this procedure into their system. She also said the school district has the final decision-making authority on the transfer of students.
Senator Westwood discussed students who are transferred out of schools because of lower achievement levels. He said Kentucky already has a reward and sanction process for students and schools who fail to measure up to expectations. He said Kentucky may be well served to place a sanction on schools who have high drop-out rates, and wondered if this could be implemented through the No Child Left Behind Act. Dr. Sclafani said the sanctions could certainly be increased by adding this as an indicator. She said graduation will target drop-outs because it asks what happens to students in its cumulative rate as opposed to an annual rate. The No Child Left Behind Act says that states are responsible for the level of student graduation, therefore, if students dropout, they would not be included in the graduation rate. Senator Westwood said there is a policy in Kentucky to accommodate students on the CATS test to help them by reading their reading test. He said this method does not seem effective on accessing reading levels. He asked if reading to students would be acceptable method for accessing reading levels under the No Child Left Behind Act. Dr. Sclafani said the states determine what are valid accommodations, but the legislation does say there is an opportunity to create alternative assessments for the students with severe autism, traumatic brain injury, and severe mental retardation. She said modifications for other students with more minor disabilities will have to be worked out with professional assessment people and special education professionals. Senator Westwood said Kentucky is struggling with a huge budget problem, and wondered if states would have the chance to obtain waivers to use a standard assessment. Dr. Sclafani said assessments would have to be augmented to measure the depth of Kentucky’s standards, and there would be federal funding available for assessment development.
Senator Seum asked about the national drop-out rate. Dr. Sclafani said the challenge is that every state up until this point has had different definitions for the drop-out rate. She said the National Center for Education Statistics has established a new definition, and every state has not transferred over to the common definition. She said the estimates for the cumulative drop-out rate is 15-20 percent for white students, 35-40 percent for African-American students, and between 40-50 percent for Hispanic students. Senator Seum asked what entity determines statistical rankings such as when something reads “Kentucky is ranked 45th in the nation in reading.” Dr. Sclafani said achievement rankings are someone’s opinion because up until this new law, not every state took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). She said states can now rank within NAEP for aggregate performance, and for disaggregated performance, but the 2003 administration will be the first time all states will have participated in NAEP. Senator Seum asked if Kentucky ranks better nationally since the implementation of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). Dr. Sclafani said Kentucky has improved its overall performance, but now it is paramount for Kentucky to decide if the gains have been equal or greater for the students who started at a lower level. Senator Seum asked if there was parental choice in the use of school vouchers. Dr. Sclafani said Congress had considered vouchers, but decided against it. She said the choices are to transfer to another public school, or a charter school.
Representative Collins thanked Dr. Sclafani for her fluency in explaining the issues in the No Child Left Behind Act. He asked if lowering the bar in Kentucky would affect the amount of block grants that Kentucky can receive as compared to another state that may be further behind. Dr. Sclafani said block grants are awarded to states based on population and targeted to the percentage of students in need. She said these federal dollars are not targeted based on performance levels. Representative Collins asked about discussion for better teacher preparation in the college system. Dr. Sclafani said Title II of the Higher Education Act refers specifically to the quality of teacher education programs, and asks them to provide feedback on how students fare on the requirements that states have determined. She said many states also use PRAXIS as the measure of both content knowledge and pedagogy, but unfortunately many states have set a very low bar for how their teachers perform. Dr. Sclafani said Virginia is the only state that has the 50th percentile as its cut-off point. She said teachers can score in the bottom quintile of this test and still be qualified to teach in many states. Dr. Sclafani also said the bar cannot be so high that it discourages people from entering into the teaching profession. Representative Collins said teachers who score high in the content portion of the test may not be able to motivate the students to learn. Dr. Sclafani said the Colleges of Education should identify people who maybe should not be in the teaching profession.
Senator Casebier introduced Mr. John Myers, Augenblick and Myers, Inc., who gave a presentation on the “Overview of the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky Program and School Finance Issues.” Mr. Myers said equity was the big issue for school finance systems, but this is changing to include security and professional development. He said Kentucky was one of the first states to provide dollar rewards in the system, but the base level of funding was not determined by this. He said Kentucky has an equitable system on the national level. Mr. Myers said Kentucky has not addressed standards-based systemic reform outside of the rewards system that tied a little piece of money to performance.
Mr. Myers said school finance is motivated philosophically, technically, and politically. He said the philosophical approach includes adequacy, equity, accountability, and efficiency. He said the technical issues include collecting data, counting students, fiscal controls, and defining and measuring objectives. Mr. Myers said political issues refer to how much money is available, and understanding the impacts of various approaches such as controlling taxes and spending as part of the school funding system. He said revenues include sales and income taxes at the state level, and property taxes at the local level. He said school funding systems must view these three revenue sources like state taxes because the state legislature is responsible for the system.
Mr. Myers said a good school finance system has state aid sensitive to the needs of school districts, and the allocation of state aid is sensitive to the fiscal capacity and tax effort of school districts. He said the variation in spending among school districts can be explained primarily by differences in their needs and tax effort. Mr. Myers said that school districts have a reasonable amount of flexibility to determine how much they want to spend (not unlimited flexibility) and all districts have the same opportunity to generate revenues at the levels they select. He said taxpayers are treated equitably. This means property is assessed uniformly, low income taxpayers are relieved of some of the obligation to pay property taxes, and the burden of paying for schools is shared equitably among homeowners and businesses.
Mr. Myers said the new issues include determining the base cost. He said most states use some version of a “foundation program” approach to distribute the majority of state aid to school districts. In its most basic form, a foundation program specifies a per pupil revenue target through each district through a combination of a constant amount per pupil (the base cost figure) and a series of adjustments that differ across districts. He said adjustments are for cost pressures beyond the control of the school district, and adjustments are related to pupil characteristics, programs, and district or school characteristics. He said Kentucky’s Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) program formula does allow for some adjustments.
Mr. Myers said alternative approaches can be used for setting adequacy. He said Kentucky is conducting a study on adequacy. He gave us five alternative approaches including: 1) Professional judgement approach or input-drive approach; 2) Whole school reform approach—another input-driven approach based on the cost of a particular whole-school reform; 3) Successful school district approach or outcome approach; 4) A simple spending approach—based on what districts spend and we know that they are distributed in terms of spending—if all schools spent at a particular point in that distribution, they would be spending at an adequate level; and 5) A complex statistical approach—where the purpose is to explain why spending varies across school districts in relation to performance using a variety of explanatory variable sand inferring a level of funding for districts based on their characteristics.
Mr. Myers said Kentucky ranks very well with its equity measure in the SEEK formula according to The National Center on Education Statistics. He said Kentucky’s ranking on adequacy is based on outdated information, and the new information is not available, but will be in the future. It will identify adequate resources relative to adequacy levels. Mr. Myers said Kentucky has enhanced this process with the implementation of KERA and SEEK and it will be built upon with the new state standards required by the No Child Left Behind Act.
Representative Treesh asked about capital versus operating budgets. Mr. Myers said all types of expenditures should be considered by the school finance system, including capital/debt. He said the national trend is showing more interest in capital as an evaluation of whether a state is meeting its obligations. He said Arizona and Wyoming are examples of states that had their systems declared unconstitutional because of inequality around capital. Mr. Myers said the trend is to require more equity around capital, and to do more in state aid. He said Kentucky has historically done a lot in this area and has had a state-wide commission to make things more uniform.
Representative Feeley asked if other states are dealing with adequacy issues and if there had been any court cases. Mr. Myers said the national trend in school finance systems is moving towards adequacy, and the original adequacy work was done in response to court cases in Ohio and Wyoming. He also said there are court cases in South Carolina, Massachusetts, and Montana, but Maryland addressed this issue proactively without a court case.
Senator Casebier introduced Mr. Dennis Taulbee, Council on Postsecondary Education, and he reviewed Administrative Regulations 13 KAR 1:030 and 13 KAR 2:100 which dealt with explaining what a fire scene is in relation to the Michael Minger Act. He reviewed Administrative Regulation 13 KAR 2:025 which deals with college preparatory education and instructs the institutions that they must have a policy that gives students credit for advanced placement. Mr. Taulbee said Administrative Regulation 13 KAR 2:045 determines the residency status for admission and tuition assessment purposes.
A motion was made to accept the administrative regulations by Representative Miller and seconded by Representative Rasche. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Senator Casebier said four members of the Interim Joint Committee on Education will be leaving at the end of this term, and two members were present in the meeting. Senator Casebier read the House Resolutions honoring Representative Gippy Graham and Representative Mark Treesh and thanked them for their tremendous service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Representative Mobley asked about the status of World War II veterans receiving high school diplomas. Mr. Noland responded that the legislation that passed required the Kentucky Board of Education to promulgate a regulation to implement some standards for local boards of education who are issuing these diplomas, and this has been completed. He said communication has been sent to all local school district superintendents stating that it is acceptable to issue high school diplomas to World War II veterans at this time. Mr. Noland said a World War II veteran can contact him or the superintendent of the local school district to receive additional help in this area. Representative Mobley said he would communicate the message to the veterans in his area.
Senator McGaha asked what the World War II veterans had to show for proof that they served time in the war. Mr. Noland said proof has to be shown that they served and were honorably discharged, but he is not sure exactly what the proof must be. Senator McGaha requested a copy of the regulation be mailed to all committee members. Mr. Noland said he would get a copy to the Education Committee staff who in turn would mail it to all members.
The meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m.