Interim Joint Committee on Education


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2010 Interim


<MeetMDY1> July 12, 2010


Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> second meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> July 12, 2010, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Carl Rollins II, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Jimmy Higdon, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Tim Shaughnessy, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Tim Firkins, Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, Wilson Stone, Alecia Webb-Edgington, Addia Wuchner, and Jill York.


Guests:  Wayne Young, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Rita Muratalla, Principal, Zoneton Middle School, Bullitt County Schools; Dot Perkins, Superintendent, Gallatin County Schools; Jim Thompson, Legislative Liaison, Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development; Cindy Godsey, Division of Certification, Education Professional Standards Board; Jonathan Lowe, Jefferson County Public Schools; Keith White, Office of Education Accountability; and Danny Hwang, Prichard Committee.


LRC Staff:  Audrey Carr, Sandy Deaton, Ken Warlick, and Janet Oliver.


Approval of Minutes

            Upon motion by Representative Richards, seconded by Representative Belcher, the minutes of the June 14, 2010, meeting were approved by voice vote.



            Representative Collins announced that the Johnson County Middle School recently won the international competition in community problem solving presenting solutions to help foster children satisfactorily adjust to their environment.  He said the future problem solving team from Johnson County’s Central Elementary School placed second internationally to New Zealand, and the high school academic coach, Ms. Brenda Porter, was named International Academic Coach of the Year.


Reports from Subcommittee Meetings

Representative Combs said the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education heard a presentation from Dr. William T. Betz, Senior Associate Dean for Osteopathic Education at Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine, on recruiting and training of individuals from Kentucky and Appalachia in the osteopathic profession.  The program is one of 29 in the county with an average of 35 applicants for each slot and tuition covers laptops, textbooks, medical equipment, clothing, and organizational membership.  Data has shown that 32% of the graduates practice in Kentucky and 62% in the Appalachian region.  Also 44% of graduates practice in underserved areas and 38% in rural areas.  A loan forgiveness program is available to students who set up practice in rural areas. 


Representative Combs said the subcommittee also received an update on funding by Dr. Robert King, President of the Council on Postsecondary Education.  Dr. King said data shows that funding over the last decade for postsecondary education has not kept pace with the growth in the General Fund; enrollment has greatly increased; and, even though tuition has significantly increased, the actual cost in Kentucky has remained relatively stable.  Kentucky funds a higher percentage of the costs of public education than many other states with half of the CPE budget going to adult education programs and 40% going to pass through projects. 


Representative Ted Edmonds reported that the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education heard a discussion regarding the school calendar.  Commissioner Terry Holliday provided data related to loss instructional time over the past three years due mostly to inclement weather.  The commissioner is opposed to waiving missed days and offered suggestions about how instructional days could be made up including the use of a virtual learning delivery model, which the department hopes to pilot in a few districts.   Darryl Treece, Adair County Superintendent; Anna Craft, Letcher County Superintendent; and Jim Evans, Lee County Superintendent described the unique characteristics that affected the school calendar in their respective districts this year and the various ways in which their districts made up missed days due to inclement weather, illness, and emergencies.  The superintendents agreed that more flexibility is needed and suggested that the calendar requirement should only be for a specified number of instructional hours rather than a set number of hours and days.  Commissioner Holliday also discussed Read to Achieve program funds and assured the subcommittee members that districts only received cuts that had been directed by the Governor and the General Assembly in the overall budget cuts.  Further, the districts will continue to receive funds that will cover partial reimbursements for the previous fiscal year and a portion for the current fiscal year, which has been the procedure used since 2008.


Evaluation of Certified Personnel

            Members of the committee were provided a PowerPoint presentation and related information regarding teacher and principal professional growth and evaluation systems.  Commissioner Holliday said that having a highly effective educator workforce is one of the eligibility requirements for Race to the Top funding.  The No Child Left Behind Act referred to highly qualified educators but Race to the Top funding and other federal grants and reporting requirements in the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds will be based upon having effective teachers and principals with student achievement being an important indicator of success.  Senate Bill 1 (2009 RS) also directs that professional development and support be provided to ensure effective implementation of the new common core standards and assessment system.  Information was also provided on research based publications related to effective teachers and principals.   


            Commissioner Holliday said the current system allows individual districts to use their own methods of evaluation but the new system will require uniform statewide standards although district options will be allowed if the validity and reliability of the requirements can be verified.  Currently non-tenured teachers are evaluated annually and tenured teachers are evaluated at least every three years.  The new system will require that all teachers be evaluated each year and a professional growth plan be established for each teacher.  Evaluators will also need more rigorous training to conduct reliable and valid evaluations.  The three primary segments of evaluation will be the learning environment which the teacher has created; the instructional practices teachers use to ensure student growth and improve student academic outcomes; and recognition of teachers who take on leadership and professional roles, such as serving as an instructional coach, chairing a professional learning community, and similar leadership activities.  The proposed system will be field tested over the next three years and will include observation; feedback from affected parties, including administrators and parents; teacher presentations of artifacts and evidences; and student test scores.  The plan includes development of professional growth targets for teachers with teacher input on the growth plan.  Another option being considered is student involvement, much like student involvement at the college level.  Various models are being researched including one developed by the Wallace Foundation on principal evaluation.  The Wallace Foundation has also funded a pilot project in four school districts in Kentucky on teacher effectiveness and Kenton County Schools, that has a nationally recognized evaluation model, will be serving as a coach district.   


            Commissioner Holliday said the principal evaluation system will be similar to the teacher evaluation system and will be based on the learning environment, instructional practice, and leadership and professionalism.  Plans are to use the VAL-ED 360 Instrument developed by Vanderbilt University for principal evaluation.  Professional growth goals, organizational goals set forth in the school improvement plan, and student growth as measured by learning outcomes will also be components of the evaluation system and student voice would also be an option.  The components and measures are based on the Administrator Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards of 2008. 


            Commissioner Holliday said 23 districts have volunteered to participate in the pilot project and some components are now being field tested.  A 21 member teacher effectiveness steering committee and a 21 member principal effectiveness steering committee are currently meeting and receiving feedback from teachers and principals in the field and developing the rubrics to evaluate effectiveness.  Plans are to pilot the evaluation systems throughout the entire state in the 2012-13 school year before making it the standard through legislative action.  Representatives from principal, superintendent, and teacher organizations; the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB); the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE); various universities, and other interested parties are participating on the steering committees.


            In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Commissioner Holliday said that KDE currently approves each district’s evaluation plans and statutory and/or regulatory changes would be needed to establish the statewide standardized evaluation system for teachers and principals.


            In response to questions from Representative Miller about who will ultimately be responsible for the evaluation, Commissioner Holliday said that summative evaluations will be done and a final decision rendered on effectiveness by direct supervisors, such as principals or assistant principals.  He said the new system will also incorporate teacher self-assessment, peer observation, student growth outcomes, and other measurements instead of a traditional checklist.   He said that the Jefferson County Teachers Association is actively engaged in both the teacher and the principal effectiveness steering committee. 


            Commissioner Holliday said nationwide statistics show that only 60% of students are graduating, indicating that the current system for evaluating teachers and principals is ineffective.  He said an evaluation of the effectiveness of school-based council members, district school board members, and superintendents also should be considered.  He said poverty can no longer be used as a reason for low performance since data shows that high poverty students can succeed with effective teachers and administrators. 


            Representative Belcher said one reason for low student performance is the lack of parental involvement in the education process.  In response to a question from Representative Belcher about using student growth as an indicator and fair treatment of teachers, Commissioner Holliday said decisions on teacher effectiveness will be based on the preponderance of evidence over a three year period.  He said two nationally recognized models will be field tested upon approval of the Kentucky Board of Education.  One is the model being used in Colorado and Massachusetts and the other is the Lexile growth model.  Feedback on both models will be provided to the Education Committee.  The teacher evaluation steering committee is extremely interested in the use of formative assessments to measure growth and modify instruction before end-of-course assessments are utilized to assess student growth outcomes.    


            In response to a question from Representative Belcher about university involvement, Commissioner Holliday said that university faculty is represented on both the teacher and principal effectiveness steering committees and the Education Professional Standards Board is also involved in the alignment of the Kentucky
teacher preparation programs with the new evaluation system. 


            In response to questions from Representative Firkins, Commissioner Holliday said the primary goal of changing the evaluation systems is to ensure the continuation of professional growth of teachers and principals and not as an instrument to dismiss staff, although failure to implement and carry out an action plan once established may result in disciplinary decisions.  He said that the teacher effectiveness steering committee has two special education teacher representatives and teachers of other non-tested subjects.  Senate Bill 1 requires program reviews in all non-tested areas and feedback is being sought from teachers on how to measure student growth in subjects, such as physical education, the arts, and some sciences. 


            Representative Collins said it is extremely important to evaluate the readiness of new teachers and having the appropriate staff to evaluate new teacher effectiveness in the classroom.   


            Representative Carney said he was pleased to hear that student growth will be measured over time instead of a one year period, especially considering that many districts have transient students. 


Comments from Stakeholders

            John Warren, Government Relations, and Mary Ruble, General Counsel, with the Kentucky Education Association (KEA) provided written and oral comments to the committee.  Mr. Warren said that KEA is hopeful that the new system will result in all teachers being given the opportunity and vision to improve their practices.  KEA believes the new system needs to be developed in a thorough and timely manner to ensure its long-term use; all stakeholders need to be involved so those affected will know the system has integrity and validity; necessary information and support for professional growth needs to be provided to all teachers; evaluations need to be based on multiple measures of teacher effectiveness; and teachers and principals need a clear vision of excellence and the support and encouragement to improve. 


            In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Mr. Warren said teachers are adequately represented on the teacher effectiveness steering committee with some serving in leadership roles.


            Representative Greer said he would like KEA to provide information on how widely steering committee activity is being disseminated throughout the state and the type of feedback being received about the process.  Mr. Warren said it is his understanding that the information has not yet been widely disseminated.  Ms. Ruble said that 23 districts will pilot the program and when results of the pilot program are available, broader dissemination of information will occur.  She said KEA members are aware of the work being done by the steering committees. 


            In response to a question from Representative Wuchner, Mr. Warren said KEA is committed, through its representatives and the teachers on the steering committee, to identifying barriers early in the process so that collaboration will continue and the process will remain fluid through completion. 


            In response to a question from Senator Higdon about the timeframe for implementation, Mr. Warren said KEA is encouraging the commissioner to be very cautious and deliberate in revising the evaluation systems and to field test various components before the system is piloted in its entirety.  KEA wants to ensure that no inadvertent harm to the teaching profession occurs.  Mr. Warren reiterated that a major concern is the amount of time and resources required to implement and carry out the evaluations and that General Fund allocations will be critical in ensuring effective implementation of the system.  KEA also wants all stakeholders, including teachers, parents, students, board members, and others, to continue to be involved in the development of the process.


            Wayne Young, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA), and Rita Muratalla, Principal, Zoneton Middle School, Bullitt County, made comments on behalf of KASA members. 


            KASA supports strengthening the current system of evaluation and making certain that evaluations are done accurately and professionally and are used in a meaningful way to contribute to professional growth of staff and enhanced student achievement.  KASA believes multi-factor evaluations will require rigorous and intensive training for evaluators and more time will be required to evaluate every teacher each year.  Ms. Muratalla stated that the current evaluation process being used at Zoneton Middle School, which includes weekly evaluations, goal setting and communication, is more complex than the yearly evaluations being proposed by KDE.  The major factor in the proposed system will be the time required of principals to complete the evaluations and additional staff will need to be trained as evaluators.  Student performance growth should be measured from the beginning to the end of the school year.  Bullitt County currently uses Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing to measure proficiency and growth over the year.  Ms. Muratalla concluded her presentation by saying that teachers as well as principals need to be held accountable for student growth and funding will be crucial in ensuring adequate training and resources are available to effectively implement the new system.  


            In response to questions from Representative Belcher, Mr. Young said that the KASA representatives on the steering committees will be very vocal in sharing their thoughts about the time and resources needed to carry out the evaluations.  Ms. Muratalla said it is important for principals to ensure that teachers under their supervision are growing professionally and students are receiving adequate instruction. 


            In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Ms. Muratalla said she currently evaluates non-tenured teachers using walk-throughs, two formatives, and a summative, but tenured teachers are usually evaluated only once every three years.  She said it is her understanding that the proposed system will require a yearly summative evaluation and growth plan for all teachers, including tenured teachers, which will require more time and resources.


            Mr. Wilson Sears, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS), introduced Ms. Dot Perkins, Superintendent, Gallatin County Schools, newly elected vice-president of KASS.


            Ms. Perkins said KASS applauds the work being done on revising the evaluation systems with the hope that it will ultimately lead to improved student learning, but it will be important that the teacher and principal professional growth plan and evaluation system help educators effectively and efficiently without overwhelming them.  It will be important to not only explain the process but the justifications behind the process through communication and thorough training of teachers and principals. The ultimate process and procedures should be adaptable and flexible for all school districts.  KASS members believe that it will be difficult to have an ongoing evaluation system until a valid assessment is in place.  Evaluations should reflect and celebrate student academic growth even if proficiency is not achieved and consequences should only result when growth has not occurred.   Superintendents are concerned that until there is a balanced assessment system with ongoing formative assessments which align to the summative assessment, implementing effective teacher and principal evaluation systems will be difficult.  Superintendents remain concerned about their lack of authority to hire a principal who has the skills and leadership ability to effectively implement a new evaluation system. 


            In response to questions from Representative Sims, Ms. Perkins said that all local district employees, not just principals and teachers, need to be involved and trained to ensure effective evaluation.  She said it is extremely important that superintendents be involved in principal selection process.


            Mr. Bill Scott, Executive Director, and David Baird, Associate Executive Director, Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA), provided comments on behalf of their membership.  Revamping the evaluation systems is a complex and ambitious task, but it is a critical component in ensuring the effectiveness of teachers and administrators.  Local school board members have a representative on each of the steering committees and KSBA is also participating in the Education Professional Standards Board’s superintendent program review committee.  One of the most important responsibilities of local boards is the hiring and evaluation of superintendents and KSBA has developed an instrument and provides training for local board members in this endeavor.  The association believes that superintendents must have more authority in the hiring of principals as boards hold their superintendents more accountable for student achievement.  KSBA supports the revision of the evaluation process since local school boards are elected to ensure the education needs of their communities are being met.  KSBA supports a common set of criteria for the Commonwealth but also supports allowing local boards and communities the option of adding other measures to ensure education success.   Student growth is a critical component for evaluation of teachers and principals and the new data collection system will be an important instrument in this endeavor.  A more comprehensive evaluation process and feedback on student performance and growth will assist administrators in making critical personnel decisions including the possibility of future differentiated compensation. 


            In response to a question from Representative Stone about defining student growth, Commissioner Holliday said that the federal government has released varying and sometimes conflicting information on a definition of student growth.  He said the assessment has to be developed first to ensure that the growth model is valid, fair and reliable.  The assessment should be ready for piloting in 2013 and a substantial portion of student growth will be based on student performance on the assessment.  Representative Rollins said that the Gates Foundation is conducting a study on the weights that should be given on various measures to define student growth and Commissioner Holliday said that other researchers are also conducting similar studies.  In response to comments by Representative Stone, Commissioner Holliday said he has worked closely with Dr. Bill Sanders in North Carolina on regression models as the state was developing its principal and teacher effectiveness system and the Sanders model may be used to field test items.  He said the teacher’s entire body of performance over a two or three year period, which will include student growth, will be part of the evaluation system. 


Review of Executive Order 2010-430 Relating to Reorganization of the Council on Postsecondary Education

            Ron Carson, Senior Fellow, Policy Development, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), said the executive order issued by Governor Beshear in 2009 to relocate CPE from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to the Governor’s Office was not ratified by the 2010 General Assembly.  The Governor’s Office has issued a new executive order to accomplish the same reorganization.  No action was taken by the committee regarding the executive order.


Review of Administrative Regulations

            Kevin Brown, KDE General Counsel, and Ken Draut, KDE Associate Commissioner, explained the education regulations.  Mr. Brown said that 703 KAR 5:060 describes the accountability process that will be used until the new accountability system required by Senate Bill 1 (2009 RS) is implemented.  The regulation describes the interim student assessments, how the graduation rate will be calculated, and data collection procedures.    


In response to a question from Representative Carney about the new math standards, Mr. Draut said the regulation being discussed does not address content standards.  He assured Representative Carney that many Kentucky teachers participated in the review of the national math common core standards and that Kentucky’s comments and recommended changes were accepted and included in the newly released common core standards. 


Mr. Brown said that 703 KAR 5:180 defines the intervention system to be used for persistently low achieving schools.  The regulation was promulgated as an emergency upon the enactment of House Bill 176 during the 2010 Regular Session to meet Race to the Top application timelines.  Changes to the emergency regulation include extending the timeline for districts to choose an intervention option from 30 to 45 days; clarifying that district school-based decision-making councils are to receive notice of appeal options; clarifying the restaffing option procedures; and identifying the process for the commissioner to replace council members.


Mr. Brown said that 704 KAR 3:540 relates to uniform academic course codes and incorporates by reference a document called the “Kentucky Academic Course Codes List.”   He said that all courses offered throughout the state in a particular subject area will be assigned a uniform course code number.  Districts may still use their own course codes but will satisfy this requirement by using the student information system.


In response to a question from Representative Stone, Ms. Felicia Smith with KDE’s Office of Teaching and Learning said that counties currently use many different course codes for the same subjects, such as Algebra I, but when the new statewide standards are in place for English, Language Arts, and Math, using uniform course codes should ensure that subjects are the same throughout the state.  Mr. Brown said a mechanism has been included to allow a district offering a new course or a course that is not available in all districts to use a generic course code and there is nothing that prohibits a local district from offering a course that is not on the list.


Senator Winters asked if there is anything in the regulation that would affect end-of-course examinations.  Ms. Smith said the purpose of the amendments to the regulation is to prepare for implementation of the end-of-course assessments which will be uniform across the state. 


Ms. Melissa Justice, Senior Associate Counsel, and David Lawhorn, who oversees the Kentucky Educational Savings Plan Trust program, explained the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority regulation.  Ms. Justice said that 11 KAR 12:060 establishes the cancellation and withdrawal procedures from the Kentucky Educational Savings Plan Trust funds.  The amendment eliminates the minimum partial withdrawal requirement of $500 to allow participants to withdraw lesser amounts without closing out their accounts.


In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Ms. Justice said Kentucky is the only state with such a requirement and the amendment brings Kentucky’s program into alignment with other 529 college saving programs in the country and the fund administrator indicates that it simplifies the fund withdrawal process.


Other Business

            Each member of the committee was provided a copy of Edvantia’s 2010 white paper entitled, “Kentucky’s March to the Top.”



            There being no further business before committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM.