Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, June 11, 2012, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ken Winters, Co- Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Jared Carpenter, David Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jimmy Higdon, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Johnny Ray Turner, Jack Westwood, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, Regina Petrey Bunch, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C.B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Derrick Graham, Donna Mayfield, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Ryan Quarles, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, and Ben Waide.
Guests: Diana Barber, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Becky Gilpatrick, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Sue Cain, Council on Postsecondary Education, Julian Tackett, Kentucky High School Athletic Association, Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Chad Collins, Kentucky High School Athletic Association, Kathy Donaldson, Teacher Steering Committee.
Reports of the Subcommittee Meetings
Representative Meeks reported that the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education heard presentations from the Council on Postsecondary Education and the University of Louisville about efforts to improve student success in higher education.
Dr. John Hayek, Senior Vice President for Budget Planning and Policy, Council on Postsecondary Education, provided data on the progress Kentucky is making towards 2020 goals for degree attainment, transfer, and graduation rates. Dr. Hayek provided information on changes in tuition costs, state allocations for higher education, and direct tuition costs for students (after excluding grants and scholarships).
Dr. Aaron Thompson, Senior Vice President Academic Affairs, Council on Postsecondary Education, and Dr. Shirley Willihnganz, Provost, University of Louisville, discussed efforts to improve student success, such as appreciation and advisory initiatives, student faculty interaction, technology, and supplemental instruction.
Representative Meeks said the discussion highlighted four important points. There is an increasing working partnership between the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and the various institutions to address shared goals. There are expanded improvement strategies and increased rigor and availability of data being tracked, and there is continuing financial pressure on the universities to meet the 2020 accountability goals.
Representative Edmonds reported on the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education. The subcommittee heard discussions on services provided and the challenges faced by Kentucky’s educational cooperatives.
Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), explained the partnership that has developed between the department and the co-ops. He provided insight on how the co-ops’ work is an essential component in implementing the requirements of Senate Bill 1.
Directors from three of the eight cooperatives in Kentucky provided handouts explaining the history, mission, and vision of their co-ops. The co-ops are committed to providing services and programs that support their member districts and schools. Services are based on the needs of the teachers and administrators in members’ districts. They are focused on assisting teachers and administrators to become more effective so they can help students reach their potential. The directors discussed their challenges, such as sustainable funding, organization, and geography.
Overview of Teacher Evaluation System
Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education, explained the two years of work KDE has done with the teacher effectiveness and growth pilot. He praised Senate Bill 1 as extremely bold legislation, which other states are looking to replicate. The teacher evaluation effectiveness system was included in the department’s application for waivers to No Child Left Behind provisions. Kentucky was one of the first eleven states to be granted a waiver. A waiver condition requires the State Education Agency (SEA) to develop guidelines for local teacher and principal evaluation support systems. The State Board must ensure schools are implementing the teacher and principal evaluation system consistently with the guidelines.
Felicia Smith, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Learners, compared the differences between the current and proposed systems. KDE is proposing a common statewide system for teacher and principal evaluation. It is considering requiring annual evaluations of certified personnel and more in-depth training for evaluators. In a system with multiple measures, the evaluators of the system need to have a strong understanding of what it means to use these multiple measures in a meaningful way. There are several different national models that can be explored for developing training for school staff and the evaluators. The department will be required to significantly increase monitoring of local evaluation system implementation if adopted statewide.
Ms. Smith said that the teacher effectiveness system places a lot of emphasis on observation of teachers. The department hopes to have peer observers that help provide more intensive, content specific support to educators. The department wants a system that is better aligned with what is happening in the classroom where students are learning based on teachers’ professional growth plans. Ms. Smith also stated that staff believes in the importance of professional self-awareness and self-reflection as a profession and the proposed measures should improve the quality of educators in classrooms. A student survey is proposed to collect information about students’ views of educational experiences.
Ms. Smith noted that there are potentially legislative implications with the proposed teacher effectiveness system. House Bill 140 and Senate Joint Resolution 88 are foundational pieces that could be the basis for future legislation. The proposed system focuses on growth, reflection, and meaningful professional contributions.
Responding to Senator Winters’ question regarding KRS 156.557, Dr. Holliday said he feels that piloting in 54 districts is a reasonable approach prior to statewide adoption. KRS 156.557 provides an option for a local district to develop its own teacher effectiveness plan and principal evaluation plan.
Senator Winters said he introduced Senate Joint Resolution 88 to make sure the General Assembly is fulfilling its oversight responsibility and to ensure the legislature has a look at the final proposal prior to implementation.
Responding to Representative Belcher’s question regarding peer observation, Dr. Holliday clarified that peer observation should be formative rather than summative in nature and provide feedback to teachers.
Michael Daily, Director, Division of Next Generation Professionals, explained that the kindergarten through second grade component in the pilot was a focus group process. A facilitator asked a group of students age-appropriate questions about their learning experiences in class. The questions were about how they learn, what their experiences were in learning, and what resources did they have available to them.
Responding to Representative Belcher’s question regarding annual evaluation, Ms. Smith said that the issue will be studied through the extended field test. She stated the department will be looking at evaluator caseload and the appropriate number of observations for a principal.
In response to Senator Westwood’s question regarding self-reflection, Mr. Daily said that information from the field test provided the department with a better understanding of the impact of self-reflection on professional growth. It was found that teachers reflect a lot on student results, how the lesson was received, and the mood of the children. Mr. Daily said the division is trying to formalize the process, and it has designed some instruments that to test in the spring. The instruments address professional role planning and self-reflection. The goal of self-reflection is to inform practice, help teachers improve instruction, and give them the opportunity to record formally the evidence they have on how that reflection is improving their practice. Dr. Holliday said that KDE is not going to ask teachers to develop a portfolio collection of files. They will be provided an electronic method for representing evidence.
In response to Representative Waide’s question regarding roles for parents, Dr. Holliday said the department is still looking for a valid and reliable instrument for use by parents. It has a validated tool for representing student voice but not for parent voice.
Senator Givens stated that the legislature and the Kentucky Department of Education are in this together, and the motivation is there for everyone to do well.
Representative Graham stated that the bottom line for administrators and teachers is the test results. For teachers and administrators, it is all about testing.
Responding to Representative Graham’s question regarding test results not being the most effective method of teacher evaluation, Dr. Holliday said their work has been heavily informed by the Measuring Effective Teaching National Project. He also stated that the intent is to monitor the field testing and conduct research to see which components actually helps predict student learning outcomes.
In response to Representative Rollins’ question regarding student growth in subject areas where there is no testing, Dr. Holliday said KDE intends to use measures based on performance, but the department does not have final recommendations on this and are looking at different possibilities.
Responding to Representative DeCesare’s question regarding lack of a parent evaluation, Dr. Holliday said the reason the student feedback is being considered before parent feedback is because the student instrument has been validated. He also noted that the parent’s response rates may prove a problem and that an online survey often produces a small response rate from parents.
Status of Adoption of Science Standards
Felicia Smith, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Learners, said the science standards are a critical piece of the work that was generated by Senate Bill 1. Kentucky is a lead state on the national work on development of the science standards.
Karen Kidwell, Director, Division of Program Standards, said that Achieve, Inc. is leading this effort. It has selected 26 states to assist in development. In May, 2012, Achieve, Inc. released the first draft of the science standards for public comment. The second public release will be in the fall. A team of individuals representing Kentucky’s elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions recently compiled an 80 page response to the draft. The department feels confident about the process being used. The biggest shift in the science standards is imbedding more engineering practices throughout all of the standards. The final release of these standards will be in early 2013.
Preschool Funding for Students with Disabilities – Factors that Influenced Recent Changes
Senator Winters said he added preschool funding to the agenda because the Senators have received many questions, phone calls, letters, and emails from superintendents about preschool funding. There is a lot of frustration and confusion about this topic in school districts. Some of the superintendents shared a statement reportedly by the department that cuts in the program would not have been necessary if the Senate had passed House Bill 329. Legislators were left vulnerable when asked to explain this statement.
Hiren Desai, Office of Administration and Support, said the department has had a lot of questions about preschool funding in the past month. This was a result of the allocations letter sent to the superintendents on May 4. A lot of superintendents asked why preschool funding had such variation and whether the preschool budget was cut during the 2012 legislative session. He told the superintendents that preschool funding was not cut, and the General Assembly fully funded preschool. The problem is with the preschool funding formula that has been in place since 1992. KDE has a regulation that links funding for eligible students with disabilities and at-risk children.
Mr. Desai said KDE will request legislation to simplify the formula and process. The statute and regulation establishing the funding process do not make sense today. The department has made a commitment to the superintendents that staff will work with the General Assembly to try to change this formula. His goal in the presentation was to get support for the change.
Senator Higdon expressed concern about the department’s communication to districts about the issue and said that superintendents were upset with the cuts.
Responding to Senator Higdon’s questions regarding what may have changed in the formula from previous years, Dr. Holliday said the big difference was a year of self-reporting rather than the use of an electronic database.
Responding to Senator Higdon’s question regarding House Bill 329 fixing the problem, Mr. Desai said House Bill 329 would have eliminated all of the formulas, and it would have taken care of the problem.
Responding to Senator Givens’ question regarding the variables changing, Mr. Desai explained the variations on the chart provided to members, and stated that some allocations are expected to change because they are tentative projections.
Responding to Representative Farmer’s question regarding how the department is dealing with the current implosion, Dr. Holliday said that clarification had been sent to schools in an email the previous Friday.
Responding to Senator McGaha’s question regarding district finance officers’ understanding of the funding formula, Bill Buchannon said all district finance officers are provided the information.
Senator Givens suggested that House Bill 329 would only have impacted funding for students with disabilities. Senator Winters noted that House Bill 329 would have eliminated the three-year projection formula being used by the department but that, even if passed, the law would not have gone into effect in time to have prevented the current controversy.
Review of Administrative Regulations
There was no testimony or action taken on 11 KAR 4:080, 11 KAR 5:145, 16 KAR 4:030, and 702 KAR 7:065.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:19 p.m.