Program Review and Investigations Committee

 

Minutes

 

<MeetMDY1> August 13, 2009

 

The<MeetNo2> Program Review and Investigations Committee met on<Day> Thursday,<MeetMDY2> August 13, 2009, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Reginald Meeks, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator John Schickel, Co-Chair; Representative Reginald Meeks, Co-Chair; Senators Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Joey Pendleton, Dan "Malano" Seum, Brandon Smith, and Katie Kratz Stine; Representatives Dwight D. Butler, Leslie Combs, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rick Rand, Arnold Simpson, and Ken Upchurch.

 

Legislative Guest:† Senator Alice Forgy Kerr.

 

Guests:† Dr. Phillip Rogers, Executive Director, Education Professional Standards Board.† Michael Dailey, Director of Educator Quality and Diversity; Sally Sugg, Associate Commissioner; Office of Leadership and School Improvement, Kentucky Department of Education.

 

LRC Staff:† Greg Hager, Committee Staff Administrator; Rick Graycarek; Christopher Hall; Colleen Kennedy; Van Knowles; Lora Littleton; Jean Ann Myatt; Rkia Rhrib; Sarah Spaulding; Katherine Thomas; Stella Mountain, Committee Assistant.

Upon motion made by Representative Combs and seconded by Senator McGaha, the minutes of the July 9, 2009 meeting were approved by voice vote, without objection.

 

Rick Graycarek presented the report Education Professional Standards Board.††

 

Mr. Graycarek said that the studyís two objectives were to describe the organization and operation of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) and examine how EPSB performs its statutory and regulatory duties.†

 

He said EPSB accredits teacher preparation units, certifies teachers and administrators, oversees educator certification tests, oversees the teacher internship program, and adjudicates disciplinary allegations.

 

He said the study has six major conclusions.† 1)† Education responsibility in Kentucky is divided among several agencies including the Department of Education (KDE), which oversees primary and secondary education; the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), which oversees higher education; and the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), which certifies teachers who serve in primary and secondary schools, and accredits teacher preparation units.† 2) The number of public school teachers in Kentucky is increasing and as of the 2007-2008 school year there were more than 43,000 full-time equivalent public school teachers.† A growing number of those are entering the profession through alternative certification routes.† 3)† The state accreditation process for teacher preparation units is long and complex.† 4)† EPSB has some difficulty in tracking complaints against teachers.† 5)† EPSB staff decide which complaints against teachers are forwarded to the entire board for review and possible disciplinary action. 6) During the early part of the year in 2009, 208 teacher candidates were delayed entry into the required one-year internship program primarily due to budget reasons.†

 

Mr. Graycarek said the number of teachers in Kentucky is increasing but teacher shortages exist in particular subject areas such as math, science, foreign languages, and special education.† Of the public school teachers in Kentucky, 95 percent are white, 4 percent are black, and less than 1 percent are Hispanic.† Of the public school student population in Kentucky, 84 percent are white, 11 percent are black, and 3 percent are Hispanic.† KDE oversees the effort to recruit more minority teachers in Kentucky.† The number of minority teachers in Kentucky is increasing and, in recent years, about 4.7 to 5.7 percent of all graduates of teacher preparation programs are black and up to 1 percent are Hispanic.†

 

He said KDE, in collaboration with EPSB, is supposed to review and revise a minority recruitment strategic plan with the purpose of increasing the number of minority teachers and administrators in Kentucky. That plan has not been revised or published in recent years.† Recommendation 2.1 is that the Kentucky Department of Education should revise and publish the minority recruitment strategic plan as per KRS 161.165.

 

Mr. Graycarek said EPSB has a 17-member board, of whom 15 members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the General Assembly.† Of the 15, 9 are teachers, 2 are school administrators, 1 is a local school board representative, and 3 are postsecondary representatives.† The 2 ex-officio members are the president of CPE or designee and the commissioner of education or designee.†

 

He said EPSB employs 34 full-time staff, 5 interim staff, and 10 part-time staff,† which is fewer staff than in FY 2005.† In FY 2009, EPSBís budget was $9.9 million, about $1.4 million less than it was in FY 2008.† To deal with these expenditure reductions, the agency has reduced spending across all divisions, has eliminated some board meetings, and has delayed certain types of training.

 

Mr. Graycarek said EPSB contracts with 4 attorneys to help them with disciplinary case work.† For FY 2009 and FY 2010, the total cost of those contracts could be as high as $209,000.† Recommendation 1.1 is that the Education Professional Standards Board should determine if it would be more cost-effective and appropriate to replace its contract attorneys with an attorney on staff.

 

Mr. Graycarek said teacher preparation units in Kentucky must be accredited by EPSB.† ďUnitsĒ are colleges, schools, or departments of education that provide teacher preparation training.† There are 28 accredited teacher preparation units in Kentucky.† Those units provide particular program areas of study such as math or elementary education, and in Kentucky there are at least 39 different program areas.

 

To accredit those units, EPSB uses 6 national accreditation standards that cover areas such as diversity of teacher candidates, skills and knowledge, and leadership and governance.† National accreditation is optional, and 15 of the 28 teacher preparation units in Kentucky are nationally accredited.

 

He said the accreditation process is long and complex.† In general, the teacher preparation units begin preparing for that accreditation up to 2 years prior to the actual on-site accreditation.† The process includes staff reviews, various committee reviews, an on-site accreditation examination, a review of the on-site accreditation examination, and finally the boardís decision on whether or not to accredit the unit.†

 

Mr. Graycarek said on-site review teams are called Board of Examiners (BOE) teams.† They include teachers, school and district administrators, faculty or staff from other postsecondary education institutions, and others.† They must be trained by EPSB staff to conduct these on-site accreditation visits.† Some concern exists, however, that the teams may include members from institutions dissimilar to the unit being accredited and may not fully relate to the challenges and conditions of such an institution.

 

Recommendation 3.2 is that EPSB should consider establishing guidelines to ensure that Board of Examiners teams are reasonably representative of the type of institution being evaluated.

 

Mr. Graycarek said, when a teacher preparation unit is seeking state-only accreditation, it has 6 on-site reviewers, regardless of the size of the unit.† There are some concerns that this is not proportional to the size of the program.† Other states as well as the national accreditation organization, NCATE, vary the number of team members based upon the size of the unit and number of programs.† Recommendation 3.1 is for EPSB to consider adjusting the number of Board of Examiners team members for state-only accreditation visits based on the size of the unit and number of programs to be evaluated.

 

Mr. Graycarek said in Kentucky, public school teachers must be certified by EPSB.† There are 6 types of primary certificates.† A base certificate is the most common and is typically earned by people who complete a bachelorís degree program in teaching and successfully complete an internship program.† An increasing number of people, however, are entering the teaching profession by earning teacherís certification through one of 7 alternative certification routes.† This allows someone with a bachelorís degree or higher and certain other characteristics, such as exceptional work experience or military service, to earn a teaching certificate. The number of emergency certificates issued to teachers in Kentucky has been decreasing.† Emergency certificates are granted to people who are otherwise not certified to teach, and there are exceptional circumstances that have to occur for these certificates to be granted.†

 

He said teachers may become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), which is optional.† In 2000, the Kentucky General Assembly set a goal for every public school in Kentucky to have at least 1 NBCT by the year 2020.† As of this past school year, 162 school districts out of the 174 school districts have at least 1 NBCT in less than half of their schools, and 17 school districts do not have any board certified teachers.† Nationally, Kentucky ranks 15th for number of board certified teachers and 5th on a per capita basis.

 

Mr. Graycarek said anyone can file a complaint against a teacher with EPSB.† About 90 percent of all complaints against teachers are forwarded by school superintendents because state statute requires school superintendents to report any and all allegations of teacher misconduct.† Complaints are submitted to EPSB in a variety of forms like email, phone, and letter.† The Board does not have a standard complaint form and as a result some complaints are filed with incomplete information.† Recommendation 4.3 is that EPSB should develop a standard form for filing complaints against teachers and make it available electronically.

 

He said EPSB staff review every complaint and decide whether or not to forward it to the board. †In 2007, 51 percent of all complaints filed were forwarded to the board for review, and in 2008, 37 percent of complaints were forwarded to the board. A good example of an alternative way to review complaints is the Kentucky Pharmacy Board, which has a board subcommittee review all complaints that are filed.† Recommendation 4.4 is that EPSB should consider establishing a disciplinary case review committee composed of board members, and possibly staff, to review all complaints and determine which ones should or should not be forwarded to the entire board.

 

Mr. Graycarek said there are problems tracking complaints. During the course of this study, EPSB staff provided Program Review staff with inconsistent reports about the numbers of open and closed complaints and cases.† The electronic tracking system first implemented in 2007 is not fully reliable, and miscommunication among EPSB staff about the systemís design and implementation have created some of these problems.† EPSB staff currently uses a paper tracking system to track complaints against teachers.† Recommendation 4.1 is that EPSB should finalize implementation of an electronic tracking system to be used to accurately monitor complaints and cases against teachers, including how they are resolved.† Recommendation 4.2 is that EPSB should develop procedures describing how information will be entered into its electronic disciplinary tracking database and provide training to staff on the use of that database.

 

Mr. Graycarek said, to become a certified teacher in Kentucky, most teachers must successfully complete the one-year Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP).† To enter the internship program, teachers must pass content and pedagogical tests.† EPSB sets the passing scores for those tests and about 89 percent of test takers have passed these tests in recent years. KTIP provides a teacher with mentoring and evaluation by a three-member committee: the principal or his/her designee at the school at which the teacher is teaching; a resource teacher which is an in-classroom teacher in the school; and a teacher educator which is typically a faculty member from the college or university that the teacher attended.† Almost every intern successfully completes KTIP.

 

He said KTIP is primarily funded by the state.† Those funds pay a stipend to the mentoring classroom teachers to compensate them for their time and for mentoring the intern; to pay or reimburse travel costs to postsecondary faculty; and to reimburse universities for administrative costs.† Expenditures for KTIP have declined from $5.3 million in FY 2008 to about $3.7 million in FY 2009.

 

He said as a result, EPSB has reduced the stipend to the mentoring teacher, reduced university contracts by about 60 percent, and delayed the entry of 208 teacher candidates into KTIP during spring 2009.† Some universities have allocated their own resources and some faculty members who serve on those beginning internship committees voluntarily refused payment due to these budget reductions.†

 

Mr. Graycarek concluded that professional development of teachers is not linked to certification.† State statute requires that teachers receive 4 professional development days each year, but local school councils make most professional development decisions, including content.† KDE oversees professional development but has limited influence and the quality is unknown.† Many other states link professional development to certification.† Recommendation 5.1 is that, in collaboration with KDE and CPE, the Education Professional Standards Board should present a plan to the Program Review and Investigations Committee by October 1, 2010, for tracking the quality of teacher professional development. The plan may include moving oversight of teacher professional development to EPSB for the purpose of linking professional development to certification.

 

Senator Stine asked what would prevent the function of EPSB from being divided between CPE and KDE.

 

Mr. Graycarek said that currently statute places responsibility for professional development in the Department of Education.

 

Senator Stine said they are in the process of changing those.† She asked what other barriers there would be besides staffing.

 

Mr. Graycarek said EPSB or KDE would be better to respond to that.

 

Senator Stine asked whether staff had examined federal recommendations regarding teacher assessment, training, and support.

 

Mr. Graycarek said staff only looked at other states.

 

Senator Stine asked whether staff had heard that there may be conflict of interest in accrediting board members examining competing colleges of education for accreditation.

 

Mr. Graycarek said the board has 3 representatives of postsecondary institutions. He said the issue of potential conflicts of interest for them was raised during staff interviews.

 

Senator McGaha asked whether staff were able to determine the amount of money expended on an annual basis for attorney contracts, and if the number of hours assigned to those attorneys during that time would be commensurate to a full-time employee or more than a full-time employee.

 

Mr. Graycarek said for FY 2007 and FY 2008, EPSB had contracts with 4 attorneys that totaled $168,000.† They only spent $110,000 on that potential amount, making it about $55,000 per year.† Staff did not know numbers of hours involved. †

 

Senator McGaha said having some board members involved in screening complaints against teachers is a good recommendation.† He asked whether there is a specific process for vetting those complaints.

 

Mr. Graycarek said an attorney on staff reviews all the incoming complaints to see if there is a potential violation of the code of ethics for teachers or a violation related to statute or regulations specific to teachers. Some discretion needs to be applied to determine which of the complaints are forwarded to the board for review.

Senator McGaha asked whether complaints can be made anonymously.

 

Mr. Graycarek said, as far as he was aware, yes.

 

Senator McGaha said some oversight would be good, but needs to be done carefully. †Professional development has drastically improved over the past several years, allowing districts and individual schools to plan their own professional development. He asked whether staff attended any of the board meetings, and if so, how the meetings went.

 

Mr. Graycarek said staff attended board meetings.† They have a variety of agenda items and begin with an open floor for people to discuss certain items.† They end the meeting with a closed session to consider disciplinary actions and that part is not open to the public.

 

Representative Meeks asked when the minority teacher recruitment plan was last revised and published.†

 

Mr. Graycarek said he did not know and KDE did not know when he had asked them that question.

 

Representative Meeks asked whether he is accurate in saying that more African-American and Hispanic teachers are graduating and being accredited and certified, but the actual number is unknown.

 

Mr. Graycarek said that was correct.† The percentages of minority teachers that have graduated recently are greater than the percentages of current minority school teachers.†

 

Ms. Myatt said EPSB, as part of their responsibilities and KRS 161.028 Section 1, conducts an annual review of diversity in the teacher preparation programs and include this information in a report posted on their Web site.

 

Representative Meeks asked why Mr. Graycarek would not have been able to get that information.

 

Mr. Graycarek said it is a separate report; the one is done by KDE and is required by statute; the other one is done by EPSB.

 

Representative Rand asked whether the disciplinary action and the complaint process are subject to open records, and whether they are reported in any way.

 

Mr. Graycarek said they are subject to open record.† Some information about the disciplinary cases is reported in their board minutes but the names of the teachers or educators are not included.

 

Ms. Thomas said the ones that are reported in the minutes are typically agreed orders and the names are not included; names are included for cases where charges have been filed against that educator. Cases are subject to open records request but are not published anywhere.

 

Representative Rand asked whether this included complaints.

 

Ms. Thomas said that is correct.

 

Representative Meeks asked about the significance of an accreditation unit being nationally certified.†

 

Mr. Graycarek said being nationally certified provides some level of prestige in terms of attracting teachers or students to the institutionís program. It also helps students who attend a nationally accredited institution to get into a graduate program, particularly in another state.†

 

Representative Meeks asked about the different routes in the process of alternative certification. His understanding is that many people were using those alternative routes because there were shortages in certain areas.†

 

Mr. Graycarek said there are seven alternative routes to teacher certification. It allows someone who already has a bachelorís or masterís degree, but not in teaching, to enter a program at a university or college to get their content knowledge and teaching skills without having to complete an entire bachelorís degree program.† It allows a person to earn this teaching certification but also teach in a school at the same time.†

 

Representative Meeks asked how many teachers in Kentucky have gone through these alternative routes to teach in content areas where there are shortages.

 

Mr. Graycarek said he did not know; it may be impossible to identify all the teachers who have taken the alternative certification route because they obtain the Base Teaching Certificate just like anybody else.†

 

Representative Meeks asked whether Mr. Graycarek would suggest that the alternative certification routes be expanded.

 

Mr. Graycarek said staff did not make a recommendation in the report and that would be a policy decision best left to the General Assembly and EPSB.

 

Dr. Phillip Rogers, Executive Director of the Education Professional Standards Board, responded to the report. Responding to Recommendation 1.1 that EPSB should determine if it would be more cost-effective and appropriate to replace its contract attorneys with an attorney on staff, he said they will consider the feasibility of it.† He said their staff has been shrinking, the executive branch has not been receptive to adding additional positions, and they are using their part-time attorneys to help fill in the gap.

 

Dr. Rogers responded to Recommendation 3.1 about adjusting the number of Board Examiner team members for state-only accreditation visits based on the size of the institution and the number of programs being evaluated. He said that the national accreditation agency, NCATE, is moving to support smaller BOE teams, which will be reflected in state-only accreditation visits.† EPSB will consult with its institutions regarding this recommendation to amend 16 KAR 5:010, which stipulates that there be 6 members on a committee.† That number is primarily related to the number of standards.† The report talks about students, but EPSB thinks about number of programs that are at a university.† EPSB expects them to meet the same standards that any program would meet, regardless of the number of students at that institution.†††

 

For Recommendation 3.2, that EPSB should consider establishing guidelines to ensure that the Board of Examiner teams are reasonably representative of the type of institution being evaluated, he said each BOE team is submitted to the university that is going to be visited.† They may suggest that a certain person not be on the BOE team, and EPSB will make those changes when asked.† EPSB will, however, inquire if that is an issue and will make sure that the institution is completely comfortable with the BOE team coming to its campus.

 

Responding to Recommendation 4.1 that EPSB should finalize implementation of an electronic tracking system to be used to accurately monitor complaints and cases against teachers, Dr. Rogers said that the system is now accurately reporting the cases that are closed. Problems that were identified in the report have been resolved.† They are continuing to develop processes while continuing to maintain a parallel paper system. They still have about 200 old cases to enter into the system.

 

He responded to Recommendation 4.2 and said they continue to refine procedures of entering information and training staff, and will continue to do so until they have tested the system completely.

 

In response to Recommendation 4.3 that EPSB develop a standard form for filing complaints against teachers and make it available electronically, he said that uniform procedures for filing complaints are now available on the EPSB Web site.† They do not have a form yet but are going to be working on that.†

 

He said that he will discuss Recommendation 4.4 that EPSB should consider establishing a disciplinary case review committee composed of board members, and possibly staff, to review all complaints and determine which ones should or should not be forwarded to the entire board, and will follow the boardís preference and guidance.

 

Dr. Rogers said in response to Recommendation 5.1 that conversations have already started with CPE and KDE, and Senate Bill 1 started this process.† National common course standards are coming out and EPSB wants to engage higher education more in professional development. For K-12 teachers, they want to maintain that local oversight but provide a deeper pool of high-quality professional development that all districts can choose from that is rooted and established out of the universities.† A plan will be drafted and presented to the Program Review and Investigations Committee by October 1, 2010.

 

Senator McGaha asked for clarification on the 208 people who were delayed in the KTIP process.

 

Dr. Rogers said they were employed and were not penalized. They all received a certificate that did not penalize them financially.† As of the previous day, 123, or 58%, of the 208 are now in an intern program.

 

Senator McGaha asked whether the person or agency against whom a complaint has been filed is offered an opportunity to present their case.

 

Dr. Rogers said that they are.

 

Senator McGaha asked whether they are given an open floor to present their case to the board.

 

Dr. Rogers said their board meetings begin with an open forum and anybody can have time to present any issue they want to talk to the board about.

 

Senator McGaha asked what opportunity does that same person or agency have to defend their case once that issue is brought before the board.

 

Dr. Rogers said they get an opportunity to give their part and defense.† That is in addition to any formal rejoinders that they have submitted to EPSB.† He said it is typically the chair or the dean of the college of education who comes to the table.

 

Senator McGaha asked for clarification that the response on this issue is by invitation only.

 

Dr. Rogers said yes, if it is a person other than the chair or the dean. EPBS uses the same procedures and protocol that NCATE uses.

 

Senator McGaha said there is a difference because EPSB is part of state government.

 

Representative Rand asked whether most complaints come from parents.

 

Dr. Rogers said that most complaints come through superintendents, who are †required to report all complaints received to EPSB.

 

Representative Rand asked whether the teacher and the local board can get together and decide for the teacher to resign because most professional job applications ask about any criminal complaints filed against one that would alert other school districts.

 

Dr. Rogers said there are two concepts: the employment issue and the certificate issue.† If necessary, the local Board of Education will get that teacher out of the classroom.† If the issue does not require that, the board receives the complaint from the superintendent, which may have been parent-generated, and the board then processes that misconduct.

 

Representative Rand said that issue would potentially revoke their teaching certificate in Kentucky.

 

Dr. Rogers said two cases would take teachers out of the classroom; one is suspension, one is revocation. †Suspension would be for less than 2 years, and once the time is up, the teacher gets the certificate back. †Revocation would be more than 2 years, and after that the teacher would have to meet the standards at that time to get the certificate back.† The board can choose to defer for training, and once the teacher has completed training, the case is dismissed and is not on the record.

 

Representative Rand asked whether the local board can defer for training.

 

Dr. Rogers said the local board can do it, and many times EPSB will dismiss the case if the training has been completed.

 

Representative Rand asked whether the local board is required to provide EPSB with information regarding disciplining of teachers.

 

Dr. Rogers said it is not required but often that information accompanies the complaint.

 

Representative Rand asked whether EPSB would know about a situation that may occur with a teacher in a classroom and the local board members take action, maybe training, but no complaint is filed with EPSB.

 

Dr. Rogers said they would not know about that situation.

 

Representative Rand asked whether local board members or superintendents have training to deal with those types of situation, or whether they have to take any continuing education to remain board members to know how to deal with those situations.

 

Dr. Rogers said superintendents do but he did not know about board members.

 

Michael Dailey, Director of Educator Quality and Diversity, Office of Leadership and School Improvement, Kentucky Department of Education, agreed with recommendation 2.1 that KDEís Division of Educator Quality and Diversity should revise and publish the minority recruitment strategic plan and would like to comply as soon as possible.

 

Mr. Dailey said that the number of minority principals in Kentucky has increased from 4.6 percent to 6 percent. The minority teacher percentage has increased from about 4.6 percent to 4.8 percent. Since 2000, the retention rate of minority teachers who received the scholarship established by the General Assembly for diversification in the teacher workforce has been 80 percent compared to the national retention rate of 50 percent.††† He said Kentucky has had 3 minority superintendents. They continue to have an instructional leadership program at Western Kentucky University and hope to expand it in Eastern Kentucky.† He said they have an early identification program among middle and high school students, Future Educators Association, and Kentucky has the fastest growing and the number one Future Educators program in the country.†

 

Senator Schickel expressed concern about the lack of male teachers in the elementary school level and the lack of male role models. He asked if anything can be done to encourage or to recruit young males to be elementary school teachers.

 

Sally Sugg, Associate Commissioner for the Office of Leadership and School Improvement, KDE, said, based on her experience as an elementary principal, it was very difficult to find male candidates to be interested in the elementary years.† She complimented EPSB and KDE on the alternate certification program, which has given many males an opportunity to get into the teaching profession.

 

Mr. Dailey said Eastern Kentucky University has worked on a program with Clemson University in a joint effort with KDE that focuses on recruiting men into education, specifically targeting elementary education. Another program at Kentucky State University focuses on men that are currently in their education programs becoming role models as educators. He agreed that the alternative routes to certification are a growing and a viable recruitment tool.

 

Senator Schickel asked whether KDE has authority over this or whether they need some direction from the General Assembly.†

 

Mr. Dailey said any support from the General Assembly to collect needed data would be welcomed.† He said KDE, together with EPSB, presently can determine teacher population data and teacher credentials, but the federal government is changing ways of looking at that data and in the future they may not be able to identify teachers by race or gender.

 

Representative Meeks asked Mr. Dailey to explain why progress is being made in administrative diversity, which has increased from 4.6 percent to 6 percent, but not in teacher diversity, which has stayed at 4.8 percent for some time now.

 

Mr. Dailey speculated that teachers may have proven themselves as effective educators in the classroom and are seeking other opportunities within the school system as effective leaders.† He said he is frustrated with the stagnation of the diverse teacher pool because the number of teachers that are exiting the system is the same number that they are recruiting.† In some areas, such as Western Kentucky, the diverse teacher population is growing because the diversity population is growing there.† In other communities, there is a lack of people with diverse backgrounds.

 

The report Education Professional Standards Board was accepted by roll call vote upon motion made by Representative Simpson and seconded by Representative Rand.

 

Senator Schickel asked staff to notify the Kentucky Retirement Systems to be prepared to address at the September meeting concerns of the state auditors, including failure to do research, mingling of funds, conflict of interest, inadequate oversight of management, and officers exceeding their authority.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40pm.