Call to Order and Roll Call
TheProgram Review and Investigations Committee met on Thursday, June 14, 2012, at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Greg Hager, Committee Staff Administrator, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senators Tom Buford, Perry B. Clark, Jimmy Higdon, Vernie McGaha, Joey Pendleton, Dan "Malano" Seum, and Brandon Smith; Representatives Dwight D. Butler, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Terry Mills, Rick Rand, Arnold Simpson, and Fitz Steele.
Guests: Eric Friedlander, Deputy Secretary; Stephen R. Hall, Commissioner; Betsy Dunnigan, Deputy Commissioner; Natalie Kelly, Children’s Branch Manager, Division of Behavioral Health, Program Development Branch; Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities, Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner; Ken Draut, Associate Commissioner, Office of Assessment and Accountability; Felicia Smith, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Learners; Kentucky Department of Education. Dr. Robert L. King, President; Aaron Thompson, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Council on Postsecondary Education. Dr. Phillip Rogers, Executive Director; Robert Brown, Director, Division of Professional Learning and Assessment; Dr. Kim Walters-Parker, Director, Division of Educator Preparation; Linda Nickel, Project Specialist; Education Professional Standards Board.
LRC Staff: Greg Hager, Committee Staff Administrator; Colleen Kennedy; Katie Kirkland; Van Knowles; Lora Littleton; Jean Ann Myatt; William Spears; Leonard Evans, Graduate Fellow; Jenna Skop, Graduate Fellow; Stella Mountain, Committee Assistant.
Election of Senate and House co-chairs
Upon nomination made by Senator Seum, and seconded by Senator McGaha, Senator Higdon was nominated for the position of Senate Co-chair.
Upon motion made by Senator McGaha, and seconded by Senator Buford that nominations cease, Senator Higdon was elected Senate Co-chair by acclamation, without objection.
Upon nomination made by Representative Combs, and seconded by Representative Rand, Representative Steele was nominated for the position of House Co-chair.
Upon motion made by Representative Simpson, and seconded by Representative Combs that nominations cease, Representative Steele was elected House Co-chair by acclamation, without objection.
Approve Minutes for March 19, 2012
Upon motion made by Representative Simpson and seconded by Representative Mills, the minutes of the March 19, 2012 meeting were approved by voice vote, without objection.
Senator Higdon recognized new committee members Senator Tom Buford and Representative Jim DeCesare and noted that Senator Brandon Smith has returned to the committee. He announced that the August meeting would be Tuesday, August 14 at 10 am.
Follow-up on Impact Plus
Mr. Friedlander said that cabinet officials have been unable to discuss the termination of a specified provider due to an ongoing investigation. Because the Office of Attorney General will not be pursuing a criminal or civil case related to this provider, the cabinet is able to provide the memo distributed to committee members today. The memo describes a timeline of events related to the termination. The cabinet has sent a letter inviting the provider to join the cabinet in working through issues. The cabinet is working to improve their review process. Impact Plus serves nearly 7,000 children with severe emotional disturbance.
Senator Higdon commented that the main goals are that children are served and that taxpayers are protected. Based on his review of the audits of existing providers, it does not appear that there were follow-ups for providers with failing scores. Hopefully, the cabinet is looking at a new review system. He summarized the results of some of the audits of providers, including a 2009 audit that cited 47 deficiencies, a 2010 audit that cited 38 deficiencies, a 2011 audit that cited 62 deficiencies, a 2010 audit that cited 39 deficiencies, and a 2010 audit that cited 43 deficiencies. Roepke, a provider that was terminated, was cited for 1,000 occurrences of no notes or blank notes in 2008. Inappropriate billing continued according to a 2009 audit. Roepke ended up owing the state $108,000. It was not noted anywhere whether a recoupment had been received by the state. Senator Higdon asked what is being done to address such concerns. Mr. Friedlander said that information will be provided on what follow-up has occurred. How reviewing and scoring are done need to be revisited.
In response to a question from Representative Steele, Mr. Friedlander said that he would be willing to return to provide information related to the Impact Plus provider that was terminated in 2011.
Representative Mills asked Mr. Friedlander to summarize the document provided to committee members today. Mr. Friedlander said that it is a timeline from the time the cabinet made contact with the provider. The document reviews concerns related to overlapping billing.
In response to questions from Senator Buford, Ms. Dunnigan said that Impact Plus would not be included in the renewed contract with Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Impact Plus program employees are now state employees. The department has a contract with EKU for other staff positions currently within the department that will be renewed for the upcoming year. The amount of the renewed contract will be reported to the committee.
Senator Buford asked for examples of likely changes to the Impact Plus program. Mr. Hall said that the scoring system for site reviews would be revised. Ms. Dunnigan said that there may have been issues with one or a few records from the sample used in the review. Mr. Friedlander said that the department did not share the review tools with providers but will now do so.
Senator Buford asked if the contract awarded to EKU was put out for bid. Ms. Dunnigan said that university contracts are not put out for bidding. Clarifying her answer to an earlier question from Senator Buford, she explained that four employees with EKU will be moved to state positions and will be paid in the meantime through the larger contract with EKU.
In response to questions from Senator McGaha, Ms. Kelly said there were four scoring categories. The average of the clinical and billing scores should be above 85 percent or corrective actions are required. Corrective action is also required if either the clinical or billing category is below 80 percent. For the overall quality measurement, changes are suggested, not required. The provider’s policy and procedures manual is also reviewed.
Senator Smith said that administration of Impact Plus has been one of his major concerns. In response to a question from Senator Smith, Mr. Friedlander and Mr. Hall agreed that the cabinet could report on the status of the termination case by the next Program Review meeting. Senator Higdon said that this would be on the agenda for the next meeting.
Senator Higdon asked if there has been any consideration given to providing Impact Plus services through managed care. This would give Impact Plus subcontractors provider numbers and due process. Mr. Friedlander said that he is not in a position to commit. Funding for Impact Plus is complex, but consideration could be given to providing services through managed care.
Representative DeCesare noted that some reviews are nearly 3 years old. In response to his question about scheduling of follow-ups, Ms. Kelly said that reviews are ongoing.
Implementation of Senate Bill 1 (2009)
Commissioner Holliday noted that a presentation on SB 1 will be on the agenda for the upcoming Southern Legislative Conference, which is an indicator of other states’ interest in what Kentucky is doing. The first major requirement of SB 1 is new, more rigorous academic standards aligned with the entry requirements for college. Delivery strategies for the unified plan for college and career readiness include persistence-to-graduate processes for all students, alignment of courses and assessment, the Unbridled Learning Accountability Model, targeted interventions for high school students who are unprepared for the next step in learning, career readiness pathways, acceleration programs (advanced placement), academic and career advising, and priority schools. Double-digit gains in language arts and math have been reported for all 41 priority (low-performing) schools. The Kentucky Board of Education has established two goals related to college/career readiness: by 2015 increase the average freshman graduation rate from 76 percent to 90 percent and increase the percentage of students who are college or career ready from 34 percent to 67 percent.
Kentucky worked with the national Common Core Standards Initiative coalition to develop new standards. In February 2010, the Kentucky Board of Education, Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), and Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE) adopted the new English/language arts and mathematics standards, making Kentucky the first state to do so.
Ms. Smith said that the new standards are fewer in number but require deeper understanding. The next-generation science standards are in draft form and are due for release in spring 2013. New social studies standards are being developed by a coalition of states and are due for release later in 2013. The common core academic standards in English/language arts and mathematics were taught and assessed in the 2011-2012 school year. Regional leadership networks are used to provide support and professional development related to the new standards. The Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System uses resources developed by Kentucky teachers focused on implementation of the standards. Implementation of program reviews of components of the instructional program—required by SB 1—began with the 2011-2012 school year. Implementation for the next school year will incorporate more training for districts and schools.
Mr. Draut testified that a second major requirement of SB 1 is the development and implementation of new assessments. The new Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress system uses criterion- and norm-referenced tests in grades 3 to 8, and end-of-course and writing assessments in high school. The new assessments, which include multiple-choice and open-response questions, are benchmarked to the performance standards; provide longitudinal profiles for students; and are comparable to national norms. More than 400,000 students were tested in spring 2012. The new tests will feed into the new accountability system. The new system uses multiple indicators; is based on continuous improvement; is aligned with college/career readiness goals; and includes details on academic growth, achievement gaps, academic progress, college/career readiness, and graduation rates. Kentucky was one of the first states to be granted flexibility on No Child Left Behind requirements, which allows Kentucky to have one accountability model: the Unbridled Learning Accountability System.
Commissioner Holliday described improvements in Kentucky’s national rankings based on proficiency standards. The new standards will measure college and career readiness. The percentages of students who are defined as college and career ready will be lower than the students who are defined as proficient.
Representative DeCesare asked for an update on the teacher evaluation system. Commissioner Holliday said that it is anticipated that results from field testing will be available this year.
Representative DeCesare reported concerns from superintendents in his district that the state Board of Education is tweaking SB 1. Commissioner Holliday said that the board has not changed anything that it was not authorized to change. The board has been driven by a No Child Left Behind waiver of teacher evaluation. Legislation is needed regarding measurement of teacher effectiveness. The state board has been active in implementing kindergarten diagnostic assessments, and 109 districts have volunteered to participate in the kindergarten readiness screening.
In response to a question from Representative DeCesare, Commissioner Holliday said that weighting for world languages was changed based on feedback from superintendents.
In response to a question from Senator Buford, Mr. Draut said that information could be provided on the percentage of public secondary school graduates who do not go beyond the first year of college.
Senator Buford suggested a roundtable discussion among the business community, secondary education, and higher education.
Senator Higdon asked for information on the cost of the testing system. Mr. Draut said that the end-of-course tests cost $5 million. Testing for grades 3 to 8 costs $7 million.
In response to a question from Senator Higdon, Commissioner Holliday said that the P-20 database and Infinite Campus will provide a lot of interesting information.
CPE President King acknowledged the foresight of the General Assembly in enacting SB 1. The timing and content gave Kentucky a role in the development of national core content standards. CPE has worked in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and EPSB to implement the law. SB 1 guided the focus of CPE’s agenda, specifically in two areas: college readiness and student success. KDE and CPE both use the same definitions for college readiness and career readiness.
Placement exams and assessments are being aligned across public postsecondary institutions. A framework of indicators has been completed that guarantees entry into college credit courses using ACT, SAT, and placement scores. KDE and CPE are providing placement assessments for students. Assessment Academies use data to improve student learning through targeted professional development. President King described several initiatives related to strengthening the college completion culture including accelerated learning, summer programming, transitional programs for high school seniors who are not meeting ACT benchmarks, and an advising toolkit for middle and high school educators.
Initiatives related to postsecondary professional development include a website and online modules for faculty who teach freshman or introductory courses and teacher education faculty; regional workshops and online webinars; grants for professional development to support implementation of SB 1; and a national forum in Louisville with postsecondary faculty from 22 states.
Senator Higdon asked for clarification on realignment related to use of the ACT. Dr. King said that this will come about through decisions made by KDE. The grade 11 ACT score is used as a preliminary indicator for placement. It appears that KDE is moving toward using quality core specific ACT scores. Mr. Thompson added that the quality core scores are subject specific and allow for more effective intervention.
Executive Director Rogers presented a timeline of how EPSB has used policy to improve the practice of teaching since 2004. Elements include redesign of the internship program to include performance assessments; revision of EPSB’s goals to indicate commitment to student learning, not just teaching; redesign of master’s degree programs to focus on leadership; redesign of principal preparation programs to focus on student-centered school leadership; redesign of superintendent preparation programs to focus on student-centered district leadership; restructuring of the requirements for new teachers; and release of the Data Dashboard, which provides comparisons among universities in producing educators. Ongoing projects are the redesign of the state accreditation and program review process and the development of a Quality Preparation Index, which includes measurement of K-12 student performance.
EPSB officials described the progress that EPSB has made in implementing four requirements of SB 1. Ms. Nickel said that the first requirement is that EPSB lead, in collaboration with KDE and CPE, coordinated information and training sessions on revised content standards. Progress includes the completion of eight SB 1 information workshops and webinars and other information workshops and webinars (99.8 percent of faculties at teacher preparation programs have completed the training). Five online modules for new faculty have been developed.
Mr. Brown said that the second requirement is that EPSB ensure that teacher preparation programs include use of academic standards in the pre-service programs and that all teacher interns have experience planning classroom instruction based on the revised standards. A committee was appointed to ensure alignment of SB 1 and the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program. Dr. Walters-Parker said that for continued accreditation EPSB requires all teacher preparation programs to document that they are addressing the requirements of SB 1.
The third requirement is that EPSB collaborate with KDE and other partners to identify weaknesses in writing instruction and consider how skills to improve writing should best be taught to teachers. Dr. Walters-Parker said that two teaching certificate endorsements—literary specialist and reading—have been added. Revised admission standards and assessment require composition, not just multiple choice questions. Collaborative university/college work groups have been established. EPSB and the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Administration have completed a research study on the effects of teacher pre-service preparation to teach writing.
The Martin School study has also been useful to EPSB in implementing its fourth requirement from SB 1: analyze current requirements at the pre-service level for writing instruction and determine how writing instruction for prospective teachers can be enhanced or improved. The writing required for admission is undergoing peer review.
Representative DeCesare asked for elaboration on teacher preparation related to grammar, spelling, and cursive writing. Dr. Walters-Parker said that there is renewed emphasis on grammar instruction. Representative DeCesare said that his children’s school work has not been graded for spelling. He suggested that spelling should be graded. Dr. Rogers replied that a basic skills test, which includes writing, is required for admission to the teacher preparation program. EPSB has adopted a new test for prospective elementary teachers covering math, language arts, social studies, and science. One has to pass all areas. Representative DeCesare used an example of math instruction and lack of training in cursive writing for his children to illustrate how teaching has changed. Dr. Walters-Parker said that there is a concern about reading instruction across all subject areas. The issue with cursive writing is not whether to teach it, but how.
Representative Rand asked for elaboration on why writing is emphasized. Dr. Walters-Parker said that SB 1 requires emphasis on writing. There is a practical need for writing to be able to function in the modern world. Some Kentucky teachers have participated in the National Writing Project. EPSB wants to replicate some elements of this in its teacher preparation programs.
Senator Higdon reminded members that the committee’s next meeting is July 12.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 pm.