The “sequestration” federal budget cuts went into effect March 1. The cuts included $2.9 billion in education. The budget cuts would become effective during the 2013-3014 school year.
On March 6 the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill that would extend the current stop gap funding for government operations through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. This bill (Continuing Resolution 933) is set to expire on March 27. On March 18 the Continuing Resolution was considered and amended by the Senate. As a result of changes to the bill made in the Senate, House action will be necessary before it is sent to the President for his signature. Congress will need to complete consideration before March 27th to prevent a shutdown of the federal government.
The House Education and Workforce Committee in February, 2012 and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in October, 2011 both passed versions of Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization (ESEA aka NCLB). Neither chamber has tried to bring the measures to a floor vote.
The House bills are the Student Success Act, HR 3989 and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, HR 3990.
The Virginia Board of Education approved an alternate methodology for revising Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) in mathematics for every student subgroup, including the three proficiency gap groups, for accountability years 2013-2014 through 2017-2018 based on new and more rigorous mathematics assessments administered for the first time in 2011-2012. Note that the same methodology would be used in 2012-2013 to recalculate reading AMOs through accountability years 2017-2018 based on new and more rigorous reading assessments to be administered for the first time in 2012-2013.
The changes come in response to the request for Virginia to submit an alternate methodology and revised student subgroup AMOs to USED for approval. Revised Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) will be calculated for every student subgroup, such that by the 2017-2018 accountability year (2016-2017 assessment year) the minimum required pass rate will be the same as the Year 6 AMO for the all students subgroup (73% for mathematics). AMOs in the intermediate years will serve as academic progress measures.
The revision includes an amendment that would allow a school to meet federal accountability requirements through an additional safe harbor provision. Federal requirements may be met if the passing rate exceeds the AMO target and falls within 5 percent of the previous year's passing rate. This provision could not be used for more than two consecutive years.
The revised methodology will continue to address USED’s flexibility application requirement of cutting in half within six years the failure rate of the all students group and every student subgroup at a school with greater gains required of lower performing subgroups. Schools with pass rates higher than the AMOs for one or more subgroups will be required to maintain or improve those pass rates annually to ensure all subgroups in every school make continuous progress. The starting points (Year 1 AMOs) used to determine the federal accountability determinations for the 2012-2013 accountability year based on 2011-2012 assessments will remain as calculated using methodology approved by USED on June 29, 2012. The pass rate of the school at the 20th percentile of total number of students with assessment records for the state represents the starting point (Year 1 AMO) for calculating the AMOs. (This procedure for calculating a starting point is consistent with the methodology in the NCLB Act of 2001.)
Additional information about the new Annual Measurable Objectives is available at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/federal_programs/esea/flexibility/faq_amo.pdf
Virginia Implementation Documents
Current State Legislative and Executive Out-of-Session Committee Activities and Studies
Various legislative and executive committees meet throughout the year to study education-related policy issues. The following provides links to and information about many of these policy-making entities, their current activities, and their recently completed study results.
Commission on Youth
Home Page: http://vcoy.virginia.gov/
2013 Activity: The Virginia Commission on Youth does not currently have any education-related studies scheduled for consideration or release in 2013.
Recent relevant Commission on Youth reports:
Comparison of Academic Achievement in Virginia with Leading Industrialized Countries (September 2012)
School Enrollment Practices for Virginia’s Kinship Caregivers (April 2012)
Governor's School and Campus Safety Task Force
2013 Activity: The Governor’s School and Campus Safety Task Force continues to meet to discuss potential policy initiatives intended to address K-12 school safety. The Task Force is expected to meet at least once more prior to June 30th, the date for which the authority for the Task Force expires.
Joint Commission on Health Care
Home Page: http://jchc.virginia.gov/
2013 Activity: The 2013 General Assembly adopted two potentially relevant studies which were referred to the Joint Commission on Health Care, the findings of which are due to be released prior to the 2014 General Assembly Session:
Joint Commission on Science and Technology (JCOTS)
Home Page: http://dls.virginia.gov/commission/jcots.htm
2013 Activity: The JCOTS Broadband and Education Advisory Committee will consider the subject matter of two pieces of education-related legislation referred to it during the 2013 General Assembly Session regarding electronic textbooks:
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC)
Home Page: http://jlarc.virginia.gov/
2013 Activity: The only education-related study scheduled for release by JLARC is their annual report on state Standards of Quality spending (released in December). However, the 2013 General Assembly adopted a number of relevant studies for JLARC to undertake, with results due in future years, including:
Recent relevant JLARC Reports:
Technical Report: Cost of Competing Adjustment for School Divisions in Northern Virginia (December 2012)
State Spending on the Standards of Quality: FY 2012 (December 2012)
Review of Year-Round Schools (October 2012)
Review of Retirement Benefits for State and Local Government Employees (December 2011)
Strategies to Promote Third Grade Reading Performance in Virginia (September 2011)
Task Force for Local Government Mandate Review
2013 Activity: The Governor’s Task Force for Local Government Mandate Review continues to meet to consider the proposed repeal of state imposed mandates on localities. The Task Force is scheduled to expire on July 1, 2014.
The 2013 General Assembly included language in the Appropriations Act requiring the Commission on Local Government to convene a task force to determine a process for preparing fiscal impact statements for legislation requiring additional expenditures by counties, cities or towns. While school divisions are not explicitly named as participating in the task force, since school divisions are fiscally dependent on local governments such impact estimates should of necessity incorporate a consideration of fiscal impacts on school divisions. The task force is scheduled to release its report by December 1, 2013.
Recent relevant Task Force for Local Government Mandate Review reports:
Second Interim Report (March 2013)
First Interim Report (January 2012)
Virginia Freedom Information Advisory Council (FOIA)
Home Page: http://foiacouncil.dls.virginia.gov/
2013 Activity: The FOIA Council’s Electronic Meetings Subcommittee is planning to consider two pieces of legislation that may be of interest to education and which were referred to the Council during the 2013 General Assembly session:
Its Rights and Remedies Subcommittee will consider the following two pieces of potentially relevant legislation:
Virginia State Crime Commission (VSCC)
Home Page: http://vscc.virginia.gov/
2013 Activity: The 2013 General Assembly adopted HJ 595 (Loupassi) which directs the Virginia State Crime Commission (VSCC) to study the incidence and determine the potential availability of penalties for sexual conduct between secondary school students 18 years of age and older and teachers or other school personnel as well as to more generally study the laws and policies governing the investigation of alleged child sexual abuse in the Commonwealth.
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June 7, 2013