|The House of Delegates Education Committee on Monday approved eight bills, including a revised Senate Bill 274 dubbed The Third Grade Success Act.
Adopted by the Senate, the bill includes provisions relating to dyslexia and dyscalculia. The bill includes provisions of House Bill 3293 the Senate hasn’t considered.
HB3293 focuses on the required screening of students to spot early signs of those learning disorders. SB274 provides early childhood classroom assistant teachers and systems of support to help students achieve grade-level literacy and numeracy by the end of the third grade.
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House Education also approved bills that:
— Provide up to $400,000 in stimulus funding for public schools, including public charter schools, in their first year of operation. The Committee defeated Senate Bill 47 by division vote in a meeting last week. It reconsidered the bill and adopted it in its morning meeting.
— Require the national motto “In God We Trust” to be placed on public buildings. The House Education Committee initially considered a revised amendment to the measure, Senate Bill 251, removing the term “must” and changing the posting requirement to “may.” SB251, as amended, requires the motto’s placement (placard) on the “main building” of educational or public buildings, including higher education institutions that had been removed from the initial legislation the Committee considered.
Delegates debated logistics of the proposal, whether public charter schools should be cited specifically, potential costs to county boards for posting documents, and whether posting the motto itself, as required, could lead to litigation.
SB251 lead sponsor Senator Mike Azinger of Wood County said the legislation is necessary because “God had been struck from our schools,” citing 1960s U.S. Supreme Court cases involving school prayer and reading of the Bible.
— Allow students to make a “one-time” transfer from private schools to public schools or from public schools to private schools or to schools having a sport the student doesn’t have in the school he or she attends during their secondary school grades (Senate Bill 262).
— Align state and federal accreditation rules due largely to the demise of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Accordingly, Senate Bill 488 requires higher education institutions to select an accrediting entity.
— Clarify rulemaking for higher education. One provision allows the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (LOCEA) greater review prerogative with state Board of Education rules as explained by Committee Counsel. The central thrust of Senate Bill 543 is updating higher education rulemaking.
— Provide clean-up language relating to the Hope Scholarship Program, as well as micro schools programs (Senate Bill 625).
— Direct the Legislative Auditor to conduct periodic performance audits of the state Secondary Schools Activities Commission (Senate Bill 667).
The House Education Committee defeated Senate Bill 422, which required county boards to publish curriculum online at the beginning of the school year. The Committee amended the bill to incorporate an online link to state Board of Education Content Standards so parents could determine whether school curriculum aligned with WVBE Standards.
Several Delegates said the content-standards language muddied the bill and the information was easily accessible. Additionally, Delegates said current law relates to curriculum being posted, with access by students, parents, and guardians.
While that amendment was adopted, the bill was tabled indefinitely.