Current Status Bill Number:
850Ratification Number: 412Act Number: 400Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 19980114Primary Sponsor: SetzlerAll Sponsors: Setzler, Courson, Hayes, Lander, Wilson, Giese, Reese, Rankin, Bryan, Mescher, Russell, Washington, Branton, Short and WaldrepDrafted Document Number: res1522.ngsDate Bill Passed both Bodies: 19980603Date of Last Amendment: 19980603Governor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: 19980610Subject: Education Accountability Act of 1998, Schools and School Districts; Curriculum, Principals, Phonics, Oversight Committee
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ ------ 19980630 Act No. A400 ------ 19980610 Signed by Governor ------ 19980604 Ratified R412 Senate 19980603 Ordered enrolled for ratification House 19980603 Free Conference Committee Report 99 HFCC adopted House 19980603 Free Conference Powers granted, 99 HFCC Townsend appointed Reps. to Committee of Harrell Free Conference Walker Senate 19980602 Free Conference Committee Report 89 SFCC adopted Senate 19980602 Free Conference Powers granted, 89 SFCC Setzler appointed Senators to Committee Bryan of Free Conference Hayes Senate 19980416 Conference powers granted, 88 SCC Setzler appointed Senators to Committee Bryan of Conference Hayes House 19980414 Conference powers granted, 98 HCC Townsend appointed Reps. to Committee of Harrell Conference Walker House 19980414 Insists upon amendment Senate 19980408 Non-concurrence in House amendment House 19980401 Read third time, returned to Senate with amendment House 19980331 Amended, read second time House 19980326 Committee report: Favorable with 21 HEPW amendment House 19980224 Introduced, read first time, 21 HEPW referred to Committee Senate 19980219 Amended, read third time, sent to House Senate 19980218 Amended, debate interrupted by adjournment Senate 19980217 Amended, debate interrupted by adjournment Senate 19980212 Read second time, ordered to third reading with notice of general amendments, carrying over all amendments to third reading, retaining its place on the Calendar in the status of interrupted debate Senate 19980211 Debate interrupted Senate 19980210 Debate interrupted by adjournment Senate 19980205 Made Special Order Senate 19980205 Committee amendment adopted Senate 19980121 Committee report: Favorable 04 SED Senate 19980114 Introduced, read first time, 04 SED referred to Committee Senate 19971117 Prefiled, referred to Committee 04 SEDView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
(A400, R412, S850)
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 18 OF TITLE 59, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO QUALITY CONTROLS AND PRODUCTIVITY REWARDS, SO AS TO ENACT THE SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1998 TO ESTABLISH STATEWIDE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS OF THOSE STANDARDS FOR SCHOOLS, TO PROVIDE ANNUAL REPORT CARDS FOR SCHOOLS WITH A PERFORMANCE INDICATOR SYSTEM, TO REQUIRE DISTRICTS TO ESTABLISH LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS, TO PROVIDE SPECIFIED RESOURCES TO IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE AND TEACHER AND STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND ASSISTANCE, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION AND OVERSIGHT OF THE ABOVE PROVISIONS; TO ADD SECTION 59-24-5 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS IN REGARD TO SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND THEIR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT; TO AMEND SECTIONS 59-24-10, 59-24-30, BOTH AS AMENDED, AND 59-24-50, RELATING TO ASSESSMENT OF AND DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR SUCH ASSESSMENTS AND DEVELOPMENT PLANS; TO ADD SECTION 59-24-80 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR A FORMAL INDUCTION PROGRAM FOR FIRST-YEAR PRINCIPALS; TO ADD SECTION 59-24-15 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CERTIFIED EDUCATION PERSONNEL WHO ARE EMPLOYED AS ADMINISTRATORS ON AN ANNUAL OR MULTI-YEAR CONTRACT WILL RETAIN THEIR RIGHTS AS A TEACHER UNDER APPLICABLE EMPLOYMENT, DISMISSAL, AND OTHER PROCEDURES BUT NO SUCH RIGHTS ARE GRANTED TO THE POSITION OR SALARY OF ADMINISTRATOR, AND TO PROVIDE THAT ANY SUCH ADMINISTRATOR WHO PRESENTLY IS UNDER A CONTRACT GRANTING SUCH RIGHTS SHALL RETAIN THAT STATUS UNTIL THE EXPIRATION OF THAT CONTRACT; TO AMEND SECTION 59-6-10, RELATING TO THE SELECT COMMITTEE TO OVERSEE THE EIA, SO AS TO CHANGE THE NAME OF THE COMMITTEE TO THE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, TO REVISE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE AND THE MANNER IN WHICH ITS MEMBERS ARE SELECTED, AND TO REVISE ITS DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS INCLUDING A REQUIREMENT THAT IT REVIEW AND MONITOR THE EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 1998; TO ADD SECTIONS 59-6-100, 59-6-110, AND 59-6-120 SO AS TO ESTABLISH AN ACCOUNTABILITY DIVISION WITHIN THE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE AND PROVIDE FOR ITS DUTIES, FUNCTIONS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES, TO PROVIDE THAT THE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SHALL APPOINT A TASK FORCE TO REVIEW CURRENT STATE PROGRAMS AND POLICIES FOR PARENT PARTICIPATION IN THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION; TO AMEND SECTION 59-29-10, RELATING TO REQUIRED SUBJECTS OF INSTRUCTION, SO AS TO REQUIRE INSTRUCTION IN PHONICS; TO ADD SECTION 59-63-65 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS WHICH CHOOSE TO REDUCE CLASS SIZE IN GRADES ONE THROUGH THREE TO A PUPIL-TEACHER RATIO OF FIFTEEN TO ONE SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN STATE FUNDING, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE PROVISIONS INCLUDING A PROVISION ALLOWING PORTABLE OR TEMPORARY FACILITIES TO BE USED FROM FUNDING DERIVED FROM THE CHILDREN'S EDUCATION ENDOWMENT FUND, TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO PROVIDE A COPY OF THIS ACT TO EVERY DISTRICT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT AND SCHOOL PRINCIPAL IN THIS STATE; TO REPEAL SECTION 59-6-12 RELATING TO CERTAIN DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE; AND TO REPEAL SECTIONS 59-18-10, 59-18-11, 59-18-15, 59-18-20, 59-18-25, 59-18-30, AND 59-18-31 RELATING TO SCHOOL QUALITY CONTROLS AND PRODUCTIVITY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act will be known and may be cited as the "South Carolina Education Accountability Act of 1998".
Education Accountability Act of 1998
SECTION 2. Chapter 18, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
Section 59-18-100. The General Assembly finds that South Carolinians have a commitment to public education and a conviction that high expectations for all students are vital components for improving academic achievement. It is the purpose of the General Assembly in this chapter to establish a performance based accountability system for public education which focuses on improving teaching and learning so that students are equipped with a strong academic foundation. Accountability, as defined by this chapter, means acceptance of the responsibility for improving student performance and taking actions to improve classroom practice and school performance by the Governor, the General Assembly, the State Department of Education, colleges and universities, local school boards, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and the community.
Section 59-18-110. The system is to:
(1) use academic achievement standards to push schools and students toward higher performance by aligning the state assessment to those standards and linking policies and criteria for performance standards, accreditation, reporting, school rewards, and targeted assistance;
(2) provide an annual report card with a performance indicator system that is logical, reasonable, fair, challenging, and technically defensible which furnishes clear and specific information about school and district academic performance and other performance to parents and the public;
(3) require all districts to establish local accountability systems to stimulate quality teaching and learning practices and target assistance to low performing schools;
(4) provide resources to strengthen the process of teaching and learning in the classroom to improve student performance and reduce gaps in performance;
(5) support professional development as integral to improvement and to the actual work of teachers and school staff; and
(6) expand the ability to evaluate the system and to conduct in-depth studies on implementation, efficiency, and the effectiveness of academic improvement efforts.
Section 59-18-120. As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Oversight Committee' means the Education Oversight Committee established in Section 59-6-10.
(2) 'Standards based assessment' means an assessment where an individual's performance is compared to specific performance standards and not to the performance of other students.
(3) 'Disaggregated data' means data broken out for specific groups within the total student population, such as by race, gender, and family income level.
(4) 'Longitudinally matched student data' means examining the performance of a single student or a group of students by considering their test scores over time.
(5) 'Norm-referenced assessment' means assessments designed to compare student performance to a nationally representative sample of similar students known as the norm group.
(6) 'Academic achievement standards' means statements of expectations for student learning.
(7) 'Department' means the State Department of Education.
(8) 'Absolute performance' means the rating a school will receive based on the percentage of students meeting standard on the state's standards based assessment.
(9) 'Improvement performance' means the rating a school will receive based on longitudinally matched student data comparing current performance to the previous year's for the purpose of determining student academic growth.
(10) 'Objective and reliable statewide assessment' means assessments which yield consistent results and which measure the cognitive knowledge and skills specified in the state-approved academic standards and does not include questions relative to personal opinions, feelings, or attitudes and is not biased with regard to race, gender, or socioeconomic status. It is not intended that the assessments be limited to true/false or multiple choice questions.
(11) 'Division of Accountability' means the special unit within the oversight committee established in Section 59-6-100.
Section 59-18-300. The State Board of Education is directed to adopt grade specific performance-oriented educational standards in the core academic areas of mathematics, English/language arts, social studies (history, government, economics, and geography), and science for kindergarten through twelfth grade and for grades nine through twelve adopt specific academic standards for benchmark courses in mathematics, English/language arts, social studies, and science. The standards are to promote the goals of providing every student with the competencies to:
(1) read, view, and listen to complex information in the English language;
(2) write and speak effectively in the English language;
(3) solve problems by applying mathematics;
(4) conduct research and communicate findings;
(5) understand and apply scientific concepts;
(6) obtain a working knowledge of world, United States, and South Carolina history, government, economics, and geography; and
(7) use information to make decisions.
The standards must be reflective of the highest level of academic skills with the rigor necessary to improve the curriculum and instruction in South Carolina's schools so that students are encouraged to learn at unprecedented levels and must be reflective of the highest level of academic skills at each grade level.
Section 59-18-310. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State Board of Education, through the Department of Education, is required to develop or adopt a statewide assessment program to measure student performance on state standards and:
(1) identify areas in which students need additional support;
(2) indicate the academic achievement for schools, districts, and the State; and
(3) satisfy federal reporting requirements.
All assessments required to be developed or adopted under the provisions of this section or chapter must be objective and reliable.
(B) The statewide assessment program in the four academic areas shall include grades three through eight, an exit examination which is to be first administered in grade ten, and end of course tests for gateway courses in English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies for grades nine through twelve. A standards based assessment will be developed for grades one and two for use by schools and districts as deemed appropriate by the district officials.
(C) While assessment is called for in the specific areas mentioned above, this should not be construed as lessening the importance of foreign languages, visual and performing arts, health, physical education, and career/occupational programs.
Section 59-18-320. (A) After the first statewide field test of the assessment program in each of the four academic areas, and after the field tests of the end of course assessments of benchmark courses, the Education Oversight Committee, established in Section 59-6-10, will review the state assessment program and the course assessments for alignment with the state standards, level of difficulty and validity, and for the ability to differentiate levels of achievement, and will make recommendations for needed changes, if any. The review will be provided to the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education, the Governor, the Senate Education Committee, and the House Education and Public Works Committee as soon as feasible after the field tests. The Department of Education will then report to the Education Oversight Committee no later than one month after receiving the reports on the changes made to the assessments to comply with the recommendations.
(B) After review and approval by the Education Oversight Committee, the standards based assessment of mathematics, English/language arts, social studies, and science will be administered to all public school students to include those students as required by the 1997 reauthorization of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and by Title 1 at the end of grades three through eight. The exit examination in these four academic areas will be administered for the first time at the end of grade ten. For students with documented disabilities, the assessments developed by the Department of Education shall include the appropriate modifications and accommodations with necessary supplemental devices as outlined in a student's Individualized Education Program and as stated in the Administrative Guidelines and Procedures for Testing Students with Documented Disabilities.
(C) After review and approval by the Education Oversight Committee, the end of course assessments of benchmark courses will be administered to all public school students as they complete each benchmark course.
(D) Any new standards and assessments required to be developed and adopted by the State Board of Education, through the Department of Education, must be developed and adopted upon the advice and consent of the Education Oversight Committee.
Section 59-18-330. The State Board of Education, through the State Department of Education, shall develop, select, or adapt a first grade readiness test which is linked to the adopted grade one academic standards and a second grade readiness test which is linked to the adopted grade two academic standards. The first administration of this test must occur no later than the 2000-2001 school year. The purpose of the tests is to measure individual student readiness, and they are not to be used as an accountability measure at the state level. However, the grade two readiness test will serve as the baseline for grade three assessment.
Section 59-18-340. The State Board of Education, following the recommendations of the Accountability Division of the Education Oversight Committee, is directed to select a norm referenced test to obtain an indication of student and school performance relative to national performance levels. The test must be administered annually to a statistically valid random sample of students in at least three grades from grades three through eleven. The Oversight Committee shall determine an appropriate sampling plan for the norm referenced test that must be administered beginning in the 1998-1999 school year.
Section 59-18-350. High schools shall offer state-funded PSAT or PLAN tests to each tenth grade student in order to assess and identify curricular areas that need to be strengthened and re-enforced. Schools and districts shall use these assessments as diagnostic tools to provide academic assistance to students whose scores reflect the need for such assistance. Schools and districts shall use these assessments to provide guidance and direction for parents and students as they plan for postsecondary experiences.
Section 59-18-360. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Education Oversight Committee, shall provide for a cyclical review by academic area of the state standards and assessments to ensure that the standards and assessments are maintaining high expectations for learning and teaching. All academic areas must be initially reviewed by the year 2005. At a minimum, each academic area should be reviewed and updated every four years. After each academic area is reviewed, a report on the recommended revisions must be presented to the Education Oversight Committee for its consideration. After approval by the Education Oversight Committee, the recommendations may be implemented. As a part of the review, a task force of parents, business and industry persons, community leaders, and educators, to include special education teachers, must examine the standards and assessment system to determine rigor and relevancy.
Section 59-18-370. The Department of Education is directed to provide assessment results annually on individual students and schools in a manner and format that is easily understood by parents and the public. In addition, the school assessment results must be presented in a format easily understood by the faculty and in a manner that is useful for curriculum review and instructional improvement. The department is to provide longitudinally matched student data from the standards based assessments and include information on the performance of subgroups of students within the school. The department must work with the Division of Accountability in developing the formats of the assessment results. Schools and districts shall be responsible for disseminating this information to parents.
Section 59-18-500. (A) Beginning in 1998-99 and annually thereafter, at the beginning of each school year, the school must notify the parents of the need for a conference for each student in grades three through eight who lacks the skills to perform at his current grade level based on assessment results, school work, or teacher judgment. At the conference, the student, parent, and appropriate school personnel will discuss the steps needed to ensure student success at the next grade level. An academic plan will be developed to outline additional services the school and district will provide and the actions the student and the parents will undertake to further student success.
(B) The participants in the conference will sign off on the academic plan, including any requirement for summer school attendance. Should a parent, after attempts by the school to schedule the conference at their convenience, not attend the conference, the school will appoint a school mentor, either a teacher or adult volunteer, to work with the student and advocate for services. A copy of the academic plan will be sent to the parents by certified mail.
(C) At the end of the school year, the student's performance will be reviewed by appropriate school personnel. If the student's work has not been at grade level or if the terms of the academic plan have not been met, the student may be retained or he may be required to attend summer school for promotion. If there is a compelling reason why the student should not be required to attend summer school or be retained, the parent or student may appeal to a district review panel.
(D) At the end of summer school, a district panel will review the student's progress and report to the parents whether the student's academic progress indicates readiness to achieve grade level standards for the next grade. If the student is not at grade level or the student's assessment results show standards are not met, the student will be placed on academic probation. A conference of the student, parents, and appropriate school personnel will revise the academic plan to address academic difficulties. At the conference it must be stipulated that academic probation means if either school work is not up to grade level or if assessment results again show standards are not met, the student will be retained. The district's appeals process remains in effect.
(E) Each district board of trustees will establish policies on academic conferences, individual student academic plans, and district level reviews. Information on these policies must be given to every student and parent. Each district is to monitor the implementation of academic plans as a part of the local accountability plan. Districts are to use Act 135 of 1993 academic assistance funds to carry out academic plans, including required summer school attendance. Districts' policies regarding retention of students in grades one and two remain in effect.
(F) The State Board of Education, working with the Oversight Committee, will establish guidelines until regulations are promulgated to carry out this section. The State Board of Education, working with the Accountability Division, will promulgate regulations requiring the reporting of the number of students retained at each grade level, the number of students on probation, number of students retained after being on probation, and number of students removed from probation. This data will be used as a performance indicator for accountability.
Section 59-18-700. The criteria governing the adoption of instructional materials shall be revised by the State Board of Education to require that the content of such materials reflect the substance and level of performance outlined in the grade specific educational standards adopted by the state board.
Section 59-18-710. By November, 2000, the State Board of Education, working with the Department of Education and recommendations from the Accountability Division, must promulgate regulations outlining the criteria for the state's accreditation system which must include student academic performance.
Section 59-18-900. (A) The Education Oversight Committee, working with the State Board of Education, is directed to establish an annual report card and its format to report on the performance for the individual elementary, middle, high schools, and school districts of the State. The school's ratings on academic performance must be emphasized and an explanation of their significance for the school and the district must also be reported. The annual report card must serve at least four purposes:
(1) inform parents and the public about the school's performance;
(2) assist in addressing the strengths and weaknesses within a particular school;
(3) recognize schools with high performance; and
(4) evaluate and focus resources on schools with low performance.
(B) The Oversight Committee shall determine the criteria for and establish five academic performance ratings of excellent, good, average, below average, and unsatisfactory. Schools and districts shall receive a rating for absolute and improvement performance. Only the scores of students enrolled in the school at the time of the forty-five-day enrollment count shall be used to determine the absolute and improvement ratings. The Oversight Committee shall establish student performance indicators which will be those considered to be useful for assessing a school's overall performance and appropriate for the grade levels within the school.
(C) In setting the criteria for the academic performance ratings and the performance indicators, the Education Oversight Committee shall
report the performance by subgroups of students in the school and schools similar in student characteristics; consideration of these factors must be given only in the improvement rating. Criteria must use established guidelines for statistical analysis and build on current data-reporting practices.
(D) The report card must include a comprehensive set of performance indicators with information on comparisons, trends, needs, and performance over time which is helpful to parents and the public in evaluating the school. Special efforts are to be made to ensure that the information contained in the report cards is provided in an easily understood manner and a reader friendly format. This information should also provide a context for the performance of the school. Where appropriate, the data should yield disaggregated results to schools and districts in planning for improvement. The report card should include information in such areas as programs and curriculum, school leadership, community and parent support, faculty qualifications, evaluations of the school by parents, teachers, and students. In addition, the report card must contain other criteria including, but not limited to, information on promotion and retention ratios, disciplinary climate, dropout ratios, student and teacher ratios, and attendance data.
(E) The principal, in conjunction with the School Improvement Council established in Section 59-20-60, must write an annual narrative of a school's progress in order to further inform parents and the community about the school and its operation. The narrative must cite factors or activities supporting progress and barriers which inhibit progress. The school's report card must be furnished to parents and the public no later than November fifteenth.
Section 59-18-910. No later than June 1, 1999, the Accountability Division must report on the development of the performance indicators criteria and the report card to the Education Oversight Committee and the State Board of Education. A second report, to include uniform collection procedures for academic standards and performance indicators, is due by September 1, 1999. No later than September, 1999, the State Department of Education shall report to the Oversight Committee the determination of the levels of difficulty for the assessments by grade and academic area. By March 1, 2000, a report on the development of baseline data for the schools is due from the division.
Section 59-18-920. Charter schools established pursuant to Chapter 40, Title 59 will receive a performance rating and must issue a report card to parents and the public containing the rating and explaining its significance and providing other information similar to that required of other schools in this section. Alternative schools are included in the requirements of this chapter; however, the purpose of such schools must be taken into consideration in determining their performance rating. The Education Oversight Committee, working with the State Board of Education and the School to Work Advisory Council, will develop a report card for vocational schools.
Section 59-18-930. Beginning in 2001 and annually thereafter the State Department of Education must issue report cards to all schools and districts of the State no later than November first. The report card must be mailed to all parents of the school and the school district. The school, in conjunction with the district board, must also inform the community of the school's report card by advertising the results in at least one South Carolina daily newspaper of general circulation in the area. This notice must be published within ninety days of receipt of the report cards issued by the State Department of Education and must be a minimum of two columns by ten inches (four and one-half by ten inches) with at least a twenty-four point bold headline.
Section 59-18-1100. The State Board of Education, working with the division and the Department of Education, must establish the Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards Program to recognize and reward schools for academic achievement. Awards will be established for schools attaining high levels of absolute performance and for schools attaining high rates of improvement. The award program must base improved performance on longitudinally matched student data and may include such additional criteria as:
(1) student attendance;
(2) teacher attendance;
(3) student dropout rates; and
(4) any other factors promoting or maintaining high levels of achievement and performance. Schools shall be rewarded according to specific criteria established by the division. In defining eligibility for a reward for high levels of performance, student performance should exceed expected levels of improvement. The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations to ensure districts of the State utilize these funds to improve or maintain exceptional performance according to their school's plans established in Section 59-139-10. Funds may be utilized for professional development support.
Special schools for the academically talented are not eligible to receive an award pursuant to the provisions of this section unless they have demonstrated improvement and high absolute achievement for three years immediately preceding.
Section 59-18-1110. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a school is given the flexibility of receiving exemptions from those regulations and statutory provisions governing the defined program provided that, during a three-year period, the following criteria are satisfied:
(1) the school has twice been a recipient of a Palmetto Gold or Silver Award, pursuant to Section 59-18-1100;
(2) the school has met annual improvement standards for subgroups of students in reading and mathematics; and
(3) the school has exhibited no recurring accreditation deficiencies.
(B) Schools receiving flexibility status are released from those regulations and statutory provisions referred to above including, but not limited to, regulations and statutory provisions on class scheduling, class structure, and staffing. The State Board of Education in consultation with the Education Oversight Committee must promulgate regulations and develop guidelines for providing this flexibility by December 1, 2001.
(C) To continue to receive flexibility pursuant to this section, a school must annually exhibit school improvement at or above the state average as computed in the school recognition program pursuant to Section 59-18-1100 and must meet the gains required for subgroups of students in reading and mathematics. A school which does not requalify for flexibility status due to extenuating circumstances may apply to the State Board of Education for an extension of this status for one year.
(D) In the event that a school is removed from flexibility status, the school is not subject to regulations and statutory provisions exempted under this section until the beginning of the school year following notification of the change in status by the State Department of Education. Subsequent monitoring by the State Department of Education in a school that is removed from flexibility status shall not include a review of program records exempted under this section for the period that the school has received flexibility status or for the school year during which the school was notified of its removal from flexibility status.
Section 59-18-1120. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a school designated as unsatisfactory while in such status is given the flexibility of receiving exemptions from those regulations and statutory provisions governing the defined program or other State Board of Education regulations, dealing with the core academic areas as outlined in Section 59-18-120, provided that the review team recommends such flexibility to the State Board of Education.
(B) Other schools may receive flexibility when their strategic plan explains why such exemptions are expected to improve the academic performance of the students and the plan meets the approval by the State Board of Education. To continue to receive flexibility pursuant to this section, a school must annually exhibit overall school improvement as outlined in its revised plan and must meet the gains set for subgroups of students in reading and mathematics. A school which does not requalify for flexibility status due to extenuating circumstances may apply to the State Board of Education for an extension of this status for one year according to the provisions of Section 59-18-1110(D).
Section 59-18-1300. The State Board of Education, based on recommendations of the division, must develop regulations requiring that no later than August, 1999, each district board of trustees must establish and annually review a performance based accountability system, or modify its existing accountability system, to reinforce the state accountability system. Parents, teachers, and principals must be involved in the development, annual review, and revisions of the accountability system established by the district. The board of trustees shall ensure that a district accountability plan be developed, reviewed, and revised annually. In order to stimulate constant improvement in the process of teaching and learning in each school and to target additional local assistance for a school when its students' performance is low or shows little improvement, the district accountability system must build on the district and school activities and plans required in Section 59-139-10. In keeping with the emphasis on school accountability, principals should be actively involved in the selection, discipline, and dismissal of personnel in their particular school. The date the school improvement reports must be provided to parents is changed to February first. Until such time as regulations pursuant to this section become effective, school district accountability systems must be developed, adopted, and implemented in accordance with State Board of Education guidelines.
The Department of Education shall offer technical support to any district requesting assistance in the development of an accountability plan. Furthermore, the department must conduct a review of accountability plans as part of the peer review process required in Section 59-139-10(H) to ensure strategies are contained in the plans that shall maximize student learning. The department shall submit plans for the peer review process to the division for approval by August, 1999. School districts not having an approved plan by August 1, 1999, shall be provided a plan by the department within ninety days.
Section 59-18-1500. (A) When a school receives a rating of below average or unsatisfactory, the following actions must be undertaken by the school, the district, and the board of trustees:
(1) The faculty of the school with the leadership of the principal must review its improvement plan and revise it with the assistance of the school improvement council established in Section 59-20-60. The revised plan should look at every aspect of schooling, and must outline activities that, when implemented, can reasonably be expected to improve student performance and increase the rate of student progress. The plan should provide a clear, coherent plan for professional development, which has been designed by the faculty, that is ongoing, job related, and keyed to improving teaching and learning. A time line for implementation of the activities and the goals to be achieved must be included.
(2) Once the revised plan is developed, the district superintendent and the local board of trustees shall review the school's strategic plan to determine if the plan focuses on strategies to increase student academic performance. Once the district board has approved the plan, it must delineate the strategies and support the district will give the plan.
(3) After the approval of the revised plan, the principals' and teachers' professional growth plans, as required by Section 59-26-40 and Section 59-24-40, should be reviewed and amended to reflect the professional development needs identified in the revised plan and must establish individual improvement criteria on the performance dimensions for the next evaluation.
(4) The school, in conjunction with the district board, must inform the parents of children attending the school of the ratings received from the State Board of Education and must outline the steps in the revised plan to improve performance, including the support which the board of trustees has agreed to give the plan. This information must go to the parents no later than February first. This information must also be advertised in at least one South Carolina daily newspaper of general circulation in the area. This notice must be published within ninety days of receipt of the report cards issued by the State Department of Education and must be a minimum of two columns by ten inches (four and one-half by ten inches) with at least a twenty-four point bold headline. The notice must include the following information: name of school district, name of superintendent, district office telephone number, name of school, name of principal, telephone number of school, school's absolute performance rating and improvement performance rating on student academic performance, and strategies which must be taken by the district and school to improve student performance; and
(5) Upon a review of the revised plan to ensure it contains sufficiently high standards and expectations for improvement, the Department of Education is to delineate the activities, support, services, and technical assistance it will make available to support the school's plan and sustain improvement over time. Schools meeting the criteria established pursuant to Section 59-18-1560 will be eligible for the grant programs created by that section.
Section 59-18-1510. (A) When a school receives a rating of unsatisfactory or upon the request of a school rated below average, an external review team must be assigned by the Department of Education to examine school and district educational programs, actions, and activities. The Education Oversight Committee, in consultation with the State Department of Education, shall develop the criteria for the identification of persons to serve as members of an external review team which shall include representatives from selected school districts, respected retired educators, State Department of Education staff, higher education representatives, parents from the district, and business representatives.
(B) The activities of the external review committee may include:
(1) examine all facets of school operations, focusing on strengths and weaknesses, determining the extent to which the instructional program is aligned with the content standards, and recommendations which draw upon strategies from those who have been successful in raising academic achievement in schools with similar student characteristics;
(2) consult with parents, community members, and members of the School Improvement Council to gather additional information on the strengths and weaknesses of the school;
(3) identify personnel changes, if any, that are needed at the school and/or district level and discuss such findings with the board;
(4) work with school staff, central offices, and local boards of trustees in the design of the school's plan, implementation strategies, and professional development training that can reasonably be expected to improve student performance and increase the rate of student progress in that school;
(5) identify needed support from the district, the State Department of Education, and other sources for targeted long-term technical assistance;
(6) report its recommendations, no later than three months after the school receives the designation of unsatisfactory to the school, the district board of trustees, and the State Board of Education; and
(7) report annually to the local board of trustees and state board over the next four years, or as deemed necessary by the state board, on the district's and school's progress in implementing the plans and recommendations and in improving student performance.
(C) Within thirty days, the Department of Education must notify the principal, the superintendent, and the district board of trustees of the recommendations approved by the State Board of Education. After the approval of the recommendations, the department shall delineate the activities, support, services, and technical assistance it will provide to the school. With the approval of the state board, this assistance will continue for at least three years, or as determined to be needed by the review committee to sustain improvement.
Section 59-18-1520. If the recommendations approved by the state board, the district's plan, or the school's revised plan is not satisfactorily implemented by the school rated unsatisfactory and its school district according to the time line developed by the State Board of Education or if student academic performance has not met expected progress, the principal, district superintendent, and members of the board of trustees must appear before the State Board of Education to outline the reasons why a state of emergency should not be declared in the school. The state superintendent, after consulting with the external review committee and with the approval of the State Board of Education, shall be granted the authority to take any of the following actions:
(1) furnish continuing advice and technical assistance in implementing the recommendations of the State Board of Education;
(2) declare a state of emergency in the school and replace the school's principal; or
(3) declare a state of emergency in the school and assume management of the school.
Section 59-18-1530. (A) Teacher specialists on site must be assigned in any of the four core academic areas to a middle or high school in an impaired district or designated as below average or unsatisfactory, if the review team so recommends and recommendation is approved by the State Board of Education. Teacher specialists on site must be assigned at a rate of one teacher for each grade level with a maximum of five to elementary schools in impaired districts or designated as below average or unsatisfactory. The Department of Education, in consultation with the Division of Accountability, shall develop a program for the identification, selection, and training of teachers with a history of exemplary student academic achievement to serve as teacher specialists on site. Retired educators may be considered for specialists.
(B) In order to sustain improvement and help implement the review team's recommendations, the specialists will teach and work with the school faculty on a regular basis throughout the school year for up to three years, or as recommended by the review committee and approved by the state board. Teacher specialists must teach a minimum of three hours per day on average in team teaching or teaching classes. Teacher specialists shall not be assigned administrative duties or other responsibilities outside the scope of this section. The specialists will assist the school in gaining knowledge of best practices and well-validated alternatives, demonstrate effective teaching, act as coach for improving classroom practices, give support and training to identify needed changes in classroom instructional strategies based upon analyses of assessment data, and support teachers in acquiring new skills. School districts are asked to cooperate in releasing employees for full-time or part-time employment as a teacher specialist.
(C) To encourage and recruit teachers for assignment to below standard and unsatisfactory schools, those assigned to such schools will receive their salary and a supplement equal to fifty percent of the current southeastern average teacher salary as projected by the State Budget and Control Board, Office of Research and Analysis. The salary and supplement is to be paid by the State for three years.
(D) In order to attract a pool of qualified applicants to work in low-performing schools, the Education Oversight Committee, in consultation with the Leadership Academy of the South Carolina Department of Education, shall develop criteria for the identification, selection, and training of principals with a history of exemplary student academic achievement. Retired educators may be considered for principal specialists. A principal specialist may be hired for a school designated as unsatisfactory, if the district board of trustees chooses to replace the principal of that school. The principal specialist will assist the school in gaining knowledge of best practices and well-validated alternatives in carrying out the recommendations of the review team. The specialist will demonstrate effective leadership for improving classroom practices, assist in the analyses of assessment data, work with individual members of the faculty emphasizing needed changes in classroom instructional strategies based upon analyses of assessment data, and support teachers in acquiring new skills designed to increase academic performance. School districts are asked to cooperate in releasing employees for full-time or part-time employment as a principal specialist.
(E) In order to attract a pool of qualified principals to work in low-performing schools, the principal specialists hired in such schools will receive their salary and a supplement equal to 1.25 times the supplement amount calculated for teachers. The salary and supplement are to be paid by the State for two years.
(F) The supplements are to be considered part of the regular salary base for which retirement contributions are deductible by the South Carolina Retirement System pursuant to Section 9-1-1020. For the purpose of determining average final compensation as defined in Section 9-1-10, the supplement authorized in this section shall entitle a specialist to have added to their average final compensation at the time of retirement an amount not to exceed an additional forty-five days' pay, based on the specialist's regular annual compensation at their home school location. A specialist shall be entitled to fifteen days' pay, for the purposes of this section, for each year of service as a specialist on site. Principal and teacher specialists on site who are assigned to below average and unsatisfactory schools shall be allowed to return to employment with their previous district at the end of the contract period with the same teaching or administrative contract status as when they left but without assurance as to the school or supplemental position to which they may be assigned.
(G) For retired educators drawing benefits from the state retirement system who are serving in the capacity of principal or teacher specialist on site, the earnings limitations which restrict the amount of compensation that may be earned from covered employment while drawing benefits under the state retirement system do not apply to any compensation paid to them as an on-site specialist not to exceed one year of such employment whether they are working directly for the school district or for some entity in this capacity. However, no further contributions may be made to the state retirement system related to this compensation and no additional retirement benefits or credits may be received or accrued.
(H) Within the parameters herein, the school district will have final determination on individuals who are assigned as teacher specialists and principal specialists.
Section 59-18-1540. Each principal continued in employment in schools in districts designated as impaired or in schools designated as below average or unsatisfactory must participate in a formal mentoring program with a principal. The Department of Education, working with the Education Oversight Committee, shall design the mentoring program and provide a stipend to those principals serving as mentors.
Section 59-18-1550. Each teacher employed in schools designated as below average or unsatisfactory who participate in the professional development activities and the improvement actions of the school which go beyond the normal school day and year may earn credits toward recertification according to the criteria established by the State Board of Education. To receive credit, activities must be based on identified professional development needs outlined in the school's improvement plan and must include at least one of the following:
(1) summer institute with follow-up activities;
(2) practice of new teaching strategies with peers regularly throughout the school year;
(3) work with peer study groups during the academic year in planning lessons; and
(4) observing and coaching regularly in one another's classrooms.
The activities must be approved by the Department of Education and the department shall determine the amount of credit earned by the participation.
Section 59-18-1560. (A) The State Board of Education, working with the Accountability Division and the Department of Education, must establish grant programs for schools designated as below average and for schools designated as unsatisfactory. A school designated as below average will qualify for a grant to undertake any needed retraining of school faculty and administration once the revised plan is determined by the State Department of Education to meet the criteria on high standards and effective activities. A school designated as unsatisfactory will qualify for the grant program after the State Board of Education approves its revised plan. A grant or a portion of a grant may be renewed annually over the next three years, if school and district actions to implement the revised plan continue. Should student performance not improve, any revisions to the plan must meet high standards prior to renewal of the grant. The revised plan must be reviewed by the district and board of trustees and the State Department of Education to determine what other actions, if any, need to be taken. A grant may be extended for up to an additional two years, if the State Board of Education determines it is needed to sustain academic improvement. The funds must be expended based on the revised plan and according to criteria established by the State Board of Education. Prior to extending any grant, the Accountability Division shall review school expenditures to make a determination of the effective use of previously awarded grant funds. If deficient use is determined, those deficiencies must be identified, noted, and corrective action taken before a grant extension will be given.
(B) The State Board of Education, working with the Department of Education and with the approval of the Education Oversight Committee, will develop guidelines outlining eligibility for the grant programs and methods of distributing funds which will be in effect until such time as the school ratings in Section 59-18-900(B) are implemented. In developing the eligibility guidelines, the board should consider criteria similar to that used in the former impaired district program. Until such time as regulations are promulgated, the funds shall be distributed on a per teacher basis for use only as outlined in the revised school plan.
(C) A public school assistance fund shall be established as a separate fund within the state general fund for the purpose of providing financial support to assist poorly performing schools. The fund may consist of grants, gifts, and donations from any public or private source or monies that may be appropriated by the General Assembly for this purpose. Income from the fund shall be retained in the fund. All funds may be carried forward from fiscal year to fiscal year. The State Treasurer shall invest the monies in this fund in the same manner as other funds under his control are invested. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the commission, shall administer and authorize any disbursements from the fund. The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section.
Section 59-18-1570. (A) When a district receives a rating of below average, the State Superintendent, with the approval of the State Board of Education, shall appoint an external review committee to study educational programs in that district and identify factors affecting the performance of the district. The review committee must:
(1) examine all facets of school and district operations, focusing on strengths and weaknesses, determining the extent to which the instructional program is aligned with the content standards and shall make recommendations which draw upon strategies from those who have been successful in raising academic achievement in schools with similar student characteristics;
(2) consult with parents and community members to gather additional information on the strengths and weaknesses of the district;
(3) identify personnel changes, if any, that are needed at the school and/or district level and discuss such findings with the board;
(4) work with school staff, central offices, and local boards of trustees in the design of the district's plan, implementation strategies, and professional development training that can reasonably be expected to improve student performance and increase the rate of student progress in the district;
(5) identify needed support from the State Department of Education and other sources for targeted long-term technical assistance;
(6) report its recommendations, no later than three months after the district receives the designation of unsatisfactory, to the superintendent, the district board of trustees, and the State Board of Education; and
(7) report annually over the next four years to the local board of trustees and state board, or as deemed necessary by the state board, on the district's and school's progress in implementing the plans and recommendations and in improving student performance.
(B) Within thirty days, the Department of Education must notify the superintendent and the district board of trustees of the recommendations approved by the State Board of Education. Upon the approval of the recommendations, the Department of Education must delineate the activities, support, services, and technical assistance it will provide to support the recommendations and sustain improvement over time. The external review committee must report annually to the local board of trustees and the state board over the next four years, or as deemed necessary by the state board, on the district's progress in implementing the recommendations and improving student performance.
(C) The review committee shall be composed of State Department of Education staff, representatives from selected school districts, higher education, and business.
Section 59-18-1580. If recommendations approved by the State Board of Education are not satisfactorily implemented by the school district according to the time line developed by the State Board of Education, or if student performance has not made the expected progress and the school district is designated as unsatisfactory, the district superintendent and members of the board of trustees must appear before the State Board of Education to outline the reasons why a state of emergency should not be declared in the district. The state superintendent, with the approval of the State Board of Education, is granted authority to do any of the following:
(1) furnish continuing advice and technical assistance in implementing the recommendations of the State Board of Education;
(2) recommend to the Governor that the office of superintendent be declared vacant. If the Governor declares the office vacant, the state superintendent may furnish an interim replacement until the vacancy is filled by the board of trustees or until an election is held as provided by law to fill the vacancy if the superintendent who is replaced is elected to such office. Local boards of trustees negotiating contracts for the superintendency shall include a provision that the contract is void should the Governor declare that office of superintendency vacant pursuant to this section. This contract provision does not apply to any existing contracts but to new contracts or renewal of contracts;
(3) declare a state of emergency in the school district and assume management of the school district.
Section 59-18-1590. To assist schools and school districts as they work to improve classroom practice and student performance, the Department of Education must increase the delivery of quality technical assistance services and the assessment of instructional programs. The department may need to reshape some of its organization and key functions to make them more consistent with the assistance required by schools and districts in developing and implementing local accountability systems and meeting state standards. The Department of Education must:
(1) establish an ongoing state mechanism to promote successful programs found in South Carolina schools for implementation in schools with similar needs and students, to review evidence on instructional and organizational practices considered to be effective, and to alert schools and classroom teachers to these options and the sources of training and names of implementing schools;
(2) provide information and technical assistance in understanding state policies, how they fit together, and the best practice in implementing them; and
(3) establish a process for monitoring information provided for accountability and for assessing improvement efforts and implementation of state laws and policies which focuses on meeting the intent and purpose of those laws and policies.
Section 59-18-1700. (A) An on-going public information campaign must be established to apprise the public of the status of the public schools and the importance of high standards for academic performance for the public school students of South Carolina. A special committee shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Education Oversight Committee to include two committee members representing business and two representing education and others representing business, industry, and education. The committee shall plan and oversee the development of a campaign, including public service announcements for the media and other such avenues as deemed appropriate for informing the public. The plan must be reported to the Governor, the Senate Education Committee, and the House Education and Public Works Committee by March 15, 1999.
(B) A separate fund within the state general fund will be established to accept grants, gifts, and donations from any public or private source or monies that may be appropriated by the General Assembly for the public information campaign. Members of the Oversight Committee representing business will solicit donations for this fund. Income from the fund shall be retained in the fund. All funds may be carried forward from fiscal year to fiscal year. The State Treasurer shall invest the monies in this fund in the same manner as other funds under his control are invested. The Oversight Committee shall administer and authorize any disbursements from the fund. Private individuals and groups shall be encouraged to contribute to this endeavor.
Section 59-18-1900. (A) The State Board of Education, working with the Department of Education and the Education Oversight Committee, shall establish a competitive grant program to fund at least ten alternative schools. Districts are authorized and encouraged to cooperate in establishing alternative schools and such jointly established schools will be given priority in awarding the grants. Alternative schools established prior to this act shall not be prohibited from participation in this program. These schools must be at a site separate from other schools, unless operated at a time when those schools are not in session. These schools shall provide appropriate services to middle or high school students who for academic or behavioral reasons are not benefiting from the regular school program. The regulations must include guidelines to ensure that effective practices are adopted.
(B) To be eligible for funding, the school districts must develop a plan for the school which establishes a comprehensive program to address student problems. State requirements for staffing may be waived if the plan meets the criteria and has a reasonable expectation of success. The plan must include:
(1) the mission of the school;
(2) policy for the basis of enrollment in the school;
(3) a low pupil-teacher ratio, to include one on one assistance, independent computer assisted learning and distance learning;
(4) provision for transportation to the school;
(5) establishment of comprehensive staff development;
(6) appointment of a mentor teacher at the student's original school in order to ease transition back to that school when such a transfer occurs; and
(7) a process for community involvement and support.
The districts shall contract with the school for each student attending for an amount that is no less than the amount equal to that generated by the student's EFA weight.
Section 59-18-1910. The State Board of Education shall establish grant programs to fund homework centers in schools and districts designated as below average and unsatisfactory. Until such time as these ratings are established, all schools in districts declared to be impaired are eligible to receive funding on a per pupil basis. Schools receiving such designations must provide centers that go beyond the regular school hours where students can come and receive assistance in understanding and completing their school work. Funds provided for these centers may be used for salaries for certified teachers and for transportation costs. Homework centers meeting the criteria established by the board shall receive funds as appropriated by the General Assembly. For 1998-99, of the funds appropriated for assessment, up to five hundred thousand dollars shall be used for homework centers.
Section 59-18-1920. (A) The State Board of Education, through the Department of Education, shall establish a grant program to encourage school districts to pilot test or implement a modified school year or school day schedule. The purpose of the grant is to assist with the additional costs incurred during the intersessions for salaries, transportation, and operations, or for additional costs incurred by lengthening the school day. For a district to qualify for a grant, all the schools within a specific feeder zone or elementary-to-middle-to-high-school attendance area, must be pilot testing or implementing the modified year or day schedule. Districts declared to be impaired will have priority in obtaining such grants.
(B) To obtain a grant, a district shall submit an application to the state board in a format specified by the Department of Education. The application shall include a plan for implementing a modified year or day that provides the following: more time for student learning, learning opportunities that typically are not available in the regular student day, targeted assistance for students whose academic performance is significantly below promotion standards, more efficient use of facilities and other resources, and evaluations of the impact of the modified schedule. Local district boards of trustees shall require students whose performance in a core subject area, as defined in Section 59-18-300, is the equivalent of a 'D' average or below to attend the intersessions or stay for the lengthened day and receive special assistance in the subject area. Funding for the program is as provided by the General Assembly in the annual appropriations act. Each grant award for program pilot testing or implementation may not exceed a three-year period.
Section 59-18-1930. The Education Oversight Committee shall provide for a comprehensive review of state and local professional development to include principal leadership development and teacher staff development. The review must provide an analysis of training to include what professional development is offered, how it is offered, the support given to implement skills acquired from professional development, and how the professional development enhances the academic goals outlined in district and school strategic plans. The Oversight Committee shall recommend better ways to provide and meet the needs for professional development, to include the use of the existing five contract days for in service. Needed revisions shall be made to state regulations to promote use of state dollars for training which meets national standards for staff development."
SECTION 3. Article 1, Chapter 24, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-24-5. The General Assembly finds that the leadership of the principal is key to the success of a school, and support for ongoing, integrated professional development is integral to better schools and to the improvement of the actual work of teachers and school staff."
Assessment and development plans for administrators
SECTION 4. Sections 59-24-10 and 59-24-30 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 458 of 1996, are further amended to read:
"Section 59-24-10. Beginning with the school year 1999-2000, any person prior to permanent appointment as a principal for any elementary school, secondary school, or vocational center must be assessed for instructional leadership and management capabilities by the Leadership Academy of the South Carolina Department of Education. Districts may appoint such persons on an interim basis until such time as the assessment is completed. A report of this assessment must be forwarded to the district superintendent and board of trustees. The provisions of this section do not apply to any persons currently employed as principals on the effective date of the provisions of this paragraph nor to any persons hired as principals before the beginning of school year 1999-2000.
Section 59-24-30. All school administrators shall develop an on-going individual professional development plan with annual updates which is appropriate for their role or position. This plan shall support both their individual growth and organizational needs. Organizational needs must be defined by the districts' strategic plans or school renewal plans. Individuals completing the assessment for instructional leadership will develop their professional development plan on the basis of that assessment. The Department of Education shall assist school administrators in carrying out their professional development plans by reviewing the school and district plans and providing or brokering programs and services in the areas identified for professional development."
SECTION 5. Section 59-24-50 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 59-24-50. By January 1, 1999, the South Carolina Department of Education's Leadership Academy shall develop, in cooperation with school districts, district consortia, and state-supported institutions of higher education, continuous professional development programs which meet national standards for professional development and focus on the improvement of teaching and learning. By July 1, 1999, programs funded with state funds must meet these standards and must provide training, modeling, and coaching on effective instructional leadership as it pertains to instructional leadership and school-based improvement, including instruction on the importance of school improvement councils and ways administrators may make school improvement councils an active force in school improvement. The training must be developed and conducted in collaboration with the School Council Assistance Project."
Formal induction program
SECTION 6. Article 1, Chapter 24, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-24-80. Beginning with school year 1999-2000, each school district, or consortium of school districts, shall provide school principals serving for the first time as the head building administrators with a formalized induction program in cooperation with the State Department of Education. The State Board of Education must develop regulations for the program based on the criteria and statewide performance standards which are a part of the process for assisting, developing, and evaluating principals employed in the school districts. The program must include an emphasis on the elements of instructional leadership skills, implementation of effective schools research, and analysis of test scores for curricular improvement."
Contract status and rights retained; exceptions
SECTION 7. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-24-15. Certified education personnel who are employed as administrators on an annual or multi-year contract will retain their rights as a teacher under the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 19 and Article 5 of Chapter 25 of this title but no such rights are granted to the position or salary of administrator. Any such administrator who presently is under a contract granting such rights shall retain that status until the expiration of that contract."
Education Oversight Committee; membership; duties
SECTION 8. Section 59-6-10 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 59-6-10. (A) In order to assist in, recommend, and supervise implementation of programs and expenditure of funds for the Education Accountability Act and the Education Improvement Act of 1984, the Education Oversight Committee is to serve as the oversight committee for these acts. The Education Oversight Committee shall:
(1) review and monitor the implementation and evaluation of the Education Accountability Act and Education Improvement Act programs and funding;
(2) make programmatic and funding recommendations to the General Assembly;
(3) report annually to the General Assembly, State Board of Education, and the public on the progress of the programs;
(4) recommend Education Accountability Act and EIA program changes to state agencies and other entities as it considers necessary.
Each state agency and entity responsible for implementing the Education Accountability Act and the Education Improvement Act funded programs shall submit to the Education Oversight Committee programs and expenditure reports and budget requests as needed and in a manner prescribed by the Education Oversight Committee.
The committee consists of the following persons:
(1) Speaker of the House of Representatives or his designee;
(2) President Pro Tempore of the Senate or his designee;
(3) Chairman of the Education and Public Works Committee of the House of Representatives or his designee;
(4) Chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate or his designee;
(5) Governor or his designee;
(6) Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives or his designee;
(7) Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Senate or his designee;
(8) Five members representing business and industry who must have experience in business, management, or policy to be appointed as follows: one by the Governor, one by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one by the Speaker of the House, one by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and one by the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee; and
(9) Five members representing public education teachers and principals to be appointed as follows: one by the Governor, one by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one by the Speaker of the House, one by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and one by the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee.
Initial appointment must be made by July 31, 1998, at which time the Governor or his designee shall call the first meeting. At the initial meeting, a chairman elected from the members representing the business and industry appointees and a vice chairman representing the education members shall be elected by a majority vote of the committee. The members appointed pursuant to items (1) through (7) may serve notwithstanding the provisions of Section 8-13-770. Their terms of office on the committee must be coterminous with their terms of office as Governor or members of the General Assembly.
(B) The terms of office of the members of the Education Oversight Committee, except for the legislative members, are four years and until their successors are appointed and qualify except of those first appointed the terms must be staggered as follows:
(1) initial terms of two years shall be served by the two members of the business and industry community appointed by the chairmen of the Education Committees;
(2) initial terms of three years shall be served by the members of the education community appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House; and
(3) all other voting members shall serve initial four-year terms. The terms of chairman and vice chairman shall be two years. At the end of each two-year term, an election must be held for the chairmanship and vice chairmanship by majority vote of the members attending with quorum present. No member shall serve more than four consecutive years as chairman or vice chairman.
Members of the committee shall meet no less than once a quarter and annually shall submit their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly before March first of each fiscal year. The staff positions of the Select Committee and the people presently in those positions initially shall be transferred to the Education Oversight Committee as administrative staff to carry out its functions."
Accountability division established
SECTION 9. Chapter 6, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-6-100. Within the Education Oversight Committee, an Accountability Division must be established to report on the monitoring, development, and implementation of the performance based accountability system and reviewing and evaluating all aspects of the Education Accountability Act and the Education Improvement Act.
The Education Oversight Committee will employ, by a majority vote, for a contract term of three years an executive director for the Accountability Division. The director must be chosen solely on grounds of fitness to perform the duties assigned to him and must possess at least the following qualifications: a demonstrated knowledge of public education, experience in program evaluation, and experience in a responsible managerial capacity. No member of the General Assembly nor anyone who will have been a member for one year previously will be contracted to serve as director. The director will have the authority to employ, with the approval of the subcommittee, professional and support staff as necessary to carry out the duties of the division, which shall be separate from the administrative staff of the Education Oversight Committee.
Section 59-6-110. The division must examine the public education system to ensure that the system and its components and the EIA programs are functioning for the enhancement of student learning. The division will recommend the repeal or modification of statutes, policies, and rules that deter school improvement. The division must provide annually its findings and recommendations in a report to the Education Oversight Committee no later than February first. The division is to conduct in-depth studies on implementation, efficiency, and the effectiveness of academic improvement efforts and:
(1) monitor and evaluate the implementation of the state standards and assessment;
(2) oversee the development, establishment, implementation, and maintenance of the accountability system;
(3) monitor and evaluate the functioning of the public education system and its components, programs, policies, and practices and report annually its findings and recommendations in a report to the commission no later than February first of each year; and
(4) perform other studies and reviews as required by law.
The responsibilities of the division do not include fiscal audit functions or funding recommendations except as they relate to accountability. It is not a function of this division to draft legislation and neither the director nor any other employee of the division shall urge or oppose any legislation. In the performance of its duties and responsibilities, the division and staff members are subject to the statutory provisions and penalties regarding confidentiality of records as they apply to students, schools, school districts, the Department of Education, and the Board of Education.
Section 59-6-120. The State Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and the school districts and schools shall work collaboratively with the Division of Accountability to provide information needed to carry out the responsibilities and duties of its office. The Division of Accountability may call on the expertise of the state institutions of higher learning and any other public agencies for carrying out its functions and may coordinate and consult with existing agency and legislative staff."
SECTION 10. When parents are involved with their children's education, students achieve more, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents' education level. The more extensive the parent involvement, the higher level of the student achievement. Therefore, the Education Oversight Committee shall appoint a task force to review current state programs and policies for parent participation in their children's education. The task force is to look for ways to encourage and induce parents to oversee and support student academic performance and behavior that contributes to academic improvement. The membership of the task force should include: public school educators from rural, urban, and suburban schools and districts; parents of public school children; social service representatives; and a juvenile justice representative. The task force must be appointed no later than September 1, 1998, and shall provide its report and recommendations to the Education Oversight Committee by October 15, 1999.
SECTION 11. Section 59-29-10 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 59-29-10. The county board of education and the board of trustees for each school district shall see that in every school under their care there shall be taught, as far as practicable, orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English grammar and instruction in phonics, the elements of agriculture, the history of the United States and of this State, the principles of the Constitutions of the United States and of this State, morals and good behavior, algebra, physiology and hygiene (especially as to the effects of alcoholic liquors and narcotics upon the human system), English literature, and such other branches as the state board may from time to time direct."
Class size reduction; funding; facilities
SECTION 12. Title 59, Chapter 63 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-63-65. School districts which choose to reduce class size to fifteen to one in grades one through three shall be eligible for funding for the reduced pupil-teacher ratios from funds provided by the General Assembly for this purpose. Funding for schools in districts designated as impaired or for schools rated as unsatisfactory on the accountability ratings will receive priority in the distribution of funds. Funding for the impaired district schools and schools ranked unsatisfactory will be allocated based on the average daily membership in grades one through three in those schools for implementing reduced class size of fifteen to one in those grades. Other school districts will receive funding allocated based on free and reduced lunch eligible students. Local match is required for the lower ratio funding based on the Education Finance Act formula. Boards of trustees of each school district may implement the lower pupil-teacher ratios on a school by school, grade by grade, or class by class basis. District boards of trustees implementing the reduced ratios must establish policies to give priority to reduce the ratios in schools with the highest number of students eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program, and these students must be given priority in implementing the reduced class size. Unobligated funds from state appropriations which become available to a district during a fiscal year shall be redistributed to fund additional teachers on a prorated basis.
Districts choosing to implement the reduced class size must track the students served in classes with a 15:1 ratio for three years so that the impact of smaller class size can be evaluated. The Department of Education, working with the Accountability Division, will develop a plan for evaluating the impact of this initiative and report to the Education Oversight Committee no later than December 1, 2001. School districts must document the use of these funds to reduce class size and the State Department of Education will conduct audits to confirm appropriate use of class size reduction funding.
As used in this section, 'teacher' refers to an employee possessing a professional certificate issued by the State Department of Education whose full-time responsibility is instruction of students. Pupil-teacher ratio is based on average daily membership.
Portable or other temporary classroom space may be used to meet any facilities needs for reducing class size to fifteen to one, and notwithstanding the provisions of Section 59-144-30, funding derived from the Children's Education Endowment Fund may be used to acquire such portable or temporary facilities."
SECTION 13. Sections 59-6-12, 59-18-10, 59-18-11, 59-18-15, 59-18-20, 59-18-25, 59-18-30, and 59-18-31 of the 1976 Code are repealed.
Copy of act to be provided
SECTION 14. The Department of Education must provide a copy of this act to every district superintendent and school principal in this State.
SECTION 15. The Code Commissioner is directed to change all references in the Code of Laws to the Select Committee so as to read the Education Oversight Committee.
SECTION 16. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 10th day of June, 1998.