H. B. 2934
(By Delegates Pasdon, Butler, Moffatt, Waxman, Storch, Espinosa,
Lane, Kessinger, Sobonya, Howell and Duke)
[Originating in the Committee on Education.]
(February 25, 2015)
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2E-5b, relating to repealing the common core standards; making findings with respect to a thorough and efficient education and role of the Legislature; making findings with respect to the Elementary and Secondary Education act and the affect of certain amendments; making findings with respect to changes in standards and assessments; making findings with respect to reverse in trend of improving student National Assessment of Educational Progress scores and likely causes; making findings with respect to ESEA flexibility relief, state application and subsequent actions; and making findings with respect to school funding sources, the influence of federal funds and the use of federal funds to coerce changes in standards, assessments and accountability system; making findings with respect to inappropriate usurpation of state sovereignty over public education and results sufficient to impede process for improving education; directing certain actions by state board in response to findings; providing comprehensive review of standards by board to ensure repeal of certain common core standards, certain aligned college and career ready standards and revised as needed, adequate and appropriate curriculum and instructional strategies, sufficient training and professional development, and information and resources to engage and assist parents; requiring state board appoint stakeholder commission to participate in review with certain legislative member appointments; requiring state board appointment of standards development committees to advise and assist commission; requiring state board conduct regional town hall meetings with certain format for discussion and input; suspending use of summative assessment scores except for certain purpose until certain date; prohibiting collection and disclosure of certain student information; requiring regular information to Legislature on actions with respect to standards, assessment, accountability and capacity building; providing for responsibilities, appointment and membership of standards development committees; directing certain actions in response to findings by Governor, Legislature, state board and state superintendent with respect to reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and requiring monitoring by Legislative Oversight commission.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18-2E-5b, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2E. HIGH QUALITY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS.
§18-2E-5b. Legislative findings and direction with respect to ending federal intrusion on
West Virginia’s process for improving education.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) As the constitutional body charged with providing for a thorough and efficient system of schools, the Legislature has enacted, by general law, a process for improving education that includes four primary elements, these being: Standards, assessments, accountability and capacity building to ensure that students attain the knowledge and skills that result from a thorough and efficient system of education;
(2) The Legislature has the authority and the responsibility to establish and be engaged constructively in the determination of the knowledge and skills that students should know and be able to do as the result of a thorough and efficient education and this determination is made by using the process for improving education to determine when school improvement is needed, by evaluating the results and the efficiency of the system of schools, by ensuring accountability and by providing for the necessary capacity and its efficient use;
(3) Congressional reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), required states to implement state specific criterion referenced summative assessment tests, establish accountability measures and annual targets for adequate yearly progress through a U. S. Department of Education approved process, and impose designations and consequences on schools for failure to meet the annual targets necessary for all students to score at the proficient level on the tests by 2014;
(4) West Virginia moved to the new curriculum-based testing program during the 2003-04 school year with the WESTEST developed under a contract with CTB/McGraw Hill as a part of its compliance plan to meet the NCLB requirements;
(5) In March 2006, the West Virginia Board of Education assembled teams of master teachers to develop 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives for West Virginia Schools to incorporate higher levels of critical thinking and problem solving skills and improve alignment with other national and international assessments. First placed on public comment for 60 days in July, 2005, these standards underwent several additional reviews by state and national experts and the public and several revisions before final adoption by the West Virginia Board of Education and placed into effect July 1, 2008;
(6) In May 2009, WESTEST 2, a new statewide assessment aligned with the new 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives, was administered for the first time.
(7) Also in 2009, West Virginia joined other states in an effort to develop Common Core State Standards. The West Virginia Board of Education, as recorded in the minutes of its May 12, 2010, meeting, unanimously approved the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics for alignment with West Virginia’s 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives for implementation beginning in fall 2011. Shortly thereafter, separate committees in these two subject areas, each consisting of classroom teachers and representatives of higher education faculty, began this work and placed a particular standard into the West Virginia framework only when the best available evidence indicated that its mastery was essential for college and career readiness;
(8) Following this process and a public comment period, the West Virginia Board of Education adopted Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives to take effect: Kindergarten - August 15, 2011; first grade - July 1, 2012; second grade - July 1, 2013; and third through twelfth grades - July 1, 2014;
(9) A requirement for college and career readiness standards enacted during the 2013 regular legislative session in §18-2-39 directs the state board, the Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education to collaborate in formally adopting uniform and specific college and career readiness standards for English/language arts and math that allow for a determination of whether a student needs to enroll in a post-secondary remedial course. The results on the statewide student assessment in grade eleven must be used to determine whether a student has met the college and career readiness standards in these subjects or allow for the student’s enrollment in transitional courses in the twelfth grade if necessary;
(10) A decade-long trend of gradually closing the gap with national averages in math and scoring near or above the national averages in reading for West Virginia student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reversed course beginning in 2001. This unintended negative consequence was likely the result of accumulated inconsistencies and loss of focus on sustained instructional improvement as teachers continually readjusted to frequently changing standards and assessments, and the system goal became how to avoid the harsh consequences of failing to meet the AYP targets required by NCLB as they increasing became statistically unattainable. As the 2014 deadline approached for 100% of students scoring proficient on the state summative assessment , it was apparent that no schools in West Virginia would achieve this NCLB goal and, therefore, all schools would be labeled as failing and face the required sanctions. In the face of long over due reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools in West Virginia, like most across the country, had little choice but to seek the relief offered under the ESEA Flexibility process;
(11) West Virginia applied for flexibility during the 3rd application window, due September 6, 2012. The ESEA Flexibility Request required states to address three principles:
(A) Principle 1: College and Career-Ready Expectations for All Students;
(B) Principle 2: State-Developed Differentiated Recognition, Accountability and Support; and
(C) Principle 3: Supporting Effective Instruction and Leadership;
(12) West Virginia met Principle 1 with the adopted Next Generation Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, met Principle 2 by designing an accountability method and support system for schools recognized as success, transition, focus, support or priority schools based on rates of student academic growth and achievement, and met Principle 3 by modifying the statutory professional personnel performance evaluation system to place the entire measure of student learning for teachers of English Language Arts and Mathematics in the tested grades on the state summative assessment. West Virginia’s ESEA Flexibility was approved in May, 2013;
(13) The state board has since also modified West Virginia’s accountability system by adopting an A-F grading system for schools to replace the success, transition, focus, support and priority designations approved in the initial flexibility request. It also has modified it’s rules for Next Generation Standards to comply with WV Code by adding twelfth grade transition courses in English Language Arts and Mathematics for students below the college and career ready level; and
(14) ESEA Flexibility is subject to continued monitoring by the U. S. Department of Education and is subject to renewal due March 31, 2015.
(b) The Legislature further finds that the funding for West Virginia public schools comes from about 59% state and 31% local revenue sources with the federal government contributing only about 10% of the state’s total school funding. The federal funding amounted to about $362 million for the 2012-13 school year. However, heavy reliance on this federal funding to supplement the education of disadvantaged and special needs students and for child nutrition has provided leverage for the federal government to exert substantial influence over state policy and spending in the areas of standards, assessment, accountability and capacity building. Whereas the federal government may require accountability for the funds it expends for certain educational purposes, its use of these funds to coerce fundamental changes in state standards, assessments, accountability and capacity building, the core components of the process for improving education recognized by the court as the Legislature’s method for fulfilling its obligation under the West Virginia Constitution to provide for a thorough and efficient education, is a highly inappropriate usurpation of state sovereignty over public education. However well intentioned the efforts outlined in the above findings may have been, the accumulated inconsistencies, the loss of focus on sustained instructional improvement and the continuing discord among parents, citizens and educators surrounding the standards, the curriculum, the instructional strategies being employed to teach them and the assessments of student learning, are sufficient so as to impede the process for improving education, result in student performance below what is expected from a thorough and efficient system of schools, and erode public support.
(c) In response to the foregoing findings, the Legislature hereby directs that the West Virginia Board of Education shall on or before July 16, 2015:
(1) Undertake a comprehensive review of the standards to ensure that:
(A) The Common Core Standards as approved by the Board in May, 2010, are repealed;
(B) No assessments designed to assess student learning based on the common core standards, including but not limited to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, will be used in West Virginia public schools;
(C) West Virginia’s standards are adequate and appropriately aligned college and career ready standards for West Virginia as required in section thirty-nine, article two of this chapter;
(D) West Virginia’s college and career ready standards are revised as needed to ensure that West Virginia students will be adequately prepared for college and careers;
(E) School systems in West Virginia have adequate and appropriate curriculum and instructional strategies to provide instruction that will enable students to achieve the standards;
(F) Sufficient training and professional development has been provided to enable teachers and leaders to accurately articulate the standards and objectives of the curriculum and instructional strategies, to implement them and to improve teaching and learning; and
(G) Schools and school systems have information and resources appropriate to engage and assist parents with helping improve the learning of their children;
(2) Appoint a stakeholder commission including parents, educators, teacher organizations, administrators, a representative of the West Virginia School Board Association, employers and legislators to participate in the standards review, except that the legislator appointments shall be three Senators appointed by the President of the Senate, one of whom shall be the chair of the Senate Education Committee and one of whom shall be a member of the minority party, and three Delegates appointed by the Speaker of the House, one of whom shall be the chair of the House Education Committee and one of whom shall be a member of the minority party;
(3) Appoint standards development committees as provided in subsection (d) of this section to advise and assist the commission in developing and recommending West Virginia college and career ready standards to the State Board;
(4) Conduct at least four regional town hall style meetings that include both the presentation of information on West Virginia’s college and career ready standards and an opportunity for discussion and input from the public in a small group format. This input shall be incorporated in the comprehensive review undertaken by the state board;
(5) Except for the purposes of section thirty-nine, article two of this chapter, suspend the use of student test score results on any state summative assessment for any purpose other than strategic planning for school improvement and professional development until school year 2016-17;
(6) Not require more than one statewide summative assessment per school year;
(7) Prohibit the collection of confidential student information and the disclosure of personally identifiable student information in accordance with section five-h, article two of this chapter; and
(8) Regularly inform the Legislature of any actions taken with respect to standards, assessments, accountability and capacity building through reporting to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability.
(d) The State Board shall establish two standards development committees: the English Language Arts Standards Development Committee and the Mathematics Standards Development Committee. The standards committees are responsible for developing standards for the subject area within the committee’s expertise to advise and assist the commission in recommending West Virginia college and career ready standards to the State Board. To establish the committees, the State Board shall:
(1) Request district superintendents to nominate teachers for participation on standards development committees;
(2) Each district superintendent may nominate one teacher for each subgroup in the English language arts development committee and one teacher for each subgroup in the Math development committee. The superintendents shall use the one page nomination form developed by the state Board;
(3) Each standards development committee shall include three subgroups; one for standards in grades PreK through five, one for grades six through eight and one for grades nine through twelve.
(4) Each subgroup shall be comprised of four teachers from nominees by the district superintendents, selected by the State Board in conjunction with the chair and vice chair of each respective committee;
(5) The members of the English language arts subgroups shall:
(A) Have seven years of teaching experience at the educational level of the subgroup in which they seek to participate;
(B) Have a current teaching assignment at one of the grade levels of the subgroup in which they seek to participate;
(C) For those seeking placement in either the grades six through eight subgroup or the grades nine through twelve subgroup, possess either at least Minor in English or listed courses completed in literature, composition or rhetoric; and
(D) For those in the PreK through grade five subgroup, have completed reading methods course work;
(6) The members of the Mathematics subgroups shall:
(A) Have seven years experience at the educational level of the subgroup in which they seek to participate;
(B) Have a current teaching assignment at one of the grade levels of the subgroup in which they seek to participate; and
(C) For those seeking placement in either the grades six through eight subgroup or the grades nine through twelve subgroup, possess at least a minor in mathematics, science, or engineering.
(7) The English Language Arts Standards Development Committee will be comprised of the following members:
(A) The English Language Arts chair on the commission, who will chair the English Language Arts Development Committee;
(B) An English Language Arts vice-chair, selected by the English language arts chair. The vice-chair must be a teaching faculty member of the English language arts department of a four-year undergraduate university or college and shall not be a member of the faculty of the education department of the institution;
(C) English Language Arts Subgroup 1: Four current teachers from PreK through fifth grade;
(D) English Language Arts Subgroup 2: Four current middle school teachers grades six through eight;
(E) English Language Arts Subgroup 3: Four current high school teachers at each grade level nine through twelve; and
(F) One Librarian nominated by the West Virginia Library Association; and
(8) The Mathematics Standards Development committee will be comprised of the following members:
(A) The mathematics chair on the commission who will chair the Mathematics Standards Development Committee;
(B) The mathematics vice-chair who will be selected by the mathematics chair and who is currently a teaching faculty member in an undergraduate mathematics department of a four-year university or college with a dissertation in mathematics and who shall not be a member of the Education Department of the institution;
(C) Mathematics Subgroup 1: Four current teachers from the grades PreK through grade five;
(D) Mathematics Subgroup 2: Four current middle school teachers grades six through eight;
(E) Mathematics Subgroup 3: Four current high school teachers at each grade level nine through twelve, including one Algebra I teacher, one Geometry teacher, one Algebra II teacher, and one Precalculus or Trigonometry teacher; and
(F) One Engineer nominated by a state engineering professional organization or university faculty.
(e) In response to the foregoing findings, the Legislature hereby further directs that the Governor, the Legislature, the West Virginia Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Schools, individually and through their membership on their respective national organizations, the National Governor’s Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, shall advise the state’s congressional delegation and implore Congress and the President to proceed expeditiously with reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in a manner that:
(1) Recognizes that the federal government has no constitutional authority to set state educational standards, to mandate the use or adoption of any common core standards, or to determine how the state’s children will be educated. Any partnership with the federal government is solely at the discretion of the state;
(2) Recognizes that the selection of educational standards and assessments for the public schools is the exclusive right of state and local education authorities; and
(3) Voids all current processes and agreements under which federal monitoring and prior approval of state initiatives in the broad areas of standards, assessments, accountability and capacity building exceed the scope necessary for federal accountability for federal funds for the purposes allocated.
(f) The Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability shall monitor and inform the Legislature on implementation of this section.
This section is new; therefore it has been completely underscored.