Education Committee Moves Legislation Forward
The House Education Committee today unanimously passed House Bill 205, which would strengthen authorizer oversight of charter schools – which recent events demonstrate is needed – in order to minimize the impact of closing low-performing schools on students and families. Several people throughout the hearing acknowledged the collaborative effort between the governor, DOE, DSEA, DCSN, and other stakeholders. Those present highlighted that this is a necessary, yet long overdue, first step, and that there is still critical work to be done to level the playing field for all students and schools.
At the meeting, many people pointed out that this legislation succeeds in minimizing poor performance, but doesn’t support increased access to excellence. Greg Meece, Newark Charter School’s principal, highlighted that replication of high-performing schools is a great idea (not just for turning-around low-performing schools) and that we need to provide all students an equal chance through equitable funding. In addition, Representative Ruth Briggs King expressed concern about impact language and its potential to limit successful charter school expansion, which she agreed helps traditional schools improve through choice and competition.
In addition to House Bill 205, the committee highlighted that legislation will soon be filed around data governance, which is a first step towards what we committed towards doing in our Race to the Top application. The legislation will add members to the P-20 Council, including those from DSEA, DCSN, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Social Services, and Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families. The legislation would require regulations to be developed around data analysis and reporting protocols to ensure that they meet specific federal and state privacy laws (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA).