A Weak Slate of Common Core Related Bills in Connecticut

connecticut-state-capitolThere are a number of Common Core-related bills that have been filed in the Connecticut General Assembly. ¬†They’ve been extremely busy and I can’t say I’m extremely encouraged. ¬†There are no Common Core repeal bills. ¬†There are some that would codify the implementation of Common Core and Smarter Balanced, but just slow it down.

One bill would require the state to provide curriculum and resources for it. ¬†The data bills are not, frankly, very strong. ¬†Review and study bills would be ok if they specified a replacement for Common Core, but they don’t.

The best bills below are the ones that address parental rights, and the ability to opt students out of assessments those are good bills.

Proposed S.B. No. 344 – This bill slows the implementation of the Common Core and Smarter Balanced. ¬†I couldn’t support this bill because of the ultimate end – the implementation of the Common Core and Smarter ¬†Balance. ¬†I will give the bill’s author props for this. ¬†It does reflect a better plan for how new standards and assessments should be rolled out in order to cause less stress on teachers and students.

Here is the text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to phase in implementation of the common core state standards and Smarter Balanced assessments as follows: (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to three, inclusive, (2) for the school year commencing July 1, 2017, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to six, inclusive, (3) for the school year commencing July 1, 2019, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to nine, inclusive, and (4) for the school year commencing July 1, 2021, and each school year thereafter, grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive.”

The bill was introduced by State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton).

Proposed S.B. No. 785 РThis would allow for changes to the Common Core State Standards to be made.  The process of how this would happen is not clear.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to make revisions to the Common Core State Standards curriculum.” ¬†This bill was introduced by State Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington).

Proposed H.B. No. 5544 is a pretty awful bill.  It calls for the state to provide support by supplying schools and teachers with curriculum necessary to teach the Common Core.

Text of bill: “That chapter 163 of the general statutes be amended to require the Department of Education to make available to local and regional boards of education all necessary literature and curriculum materials relating to the Common Core State Standards to be used by teachers in the development of teaching plans.” This was introduced by¬†State Representative¬†Dave Yaccarino (R-North Haven).

Proposed H.B. No. 6005 would eliminate unfunded education mandates.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to repeal all unfunded education mandates.” ¬†This bill was introduced by State Representative Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield).

There are related bills that also address unfunded education mandates: Proposed S.B. No. 333, Proposed H.B. No. 5465, Proposed H.B. No. 5619, Proposed H.B. No. 5620 and Proposed H.B. No. 6411.

Then some proposed constitutional amendments related to unfunded mandates: H.J. No. 17, H.J. No. 31, H.J. No. 32, Proposed S.J. No. 6, and Proposed S.B. No. 761.

There are several bills related to assessments.

Proposed H.B. No. 5138 – This bill would prohibit student assessments from being used in teacher evaluations.

Text of bill: “That subsection (a) of section 10-151b of the general statutes be amended to prohibit the use of student performance data on mastery examinations, conducted pursuant to section 10-14n, among the multiple indicators of student academic growth for purposes of teacher performance evaluations.”¬†This bill was introduced by State Representative¬†Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury). ¬†Proposed H.B. No. 5400 is pretty much identical to this bill and was introduced by State Representative Melissa Zobran (R-East Haddam). ¬†Also Proposed H.B. No. 5681 is identical and was introduced by State Representative Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford). ¬†I assume that these legislators will join forces at some point in time and we’ll see just one bill.

Proposed H.B. No. 5139¬†– This bill would allow parents to review their children’s responses on standardized assessments.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to authorize the parent or guardian of a student who has taken a mastery examination to review the responses of such child on such mastery examination.”¬†This bill was also introduced by State Representative¬†Srinivasan.

Proposed H.B. No. 5398 РThis is an act concerning the parental opt-out of state-wide examinations for students.  It would allow parents to opt their students out of Smarter Balanced.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to allow the parent or guardian of a student to opt their child out of taking the mastery examination.” ¬†This bill was introduced by State Representative Ziobran.

Proposed H.B. No. 5547 – This bill concerns student testing for juniors in high school.

Text of the bill: “That chapter 163 of the general statutes be amended to require the Department of Education to conduct a study of student testing during the junior year of high school and to make recommendations to the General Assembly for legislation regarding ways to spread out such testing requirements over three years of high school.” ¬†This bill was introduced by State Representative Kathleen McCarthy (R-Waterford).

Proposed H.B. No. 5680 РA bill that calls for a study of the effectiveness of the Common Core State Standards to help policymakers evaluate whether and to what extent the Common Core State Standards are working or should be modified.  Introduced by State Representatives Jesse MacLachlan (R-Westbrook) and Devin Carney (R-Old Saybrook).

Proposed H.B. No. 6422 – This bill would repeal the requirement that juniors in high school take the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to repeal the requirement that students in grade eleven take the mastery examination.” This bill was introduced by State Representatives Ziobron and Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison).

Proposed H.B. No. 6609 РThis bill would establish a biennial schedule for statewide assessments.  Against it does nothing to remove Smarter Balanced, but it does reduce the assessment burden on students.

Text of the bill: “That section 10-14n of the general statutes be amended to require students enrolled in grades three, five and seven to take the mastery examination.” ¬†This bill was introduced by State Representative Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford).

Proposed H.B. No. 6610 – This bill would require the Connecticut Department of Education to seek a waiver from No Child Left Behind which would be necessary in order for a biennial schedule for assessments to be allowed.

Text of the bill: “That the Department of Education be required to seek a waiver from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. 107-110, from the United States Department of Education that permits the state to require only those students enrolled in grades three, five, seven and eleven to take the mastery examination.” ¬†This bill was also introduced by State Representative Rojas.

Then a couple of bills related to parental rights.

Proposed H.B. No. 6607 – An act concerning the parental rights and responsibilities in the education of their children. ¬†This bill is sponsored by State Representative Minnie Gonzalez (D-Hartford). ¬†The purpose of the bill: “To allow parents to exercise their rights to freely decide how their children are educated based on their own morals and values.

Proposed H.B. No. 6238 РEstablishes a Parents Bill of Rights.  This bill is also sponsored by State Representative Gonzalez.

This bills is remarkably short. ¬†It simply says, “That the general statutes be amended to establish a parents’ bill of rights to ensure that parents have enforceable legal rights.”

Then there are several bills related to the state’s P20 WIN Council (Preschool through 20 Workforce Information Network) this is¬†Connecticut’s inter-agency longitudinal data system.

Proposed H.B No. 5998 РThis bill calls for a review of the practices and policies of the P20 WIN Council.

Text of the bill: “That the general statutes be amended to (1) review the practices and policies of the P20 WIN Council, including the Executive Board, Data Governing Board and Data Steward Committee, (2) review all associated state contracts with the P20 WIN Council, and (3) establish rules regarding the scope and expansion of the P20 WIN Council and the use of data collected by the P20 WIN Council.” This bill was introduced by State Representative Mike Bocchino (R-Greenwich).

Proposed H.B. No. 6009 РThis bill would establish an oversight board for the P20 Win Council.

Text of the bill: “That the general statutes be amended to establish an oversight board for the P20 WIN Council that is responsible for ensuring that all student information collected by the P20 WIN Council is used appropriately.”¬†This bill was introduced by State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield).

Proposed H.B. No. 6012¬†– This bill is intended to ensure¬†that students’ privacy is protected when educational records are collected by the P20 WIN Council. ¬†This bill is vague, and does not provide clarification about information can be collected.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to require that all identifying information is removed from student data collected by the P20 WIN Council and to clarify what information is permitted to be collected from a student’s educational records.” ¬†This bill was also introduced by State Representative McCarthy Vahey.

Proposed H.B. No. 6420 Рthe intent of this bill is to protect student privacy.  Since FERPA has been gutted and in desperate need of updating this bill is pretty much worthless.

Text of the bill: “That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to limit the student data that may be collected by the P20 WIN Council, for purposes of inclusion in a state-wide longitudinal data system, to only those educational records permitted to be collected under federal law.” This bill was introduced by State Representative Tom O’Dea (R-New Canaan) and State Senator Boucher.

Proposed H.B. No. 6415 – This bill would prohibit the dissemination of student data by 3rd party vendors.

Text of the bill:¬†That the general statutes be amended to require any third-party vendor who collects student data from the P20 WIN Council or the state longitudinal data system to enter into an agreement with the council that such third-party vendor will not disclose, sell or share such student data without the express written consent of parents, guardians or students who are eighteen years of age or older.” ¬†This bill was also introduced by State Representative O’Dea and State Senator Boucher.

Here are some other student data bills that have also been introduced which I’ll just list here for brevity’s sake:

One thought on “A Weak Slate of Common Core Related Bills in Connecticut

  1. We here in CT are actually pleased with many of the proposed bills that are coming through. Our governor is on the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association, and one of our Chairmen of the Education Committee is a huge block who will never allow a repeal of CC get through for the governor to even vote on. So our efforts at this point have been focused on student privacy, which should be pushed through this year in one form or another. Additionally, CT is a “local control” state, so people here are working to help local districts understand that they are not required to accept CC from the state. And of course we continue to work on educating our parents to increase outrage and motivate them into action.

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