Bill Summary for S 361 (2013-2014)

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Summary date: 

Mar 20 2013

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2013-2014 Session
Senate Bill 361 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Intro. by Berger, Tillman, Soucek.

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Bill summary

State Employee Literacy Volunteer Leave Time. Amends GS 126-4 to direct the State Personnel Commission, subject to the Governor's approval, to establish rules and policies governing a leave program that allows employees to volunteer in a literacy program in a public school for up to five hours each month.

Maximize Instructional Time. Amends GS 115C-174.12(a) to delete the option that allowed school improvement teams to vote for their schools to participate in more than two field tests at any one grade level. Enacts new subdivision (4) to GS 115C-174.12(a) to restrict annual assessments and final exams in year-long courses to the final 10 instructional days and in semester courses to the final five instructional days of the school year. Makes exceptions to accommodate a student's individualized education program or section 504 plans and for the administration of final exams for courses with national or international curriculae required to be held at designated times. Makes technical changes. Requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee before purchasing or implementing a new instrument to assess student achievement on the Common Core State Standards. Prohibits the SBOE from purchasing such an assessment instrument without legislation authorizing the purchase. Applies beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

Strengthen Teacher Licensure. Amends GS 115C-296 as follows. Amends licensure standards to require that continuing licensure include at least eight continuing education credits with at least three of the credits required in a teacher's academic subject area. Amends the teacher education programs to require the SBOE, in consultation with local boards of education and the UNC Board of Governors to evaluate and modify the academic requirements of teacher preparation programs for students preparing to teach science in middle and high schools. Specifies that the performance reviews to the SBOE are to be submitted annually and deletes the provisions concerning the format and plan for the content and submission of the performance reviews. Requires the SBOE to require teacher education programs, master's degree programs in education, and master's degree programs in school administration to submit annual performance reports. Adds teacher contribution to the academic success of students to the items that must be addressed in the reports. Requires the SBOE to create a higher education educator preparation report card reflecting the information collected in the performance reports. Requires the report cards to be submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee annually by October 1. Requires the SBOE to reward and sanction approved teacher education programs and master of education programs and revoke approval of those programs based on the performance reports and other SBOE criteria.

Adds the verbal and mathematics portions of the ACT to those tests that may be used to fulfill the requirement that an undergraduate seeking a degree in teacher education pass a preprofessional skills test before admission to a teacher education program. Requires that an individual score 1,100 or greater on the combined verbal and math score for the SAT or a minimum composite score for the ACT of 24 or greater. Provides that a lateral entry (was, provisional teaching) license may be granted for no more than three years.

Applies beginning with the 2013-14 school year.

Further amends GS 115C-296 as follows. Requires (was, allows) the SBOE to require an applicant for an initial bachelor's or graduate degree license (was, certificate) to demonstrate preparation by achieving a minimum score on a standard exam. Requires K-6 and special education teachers to also achieve a prescribed minimum score on tests specific to teaching reading and math. Amends the licensure standards to require standards for continuing licensure for elementary and middle school teachers to include at least three continuing education credits related to literacy. Specifies what is to be included in literacy renewal credits. Also establishes specific demonstrated competencies for elementary and special education general curriculum teacher education programs. Applies beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

Requires the SBOE to develop a plan to require the schools of education to measure performance and provide an annual report on the demonstrated competencies included in their elementary and special education general curriculum teacher education programs on three specified areas. Requires the plan addressing the information be included in the annual performance reports to the SBOE and the higher education educator preparation program report cards. Requires SBOE to report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on or before March 15, 2014.

School Performance Grades. Requires the SBOE to award school performance scores, grades, and a measure of student growth. Requires that the SBOE, in calculating the overall school performance score earned by schools, to (1) use a performance measure approach to weigh the performance elements based on the number of students measured by any given performance element and (2) proportionally adjust the scale to account for the absence of a school performance element for award of scores to a school that does not have a measure of one of the elements annually assessed for the grades taught at the school. Provides criteria to be used by the SBOE in awarding school performance grades and the process for calculating the grade. Requires the SBOE to include in the annual school report card an indicator reflecting student growth for performance on annual assessments for reading, math, and science in grades 3-8 and on math, English, and biology in grades 9-12, with each school being designated as having met, failed to meet, or exceeding expected student growth. Also requires K-8 schools to include the performance scores in reading and math on the annual school report card. Makes conforming changes to GS 115C-12, GS 115C-47, GS 115C-238.29F, and GS 115C-238.66. Applies beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

Pay for Excellence. States the General Assembly's intent to use the evaluation instrument and process in implementing a plan of performance pay for teachers.

Teacher Contracts. Effective June 30, 2014, repeals GS 115C-325 (system of employment for public school teachers). Enacts new GS 115C-325.1 to define terms used in Part 3 (Principal and Teacher Employment Contracts) of Article 22 of GS Chapter 115C. Defines teacher as a person who (1) holds one of the listed licenses; (2) teaches or directly supervises teaching, or is classified by the SBOE, or is paid as a classroom teacher or instructional support personnel; and (3) fills a full-time, permanent position. Enacts new GS 115C-325.2, governing the maintenance and inspection of personnel files. New GS 115C-325.3 provides that a contract between the local board of education and a teacher employed by the board for less than three years is for a term of one school year while one with a teacher employed by the board for three years or more is for a term of one, two, three, or four years. Requires local boards of education to employ teachers upon recommendation by the superintendent. Sets out procedures for contract renewal, nonrenewal, a teacher's right to petition for a hearing, and dismissal during the contract term. Allows local boards to modify contract terms to permit part-time employment.

Enacts new GS 115C-325.4 to prohibit the local board from dismissing, demoting, or reducing to part-time any teacher for a disciplinary reason other than one of the grounds listed, which include inadequate performance, immorality, or neglect of duty. Enacts new GS 115C-325.5, authorizing a superintendent to suspend a teacher without pay for any reason listed in GS 115C-325.4, provided the teacher receives a meeting and written notice. Details procedures for suspension without pay, suspension with pay, and reinstating a teacher. Enacts new GS 115C-325.6 to set out the process for dismissing or demoting a teacher for cause. New GS 115C-325.8 outlines the requirements that apply to board hearings for disciplinary suspensions without pay, and new GS 115C-325.7 sets out the requirements for all other board hearings.

Enacts new GS 115C-325.9 to permit a teacher, who has been recommended for dismissal, to resign without the superintendent's written agreement, as specified. Enacts new GS 115C-325.10 to provide that Part 3 applies to all persons employed in teaching and related classes in the schools and institutions of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Public Instruction, Adult Correction, or the Division of Juvenile Justice. New GS 115C-325.11 (administrators and teachers in low-performing residential schools), GS 115C-325.12 (principals), and GS 115C-325.13 (teachers) set forth the procedure for dismissing school personnel employed in low-performing schools.

Makes conforming changes to various provisions in GS Chapter 115C to remove references to GS 115C-325 and terms deleted by the repeal of that statute. Repeals GS 115C-304 (teacher tenure). Amends GS 115C-333(a) to require all teachers in low-performing schools who have been employed for less than three years (was, who have not attained career status) to be observed at least three times a year by the principal, at least once a year by a teacher, and be evaluated at least once a year. Makes conforming changes to remove the term career status and replaces the term certificated with licensed in various statutes. Enacts new GS 115C-344 to provide employment benefits for exchange teachers; specifies that an exchange teacher is not a teacher for purposes of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.

Unless otherwise indicated, the changes above concerning teacher contracts are effective July 1, 2014.

Effective July 1, 2013, repeals GS 115C-325(c)(1) (concerning employment of a career teacher). Provides that individuals who have not received career status before the 2012-13 school year will not be granted career status.

Requires all local boards of education, from July 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013, to review the performance and evaluations of all teachers employed for at least three years and use the reviews to determine which teachers are to be awarded four-year contracts and offer teachers a contract for a term of four school years beginning with the 2014-15 school year. Requires that contracts be made and accepted by December 31, 2013.