Bill Summary for S 599 (2017-2018)

Summary date: 

Apr 4 2017

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
Senate Bill 599 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 4, 2017
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR PREPARATION AND STANDARDS COMMISSION, TO AUTHORIZE THE EXPANSION OF EDUCATOR PREPARATION PROGRAMS AND TO CREATE A SYSTEM THAT HOLDS ALL PROGRAMS ACCOUNTABLE, TO REORGANIZE AND CLARIFY THE EDUCATOR LICENSURE PROCESS, AND TO ENSURE AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION ON TEACHER VACANCIES OCCURRING IN NORTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Intro. by Barefoot.

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Bill summary

Enacts new GS Chapter 115, Article 17C (Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission).

Establishes a 16-member Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (Commission) under, but independent of, the State Board of Education (SBOE), consisting of seven members each appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as specified; the State teacher of the year; and the Superintendent of Public Instruction or his or her designee. Members serve two-year terms, beginning on September 1, 2017. Provides for the organization, meeting, compensation, and supporting personnel of the Commission.

Directs the Commission to develop and recommend to SBOE rules related to all aspects of educator preparation programs and professional standards for North Carolina educators, in accordance with GS Chapter 115, Articles 17D and 17E, and to make requested recommendations to the SBOE on those subjects. Directs SBOE to adopt or reject the rules recommendations without making substantive changes. Directs SBOE to develop and adopt its own rules in the event that the SBOE twice fails to adopt the Commission's recommendations. Directs the Commission to report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and the SBOE, by December 1, 2018, on its activities, recommendations, and findings.

Repeals GS 115C-296.8 through GS 115C-296.13 (regarding approval, admissions, pedagogy, clinical partnerships, lateral entry, and reporting for educator preparation programs), and GS 115C-309 and GS 115C-310 (regarding student teachers).

Enacts new GS Chapter 115C, Article 17D (Educator Preparation Programs).

Defines 16 terms as they are used in the Article.

Requires Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) to prepare students for educator licensure and to meet the standards of this Article. Authorizes and directs SBOE to authorize and recognize EPPs as specified, and authorizes SBOE to regulate EPPs in accordance with this Article. Directs SBOE to adopt rules for approving EPPs, including a rigorous approval process, an application process, peer review, and technical assistance, and an approval period of five years, and five listed required minimums for approval standards. Directs EPPs seeking approval to complete the SBOE application process, and to undergo a peer review process. Directs SBOE to provide technical assistance to EPPs seeking approval, on four listed topics including improving education quality and EPP performance.

Prohibits EPPs from admitting students that do not meet one of three listed criteria regarding education or test performance, or students with a grade point average below 2.7. Provides requirements for cohort grade point averages.

Directs SBOE to include listed minimum requirements with demonstrated competencies in its rules on required EPP instruction, including instructional requirements for all EPPs, instructional requirements for EPPs providing training for elementary education teachers, EPPs providing training for elementary and special education general curriculum teachers, and instructional requirements for EPPs providing training for middle and high school teachers.

Directs EPPs to establish and maintain partnerships with schools that are focused on student achievement, continuous school improvement, and the professional development of educators, as well as those preparing educators. Requires EPPs to enter into memoranda of understanding with local school administrative units or partner schools where students are placed or employed. Provides requirements for the Memoranda, including one for a plan for collaborative clinical educator or mentor selection, orientation, and student placement. Directs EPPs, to the extent practical, to require field experience in every semester, as specified. Directs EPPs to require clinical practice in the form of an internship or a residency, as specified. Directs EPPs to ensure that clinical educators that supervise students in internships and residencies meet listed requirements regarding licensure, experience, and performance. Provides that an intern under the supervision of a clinical educator or principal has the protection of the laws accorded to a licensed educator. Directs EPPs to require a nationally normed and valid pedagogy assessment to determine clinical practice performance, as determined by SBOE.

Directs SBOE to consult with the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina (BOG) and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities to develop and adopt a program to facilitate the processes by which teacher assistants become teachers, in which teacher assistants are enrolled in a recognized EPP and are employed in an NC public school. Provides nonbinding guidance and discretionary authority for local school administrative units in administering the program.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules to establish standards of performance to govern continuing accountability for EPPs, based on four listed types on information, including proficiency and growth of students taught by educators holding an initial professional license. Directs SBOE to require all recognized EPPs to submit annual performance reports, including 13 listed indicators, to itself, the BOG, and the board of trustees of the entity submitting the report. Directs SBOE to provide, upon request, certain data required to be included in an EPP's annual performance report, with provisions for maintaining confidentiality of information in a teacher's personnel file.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules establishing risk factors for assessment of the overall risk level of each EPP, including a history of the EPPs compliance with State law and rules, and whether the EPP meets the accountability performance standards in this Article.

Directs SBOE to at least annually review the accountability status of each EPP, and to adopt rules necessary for sanction of EPPs that do not meet accountability standards or comply with State law or rules, including the assignment of warned, probation, or revoked statuses according to listed criteria, and other sanctions deemed necessary, including at least one of four listed possible sanctions. Requires the revocation of an EPP's accountability status to comply with notice requirements, and to be effective for at least two years. Prohibits an EPP with revoked status from admitting new students, but allows the EPP to continue training students previously admitted, with the assistance of SBOE and other EPPs if necessary. Provides notice requirements for revocation of an EPP's authorized status.

Directs SBOE to create a report card for each EPP that summarizes the information collected in the annual performance reports, and to publish the report cards on its website annually, beginning December 15, 2019, and to submit the report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee annually by that date.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules necessary to establish a process for a student to report a violation of this Article to the Board. Directs SBOE to require EPPs to notify students of the complaint process, as specified. Directs SBOE to post the complaint process on its website. Provides that SBOE has no authority to mediate, arbitrate, or resolve contractual or commercial issues between an EPP and a student.

Enacts new GS 115C-284.1, providing that rules for approval of school administrator preparation programs must incorporate the criteria developed under GS 116-74.21 for assessing proposals under the School Administrator Training Program.

Repeals GS 115C-296, concerning educator licensure.

Enacts new GS 115C-300.1 (New teacher induction programs). Directs SBOE to develop a new teacher induction program to provide ongoing support for teachers entering the profession. Directs SBOE to develop and distribute guidelines to local boards of education on optimum working conditions for new teachers. Directs SBOE to develop and coordinate a mentor teacher training program. Directs SBOE to allot funds for mentoring services to local school administrative units based on the highest number of employees in the preceding three school years who are paid with State, federal, or local funds, on specified steps of the salary schedules, to be used to provide mentoring support to eligible employees in accordance with a plan approved by SBOE.

Enacts new GS Chapter 115C, Article 17E (Licensure).

Defines five terms as they are used in the Article.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules for the issuance, renewal, and extension of licenses for professional educator positions, and determine and fix the salary for each grade and type of license it authorizes, in consultation with the Commission, BOG, State Board of Community Colleges, EPPs, and other public and private agencies.

Directs SBOE to establish a fee schedule for six listed services for professional educator licensure and administrative changes, not to exceed the actual cost of providing the service. Directs SBOE to report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by March 15 in any year that the amount of fees in the fee schedule has been modified during the previous 12 months.

Directs SBOE to require applicants for initial professional licenses to meet a certain score on a standard examination, and to require elementary education and special education general curriculum teachers also to meet a certain score on examinations specific to teaching reading and mathematics. Directs SBOE to adopt rules establishing the minimum scores and other measures necessary to assess qualifications of professional educators. Exempts SBOE, for the purpose of these rules and examinations, from GS Chapter 150B, Article 2A (regarding rulemaking). Directs SBOE to provide 30 days' written notice to all recognized EPPs and all local boards of education before changing any rule regarding examinations and other assessments. Provides for the timeline for applicants to fulfill testing requirements.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules for the issuance of six listed classes of teacher licenses, including required levels of preparation for each classification. Directs SBOE to establish classification and levels of preparation necessary for issuance of licenses for administrators and student services personnel.

Requires applicants with an out-of-state teacher's license to provide evidence of their effectiveness with their initial applications. Individuals who do not include evidence are only eligible for an initial professional license.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules establishing the requirements for renewal of all professional educator licenses, including four listed requirements, including continuing education credit requirements. Directs SBOE to reevaluate the licensure renewal rules at least once every five years.

Directs SBOE to adopt rules to establish the reasons and procedures for the suspension and revocation of licenses. Directs SBOE to automatically revoke the license of a professional educator without the right to a hearing upon verification of the identity of a professional educator together with a certified copy of a criminal record showing that the educator submitted a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or has been finally convicted of, any of 23 listed crimes, including murder or child abuse. Provides an opportunity for the educator to show that they are not the same person as the person listed in the criminal record. Directs SBOE to revoke the license of a professional educator who receives a rating on any standard that was identified as an area of concern on the mandatory improvement plan that was below proficient or otherwise represented unsatisfactory or below standard performance. Authorizes SBOE to revoke or refuse to renew a professional educator's license when the board identifies the school in which the professional educator is employed as low-performing, and the assistance team assigned to that school recommends the revocation or refusal. Authorizes SBOE to issue subpoenas and contract with individuals to conduct investigations with regard to proceedings to suspend or revoke licenses.

Amends GS 93B-15.1(i), GS 115C-296.7(g), GS 115C-333(d), GS 115C-333.1(f), GS 115D-5(p), GS 116-239.5(a), and GS 116-239.13(5), to make conforming changes.

Amends GS 115C-12(22) to direct SBOE to monitor and compile an annual report on the state of the teaching profession in North Carolina that includes data on the decisions of teachers to leave the teaching profession, and data on teaching positions that local boards of education are unable to fill. Deletes all other provisions. Enacts new GS 115C-299.5 (Duty to monitor the state of the teaching profession), re-enacting the provisions deleted from GS 115C-12(22). Further requires the annual report to include data on teaching positions that local boards of education are unable to fill with a teacher licensed in that subject area by the fortieth instructional day of the local school administrative unit's calendar, aggregated as specified.

Directs SBOE to complete the first annual report on the state of the teaching profession, including information on vacancies in the teaching profession, no later than December 15, 2017.

Applies beginning with the 2017-18 school year. Rules required by this act must be adopted by February 1, 2018. Directs SBOE to accept applications from EPPs for initial approval no later than March 1, 2018, for EPPs applying to accept students in the 2018-19 school year. EPPs approved by SBOE prior to July 1, 2017, are considered initially authorized until the earlier of June 30, 2020, or the date of their five-year renewal. All EPPs operating in the State on June 30, 2018, or thereafter, must submit annual performance reports beginning with the 2018-19 school year. Directs SBOE to monitor data quality and report on its monitoring and recommended legislative changes to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by December 15, 2020. Directs SBOE not to assign an accountability status to any EPP during the 2018-19, 2019-20, or 2020-21 school years, but may require technical assistance to an EPP based on reported performance measures. Directs SBOE only to assign accountability statuses of warned and probation during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. Authorizes SBOE to begin assigning the accountability status of revoked beginning with the 2023-24 school year.

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