Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Coming Week: Legislative Edition, chapter 1 - Education

Because of the number of committees meeting this week and the length of their agendas, this week's schedule post will be broken down by pairing like committees with each other.

For instance, tonight's post will cover both chambers' education committees.

As usual, all info gathered from the lege's website, except where noted, and subject to change without notice...

...The House Education committee will meet on Monday at 2 p.m. in HHR3. It's easy to tell that we are getting into the nitty gritty of the session - legislators are seeking to give bills that have died for lack of consideration in the form of "strike everything" amendment that transform unrelated bills into something more to their liking. This phenomenon is in evidence on Monday's agenda.

There is a striker for HB2413. The original proposal has to do with something called "digital curriculum institute." Once the bill is amended, it will have to do with "teacher evaluations." Both the original bill and the proposed amendment are from Rich Crandall (R-LD19).

Not to fear fans of "digital curriculum institute." Crandall has proposed a striker to HB2720 to direct ASU and the state Department of Education to create an "institute" to evaluate online coursework for grades K-12. The original bill had to do with "teacher certification; reciprocity; postsecondary credits."

Another striker being offered is to HB2722. The original bill would have disallowed the practice of charter schools counting certain non-state resident students when determining how much state aid that they are entitled to. The striker expands the restriction to all schoo districts, not just charter schools.

There is also a striker being offered for HB2724 that doesn't change the subject of the bill at all. It looks to create a "state board of directors for community colleges."

Finally, a striker to HB2521 will be offered to require that school superintendents' contracts provide for a compensation package that is at least 20% performance-based.

One striker that *won't* be offered is for HB2556, relating to schools and shrinking the Arizona Department of Education. This is a fairly comprehensive bill with some rather interesting clauses in it that make the bill worthy of further analysis (David Safier, you listening? :) )

One clearly good bill on the House agenda is HB2760, Representative Rae Waters' bill to ensure that school districts pay attention to school roofs during their preventative maintenance procedures. An elementary school in her district experienced a roof collapse last year. The House Dems' press release on the bill is here.

One potentially ugly bill could be HCR2050. It's a proposal from a rogues' gallery of Republicans (Crandall, Huppenthal, Driggs, McClain, Court, Ash, etc.) that seeks to "expand" First Things First, an initiative-mandated early childhood development program.

One with protected funding that legislators have been eyeing for years.

This bill, a proposed referendum, would mandate an expansion to cover programs that aren't "early childhood", add new programs, and require FTF to spend a certain amount of money every year.

In short, it looks like the lege's attempt to have FTF cover programs that the lege wants to cut out of the state's General Fund without seeming like the societal Scrooges that they are.

...The Senate's Education Accountability and Reform Committee will meet on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in SHR1. As with the House agenda, this one is dominated by strike-everything amendments. Unlike the House, however, most of these strikers aren't posted online yet.

There will be a striker offered for SB1121, relating to impact aid, and one offered to SB1160 relating to English Language Learners. Additionally, a striker will be offered for SB1404, relating to "ADE; product evaluation."

While none of those strikers are yet available online, the one that will be offered for SCR1032 *is* available online. It's a Russell Pearce special. This one would mandate that schools spend a certain percentage of their budgets on "classroom instruction."

The bad "straight up" bill (no striker attached) on this agenda is SB1097, an anti-Mexican kid measure that would require school districts to gather and report information on "non-citizen" students. In a surprise development, this bill is from Russell Pearce.

Oh wait - that isn't really exactly a surprise, is it?

...Posts for the rest of the committee schedules will be coming tomorrow...

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