Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5577

Public Act No. 04-153

AN ACT ENCOURAGING INTERNATIONAL STUDIES PROGRAMS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2004) (a) The State Board of Education may recognize a school that meets the standards for international education programs developed by the international education advisory committee, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of section 10-27 of the general statutes, as amended by this act. Any such school may announce and declare such recognition status.

(b) The State Board of Education may recognize sister school partnership programs between public schools of this state and foreign schools that meet criteria as established in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of section 10-27 of the general statutes, as amended by this act. Within available appropriations, participation in such partnership shall allow the foreign school access to state programs of professional development and technical assistance programs under the same terms and conditions as for public schools of this state.

Sec. 2. Section 10-27 of the general statutes, as amended by section 40 of public act 03-76, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(a) It shall be the policy of the state to encourage its students, teachers, administrators and educational policy makers to participate in international studies, international exchange programs and other activities that advance cultural awareness and promote mutual understanding and respect for the citizens of other countries.

(b) The Commissioner of Education shall establish an international education advisory committee to explore international opportunities for learning, exchange programs and the availability of curriculum materials for students, teachers, administrators and educational policy makers. The advisory committee shall:

(1) Investigate [investigate] and compile information concerning international education programs and opportunities. The committee shall make recommendations to the commissioner on the expansion of international education programs and opportunities and shall consider ways to encourage participation in such programs. The committee shall advise the Department of Education and the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education on international program opportunities and the availability of federal or nonprofit agency funding for such programs. The department shall provide information on international education opportunities to local and regional boards of education;

(2) Develop guidelines and standards to aid local and regional boards of education in the establishment of programs of international studies. Such guidelines and standards shall describe the essential components of a quality educational program incorporating international education concepts. The committee shall submit such guidelines and standards to the State Board of Education for review and approval;

(3) Develop criteria for what constitutes a sister school partnership program between a public school of this state and a foreign school. Such criteria shall provide a process for recognition of such partnership. The committee shall submit such criteria to the State Board of Education for review and approval; and

(4) Advise the State Board of Education on possible incentives to encourage the formation of partnerships that meet criteria established in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (3) of this subsection. Such incentives may include, but need not be limited to, cooperation between sister partnership schools in teacher certification, student assessment programs and recognition of student course credit, participation in summer programs and in other areas where the state could recognize the value of the sister school partnership relationships with minimal cost.

(c) State agencies, including the educational institutions, may exchange a limited number of professional personnel and students with institutions of other states and other countries and may pay the salaries of such personnel and may assign scholarships and grants-in-aid to the exchangees. The authorized exchange of personnel and students need not be parallel and simultaneous nor specific with regard to the assignment of persons between institutions. If a vacancy exists on the staff of any state agency, including the educational institutions, because a leave of absence without pay has been granted, such agency may engage the services of professional personnel of other countries, and may pay such personnel so engaged from the funds which otherwise would have been paid to such staff members on leave of absence without pay.

Approved May 21, 2004