Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 540

    January Session, 2017

Substitute Senate Bill No. 1026

Senate, April 11, 2017

The Committee on Education reported through SEN. SLOSSBERG of the 14th Dist. and SEN. BOUCHER of the 26th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS.

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

Section 1. Section 10-221a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(a) For classes graduating from 1988 to 2003, inclusive, no local or regional board of education shall permit any student to graduate from high school or grant a diploma to any student who has not satisfactorily completed a minimum of twenty credits, not fewer than four of which shall be in English, not fewer than three in mathematics, not fewer than three in social studies, not fewer than two in science, not fewer than one in the arts or vocational education and not fewer than one in physical education.

(b) For classes graduating from 2004 to [2020] 2022, inclusive, no local or regional board of education shall permit any student to graduate from high school or grant a diploma to any student who has not satisfactorily completed a minimum of twenty credits, not fewer than four of which shall be in English, not fewer than three in mathematics, not fewer than three in social studies, including at least a one-half credit course on civics and American government, not fewer than two in science, not fewer than one in the arts or vocational education and not fewer than one in physical education.

[(c) Commencing with classes graduating in 2021, and for each graduating class thereafter, no local or regional board of education shall permit any student to graduate from high school or grant a diploma to any student who has not satisfactorily completed (1) a minimum of twenty-five credits, including not fewer than: (A) Nine credits in the humanities, including not fewer than (i) four credits in English, including composition; (ii) three credits in social studies, including at least one credit in American history and at least one-half credit in civics and American government; (iii) one credit in fine arts; and (iv) one credit in a humanities elective; (B) eight credits in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including not fewer than (i) four credits in mathematics, including algebra I, geometry and algebra II or probability and statistics; (ii) three credits in science, including at least one credit in life science and at least one credit in physical science; and (iii) one credit in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics elective; (C) three and one-half credits in career and life skills, including not fewer than (i) one credit in physical education; (ii) one-half credit in health and safety education, as described in section 10-16b; and (iii) two credits in career and life skills electives, such as career and technical education, English as a second language, community service, personal finance, public speaking and nutrition and physical activity; (D) two credits in world languages, subject to the provisions of subsection (g) of this section; and (E) a one credit senior demonstration project or its equivalent, as approved by the State Board of Education; and (2) end of the school year examinations for the following courses: (A) Algebra I, (B) geometry, (C) biology, (D) American history, and (E) grade ten English.]

(c) Commencing with classes graduating in 2023, and for each graduating class thereafter, no local or regional board of education shall permit any student to graduate from high school or grant a diploma to any student who has not satisfactorily completed a minimum of twenty-five credits, including not fewer than: (1) Nine credits in the humanities, including civics and the arts; (2) nine credits in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; (3) one credit in physical education and wellness; (4) one credit in world languages, subject to the provisions of subsection (g) of this section; and (5) a one credit mastery-based diploma assessment.

(d) Commencing with classes graduating in [2021] 2023, and for each graduating class thereafter, local and regional boards of education shall provide adequate student support and remedial services for students beginning in grade seven. Such student support and remedial services shall provide alternate means for a student to complete any of the high school graduation requirements [or end of the school year examinations] described in subsection (c) of this section, if such student is unable to satisfactorily complete any of the required courses or exams. Such student support and remedial services shall include, but not be limited to, (1) allowing students to retake courses in summer school or through an on-line course; (2) allowing students to enroll in a class offered at a constituent unit of the state system of higher education, as defined in section 10a-1, pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (g) of this section; (3) allowing students who received a failing score, as determined by the Commissioner of Education, on an end of the school year exam to take an alternate form of the exam; and (4) allowing those students whose individualized education programs state that such students are eligible for an alternate assessment to demonstrate competency on any of the five core courses through success on such alternate assessment.

(e) Any student who presents a certificate from a physician or advanced practice registered nurse stating that, in the opinion of the physician or advanced practice registered nurse, participation in physical education is medically contraindicated because of the physical condition of such student, shall be excused from the physical education requirement, provided the credit for physical education may be fulfilled by an elective.

(f) Determination of eligible credits shall be at the discretion of the local or regional board of education, provided the primary focus of the curriculum of eligible credits corresponds directly to the subject matter of the specified course requirements. The local or regional board of education may permit a student to graduate during a period of expulsion pursuant to section 10-233d, if the board determines the student has satisfactorily completed the necessary credits pursuant to this section. The requirements of this section shall apply to any student requiring special education pursuant to section 10-76a, except when the planning and placement team for such student determines the requirement not to be appropriate. For purposes of this section, a credit shall consist of not less than the equivalent of a forty-minute class period for each school day of a school year except for a credit or part of a credit toward high school graduation earned (1) at an institution accredited by the Board of Regents for Higher Education or Office of Higher Education or regionally accredited, (2) through on-line coursework that is in accordance with a policy adopted pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, or (3) through a demonstration of mastery based on competency and performance standards, in accordance with guidelines adopted by the State Board of Education.

(g) Only courses taken in grades nine to twelve, inclusive, and that are in accordance with the state-wide subject matter content standards, adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 10-4, as amended by this act, shall satisfy the graduation requirements set forth in this section, except that a local or regional board of education may grant a student credit (1) toward meeting the high school graduation requirements upon the successful demonstration of mastery of the subject matter content described in this section achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning, including cross-curricular graduation requirements, career and technical education, virtual learning, work-based learning, service learning, dual enrollment and early college, courses taken in middle school, internships and student-designed independent studies, provided such demonstration of mastery is in accordance with such state-wide subject matter content standards; (2) toward meeting a specified course requirement upon the successful completion in grade seven or eight of any course, the primary focus of which corresponds directly to the subject matter of a specified course requirement in grades nine to twelve, inclusive; [(2)] (3) toward meeting the high school graduation requirement upon the successful completion of a world language course (A) in grade six, seven or eight, (B) through on-line coursework, or (C) offered privately through a nonprofit provider, provided such student achieves a passing grade on an examination prescribed, within available appropriations, by the Commissioner of Education and such credits do not exceed four; [(3)] (4) toward meeting the high school graduation requirement upon achievement of a passing grade on a subject area proficiency examination identified and approved, within available appropriations, by the Commissioner of Education, regardless of the number of hours the student spent in a public school classroom learning such subject matter; [(4)] (5) toward meeting the high school graduation requirement upon the successful completion of coursework during the school year or summer months at an institution accredited by the Board of Regents for Higher Education or Office of Higher Education or regionally accredited. One three-credit semester course, or its equivalent, at such an institution shall equal one-half credit for purposes of this section; [(5)] (6) toward meeting the high school graduation requirement upon the successful completion of on-line coursework, provided the local or regional board of education has adopted a policy in accordance with this subdivision for the granting of credit for on-line coursework. Such a policy shall ensure, at a minimum, that (A) the workload required by the on-line course is equivalent to that of a similar course taught in a traditional classroom setting, (B) the content is rigorous and aligned with curriculum guidelines approved by the State Board of Education, where appropriate, (C) the course engages students and has interactive components, which may include, but are not limited to, required interactions between students and their teachers, participation in on-line demonstrations, discussion boards or virtual labs, (D) the program of instruction for such on-line coursework is planned, ongoing and systematic, and (E) the courses are (i) taught by teachers who are certified in the state or another state and have received training on teaching in an on-line environment, or (ii) offered by institutions of higher education that are accredited by the Board of Regents for Higher Education or Office of Higher Education or regionally accredited; or [(6)] (7) toward meeting the high school graduation requirement upon the successful completion of the academic advancement program, pursuant to section 10-5c.

(h) A local or regional board of education may offer one-half credit in community service which, if satisfactorily completed, shall qualify for high school graduation credit pursuant to this section, provided such community service is supervised by a certified school administrator or teacher and consists of not less than fifty hours of actual service that may be performed at times when school is not regularly in session and not less than ten hours of related classroom instruction. For purposes of this section, community service does not include partisan political activities. The State Board of Education shall assist local and regional boards of education in meeting the requirements of this section. The State Board of Education shall award a community service recognition award to any student who satisfactorily completes fifty hours or more of community service in accordance with the provisions of this subsection.

(i) (1) A local or regional board of education may award a diploma to a veteran, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, of World War II or the Korean hostilities, as described in section 51-49h, or of the Vietnam Era, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, who withdrew from high school prior to graduation in order to serve in the armed forces of the United States and did not receive a diploma as a consequence of such service.

(2) A local or regional board of education may award a diploma to any person who (A) withdrew from high school prior to graduation to work in a job that assisted the war effort during World War II, December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946, inclusive, (B) did not receive a diploma as a consequence of such work, and (C) has been a resident of the state for at least fifty consecutive years.

(j) For the school year commencing July 1, 2012, and each school year thereafter, each local and regional board of education shall create a student success plan for each student enrolled in a public school, beginning in grade six. Such student success plan shall include a student's career and academic choices in grades six to twelve, inclusive.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 10-4 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2017):

(a) Said board shall have general supervision and control of the educational interests of the state, which interests shall include preschool, elementary and secondary education, special education, vocational education and adult education; shall provide leadership and otherwise promote the improvement of education in the state, including research, planning and evaluation and services relating to the provision and use of educational technology, including telecommunications, by school districts; shall adopt state-wide subject matter content standards, provided such standards are reviewed and revised at least once every ten years; shall prepare such courses of study and publish such curriculum guides including recommendations for textbooks, materials, instructional technological resources and other teaching aids as it determines are necessary to assist school districts to carry out the duties prescribed by law; shall conduct workshops and related activities, including programs of intergroup relations training, to assist teachers in making effective use of such curriculum materials and in improving their proficiency in meeting the diverse needs and interests of pupils; shall keep informed as to the condition, progress and needs of the schools in the state; and shall develop or cause to be developed evaluation and assessment programs designed to measure objectively the adequacy and efficacy of the educational programs offered by public schools and shall selectively conduct such assessment programs annually and report, pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, on an annual basis.

Sec. 3. Section 10-5e of the general statutes is repealed. (Effective July 1, 2017)

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2017

10-221a

Sec. 2

July 1, 2017

10-4(a)

Sec. 3

July 1, 2017

Repealer section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 1(c), "mastery based" was changed to "mastery-based" for consistency with standard drafting conventions, and the subparagraph designators were replaced with subdivision designators for proper form; in Section 1(d), brackets were inserted around "or end of the school year examinations" to conform with the changes being made in the section; and Section 3 was added to conform with the changes being made in Section 1.

ED

Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $ - FY 19 $

Education, Dept.

GF – Delays Cost

Up to 3.4 million - 6 million

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 18 $ - FY 19 $

Various Local and Regional School Districts

Delays Cost

Up to 3.5 million - 5.5 million statewide

Explanation

The bill delays, by two years, implementation of the scheduled changes to the state's high school graduation requirements. This will result in a significant delay in costs to local and regional school districts. It is anticipated that local and regional school districts would have incurred costs ranging from $14 million to $21 million (statewide) to implement the expanded high school graduation requirements. However, it is estimated that up to 75% of districts have already implemented the requirements, so the delay in costs will be to the remaining 25%.

The delay of graduation requirement changes will result in a delay in costs to the State Department of Education (SDE). It is anticipated that SDE would have incurred costs ranging from $3.4 million to $6 million to develop the model curriculum and prepare local and regional school districts for the change in curriculum. These costs will be delayed for two years.

The bill also results in a potential savings to various districts by: 1) postponing by two years the beginning of required remedial services for grades seven through 12 and 2) specifying that high school courses must meet statewide subject matter standards to fulfill graduation requirements and allowing mastery-based courses to satisfy these requirements. The scope of the delay in costs will be dependent upon how districts are currently implementing these requirements, if at all. By delaying the various provisions, districts could postpone hiring additional teachers, at an average salary (in FY 16) of approximately $73,837. The delay in costs will vary by district.

The Out Years

There are no savings in the out years associated with the graduation requirement changes, as the delay is only for two years.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 1026

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS.

SUMMARY

This bill extends the current graduation requirements, which require that students earn at least 20 credits to graduate, for another two school years. Therefore, heightened graduation requirements that require students to earn 25 credits would take effect with the freshman class beginning in the 2019-20 school year instead of in the 2017-18 school year. The bill also makes changes to the heightened requirements established in current law and allows graduation requirements to be met through successful demonstration of subject matter content mastery achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning.

The bill also does the following:

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

HEIGHTENED GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

The bill makes the following changes to the heightened requirements established in current law:

Table 1 below compares the heightened graduation requirements in current law set to take effect with the freshman class entering high school in 2017-18 with the heightened requirements under the bill set to take effect two years later.

Table 1: Comparison of Heightened Graduation Requirements

Heightened Graduation Requirements in Current Law (CGS 10-221a)

Heightened Graduation Requirements under the Bill

Humanities: at least nine credits, including:

    at least four in English, including composition;

    at least three in social studies, including one in American history and at least one-half credit in civics and American government;

    at least one credit in fine arts; and

    at least one credit in an elective

Humanities: nine credits, including civics and the arts

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: at least eight credits, including:

    at least four credits in mathematics, including algebra I, geometry, and algebra II or probability and statistics;

    at least three credits in science, including at least one credit in life science and one in physical science; and

    at least one credit in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics elective

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: nine credits

Career and life skills: at least three-and-a-half credits, including:

    at least one credit in physical education; and

    at least two credits in career and life skills electives, such as career and technical education, personal finance, and public speaking

Physical education and wellness: one credit

World languages: at least two credits

World languages: one credit

Senior demonstration project: one credit

Mastery-based diploma assessment: one credit

End of school year examinations in algebra I, geometry, biology, American history, and grade 10 English

N/A

SUBJECT MATTER CONTENT MASTERY

Under the bill, students may fulfill high school graduation requirements through successful demonstration of subject matter content mastery achieved through educational experiences and opportunities that provide flexible and multiple pathways to learning. These pathways include

The bill specifies that (1) a local or regional board of education determines whether to grant academic credit for demonstration of mastery through these pathways and (2) demonstration of mastery must be in accordance with statewide subject matter content standards.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Education Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

36

Nay

0

(03/22/2017)

TOP