Education Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-7253

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS TO THE EDUCATION STATUTES.

Vote Date:

3/24/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/16/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Education Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The reasons for this bill are as follows by section:

Section 1: Requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to notify local and regional boards of education of mastery examination scores from the previous year by August 15 of each school year.

Sec. 2: Postpones the requirement that an individual must hold a master's degree in a subject determined by the State Board of Education (SBE) before he or she may obtain a professional educator certificate until July 1, 2018.

Sec. 3: Defines “professional educator certificate” and postpones the requirement in Sec. 2 till July 1, 2018.

Sec. 4: Requires SDE to submit annual reports on the performance of each school in the commissioner's network beginning on September 15, 2017 and that the Education Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly meet with the Commissioner of Education to discuss the content of such reports before September 30 each year.

Sec. 5: Requires public school superintendents to send written recommendations to the parents of children who have been found to have an eye disease or defect in vision that they have their children's eyes examined by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Sec. 6: Allows auditors of public accounts to dictate frequency of private providers of special education's audits.

Sec. 7: Requires boards of education to provide the auditors of public accounts with the number of special education students under such boards of education.

Sec. 8: Requires private providers of education to provide auditors with all information such auditors believe necessary for an audit.

Sec. 9: Adds Chief Court Administrator or Chief Court Administrator's designee to the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap.

Sec. 10: Allows boards of education to employ candidates for licensure as marital and family therapists to work with students and their parents or guardians.

Sec. 11: Allows local or regional boards of education to establish a Pipeline for Connecticut's Future Program, under which a local such boards of education will offer on-site training and course credit to students in partnership with local businesses.

Sec. 12: Requires SDE to conduct a study on the October first reporting date for magnet school enrollment.

Sec. 13: Postpones distribution of digital individualized education programs until July 1, 2017 and reduces such distribution from fifty per cent of boards of education and technical high schools to at least ten such boards of education; one of these boards may be the technical high school system.

Sec. 14: Defines the terms “public school” and “local or regional board of education” for the statute governing SBE's oversight of the state's educational interests.

Sec. 15: Allows a one-time extension of the probationary period for an acting superintendent for one year upon demonstration from the commissioner that the board of education concerned has a significant need of such an extension.

Sec. 16: Creates a task force for the study of interscholastic high school athletics programs.

Substitute Language

Lines 429-433 add representatives from the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, and the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association to the interscholastic high school athletics task force.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Ray Rossomando, Connecticut Education Association (CEA):

Mr. Rossomando submitted testimony on behalf of CEA regarding several sections of H.B. 7253.

Regarding Sections 2 and 3, CEA testified that it supported delaying putting into effect of the requirement that teachers meet certain master's degree requirements before they may earn a professional certificate in the event that such a requirement applies to teachers who have been newly certified. CEA wishes the Education Committee to take into account the clarification of the State Board of Education (SBE) that such a provision applies only to those teachers certified on or after July 1, 2016.

Regarding Sec. 10, CEA opposes extending opportunity for employment to individuals who have not yet been licensed as marital and family therapists.

Regarding Sec. 11, CEA opposes giving students credit for events not supervised by certified teachers.

Regarding Sec. 14, CEA supports allowing parents of students in charter schools the same manner of complaint resolution allowed to students in public schools.

Regarding Sec. 15, CEA opposes extending the probationary period of an acting commissioner to over one year and points out that it is not clear how it would be determined that such an extension might be necessary.

Judicial Branch:

The Judicial Branch submitted testimony thanking the Education Committee for the provisions in Section 9 of H.B. 7253 that would make the Judicial Branch a member of the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap and noted that Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and the State Department of Education had no objections to such a measure.

Steve Wysowski, Ed.D., Associate Executive Director, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC):

Mr. Wysowski testified on behalf of CIAC in opposition to Section 16 of H. B. 7253. Mr. Wysowski mentioned that CIAC has exhibited the flexibility necessary in dealing with many last-minute situations that arise in interscholastic athletics while maintaining adherence to rules that keep fairness in place. He expressed concern that the task force to study CIAC is not made up of people who possess a thorough understanding of the tasks CIAC accomplishes, seeming rather to be “clearly designed to suit the desires of particular legislator(s).” CIAC is further concerned that such task force would recommend measures that would disrupt and undermine CIAC.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Jennifer Alexander, Chief Executive Officer, ConnCAN:

Ms. Alexander testified on behalf of ConnCAN in support of H.B. 7253. She specifically spoke of Section 11, saying that the measures taken in this section will help students be more prepared to be successful in their careers and further recommended that those with in interest in Sec. 11 consider S.B. 837 as well. In addition, Ms. Alexander mentioned Sec. 2-3 of H.B. 7253 and reminded lawmakers that there is uncertainty regarding how much master's degrees improve an individual's teaching and the growth of the individual's students.

Jennifer Cunningham, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist:

Ms. Cunningham testified in support of Section 10 of H.B. 7253, saying that such an amendment has already been made for mental health professionals in the fields of social work and professional counseling and that enacting this measure for marital and family therapists would allow such individuals to “work toward licensure and certification simultaneously.”

Erin Cushing, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist:

Ms. Cushing testified in support of Section 10 of H.B. 7253, saying that an emphasis on mental health services for students and their families necessary since the Sandy Hook tragedy. In addition, Ms. Cushing stated that enacting this legislation would allow marital and family therapists to pursue their desired career while working towards their licensure.

Attorney Andrew A. Feinstein, Feinstein Education Law Group:

Mr. Feinstein testified on H.B. 7253 to say that an addition is needed to Sections 6 and 7 to make sure that private providers are supplying the services they are being paid to provide. Mr. Feinstein further points out that the State Department of Education (SDE) has been provided with information regarding excess cost submissions from school districts and that SDE has not acted upon such information.

Megan Humphrey, Graduate Student, Marriage and Family Therapy:

Ms. Humphrey testified in support of H.B. 7253. Ms. Humphrey said that she is currently completing her final year of graduate education for Marriage and Family Therapy and that without the provisions in H.B. 7253 she would need to wait at least three years after graduation to be employed by the school system. However, with the passage of H.B. 7253, Ms. Humphrey and others like her would be able to work towards earning her license and certificate at the same time.

Jessica Joseff, Licensed Marital and Family Therapist, Certified School Family Therapist:

Ms. Joseff testified supporting H.B. 7253 as Connecticut's first full-time School Family Therapist. Ms. Joseff remarked that while Marital and Family Therapists are required to be fully licensed before they can earn certification to work in schools, this requirement does not apply to many other mental health professionals working in schools. She urges support of H.B. 7253 as it would facilitate the employment Marital and Family Therapists in schools where they are needed.

Joan Kloth-Zanard, Licensed Marital and Family Therapist:

Ms. Kloth-Zanard testified in support of H.B. 7253. She noted that she has authored two books dealing with psychological abuse and is considered an expert in this field. Ms. Kloth-Zanard said that it is important for Marital and Family Therapists to be able to continue working in the schools in which they were trained so as not to disrupt the relationship they have created with the children with whom they worked.

Anne Manusky, Easton, CT:

Ms. Manusky testified in support of Section 5 of H.B. 7253, saying that automated vision screening devices test students for many different kinds of eye issues, as well as vision problems in addition to distance vision.

Tom Margius, Licensed Optometrist, Milford, CT:

Dr. Margius testified in support of Section 5 of H.B. 7253, urging support of the additional phrase requiring a recommendation to parents or guardians that children who fail a vision screening be examined by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist, as failure of a vision screening test is possibly indicative of further eye issues.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Jewel Robinson, Marriage and Family Therapist

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Fred Balsamo, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors (CAAD):

Mr. Balsamo testified on behalf of CAAD and said that CAAD works closely with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). CAAD is concerned that Section 16 of H.B. 7253 is aimed at bringing in unnecessary oversight and interests to Connecticut high school athletics, and believes that the bill is unwarranted as CIAC has done an exemplary job thus far at overseeing high school athletics in Connecticut.

John Flanders, Executive Director, Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC):

Mr. Flanders testified on behalf of CPAC to recommend that the committee specified in Section (j)(5) include at least two people or organizations who represent families in matters concerning education, one of these people or organizations representing “urban, minority, and low income communities.” Additionally, Mr. Flanders pointed out that the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap lacks a member with first-hand experience in understanding the needs displayed by students with disabilities.

Damian Frassinelli, President, Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors (CAAD):

Mr. Frassinelli testified on behalf of CAAD in opposition of Section 16 of H.B. 7253. Mr. Frassinelli said that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is dedicated to the safety and well-being of student athletes and that Sec. 16 is an unnecessary provision.

Anne Manusky, Easton, CT:

Ms. Manusky testified in opposition to Section 10 of H.B. 7253, asking that the Smarter Balanced Assessment not be used or described as a Mastery Test since the State Department of Education does not have confirmation that such test is comprehensive enough.

Dr. Beth Smith, Headmaster, Shelton High School:

Dr. Smith testified in opposition of Section 16 of H.B. 7253, saying that in her 31 years as an educator in Connecticut, she has had the opportunity to work with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) on several occasions. Dr. Smith feels that the task force established by Sec. 16 is not needed because CIAC already sees to everything mentioned for such a task force to study.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Trish Witkin, Athletic Administrator

Reported by: Sarah Welch

Date: 4/3/2017