PA 17-37—sSB 953
AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TASK FORCE ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND IN-SERVICE TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR EDUCATORS
SUMMARY: This act makes changes in statutes on professional development and in-service training for teachers, administrators, and other professional staff who must be certified.
For professional development, the changes include:
1. requiring school districts' professional development programs for certified employees to be consistent with the goals the district or employees identify;
2. eliminating the requirement that districts attest in writing to the State Department of Education (SDE) that they meet the state's professional development requirements (in practice, districts have SDE-approved educator evaluation and support plans that include this information);
3. eliminating the requirement that SDE (a) notify a district of its failure to meet the professional development requirements and (b) audit district programs; and
4. eliminating the State Board of Education's (SBE) authority to assess financial penalties against districts it finds out of compliance based on such SDE audits.
For in-service training, the act eliminates several topics prior law required districts to cover when providing such training to certified teachers, administrators, and other pupil personnel. (Some of these topics, as well as certain professional development requirements eliminated by the act, are covered by other statutory provisions and, in practice, may be covered by local education curricula.)
The act also makes technical and conforming changes.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017
By law, school districts must make available, at no cost, at least 18 hours of professional development each school year to certified employees. They must do this according to a plan developed in consultation with professional development committees consisting of the districts' certified employees and other appropriate members.
The act requires professional development to be consistent with goals the district or its certified employees identify, but eliminates specific requirements that districts:
1. determine specific professional development activities with the advice and help of their teachers, including their union representatives;
2. offer activities that give full consideration to SBE's priorities related to student achievement;
3. improve integration into teacher practice of (a) reading instruction, (b) literacy and numeracy enhancement, (c) cultural awareness, and (d) English language learner instruction strategies;
4. use teacher evaluation results and findings to improve teacher and administrator practice and provide professional growth; and
5. include training on implementing student individualized education plans and communicating related procedures to students' parents or guardians.
It also eliminates a separate professional development provision that required superintendents and administrators to receive at least 15 hours of training in the district's teacher evaluation and support program every five years.
The act eliminates several topics that prior law required school districts to include in in-service training for certified teachers, administrators, and other pupil personnel.
1. exceptional children's growth and development;
2. applying information technology to student learning and classroom instruction;
3. teaching language arts, reading, and reading readiness in kindergarten to grade three;
4. second language instruction in districts required to provide bilingual education;
5. the teacher evaluation and support program; and
6. cultural competency.
The act eliminates one in-service training requirement regarding suicide prevention, but leaves intact a separate suicide prevention requirement.