Education Legislation Update

Raise the dropout age – SB 109 (Westwood) recently passed the Senate. SB 109 allows local school boards, on the recommendation of the superintendent, to require children residing in the school district to attend school until the age of 18. This is an encouraging development but we encourage legislators to work together on this issue as it moves through the process to send a message to all Kentucky students that dropping out is not an option. This bill joins HB 216 (Greer) and SB 52 (Higdon) in attempting to keep more students in school.

Improve teacher accountability – SB 132 (McGaha), a bill to improve teacher accountability, was introduced last week. In addition to strong accountability for student achievement, education professionals must also be held accountable for poor performance and inappropriate behavior in a timely manner. The current tribunal system in place to review appealed cases of misconduct and inadequate job performance of school employees is both complicated and inconsistent. The Chamber supports SB 132 which would create a clearer, more consistent process to ensure all students have a safe and productive classroom environment.

Career pathways – HB 28 (Yonts), SB 38 (Westwood) and HB 75 (Belcher) would provide a career-based program of study for students making their high school years more relevant to their future as a working adult. bill, paired with an increased dropout age, will keep more students in school. SB 38 passed the Senate last week. Chamber supported.

Early graduation – SB 86 (Winters) would allow students, who meet specific academic criteria, to graduate high school early and attend a public two-year or four-year post secondary institution, getting them into the workforce quicker. This Chamber-supported bill passed the Senate last week.

Innovative schools – HB 37 (Rollins) would allow up to five school districts a year to apply to the Kentucky Board of Education to be exempt from certain administrative regulations in order to utilize innovative approaches to improve student learning. Schools within approved districts, upon 70% approval by school personnel, will be able to implement innovative practices often used at charter schools such as alternative calendars, differentiated teacher pay and freedom from burdensome regulations. This Chamber-supported bill passed House this week.

To view more education mills the Chamber is tracking, click here

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