House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning the confidentiality of educator professional growth plans.
Sponsors: Representatives Springer, Magendanz, Lytton, Muri and Reykdal; by request of Professional Educator Standards Board.
Hearing Date: 1/18/16
Staff: Ashley Fisher (786-7296) and Megan Wargacki (786-7194).
The Public Records Act.
The Public Records Act (PRA) requires all state and local agencies to disclose public records to any person upon request, unless the record falls within certain statutory exemptions. A public record is any writing that is prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local government agency, and that contains information that relates to the conduct of government, or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function. The term "writing" is broadly defined in the PRA to include written, typed, or printed records, photos, maps, videos, sound recordings, and other documents that include information that may be obtained or translated.
Exemptions to the public's right to information are narrowly defined in order to effectuate the general policy favoring disclosure. Over 500 specific references in the PRA or other statutes remove certain information from application of the PRA, provide exceptions to the public disclosure and copying of certain information, or designate certain information as confidential. Some employment and licensing information is exempt from public inspection under the PRA, such as the personal information of employees and volunteers of a public agency or their dependents.
Professional Growth Plans.
The Professional Educator Standards Board establishes policies and requirements for certification of education professionals. Depending on the type of teaching certificate held by an educator, completion of professional growth plans (PGPs) may be a requirement or an option for renewing a teaching certificate. Professional growth plans are individual plans in which educators identify how they will implement professional growth over the coming year. Educators that submit PGPs include teachers, principals, program administrators, and educational staff associates, including school counselors and school psychologists.
Summary of Bill:
The PGPs in educator license renewals submitted through the electronic certification system in the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction are added to the list of employment and licensing information exempt from public inspection and copying.
Fiscal Note: Not requested.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.