SENATE BILL REPORT
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.
As of February 19, 2018
Title: An act relating to expanding the current and future educator workforce supply through evidence-based strategies to improve and incentivize the recruitment and retention of highly effective educators, especially in high-need subject, grade-level, and geographic areas, and to establish a cohesive continuum of high quality professional learning from preparation programs to job embedded induction, mentoring, collaboration, and other professional development opportunities.
Brief Description: Expanding the current and future educator workforce supply through evidence-based strategies to improve and incentivize the recruitment and retention of highly effective educators, especially in high-need subject, grade-level, and geographic areas, and to establish a cohesive continuum of high quality professional learning from preparation programs to job embedded induction, mentoring, collaboration, and other professional development opportunities.
Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Santos, Tarleton, Fey, Doglio, Pollet and Ortiz-Self).
Brief History: Passed House: 2/09/18, 97-1.
Committee Activity: Early Learning & K-12 Education: 2/20/18.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION
Staff: Benjamin Omdal (786-7442)
Background: Teacher Recruitment and the Recruiting Washington Teachers Program. In 2016, the Legislature took various steps to increase teacher recruitment activities and address aspects of teacher shortages. These actions included allowing certificate equivalency across state borders, creating a recruitment campaign for prospective and out-of-state teachers, and allowing institutions of higher education to waive tuition and fees for K-12 classified staff. Moreover, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) was tasked with streamlining aspects of application administration and to provide funding to educational service districts (ESDs) to create and implement regional teacher recruitment initiatives.
The Recruiting Washington Teachers Program (RWT) seeks to support potential future teachers as they complete high school, and apply to and attend college. The program is part of the PESB's Grow Your Own initiative, which seeks to provide intensive supports to recruiting, developing, placing, and retaining diverse educators. Initially starting as a pilot project, the RWT has developed curriculum and resources for use at its four grant-funded learning laboratories.
Professional Educator Standards Board. The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is responsible for policy and oversight of educator preparation, certification and professional development in Washington. The 12-member board also approves educator preparation programs, including teacher-preparation programs at institutions of higher education. The PESB also oversees paraeducator certification, and administers alternative route teacher certification programs for individuals already working in the school system.
In addition, the PESB determines teacher shortage areas for the purposes of scholarship programs and tuition waivers. These are subject and geographic areas where there exists an inadequate number of elementary or secondary school teachers.
Conditional Scholarship, Loan Repayment, and Tuition Waiver Programs. Education conditional scholarships are loans given to individuals in educator preparation programs that are forgiven, in whole or in part, for qualifying service. Currently there are five conditional scholarship programs created in statute, administered by either the PESB or the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC):
the Future Teachers Conditional Scholarship;
the Alternative Route Conditional Scholarship;
the Educator Retooling Conditional Scholarship;
the Pipeline for Paraeducators Conditional Scholarship; and
the Teacher Shortage Conditional Grant.
Generally, one year of a loan obligation is forgiven for each year that a recipient teaches in a designated shortage area in a Washington public school.
Furthermore, OSPI may enter into agreements with scholarship program participants to repay all or part of a federal student loan in exchange for teaching service.
Post-Retirement Options for Educators. State law allows individuals who have retired under the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) and the School Employees' Retirement System (SERS) to be employed for up to 867 hours per calendar year without the suspension of benefits. In order to do so, a retiree must have been enrolled in Plan 2 or Plan 3 of their system, retired under alternate early retirement provisions, must reenter employment more than one calendar month after their accrual date. Teachers must be exclusively employed as a substitute teacher and be compensated at a rate that is at least 85% of the full daily amount allocated for substitute teacher compensation. Current law only allows this option until August 1, 2020, and expires on July 1, 2021.
Teacher and Principal Evaluations. Classroom teachers and principals are currently evaluated using a four-level rating evaluation system, based on eight specified minimum criteria. These levels are unsatisfactory, basic, proficient, and distinguished. Performance ratings for each criteria are combined with an overall rating for the entire evaluation into the comprehensive summative evaluation performance rating.
All teachers and principals must be evaluated each year. Generally, a comprehensive evaluation is required every four years. In other years, the evaluation is focused on specific criteria.
Summary of Bill: Recruitment of Teachers. ESDs may employ an educator recruitment liaison. This liaison may be tasked with outreach and coordination to schools and community on pathways to professions in education, including providing support to community members who may be interested in becoming educators and providing resources to local districts on best hiring practices.
The PESB must administer a regional educator recruitment program, which shall provide grants to ESDs for the purposes of employing a regional recruiter and improving access to alternative route teacher certification programs. OSPI must report to the Legislature on the recruitment activities of recipients of this grant, and make recommendations on the grant program.
Statutory provisions on the RWT program are also modified. The RWT program must focus on underrepresented groups, and is broadened to encourage exploration in careers in education rather than teaching in specific subject focus areas. The program may extend into the first two years of college, and must include instruction and support services related to post-high school success.
In addition, PESB must convene a work group to examine and make recommendations on recruitment of military personnel and their spouses into educator positions. The group must review the barriers that exist, including obtaining academic credit for prior learning and financial need. The work group must report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2018.
Educational Service District Alternative Route Pilot Program. OSPI must distribute grants to an ESD that volunteers to pilot an alternative route teacher certification program, as defined by state law. The grant must be sufficient to provide $80,000 of assistance to 30 candidates in the 2018-19 school year, and 40 candidates in the 2019-20 school year.
In terms of program structure, the ESD in the program must provide support and mentoring during the first three years of teaching, provide opportunities for classified staff to become teachers, and engage retired or practicing teachers and administrators to develop the curriculum.
The ESD that volunteers to pilot the program must report to the Legislature by December 1, 2023, with recommendations on the project.
Field Placement Plans. The responsibility of field placement plans is shifted from institutions of higher education to the individual teacher preparation programs, including alternative route teacher certification programs. These plans must consider high-need subject areas, as well as potential mentors for program participants, and must be compiled by each teacher-preparation program.
WSAC, in coordination with teacher preparation programs, must submit a report to the Legislature by December 1, 2018, with policy recommendations. These recommendations must include how to coordinate field placements and how to work with districts on field placements outside the area of the program.
Financial Incentives and Scholarship Programs. The TEACH program, a pilot program meant to cover the costs of content and skills tests for initial teacher certification and endorsement, is made permanent. Grant awards awarded under this program remain scaled to the amount of funds appropriated for the program.
The provisions of the Educator Conditional Scholarship and Loan Repayment programs are modified. These changes include requirements that OSPI maximize conditional scholarships and loan repayments, with a maximum award set at $8,000 per year.
In addition, requirements are modified for the Teacher Shortage, Paraeducators, and Educator Retooling Conditional Scholarship Programs to, among other things:
broaden the pool of potential candidates;
address shortage areas; and
increase the length of scholarships.
The Career and Technical Education Conditional Scholarship Program is created. This program provides scholarship funds for applicants accepted into a teacher preparation program and who are pursuing the necessary certificates and endorsements to teach career and technical education courses. Priorities for this program are for applicants in alternative route teacher certification programs and those teaching fields with high employer demand.
Grants for student teachers at Title I schools are no longer subject to funds appropriated for that purpose. Moreover, OSPI must submit a biennial report on the grant program, with data on where recipients are teaching two and five years after obtaining their certificates, and that includes recommendations on the grant program.
Forgiveness and repayment provisions are altered to forgive conditional scholarships when a candidate has served as a certificated employee for two full years for each year of scholarship received, or who have served as a certificated employee in a shortage area for one full year for each year of scholarship received. These ratios are also to be used for the repayment of federal loans.
Moreover, OSPI and PESB must provide reports on various scholarship programs.
Beginning Educator Support. Principals are added to the list of potential mentors and mentees in educator support programs. Mentor qualifications are also changed to those as defined by OSPI. Fund priorities are aligned to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and length requirements are removed.
Teacher and Principal Evaluations. Terminology in teaching evaluation standards is revised, including the removal of provisions on the creation of models for implementing the evaluation system. Teachers and principals must receive a comprehensive performance at least once every four years, unless the individual receives a three or higher on their evaluation, which would result in once every six years.
A steering committee is created, composed of state associations, principals, administrators, and other stakeholders.
Other Retention Strategies. OSPI must adopt rules that establish a process for reviewing reprimand expungement, and must report on expungement data held by OSPI and PESB. In addition, program deadline dates are eliminated for the post-retirement employment options for teachers in current law.
The Professional Educator Collaborative. The Professional Educator Collaborative is created to make recommendations on how to improve state policies and programs. The Collaborative must review:
educator certificate types, renewal requirements, and reciprocity;
professional development and leadership; and
The Collaborative must include Legislators appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, and representatives from PESB, OSPI, the Washington Education Association, PESB-approved educator preparation programs, the Washington State School Directors' Association, the Washington Association of School Administrators, the Association of Washington School Principals, and the Association of Washington School Counselors.
The Collaborative must be established within 60 days from the date of signing, with a report required by November 1, 2019.
Fiscal Note: Requested on February 7, 2018.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.
Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.