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 Reported by Senate Committee On:
Early Learning & K-12 Education, April 1, 2019
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.
Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Santos, Dolan, Callan, Pollet, Reeves and Bergquist).
Brief History: Passed House: 3/08/19, 93-2.
Committee Activity: Early Learning & K-12 Education: 3/18/19, 4/01/19 [DPA-WM, w/oRec].
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION
Majority Report: Do pass as amended and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.
Signed by Senators Wellman, Chair; Wilson, C., Vice Chair; Hawkins, Ranking Member; Hunt, McCoy, Mullet, Padden, Pedersen and Salomon.
Minority Report: That it be referred without recommendation.
Signed by Senators Holy and Wagoner.
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 the Professional Educator Standards Board's (PESB) "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. 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. PESB also oversees paraeducator certification, and administers alternative route teacher certification programs for individuals already working in the school system.
In addition, PESB determines teacher shortage areas for the purposes of scholarship programs and tuition waivers. These are subject and geographic areas where there exists a shortage of elementary or secondary school teachers.
Bilingual Educator Initiative. The bilingual Educator Initiative was establish in 2017 as a program to recruit, prepare, and mentor bilingual high school students to become future bilingual teachers and counselors. The program, administered by PESB, consists of outreach to middle school students, activities for grades 9 and 10 that show the value and benefits of teaching and counseling, and credit-bearing curricula in grades 11 and 12 that incorporates mentoring, leadership, the practice of dual language instruction, and postsecondary services. After obtaining a high school diploma, students qualify to receive conditional loans to cover the full cost of tuition, fees, and books. In order to avoid loan repayment, students must earn their baccalaureate degree and certification needed to serve as a teacher or professional guidance counselor, and teach or serve as a counselor in their ESD region for at least five years.
Microcredentials. Microcredentials are a form of competency-based professional development. Educators can earn microcredentials by demonstrating a competency or skill set in their classroom. PESB currently offers up to 20 $18,000 grants to school districts, district consortiums, ESDs, clock hour providers, and institutions of higher education that are interested in piloting competency-based microcredentials.
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 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 grade 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 and the School Employees' Retirement System 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 percent of the full daily amount allocated for substitute teacher compensation.
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 Amended Bill: Recruitment of Teachers. EDS 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 resources to local districts on best hiring practices.
OSPI must administer a regional educator recruitment program, which shall provide grants to ESDs for the purposes of employing a regional recruiter in ESDs whose school districts have the least 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 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 shall report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by December 1, 2019.
Other provisions relating to alternative route program data are also modified to update terminology.
Educational Service District Alternative Route Pilot Program. PESB 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 up to $5,000 of financial assistance to up to 20 candidates in the 2019-20 school year, and up to 30 candidates in the 2020-21 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 PESB by November 1, 2024, with recommendations on the project, and PESB must report to the Legislature on the program by December 1, 2024.
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 developed by each teacher-preparation program.
Remote Supervision Technology. Subject to funding, Central Washington University (CWU) must acquire the necessary audiovisual technology and equipment for university faculty to remotely supervise student teachers in 10 schools. Selected schools must be rural public schools that are unable to have student teachers from CWU's teacher preparation program due to geographic location.
WSAC, in coordination with teacher preparation programs, must submit a report to the Legislature by December 1, 2019, with policy recommendations. These recommendations include how to coordinate field placements and how to work with districts on field placements outside the area of the program.
Bilingual Educator Initiative. The PESB must use the evaluations of effectiveness of current strategies and programs for recruiting educators, especially multilingual, multicultural educators, performed for the RWT Program, to revise the Bilingual Educator Initiative as necessary.
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 the Office of Student Financial Assistance maximize conditional scholarships and loan repayments, with a maximum award set at $8,000 per year, adjusted by tuition and fee increases beginning in the 2020-21 academic 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 who possess a professional license and applicable industry experience.
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, various reports on scholarship programs are required.
Beginning Educator Support. Principals and educational staff associates 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. Teacher and principals must receive a comprehensive performed evaluation at least once every six years.
Furthermore, a steering committee is created, composed of state associations, principals, administrators, and other stakeholders. OSPI, in collaboration with the steering committee, must periodically examine evaluation implementation issues and refine tools for the evaluation system, including professional learning that addresses issues of equity through the lens of the selected instructional and leadership frameworks.
Microcredentials. By October 31, 2019, the PESB must report to the Legislature on the results of the three microcredential pilot grant programs that PESB conducted during the 2018-19 academic year. The report must also include recommendations for continuing, modifying, or expanding the use of microcredentials. PESB is prohibited from expanding the use of microcredentials beyond the microcredential pilot grant programs unless and until the Legislature directs the board to do so.
Report on the Effects of Discipline. OSPI and PESB must jointly report to the Legislature regarding the effect that discipline issued against professional educator certificates has on the recruitment and retention of educators in Washington state. The report is due by December 1, 2020, and must include:
a comparison of laws governing educator certificate discipline to the Uniform Disciplinary Act;
recommendations regarding alternative forms of discipline;
recommendations on the improvement of the administration of professional educator certificate discipline in Washington; and
a recommendation whether PESB should be authorized to establish a process for review and expungement of reprimands.
The Professional Educator Collaborative. The Professional Educator Collaborate (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, the Washington Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 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, 2021. The report must include the fiscal implications of each recommendation at the state and local level.
EFFECT OF EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION COMMITTEE AMENDMENT(S):
Requires OSPI and PESB to report to the Legislature regarding the effect of disciplinary actions on the recruitment and retention of educators.
Removes the requirements that PESB establish a process for reprimand review and reprimand expungement.
Removes the requirement that a school district employment application may not include a question asking whether the applicant has ever been placed on administrative leave.
Requires OSPI to administer the regional educator recruitment grant program, as opposed to PESB, and increases the number of ESDs to be awarded under the grant program from two to three.
Appropriation: The bill contains a section or sections to limit implementation to the availability of amounts appropriated for that specific purpose.
Fiscal Note: Available. New fiscal note requested on March 12, 2019.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.
Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill: The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: The most important factor in a quality education is quality educators. There is a need to invest in high-quality educators that are necessary for the education that students deserve. Military personnel express interest in teaching and would be a great supply of teaching candidates. Research has shown that financial aid programs are a strong incentive in attracting people to the workforce. There is a very high demand for these scholarships, as many more are applying than can enroll. The bill would expand mentoring and supports, which research has shown helps retention. There are plenty of qualified retired teachers that should be allowed to fill-in needed roles. Adjustments made in the House will allow for quality phase-in of recruiting programs. Districts need the programs in the bill to build a diverse, professional workforce. Grants and conditional scholarships are great programs to recruit teachers of diverse backgrounds. The new language in the BEST program better aligns with current practice. There are a variety of shortages throughout Washington, and this bill does great work in addressing these shortages. There is a high need for more teachers, but there are shortages in various areas. Streamlining financial aid programs will benefit teacher candidates in achieving their educational goals.
OTHER: Alternative route programs have been successful in producing homegrown teacher candidates. Block grant programs have helped make certification programs more accessible to diverse candidates. Microcredentials address the individual needs of teachers, are an important piece of professional development, and should not be limited in the way that the bill does. There is a need for tight coordination in consolidating programs going forward.
Persons Testifying: PRO: Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, Prime Sponsor; J. Lee Schultz, Washington Student Achievement Council; Fred Yancey, Washington Association of School Administrators, Association of Washington School Principles, and Washington State School Retirees' Association; Lucinda Young, Washington Education Association; Bob Cooper, Washington Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; Sue Anderson, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction; Tony Byrd, Teach For America Washington; Aurora Flores, President, WSSDA; Amy Ulrich, Washington State PTA; Alexandra Manuel, PESB; Steve DuPont, Central Washington University; Becca Kenna-Schenk, Western Washington University. OTHER: Jennifer Hough, Bethel School District; Julia Daniels, Antioch University; Rachel Oppenheim, Antioch University; Bernard Koontz, Highline Public Schools.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.