A number of proposed bills have already been prefiled in Frankfort in anticipation of the January 2017 legislative session.
Among the bills are BR426 which would essentially kill school-based decision making councils and put the district in charge of establishing school policies, making personnel decisions, determining instructional materials and student support services, planning professional development, and filling principal vacancies. Councils would move into more of an advisory capacity. The bill also calls for K-5 schools to implement a School Wellness Plan and was filed by Senator John Schickel from Boone County.
For a list of other prefiled bills as of 12/12/2016, click here. The legislative session begins January 3, 2017.
In each addition of The Voice, FCEA President Jessica Hiler will provide an update on the current status of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
ESSA was signed into law on December of 2015 and replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law that had been in effect since 2002. Thee new law was signed after unprecedented activism by NEA members. There were over 284,000 emails to Congress, 23,000 phone calls to legislators, and 3,000 face-to-face meetings with members of Congress by our members, all in an effort to enact a new law and undo the damage done under NCLB.
The Every Student Succeeds Act is an OPPORTUNITY, not a magic bullet. Some of the major problems with NCLB that we seek to correct with ESSA is the test and punish culture. Schools are designated as successes or failures based on one single test score. ESSA provides the opportunity for states to engage stakeholders in the decision-making regarding student assessments. To this end, our KEA President, Stephanie Winkler, is currently serving on the Assessment Committee for KDE that will create a new accountability system for Kentucky.
In addition, ESSA brings with it the opportunity to use what NEA refers to as the “Opportunity Dashboard” to hold schools accountable. This dashboard would measure things like test scores, graduation rates, English Language Proficiency, class size, access to Professional Development for staff, etc. to give a more well-rounded picture of the ability of schools to grow students’ achievement.
The ESSA law is very complex, and currently the regulations (the real “meat” to the law) are still being written. As the regulations are released, we will provide additional updates to keep our members informed.
There are two grant opportunities for FCEA teachers that offer funding for classroom supplies or tuition fees.
With the FCEA Classroom Grants, five teachers have the chance to win $250 based on a classroom need or proposed program — and the winners are the sole owners of any purchases made with the funds, regardless of moving schools or leaving Fayette Co. Click on FCEA Classroom Grant Application 2015 – 2016 to download the form.
The American Education Week Scholarship is the other funding opportunity. It is one $500 scholarship to be applied toward a Master’s or Rank I degree. Click on the AEW Scholarship form to download.
If you plan on applying for one of the Classroom Grants for $250.00, those applications are due November 13.
Absent Congressional action, millions of seniors-including educators already unfairly impacted by GPO/WEP Social Security offset penalties-will face a 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums. Most other Social Security beneficiaries will be held harmless from the premium increase. NEA is working with labor and retirement security allies to extend the same financial protection to public servants currently hurt by the GPO/WEP penalties.
You can help by urging Congress to support S. 2148 by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and H.R. 3696 by Representative Dina Titus (R-NV), which would extend the hold harmless provision to all Medicare beneficiaries.
Please call your US Senators and your US Congressman and let them know that Kentucky’s Retired Teachers are already exempted from Social Security and they certainly can’t afford to pay additional taxes on their Medicare when they reach eligibility!