State Education Committee Overhaul List - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

8-12-02 Little Rock

State Education Committee Overhaul List

Recommendations to improve Arkansas' public education system were presented Monday by the State Board of Education Advisory Committee.

The committee listed three levels of priorities: decisively important, very important and important.

  • Priority 1 Decisively Important
    • Raise the Arkansas average teacher's salary to the Southern Regional Education Board states' average by increasing the Arkansas minimum teachers' salary schedule and setting a minimum district average teacher's salary.
    • Add 10 days to the minimum annual teacher's contract (total 195), and add two days to the minimum student-teacher contact days (total 180). Increase required professional development to 60 clock hours per year. Provide monetary incentives to teach in hard-to-staff schools and to teach subject areas identified as ``critical shortage'' areas by the State Board.
    • Ensure that all 3- and 4-year-old children have access to high quality early childhood education programs delivered by any willing provider selected by parents; establish a sliding fee scale for those parents with the ability to pay for pre-school services based on the family income.
    • Hold local school districts accountable for academic and fiscal success; develop a plan for the state to intervene if a school district fails academically or fiscally.
    • Require each school, including high schools, to have in place a reading program including placement assessments for students.
  • Priority 2= Very Important
    • Assure that schools provide high quality coaching and mentoring programs for new teachers that also provide career advancement opportunities for veteran teachers.
    • Fund professional development for any teacher willing to retrain in the high need areas of mathematics, science, foreign language-ESL, and special education and count all earned college hours in high need areas, except for those mandated by the school district for their personnel as meeting professional development requirements.
    • Provide scholarships to paraprofessionals who are seeking teacher licensure in Arkansas.
    • Extend the Emergency Secondary Education Loan Program to other current emergency shortage areas, adding middle level certification and increasing the loan from the current $2,500 per year to $5,000.
    • Support National Board Certification.
    • Three types of districts would be established - elementary, secondary, and unified. Elementary districts would operate schools serving students below a certain grade level, not to exceed grade 8. Two or more elementary districts operating within the same grade span could merge their secondary programs into a consolidated secondary district, serving all students above the highest grade level offered in the elementary schools. Unified districts would be those operating a full kindergarten through grade 12 program.
    • Provide access for all students to secondary area vocational centers and develop or expand other avenues to career and technical programs.
    • Fund the minimum Workforce Education equipment necessary for instruction on a seven-year replacement cycle.
    • Develop a plan for the state to assume responsibility for existing debt and administer a state school facilities program.
    • Establish an office of accountability separate from the state Department of Education.
    • Establish a method to gather, analyze, and report management information to the governor, General Assembly, the state education agencies, Employment Security Division, Department of Economic Development, etc. for the purpose of guiding state and institutional policy development for education and economic development.
    • Strengthen co-op oversight role for state Board of Education-ADE by requiring SBE confirmation-approval for employment, contract renewal-extension or termination of co-op directors.
    • Support high and improved performing schools with monetary awards made to the school and then distributed to teachers.
    • Appropriate sufficient funds to supplement ``No Child Left Behind'' test funds to develop and administer criterion-referenced ``end-of-course-grade'' test (K-12) in core curriculum areas within five years.
    • Study the feasibility of adopting a unit-funding model for distributing state aid to schools to achieve more efficient use of school funds.
    • Make sure that new revenue streams to support P-16 education are an increase, compared to the historic portion, in the percentage of state revenues appropriated to support education.
    • Provide greater equalization of property tax revenue per mill among school districts and greater equalization of property tax rates among taxpayers.
    • Raise GPA admission requirement for non-traditional teacher licensure program entry from 2.0 to the Arkansas State Board requirement of 2.5 for admission to traditional teacher licensure programs.
    • Request Education Testing Service (ETS) to provide data analysis of PRAXIS II and I test results to institutions that prepare teachers.
    • Allow teacher-training institutions to waive PRAXIS I as a requirement for program entry based on an institutional plan approved by ADE that requires successful completion of PRAXIS I prior to program completion.
    • Review the Middle Level licensure examination to assure adequate content coverage in the areas of language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics.
    • Increase amount of credit from college courses counted toward meeting staff development requirements to 15 clock hours.
    • Require institutions of higher education that prepare teachers to include coursework and-or experiences in the teaching of reading levels of the P-12 curriculum that addresses the reading process; strategies for diagnosing and remediating reading difficulties, and reading across the curriculum for all teacher education degree candidates.
    • Support site-based professional development to increase its impact on practice by linking it to school initiatives.
    • Review both short and long-range plans to address teacher shortages in geographic and subject critical needs areas through the Additional Licensure Program.
    • Implement professional development initiatives that take place over an extended period of time, rather than a single ``shotgun'' approach with little, if any, follow-up.
    • Ensure that high-quality professional development opportunities are accessible to teachers of most vulnerable students and those teaching in schools with documented needs.
    • Implement a system of accountability that assesses the effectiveness of professional development activities and the funds expended for professional development.
    • End social promotion and provide districts a menu of acceptable assessment instruments for off-grade testing in addition to those required by law.
    • Increase the math graduation requirement from 3 to 4 units.
    • Require for graduation 4 credits in language arts that are college-prep-honors courses with significant reading and writing assignments.
    • Require for graduation 3 credits in science courses with labs, including at least two in college-prep biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy-physiology.
    • Require school districts to teach all high school course units required for accreditation each year.
    • Determine those alternative learning environments and interventions most likely to preserve school and classroom teaching and learning and to lead to positive educational outcomes for students who otherwise interfere with teaching and learning.
    • Align research-based early care curriculum models emphasizing pre-reading and language and social and emotional development with the K-4 benchmarks and ensure continuity between the preschool learning strategies and the K-4 education system.
    • Include ACT standards for transition in all applicable core curricular frameworks and assessments. _Expand opportunities for high school students to take college-level courses.
    • Adopt standards for dual or concurrent enrollment programs to ensure that postsecondary programs must meet dual or concurrent enrollment requirements.
    • Support development of effective distance-learning and web-based instruction.
    • Include workplace readiness skills, such as problem solving, leadership, and teamwork, in curriculum frameworks for all occupational programs and career and technical student organization activities.
    • Require adoption of and adherence to existing industry standards and certifications in each Workforce Education program.
    • Require articulated credit with post-secondary institutions as a component of all approved career focus-programs of study.
    • Encourage all students to take the pre-ACT assessments as a part of career planning.
    • Require 2.00 GPA's in courses required by the SBE for high school graduation or satisfactory achievement of Individual Education Plan objectives for Special Education students.
    • Require end-of-course examinations across all core curricular areas and mandate incorporation of exam results into students' grades.
    • Require skill improvement measured by end-of-course assessment (based on industry-reviewed course standards) of all schools and secondary area vocational centers.
    • Continue coordination among all local and state collaborative partners to ensure the greatest return on the state's investment in early care and education.
  • Priority 3= Important
    • Enable state agencies and institutions of higher education to compete with school districts for personnel to staff positions in jobs providing training and technical assistance for pre-service and in-service teachers and administrators.
    • Establish a State Professional Standards and Practices Board to review applications for licensure renewal.
    • Create specialized teacher academies to provide professional development opportunities.
    • Extend the Freshman-Sophomore Minority Grant Program into the junior and senior years.
    • Review and disaggregate data from the School Leaders Licensure Assessment by gender, ethnicity, and other relevant demographics following the first year of administration to determine success rates of those planning to enter administrative positions.
    • Explore the feasibility of establishing a licensure level for paraprofessionals and others with two-year degrees who meet other Arkansas Board of Education criteria for licensure.
    • Determine avenues for higher education involvement with the Arkansas Department of Education non-traditional teaching candidates.
    • Clarify higher education's role in determining the competencies and standards for additional licensure programs.
    • Encourage the adoption of year-round calendars to target professional development in instruction and student learning, particularly in literacy and mathematics.
    • Require at least 2 years of one Foreign Language for high school graduation.
    • Include career education in all K-16 curriculum frameworks, content standards, and assessments.
    • Require each district to implement an ADE-ADWE approved career focus- program in which all students develops 4-year high school career plans.
    • Monitor annually middle and high school curriculum requirements in the Standards for Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools as identified in the Program Policies and Procedures for Secondary Programs, Adult Skill Training Classes and Secondary Area Vocational Centers.
    • Enforce compliance with annual monitoring of the state standards requirement that all school districts provide a minimum of 3 units within a career focus-program of study from 3 of career and technical education's 5 occupational areas.
    • Provide students with options for service and work-based learning opportunities for credit.
    • Support industry certification, development of qualified teachers and continuous improvement as integral components of the State's total education mission.
    • Require business and industry partnerships for all local and state career and technical education programs to evaluate and direct those programs, determine their relevance to the workplace, and eliminate instruction or courses irrelevant to the worksite.
    • Require seniors to have an accumulated portfolio of their high school work, including a senior project demonstrating research, creative thinking, rigorous analysis, and clear written and oral communication.
    • Include academic improvement of career and technical students measured by skill-proficiency assessments as one condition of program approval.
    • Consider both the rate of completion and graduation with an identified career focus-program of study as conditions of program approval.
    • Monitor and report annually technical and academic skills by occupational program area by district.
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