SB 6244 is focused on implementing strategies to close the educational opportunity gap. This bill would amend current statute to mandate that beginning in the 2018-2019 school year the superintendent of public instruction to collect data using the US Department of Education’s 2007 race and ethnicity reporting guidelines, including subracial and subethnic categories with further disaggregation of the following categories: 1) the black category to differentiate between students of African origin and those native to the United States with African ancestors; 2) disaggregation of country of origin of Asian students; 3) disaggregation of the white category to include Eastern European categories that have a significant population in Washington State; and 4) for students who identify as multiracial, the collection of their racial and ethnic combination of categories. The superintendent of public instruction shall also incorporate training for school staff on best practices for the collection of data on student race and ethnicity. The bill would further mandate reporting of data on academic achievement levels disaggregated by racial and ethnic categories and by disability categories.
The bill would also administer one-time start of grants of up to $6000 to high needs schools to expand nutrition during the school day. The superintendent of public instruction would be tasked with collaborating with nonprofit organizations knowledgeable about equity, the opportunity gap, hunger and food security issues in expanding these nutrition programs.
The bill would further mandate the annual dissemination of discipline policies by school districts to students, families, and the community using disaggregated racial and ethnic data. The Washington State school directors’ association would be tasked with creating model school district discipline policies by December 1, 2016 and would be mandated to be adapted by school districts by April 1, 2017.
The bill would also impose limitations on the imposition of long-term suspension or expulsion as a form of discretionary discipline. Students who have been suspended or expelled would be required to have access to comparable educational services to students who have not received exclusionary discipline.
SB 6244 also focuses on teacher loan repayment as a means to encourage to enter and continue working in the teaching profession and to encourage teachers to work in high-poverty schools. Teachers making commitments to work in high poverty schools would receive increasingly generous monthly student loan payments for the first six years of this commitment in an amount not to exceed $23,400. The bill also establishes criteria for salary bonuses for teachers who work in high poverty school districts.
The bill would mandate the professional educator standards board and the office of the superintendent of public instruction to convene a work group to revise model framework, curriculum, and program of studies for high school career and technical education course related to careers in education.
Finally, the bill amends current statute relating to instructing English language learners by mandating that by the 2020-2021 school year all classroom teachers assigned using funds for the transitional bilingual instruction program be endorsed in bilingual education and/or English language learning. The bill also amends current law to mandate the superintendent instruction provide school districts with technical assistance and support in selecting researched-based program models, instructional materials, and professional development on English language learning instruction.