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Dugger Report 5.29.2014

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done. – Ronald Reagan
The final gavel has fallen in the Missouri Capitol, bringing an end to the Second Regular Session of the 97th General Assembly. This year’s session was extremely busy as several important issues and pieces of legislation were debated by the 163 members of the Missouri House of Representatives and the 34 members of the Missouri Senate.  In total, 191 bills were Truly Agreed and Finally Passed (TAFP) by the House and Senate this year.
Over the next few weeks I will be discussing in detail some of the more important bills the legislature passed this year. However, you can access the full list of all 191 bills TAFP by simply clicking on the following link:  Truly Agreed and Finally Passed Legislation
Before session even began this year, I received numerous calls and emails regarding concerns with the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  I was not the only Representative or Senator to receive such concerns and as a result House Bill 1490 was filed by Representative Kurt Bahr.  HB 1490 started as an all-out ban of the implementation of Common Core but during the course of the legislative process evolved in to a bill that I think everyone can be proud of and agree with.
The final version of HB 1490 requires the State Board of Education to convene work study groups for the following subject matters: English & language arts, mathematics, science, and history and governments. Within each subject area there shall be a group for both K-5 grade standards as well as 6-12 grade standards.
These work study groups will be comprised of teachers, parents, and education professionals from across the state. The members must be geographically diverse and teachers do not need to be members of a professional teacher organization to serve on a work group. Each work group member must be a Missouri resident for three years and have either taught in the work group’s subject area for 10 years or have 10 years of experience in that subject area, with the exception of the parents.
The work groups must formed by Oct. 1, 2014 develop and recommend academic performance standards by Oct. 1, 2015. The work groups must report on their progress to the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on a monthly basis. The State Board of Education must adopt and implement academic performance standards beginning in the 2016-2017 school year and align the statewide assessment system to the new standards as needed. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must pilot assessments from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium during the 2014-2015 school year. The 2014-2015 school year, and any time when the department develops a new statewide assessment system, academic performance standards, or makes changes to the Missouri school improvement program, will be a pilot year for calculating the district’s annual performance report. The results of a statewide pilot will not be used for teacher evaluations or to lower any school district’s accreditation.
The State Board of Education must hold at least three public hearings whenever it develops, evaluates, modifies, or revises either academic performance or learning standards. The hearings must provide an opportunity to receive public testimony from specified groups and the general public. The hearings must be held at the following intervals: within 30 days of the work groups being convened, six months after the first hearing, and when the work groups submit the developed academic performance standards to the State Board. The State Board must also solicit feedback and comments from the Joint Committee on Education and academic researchers. All comments must be made publicly available.
The State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are prohibited from mandating the curriculum, textbooks, or other instructional materials used in the public schools. Each local school board is responsible for the approval and adoption of curriculum. Schools or programs administered by the State Board, the Department, or any district classified as unaccredited are exempt from this provision. The State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are prohibited from requiring local districts to use any appendix to the Common Core State Standards
HB 1490 was TAFP the finally week of session by a vote of 135-10 in the House and 23-6 in the Senate.  It now awaits the Governor’s approval.  He has until early July to sign or veto the legislation.  If vetoed, the legislature has an opportunity to override his veto during a brief veto session in September.
For more information about the legislation mentioned above please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.

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