HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
H. 3994 (Read to Succeed Act) The bill would create the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office in order to take a comprehensive, systematic approach to student reading performance. It also requires the Department of Education, with approval by the State Board of Education, to create and have a State Reading Proficiency Plan in place by January 1, 2015. Beginning in 2015-1016, each district must prepare a comprehensive annual reading proficiency plan for Pre-K through twelfth grade. The State Superintendent of Education shall ensure that every student entering the public schools for the first time in prekindergarten and kindergarten will be administered a readiness assessment by the forty‑fifth day of the school year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, a student must be retained in the third grade if the student fails substantially to demonstrate third‑grade reading proficiency at the end of the third grade. A student may be exempt for good cause from the mandatory retention but shall continue to receive instructional support and services and reading intervention appropriate for their age and reading level.
Beginning in 2015‑2016, early childhood and elementary education certified classroom teachers, reading interventionists, and those special education teachers who provide learning disability and speech services to students who need to improve substantially their low reading and writing proficiency skills are required to earn the literacy teacher add-on endorsement within ten years of their most recent certification by taking at least two courses or six credit hours every five years, or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office, consistent with existing recertification requirements. The courses leading to the endorsement must be approved by the State Board of Education and must include classes in foundations, assessment, content area reading and writing, instructional strategies, and an embedded or stand-alone practicum. Whenever possible, these courses will be offered at a professional development rate which is lower than the certified teacher rate. Early childhood and elementary education certified classroom teachers, reading specialists, and special education teachers who provide learning disability and speech services to students who need to improve substantially their reading and writing proficiency and who already possess their add-on reading teacher certification can take a content area reading course to obtain their literacy teacher add-on endorsement. Teachers who have earned a masters or doctorate in reading, who have earned a literacy teacher add-on endorsement, or who have completed an intensive, prolonged professional development program like Reading Recovery or another program that are approved by the State Board of Education in regulation are exempt from this requirement.
Beginning in 2015‑2016, middle and secondary certified classroom teachers are required to take at least two courses or six credit hours, or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office, to improve reading instruction within five years of their most recent certification. The courses must be approved by the State Board ofEducation and include courses leading to the literacy teacher add-onendorsement. Coursework in reading must include a course in reading in the content areas. Whenever possible, these courses will be offered at a professional development rate which is lower than the certified teacher rate. Only certified teachers who have earned a master’s or doctorate in reading, who have earned a literacy teacher add-on endorsement, or who have completed an intensive, prolonged professional development program like Reading Recovery or another program as approved by the State Board of Education in regulation are exempt from this requirement.
Beginning in 2015-2016, principals and administrators who are responsible for reading instruction or intervention and school psychologists in a school district or school are required to take at least one course or three credit hours within five years of their most recent certification or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the South Carolina Read to Succeed Office. The course or professional development must include information about reading process, instruction, and assessment or content area literacy and must be approved by the Read to Succeed Office.
Beginning in 2015-16, reading/literacy coaches are required to earn the add-on certification within six years by taking the courses as required by the Department for the add-on.
The House adjourned debate on the bill until Wednesday, April 2nd.
H.4968 (Education Finance Act) The bill mirrors the weightings used to determine the annual Education Finance Act allocations as adopted in the 2014-2015 House budget. The bill was placed on the calendar without reference and received third reading yesterday. It was sent to the Senate and was referred to the Education Subcommittee.
On Wednesday, March 26th, the K-12 Education Subcommittee met and reviewed the following bills:
S. 1094 (In School Fundraisers) The bill requires all school service meals and competitive foods (fundraisers) in K-12 during the academic school year, including summer school to be in compliance with USDA nutrition standards. School-sponsored after schools activities (clubs, band, etc.) will have to adhere to the nutrition standards unless a significant portion of attendees are adults or the activity is held after six o’clock in the evening. The subcommittee called for language to be added that exempts fundraisers, but only if the food is intended for off-campus consumption. The bill received a favorable report as amended.
H. 3428 (First Steps to School Readiness Initiative) The bill requires the First Steps Board of Trustees to develop a comprehensive long-range strategy for school readiness and to provide a statewide assessment of student school readiness. The bill received a favorable report as amended.
H. 4871 (Charter Schools) The bill exempts charter schools from all state and local taxation, except for sales tax, on their earnings and property whether owned or leased. The bill received a favorable report.
H. 4749 (Kindergarten programs) The joint resolution requires the State Board of Education in consultation with the State Department of Education, EOC, and other stakeholders, as appropriate, decide which assessment must be used to analyze the early literacy competencies of children in state-funded full-day and half-day four-year-old kindergarten programs and of all children entering kindergarten programs in public schools during the 2014-2015 school year. The bill received a favorable report.
S.843 (Bullying) The bill allows for a school employee or volunteer may “gratuitously intervene” on behalf of a student subjected to harassment, intimidation or bullying. It also amends certain legal immunities for a school employee or volunteer who reports an incident of student harassment, intimidation or bullying. The bill received a favorable report.
H. 4941 (Negotiated salaries) The joint resolution allow school districts to uniformly negotiate salaries below the school district salary schedule for the 2014-15 school year for retired teachers who are not participants in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive program. The joint resolution was amended to add a sunset provision at 2020. The bill received a favorable report as amended.
On Thursday, March 27th, the Finance K-12 Education Budget Subcommittee met to review provisos. The subcommittee will continue to meet in preparation for the budget work of the full Senate Finance Committee starting the week of April 8th.
Senate Floor Actions:
S.940 (Education Capital Improvements Sales and Use Tax) The bill allows a county that does not collect a certain amount in accommodations tax to impose the sales tax so long as no portion of the county area is subject to more than two percent total sales tax.
S.516 (Read to Succeed) The Senate will continue debating the bill next week.