Since the opening week of this legislative session, education reform has been a top priority. Both House and Senate have now passed their proposals, and the bill is now in conference committee. With both sides working toward common ground on reforming our educational system, House Republicans offered a bold proposal to bring resolution to this important challenge.
The House Republican plan is focused on saving taxpayer money, allowing schools to plan ahead for the long term, and implements policy changes focused on achievement-driven reforms.
What makes this a strong offer is that House has agreed to meet the Senate Democrats’ line in the sand of 4% growth in per-pupil funding each of the next two fiscal years. We reach this increase in our proposal through 2% Supplemental State Aid in FY14 and another 4% in FY15. Also added is a one-time equivalent payment of 2% in FY14.
The Senate initially stripped out many important policy changes that were important to truly reform teacher quality and student outcomes. In meeting the Senate’s funding demands, we ask that they accept these important policy reforms.
Our original bill provided a strong path towards educational excellence. The center piece of the bill, the “Teacher Leadership Pathways” program, was designed to raise the stature of the teaching profession and provide a more attractive career option for graduates. The bill infused $145 million into the career pathways over a three year span to help districts promote their best teachers to leadership positions. It provided accountability with teachers and administrators undergoing annual evaluations, with student outcomes figured into the discussion.
Other pieces that the House is working to preserve are focused on students outside of the traditional public school classroom. Our plan provides opportunities for home school parents to teach their children without burdensome regulations and provides freedom for private schools to seek independent accreditation, which has higher standards that demand results and share the school’s mission.
We remain committed to finding common ground with both parties and both legislative chambers. With this strong offer, I am hopeful that our counterparts in the Senate will act quickly to deliver important reforms and funding to our educational system.