Last week, House passed the Omnibus Education Policy (HF2397) Conference Committee Report on an 80 to 49 vote, and yesterday, Senate approved it on a 37 to 27 vote. The Governor is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
This legislation brings major reform to the approach of educating English Language Learners (ELL) through implementation of systematic changes and intensifying the institutional focus on ELL success. This includes preparing teachers to teach ELL students, helping the youngest ELL scholars and supporting adult English Learners, as well as increasing the ELL parental involvement.
One of the more controversial provisions in the conference committee report is teacher licensure. Under current law, teacher candidates must pass a basic skills test in addition to pedagogy and content area exams. Under this proposal, if unable to pass the basic skills test, candidates could show comparable scores on college entrance exams such as ACT or SAT. This proposal exempts non-native English speakers if they meet the pedagogy and content criteria.
The bill also allows probationary teachers to take up to 12 months of maternity, paternity, or medical leave without probationary penalty in terms of satisfying the requirement for three consecutive years of service.