Thoughts on Common Core
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Jan Martin, with the department’s Division of Assessment and Accountability, talks about this spring’s Field Test of the Smarter Balanced assessment

Legislative session under way
Click here for more information on bills DOE is tracking.

ELL student population growing Second story in a series on English Language Learners (ELLs) in South Dakota. Click here for more information.

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Legislative session under way

Here is a brief rundown of some of this session’s major education-related bills:

Common Core
--A resolution (HCR 1008) urging the state Board of Education to end South Dakota’s involvement with Common Core standards by June 30, 2017, failed to make it out of the House. It received 31 votes in favor and 35 in opposition. A resolution does not carry the weight of law or administrative rule.

-- SB 129 would require South Dakota to supplant the Common Core standards with other academic content standards aligned to college and career readiness. The bill calls for a review process to compare previous state standards in ELA and math with the Common Core standards (That work has already been done, and “crosswalks” can be found here.), as well as a comparison to other states’ standards, and to seek input from South Dakota teachers and professors. Finally, the bill calls for a review of the costs associated with the Smarter Balanced assessment and prohibits the state from ceding “any measure of autonomy or control of academic content standards and assessments including cut scores.”

--SB 155 would require DOE to report to the Legislature’s education committees “prior to implementing a curriculum change.” The verbiage in the title of SB 155 indicates there is confusion about what standards are and what curriculum is. Regardless, the bill indicates that changes in “course curriculum or standards” would need to go before the education committees. The bill does not lay out the details of this process, other than to say that the need for a change must be explained in the report.

--SB 64 would require a waiting period prior to adopting any new uniform content standards drafted by a multistate consortium. It does not apply to standards adopted by the Board of Education prior to July 1, 2014. It also requires the Board of Education to conduct at least four public hearings on the proposed standards over a period of six months, prior to adoption.

--Funding bills include HB 1003 (sets a floor of a 2 percent increase in the Index Factor for calculation of state aid) and HB 1004 (sets the PSA for FY 15 at $4,805), which were both referred to Appropriations after discussion in House Education. DOE is supporting the Governor’s proposal for a 3 percent increase in the PSA for the coming year.

--Other bills of interest have to do with minor boundary changes, requiring the pledge of allegiance, making CPR a requirement for graduation, and a bill prohibiting school from starting before the last Monday in August.

There are numerous other education-related bills. You can access them via the Legislative Research Council’s website. The department is also providing frequent updates on Twitter.