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Legislative Update

Assembly Education Committee schedules hearing for Thursday, Feb. 1

by | Jan 30, 2024 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue

This Thursday (Feb 1), the Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), will meet at the Capitol to hold a public hearing and an executive session. In the public hearing, the committee will hear testimony on a number of bills that would impact public school districts. Topics to be covered include human trafficking prevention instruction, student teaching requirements in teaching preparatory programs, and a funding bill related to the implementation of requirements in Act 20.

During the executive session the committee will vote on two bills that would require schools to teach cursive writing and would establish new standards for for civics education.

Executive Session

See the WASB’s previous blog post for more information on these bills.

Assembly Bill 937 — Relating to: incorporating cursive writing into the state model English language arts standards and requiring cursive writing in elementary grades.
By Representative Melotik; cosponsored by Senator Ballweg.

Assembly Bill 898 — Relating to: required instruction in civics in the elementary and high school grades, high school graduation requirements, and private school educational program criteria.
By Representative Nedweski; cosponsored by Senator Wanggaard.

Public Hearing

Assembly Bill 977 — Relating to: required human trafficking prevention instruction in certain grades and teacher training related to identifying victims of child trafficking.
By Representatives O’Connor and Stubbs

This bill requires the state superintendent of public instruction, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, to develop a model curriculum and instructional materials for grades 7 to 12 on human trafficking prevention. The model curriculum and instructional materials must be age appropriate at each grade level and must include instruction on Internet safety. Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, the bill requires each school board to provide age-appropriate instruction in human trafficking prevention in grades 7 to 12. Under the bill, the instruction must be consistent with the model curriculum or a curriculum that is substantially similar to the model curriculum. Finally, under the bill, school boards must require full-time school district employees who are required to hold a license issued by the Department of Public Instruction to receive training in identifying victims of child trafficking.

Assembly Bill 984 — Relating to: a pilot school-centered mental health program and making an appropriation.
By Representative Dittrich; cosponsored by Senator Testin.

This bill requires the Department of Health Services to distribute $428,000 in each fiscal year of the 2023-25 biennium to Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Inc., to operate a school-centered mental health program in two schools in this state.

Assembly Bill 1005 — Relating to: student teaching requirement for teacher preparatory programs and granting rule-making authority.
By Representative Penterman; cosponsored by Senator Feyen.

Currently, the state superintendent may not approve a teacher preparatory program unless the program requires the student to complete one full semester of student teaching following the daily schedule and semester calendar of the cooperating school. Under this bill, the state superintendent may not approve a teacher preparatory program unless it requires a student to complete at least one but not more than four full semesters of student teaching following the daily schedule and semester calendar of the cooperating school. In addition, the state superintendent may approve a teacher preparatory program that requires two to four semesters of student teaching only if the institution of higher education awards general education credits to the student for the second, third, and fourth semesters of student teaching, as applicable.
The bill also requires DPI to establish a teacher apprenticeship program for students who are participating in a teacher preparatory program that requires two to four semesters of student teaching. Under the bill, the teacher apprenticeship program must include various components, including the conditions under which an individual may serve as a teacher apprentice, a requirement that the individual enter into an apprentice contract, and a requirement to be registered with DPI.

Assembly Bill 1017 — Relating to: early literacy programs administered by the Department of Public Instruction.
By Representative Wittke; cosponsored by Senator Stroebel.

2023 Wisconsin Act 20 created the Office of Literacy in the Department of Public Instruction. Act 20 requires the office to establish and supervise an early literacy coaching program to improve literacy outcomes. As part of that program, the office must contract for up to 64 full-time literacy coaches to provide support to administrators, school-based literacy coaches, principals, and teachers to build teacher and school capacity to teach reading and language arts using science-based early reading instruction. Act 20 also requires school boards and operators of charter schools to ensure that kindergarten to third grade teachers, elementary school principals, and reading specialists receive certain professional development related to literacy instruction by no later than July 1, 2025. Finally, Act 20 requires DPI to award grants to school boards, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program that adopt a recommended literacy curriculum that contains the components of science-based early reading instruction and does not include three-cueing.
As part of 2023 Wisconsin Act 19, the biennial budget act, $50,000,000 was appropriated for a literacy program administered by DPI. This bill creates a structure for DPI to expend these funds as they are transferred by the Joint Committee on Finance.
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