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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.305

Introduced by   Senator Condos of Chittenden District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Education; prekindergarten education; quality

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to enhance the quality of prekindergarten education programs by requiring and providing more training for teachers in public and private programs that enroll children included within a school district’s average daily membership.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE ENHANCEMENT OF PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION QUALITY THROUGH TEACHER TRAINING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  Prekindergarten education programs must be of high quality in order to prepare children for success in school and later in life.

(2)  High quality programs require a well-trained teacher.

(3)  Regular monitoring of programs is necessary to maintain high quality.

(4)  There are estimates that there are 13,000 three- and four-year-old children living in Vermont in 2007, and that approximately 70 percent of these children attend prekindergarten education programs.  These programs vary widely in quality.

(5)  In 2007, the Vermont general assembly passed Act No. 62, which authorizes school districts to include within the average daily membership, for purposes of public funding, a limited number of children enrolled in voluntary prekindergarten education programs offered by or through the school.  

(6)  Act No. 62 requires the state board of education to adopt rules addressing minimum quality standards for prekindergarten programs if the school district intends to include prekindergarten children within its average daily membership.  The act does not direct the state board to adopt rules requiring that each prekindergarten education teacher hold a bachelor’s degree and be licensed and endorsed in early childhood education.

(7)  Some national experts suggest that young children enrolled in prekindergarten education programs with teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and an early childhood endorsement receive a higher benefit from the programs.


Sec. 2.  16 V.S.A. § 829 is amended to read:

§ 829.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION; RULES; STANDARDS

(a)  The commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families shall jointly develop and agree to rules and present them to the state board of education for adoption under chapter 25 of Title 3 as follows:

* * *

(b)  By June 2011, all teachers in prekindergarten education programs, which are run by or in connection with a school district, that enroll children included in the district’s average daily membership shall be licensed pursuant to chapter 51 of this title. 

(c)  At least annually, the commissioner of education shall review and assess the quality of all prekindergarten education programs that enroll students included within a district’s average daily membership.

(d)  The commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families shall jointly develop and agree to rules that ensure implementation of subsections (b) and (c) of this section and shall present them to the state board of education for adoption under chapter 25 of Title 3, including rules requiring each private provider of prekindergarten education covered by this section to file a plan with the commissioner of education by a date certain that details how the provider’s program will comply with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section. 

Sec. 3.  ENHANCEMENT OF PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION QUALITY; PROPOSAL

(a)  On or before January 15, 2009, the commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families shall jointly develop an interagency proposal for a coordinated system of higher education designed to ensure the availability of a sufficient number of highly trained prekindergarten education teachers in the state.  The commissioner of education shall assume primary responsibility for developing the proposed plan.  The proposed plan shall be developed in collaboration with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including early childhood professionals, advocacy organizations, businesses, and higher education professionals.  Collaboration shall reflect diversity in geography and in the availability of local higher education opportunities and shall ensure consideration of each region’s needs for highly trained prekindergarten education teachers.

(b)  The proposed plan shall include:

(1)  A profile of the range of education backgrounds of prekindergarten teachers in Vermont.

(2)  A comprehensive outline of all existing programs in the state designed to educate prekindergarten education teachers.  The outline shall detail the traditional and alternative paths to state teacher licensure. 

(3)  A comprehensive outline of the educational and human

services-related supports and services currently available to prekindergarten education teachers in Vermont.

(4)  Projections of the future need for individuals with prekindergarten education teacher licenses in Vermont.

(5)  A projection of the additional private and public financial cost of ensuring sufficient training programs for teachers of prekindergarten education programs in Vermont.

(6)  Research-based best practices guidelines to enhance the ability of public and private prekindergarten education programs in the state to help children be better prepared to enter school.

(c)  On or before January 15, 2009, the commissioner of education and the commissioner for children and families shall present a written proposal consistent with the requirements of this section to the governor, the house committees on education, on human services, and on appropriations, and the senate committees on education, on health and welfare, and on appropriations.

Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect from passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us