2006 Regular Session
By: Representative Brown, Weathersby, Lott, Montgomery
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO DESIGN CURRICULUM CHOICES FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN DIRECT ENTRY INTO THE WORKFORCE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION; TO PROVIDE THAT NO LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD, SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT OR SCHOOL PRINCIPAL SHALL PROHIBIT A TEACHER FROM DISCUSSING AND ANSWERING QUESTIONS ON THE ORIGIN OF LIFE; TO CREATE A COMMISSION TO STUDY THE EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF COLLEGE TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS ADMINISTERED BY THE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AND EVALUATE MERIT BASED COLLEGE TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The State Department of Education shall design curriculum choices within the current requirements for a high school diploma for students who are interested in direct entry into the workforce immediately following high school graduation. It is the intent of the Legislature that the curriculum for this program be rigorous, meeting the requirements based on research outlining the skills needed for entry into the workforce. The program shall comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The department shall design the program for entering ninth graders beginning with the 2007-2008 school year. The department shall report to the Legislature on January 1, 2007, on its plan for the program. Students who choose the curriculum under the program will receive a standard diploma.
SECTION 2. Section 1 of this act shall be codified as a new section in Chapter 3, Title 37, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 3. No local school board, school superintendent or school principal shall prohibit a public school classroom teacher from discussing and answering questions from individual students on the origin of life.
SECTION 4. (1) There is created a commission to study the effectiveness and efficiency of the administration of college tuition assistance programs administered by the Institutions of Higher Learning. In addition, the commission shall evaluate merit based college tuition assistance programs and establish procedures and guidelines for implementing merit based programs.
The commission shall make a report of its findings and recommendations to the House and Senate Education Committees and to the House and Senate Universities and Colleges Committees by October 1, 2006, including any recommended legislation. Upon submission of its report to the Legislature the commission shall be dissolved.
(2) The commission shall be composed of the following five (5) members:
(a) A representative of the State Department of Education, to be appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Education;
(b) A representative from the Institutions of Higher Learning, to be appointed by the commissioner;
(c) A representative from the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, to be appointed by the executive director;
(d) A representative from the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges appointed by the President of the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges; and
(e) The State Treasurer, or his designee.
(3) Appointments shall be made within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this act. The commission shall hold its first meeting before July 15, 2006.
(4) Members of the commission may not be compensated for the performance of their duties. Any incidental costs associated with conducting the study shall be paid by the State Department of Education.
(5) To effectuate the purposes of this section, any department, division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or of any political subdivision thereof shall, at the request of the chairperson of the task force, provide to the commission such facilities, assistance and data as will enable the commission to properly carry out its duties.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.