2006 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Education
By: Representative Brown
AN ACT RELATING TO THE EDUCATIONAL STRUCTURE OF PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI; TO AUTHORIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A MISSISSIPPI VIRTUAL PUBLIC SCHOOL PROGRAM AND TO PRESCRIBE CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PROGRAM; TO CREATE A NEW SECTION TO BE CODIFIED AS SECTION 37-15-38, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION OF HIGH SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY OR COMMUNITY COLLEGE DUAL ENROLLMENT PROGRAMS, TO PRESCRIBE CONDITIONS FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF TUITION AND COSTS FOR UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE LEVEL COURSES, AND TO CLARIFY THAT COURSE WORK TAKEN UNDER THE PROGRAM SHALL BE DUAL CREDIT; TO CODIFY SECTION 37-15-39, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO OFFER PRE-ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES, TO REQUIRE FUNDING TO BE MADE AVAILABLE IN THE 2007-2008 SCHOOL YEAR FOR ALL SOPHOMORES TO TAKE A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED APTITUDE TEST FOR ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES, AND TO REQUIRE ALL HIGH SCHOOLS TO OFFER AT LEAST FOUR ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES BEGINNING IN THE 2007-2008 SCHOOL YEAR; TO ESTABLISH A LIFELONG LEARNING COMMISSION TO STUDY THE RELEVANCE OF THE HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE IN MISSISSIPPI; TO CODIFY SECTION 37-3-95, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING TO JOINTLY PREPARE AN ANNUAL REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE ON THE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN THE STATE; TO CODIFY SECTION 37-7-346, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DIRECT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE REGIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE AGENCIES TO JOINTLY DEVELOP A PLAN FOR INCREASING THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE AGENCIES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Meeting the educational needs of children in our state's schools is of the greatest importance to the future welfare of the State of Mississippi;
(b) Closing the achievement gap between high-performing students, including the achievement gap among at-risk students, is a significant and present challenge;
(c) Providing a broader range of educational options to parents and utilizing existing resources, along with technology, may help students in the state improve their academic achievement; and
(d) Many of the state's school districts currently lack the capacity to provide other public school choices for students whose schools are low performing.
(2) There is created the Mississippi Virtual Public School Program. It is the intent of the Legislature that virtual schools established under this section provide Mississippi families with an alternative choice to access additional educational resources in an effort to improve academic achievement. Virtual schools must be recognized as public schools and provided equitable treatment and resources as are other public schools in the state.
(3) Nothing in this section may be interpreted as precluding the use of computer- and Internet-based instruction for students in avirtual or remote setting.
(4) As used in this section, the following words and phrases have the meanings respectively ascribed unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Virtual school" means an independent public school in which the school uses technology in order to deliver a significant portion of instruction to its students via the Internet in a virtual or from a remote setting.
(b) "Sponsor" means the public school district, regional education service agency, charter school or the State Board of Education having a fiduciary and credit-granting responsibility, independently or cooperatively, for the operation of the virtual school.
(5) (a) The State Board of Education shall sponsor at least one (1) such school beginning in school year 2006-2007.
(b) The State Board of Education-sponsored schools shall be operated by one or more virtual school providers selected through a competitive bidding process. Contracts with selected providers will be overseen by the State Department of Education on behalf of the State Board.
(c) Students who enroll in a State Board of Education-sponsored virtual school may reside anywhere in the State of Mississippi. Students who enroll in virtual schools sponsored by local public school districts, regional education service agencies, and/or charter schools must reside within the existing service areas of those sponsors.
(6) A virtual school must be evaluated annually by its sponsor according to the following criteria:
(a) The extent to which the school demonstrates an increase in student achievement according to the goals of its authorizing contract and state academic standards.
(b) The accountability and viability of the virtual school, as demonstrated by its academic, fiscal and operational performance.
(c) The access of each student in the virtual school to a sequential curriculum that meets or exceeds the state’s academic standards and which has an interactive program with significant online components.
(d) Whether or not each student achieves the required number of hours of learning opportunities per academic year, as established by the State Board of Education, or alternatively, has demonstrated mastery or completion of appropriate subject areas.
(e) The results of students on regular assessments, including the required Mississippi Curriculum Tests, Subject Area Tests and those tests required by the "No Child Left Behind Act."
(7) A virtual school shall provide to each student enrolled in the school all necessary instructional materials. The school must ensure that each student is provided access to the necessary technology, such as a computer and printer, and to an Internet connection for school work purposes. A virtual school may not provide an allotment to any student or the student's family for the purchase of instructional programs or materials. However, nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a virtual school from reimbursing students or families for those costs directly associated with their Internet connection for use in the virtual school program.
(8) The State Board of Education shall have approval authority for all coursework and policy of a virtual school.
(9) Each teacher employed by or participating in the delivery of instruction through a virtual school must meet all qualifications for licensure in the State of Mississippi.
(10) Any student who meets state residency requirements may enroll in a virtual school.
(11) Enrollment in any virtual school must be free of charge to students. The costs associated with the operations of the virtual school must be shared by the State Department of Education, subject to appropriation, and/or the local school districts, charter schools or regional education service agencies, subject to funds available.
SECTION 2. The following shall be codified as Section 37-15-38, Mississippi Code of 1972:
37-15-38. (1) A local school board, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges may establish a dual enrollment system under which students in the school district who meet the prescribed criteria of this section may be enrolled in a postsecondary institution in Mississippi while they are still in school.
(2) Student eligibility. Before credits earned by a qualified high school student from a community or junior college or state institutions of higher learning may be transferred to the student's home school district, the student must be properly enrolled in a dual enrollment program.
(3) Admission criteria for dual enrollment in community and junior college or university programs. The boards of trustees of the community and junior college districts and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning may recommend admission criteria for dual enrollment programs under which high school students may enroll at a community or junior college or university while they are still attending high school and enrolled in high school courses. Students may be admitted to enroll in community or junior college courses under the dual enrollment programs if they meet that individual institution's stated admission requirements.
(4) Tuition and cost responsibility. Tuition and costs for university-level courses and community and junior college courses offered under a dual enrollment program may be paid for by the postsecondary institution, the local school district, the parents or legal guardians of the student, or by grants, foundations or other private or public sources. Payment for tuition and any other costs must be made directly to the credit-granting institution.
(5) Transportation responsibility. Any transportation required by a student to participate in the dual enrollment program is the responsibility of the parent, custodian or legal guardian of the student. However, transportation costs may be paid from any available public or private sources.
(6) School district average daily attendance credit. When the tuition for a dually enrolled student is paid for by the local school district, the student may be counted, for adequate education program funding purposes, in the average daily attendance of the public school district in which the student attends high school.
(7) High school student transcript transfer requirements. Grades and college credits earned by students admitted to a dual enrollment program must be recorded on the college transcript at the university or community or junior college where the student attends classes. The transcript of the university or community or junior college course work may be released to another institution or applied toward college graduation requirements only after the student has received a high school diploma or has successfully completed the General Educational Development (GED) test.
(8) Determining factor of prerequisites for enrollment in dual credit courses. Each university and community or junior college participating in a dual enrollment program shall determine course prerequisites for enrolling and receiving dual credit.
(9) Process for determining articulation of curriculum between high school, university, and community and junior college courses. Postsecondary curricula for eligible courses currently offered through Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks must meet the prescribed competencies requirements. Eligible courses not offered in Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks must meet the standards established at the postsecondary level. Postsecondary level developmental courses may not be considered as meeting the requirements of the dual enrollment program. Dual credit memorandum of understandings must be established between each postsecondary institution and the school district implementing a dual credit program.
(10) Ineligible courses for dual credit programs. Unless waived by a school principal, any course that is required for subject area testing as a requirement for graduation from a public school in Mississippi is not eligible for dual credit.
(11) Eligible courses for dual credit programs. Courses eligible for dual credit include, but are not necessarily limited to, foreign languages, advanced math courses, advanced science courses, performing arts, advanced business and technology, and career and technical courses. These courses and any additional courses considered for dual credit must receive unconditional approval from the superintendent of the local school district and the chief academic officer at the participating community or junior college or university. A university or community or junior college shall make the final decision on what courses are eligible for semester hour credits. The local school superintendent shall make the final decision on the transfer of college or university courses credited to the student's high school transcript.
(12) High school Carnegie unit equivalency. One (1) three-hour university or community or junior college course is equal to one-half (1/2) high school Carnegie unit. A full Carnegie unit may be awarded for a three-hour university or college course upon approval of the local superintendent. Partial credit agreements for postsecondary courses that are less than three (3) hours may be developed between a local school district and the participating postsecondary institution.
(13) Course alignment. Once alignment is achieved between university courses, community and junior college courses and the State Board of Education approved high school courses, the universities, community and junior colleges and high schools shall review their respective policies and assess the place of dual credit courses within the context of their traditional offerings.
(14) Maximum dual credits allowed. It is the intent of the dual enrollment program to make it possible for every student who desires to earn a semester's worth of college credit in high school to do so. A qualified dually enrolled high school student must be allowed to earn an unlimited number of college or university credits for dual credit as long as a B average is earned on the first two (2) approved dual credit courses. If a B average is not maintained after the completion of the student's first two (2) dual credit courses, the student may not continue in the dual credit program.
(15) Dual credit program allowances. A student may be granted credit delivered through the following means:
(a) Examination preparation taught at a high school by a qualified teacher. A student may receive credit at the secondary level after completion of an approved course and passing the standard examination, such as an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate course through which a high school student is allowed CLEP credit by making a three (3) or higher on the end-of-course examination.
(b) School-based courses taught at a high school or designated postsecondary site by a qualified teacher who is an employee of the school district and approved as an instructor by the collaborating college or university.
(c) College or university-based courses taught at a college, university or high school by an instructor employed by the college or university and approved by the collaborating school district.
(d) Online courses, including eligible courses offered by the Mississippi Virtual Public School or any postsecondary institution.
(16) Qualifications of dual credit instructors. A dual credit academic instructor must have, at a minimum, a master’s degree with at least eighteen (18) graduate semester hours in the instructor's field of expertise. University and community and junior college personnel have the sole authority in the selection of dual credit instructors.
A dual credit career and technical education instructor must meet the requirements set forth by the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges in the qualifications manual for postsecondary career and technical personnel. University and community and junior college personnel have the sole authority in the selection of dual credit instructors.
(17) Guidance on local agreements. The Chief Academic Officer of the State Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the Chief Academic Officer of the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, working collaboratively, shall develop a template to be used by the individual community and junior colleges and institutions of higher learning for consistent implementation of the dual enrollment program throughout the State of Mississippi.
SECTION 3. The following shall be codified as Section 37-15-39, Mississippi Code of 1972:
37-15-39. (1) The purpose of this section is to ensure that each student has a sufficient education for success after high school and that all students have equal access to a substantive and rigorous curriculum that is designed to challenge their minds and enhance their knowledge skill.
(2) The following words and phrases have the meanings ascribed in this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Advanced placement course" means any high school level preparatory course for a college advanced placement test that incorporates all topics specified by recognized advanced placement authorities on standards for a given subject area and
is approved by recognized advanced placement authorities.
(b) "Dual enrollment course" means a postsecondary level course offered by a state institution of higher learning or community or junior colleges, which, upon successful completion, qualifies for academic credit in both the postsecondary institution and public high school.
(c) "Pre-advanced placement course" means a middle, junior high or high school level course that specifically prepares students to enroll and participate in an advanced placement course.
(d) "Vertical team" means a group of educators from different grade levels in a given discipline working cooperatively to develop and implement a vertically aligned program aimed at helping students from diverse backgrounds acquire the academic skills necessary for success in the advanced placement program and other challenging course work.
(e) "High concentration of low-income students" means, when used with respect to a public school or school district, a public school or school district that serves a student population with fifty percent (50%) or more being low-income individuals ages five (5) through seventeen (17) years from a low-income family on the basis of: data on children eligible for the free or reduced-price lunches under the National School Lunch Act; data on children in families receiving assistance under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act; data on children eligible to receive medical assistance under the Medicaid program under Title XIX of the Social Security Act; or an alternate method of identifying such children which combines or extrapolates that data.
(3) The State Board of Education shall establish clear, specific and challenging training guidelines that require teachers of advanced placement courses and teachers of pre-advanced placement courses to obtain a recognized advanced placement authority endorsed training. A teacher of an advanced placement or pre-advanced placementcourse, or both, must obtain the appropriate training.
(4) (a) In order to ensure that each student has a sufficient education for success after high school and that all students have equal access to a substantive and rigorous curriculum that is designed to challenge their minds and enhance their knowledge skill, school districts shall offer pre-advanced placement courses to prepare students for advanced placement course work.
(b) Funding shall be made available for the 2007-2008 school year so that all sophomores in Mississippi's public schools may take an examination that measures the students' ability to succeed in an advanced placement course. The State Department of Education shall seek federal funding through the Advanced Placement Incentive Grant Program and other available funding for this purpose. Funding efforts must be focused with an intent to carry out advanced placement and pre-advanced placement activities in school districts targeted as serving a high concentration of low-income students.
(c) The State Department of Education must approve all classes designated as pre-advanced placement courses. The department shall develop rules necessary for the implementation of advanced placement courses.
(5) Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, all school districts must offer at least one (1) advanced placement course in each of the four (4) core areas of math, English, science and social studies, for a total offering of no less than four (4) advanced placement courses. The use of the state's on-line Advanced Placement Instructional Program is an appropriate alternative for the delivery of advanced placement courses.
Any public high school offering the
International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is exempt from the requirements of
this subsection. However, the school
may participate in teacher training and program
funding on the same basis as any high school offering advanced placement
SECTION 4. (1) There is established a commission to be known as the "Lifelong Learning Commission."
(2) The commission shall consist of four (4) members, who shall serve ex officio, as follows:
(a) The Governor of the State of Mississippi, who shall serve as chairman;
(b) The State Superintendent of Public Education;
(c) The Commissioner of the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges; and
(d) The Commissioner of Higher Education.
(3) The duties of the Lifelong Learning Commission shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
(a) To assess the dropout crisis in Mississippi and recommend action steps to address it;
(b) To create a set of common definitions for graduation and dropout rates which can be used to compare the commission's progress relative to other states;
(c) To facilitate agreements that will make the Mississippi high school experience more meaningful;
(d) To encourage more rigor and relevance in the high school experience;
(e) To facilitate the transferability of education from secondary to postsecondary institutions;
(f) To raise state awareness on the need for improving Mississippi's high schools;
(g) To develop a series of best practices policy actions that state policymakers and legislators can implement to achieve system-wide high school reform; and
(h) To convene town hall meetings around the state, when the commission determines necessary, where students, teachers, administrators and parents can discuss high school, the senior year and impediments to greater success.
(4) The commission may prepare an annual report for the consideration of the Chairmen of the House and Senate Education and Universities and Colleges Committees pertaining to the information gathered in the performance of its duties.
(5) The commission members shall meet at those times and places deemed necessary by the commission. The commission may use any available resources to fulfill its mission.
SECTION 5. The following provision shall be codified as Section 37-3-95, Mississippi Code of 1972:
37-3-95. The State Department of Education and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall prepare jointly an annual report for the Legislature and Governor to be submitted before December 1 of each year beginning in 2006. The report shall be a compilation of existing data that may be used to create a rating system that measures the performance of the teacher education programs in the state.
SECTION 6. The following provision shall be codified as Section 37-7-346, Mississippi Code of 1972:
37-7-346. The State Department of Education and the Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) shall prepare jointly a report, to be submitted before December 15, 2006, for consideration of the Legislature and Governor, detailing the plans that shall be enacted by State Board of Education policy of how RESAs will work in partnership with the State Department of Education to increase their function as a local provider of educational services and purchasing consortia as provided in Section 37-7-345(6). These services must be prescribed by policies and standards of the State Department of Education and must include, but not necessarily be limited to, professional development, instructional materials, educational technology, curriculum development, alternative educational programs, purchasing cooperatives, insurance cooperatives, business manager services, auditing and accounting services, school safety/risk prevention, data processing and student records, communications/public information, employee background checks, grants management, printing/publications and internships.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.