Under current law, the department of education (department) must provide technical assistance and support to school districts, the state charter school institute (institute), and public schools that are operating under an improvement plan, priority improvement plan, or turnaround plan. The bill specifies that the technical assistance may include consultation concerning strategies that address the quality and availability of early childhood education opportunities.
Each school district and public school must conduct a needs assessment when preparing its performance plan. The bill specifically requires an early childhood learning needs assessment, in addition to the general needs assessment, for school districts that include a public school that is operating under a priority improvement or turnaround plan and enrolls students in kindergarten through grade three and for public schools that serve children in kindergarten through third grade.
Current law specifies several actions that a public school may take if it is low performing and after it has been low performing for 5 years. The bill expands the list of actions for a public school that services children in kindergarten through third grade to include investing in research-based strategies to address any deficiencies identified in the early childhood learning needs assessment if those deficiencies are a direct cause of the public school's low performance and the public school has not previously implemented the strategies with success. A public school may implement these strategies only in combination with at least one of the other research-based strategies identified in law.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)