Poor performing schools would be subject to state intervention under a bill moving in position for passage in the Unicameral.
Speaker of the Legislature, Sen. Greg Adams of York, sponsors LB 438, telling colleagues he hopes the bill strikes a balance.
“Between giving the State Board and the Commissioner the authority and the flexibility to get into schools that are not up to speed and get them turned around and yet, not going at it with a chain saw. I know that in some cases maybe it’s going to take a chain saw.”
The bill gives the State Board of Education and the State Education Commissioner authority to change the administration of a school that isn’t performing up to state and federal standards.
Adams says the measure gives the State Education Commissioner more clout to act when a school lags behind.
“But the amendment, I hope, also tries to strike a balance between letting schools improve when they know they’re on the list and forcing them to get something done; not just idly let it go by year after year after year.”
The list will be compiled by the state. Those deemed not to be performing sufficiently will come under state supervision. Those on the edge will be warned that a drop in student test scores could trigger state intervention.
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha is skeptical the legislation will solve the problems of poor performing school districts.
“We have a very hard time having a hard, clear, blunt discussion about education and particularly education failure,” Lautenbaugh tells fellow senators during floor debate.
Lautenbaugh has been a vocal supporters of charter schools to help improve education in Nebraska. Nebraska is one of the few states that do not have provisions for the formation of charter schools.
Adams, responding to a question by Lautenbaugh, says that at present school districts that fail to measure up to state and federal standards face little accountability.
“The accountability really, Sen. Lautenbaugh, is nothing other than the public pressure, the constituent pressure, the parent pressure when they look at that report card and that they see their school isn’t doing well.”
The measure must clear one more round of voting to be sent to the governor.