Bill S1739-2011

Relates to an interstate compact on educational opportunity for military children

Authorizes the commissioner of education to participate in an interstate compact on educational opportunity for military children and to establish requirements to remove barriers imposed on children who are displaced due to a parent's military deployment or service.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO EDUCATION
  • Jan 12, 2011: REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1739

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the education law, in relation to an interstate compact on educational opportunity for military children

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This bill would authorize the education commissioner to join the interstate compact on educational opportunity for military children. This compact aims to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents. At least 10 states have enacted the compact into law.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 defines the stated purpose of the Compact, aimed at removing barriers to the educational success of children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents. The Compact and the corresponding state law changes apply only to children from military families in transition.

Section 2 amends the § 1982 education law by adding a new article 40-B, which authorizes the state commissioner to participate in the interstate compact in educational opportunity.

§ 1983 amends the education law and defines key provisions in the Compact including "active duty," "children of military families," deployment," "education records," "extracurricular activities," "receiving state," "sending state," "state," student," "transition," "uniformed service," and "veteran."

§ 1984 amends the education law to redefine enrollment requirements for children of military families in transition.

Transfer of education records. The Compact directs a receiving New York state school to request education records from the school in the sending state. In the event that official records cannot be furnished, an unofficial copy may be used to enroll and place the student while official record are validated.

Immunizations. The Compact directs the commissioner to permit a student to start school, so long as immunization occurs within 30 days.

Grade and Course Placement. The Compact directs the commissioner to allow a student who has satisfactorily completed an appropriate grade level in the sending state to be placed in the next highest grade

level. Should the student enroll during the year, the student will be placed at the validated level from an accredited school in the sending state. The commissioner may waive or substitute course or prerequisites, in order to meet the requirements and policy goals of the Compact.

Extracurricular Activities. The state and school districts must facilitate the opportunity for inclusion in extracurricular activities, to the extent they are otherwise qualified, regardless of enrollment dates. Additional Excused Absences. The Compact allows the Commissioner to allow for additional excused absences, if approved by the school, to visit with a parent or legal guardian who is on leave from, or immediately returned from deployment to a combat zone, or who has been called for duty.

§ 1985 amends the education law to redefine graduation requirements for children of military families in transition.

Graduation. The Compact allows the commissioner to authorize course-waivers when similar coursework has been completed, to facilitate the on-time graduation of children of military families. Should a waiver not be appropriate, receiving school districts must provide alternative means of acquiring required coursework so that graduation occurs on time.

The Compact requires the commissioner to accept exit or end-of-course exams required for graduation from the sending state; national norm-referenced achievement tests; or alternative testing, in lieu of testing requirements for graduation in the receiving state. The commissioner is also directed to allow a student to use the sending state's graduation requirements, should a high school senior enter mid-year and be deemed ineligible for graduation after all alternatives have been considered.

JUSTIFICATION:

Military families move between postings on a regular basis. While reassignments can often be a boon for career personnel, they often wreak havoc on the children of military families. Issues these children face include: losing and making new friends, adjusting to new cities and bases, and changing schools. While the armed services have taken great leaps to ease the transition of personnel, their spouses and most importantly children, much remains to be done at the state and local levels to ensure that the children of military families are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children and are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals by inflexible administrative and bureaucratic practices.

The average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school, and most military children will have six to

nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. With more than half of all military personnel supporting families, the impacts of reassignment and long deployments are key considerations when making long-term life choices.

The new Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children addresses transitional challenges including transference of records; course sequencing; exclusion from extra-curricular activities; graduation requirements; redundant or missed entrance and exit testing; kindergarten and first great entrance age variations; the power of custodial parents while parents are deployed.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

S.4834 of 2009-10 - Referred to Education

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

Immediate.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1739 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 12, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sens. GOLDEN, DeFRANCISCO, LAVALLE, LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to an interstate compact on educational opportunity for military children THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby finds and declares that military families are reassigned postings on a regular basis, with the result that most military children will have six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade; and further finds that such reassignments can result in transition chal- lenges for these children who must start their lives over in new cities and bases, changing homes, schools, friends, and relationships. The legislature further finds and declares that it is a matter of equity, fairness, and in every sense in the public interest to provide the chil- dren of military families opportunities for educational success, and to assure that they are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educa- tional goals by inflexible state processes and procedures. S 2. The education law is amended by adding a new article 40-B to read as follows: ARTICLE 40-B INTERSTATE COMPACT ON EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MILITARY CHILDREN SECTION 1982. INTERSTATE COMPACT ON EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MILITARY CHILDREN; COMMISSIONER AUTHORIZED TO PARTICIPATE. 1983. DEFINITIONS. 1984. ENROLLMENT. 1985. GRADUATION. S 1982. INTERSTATE COMPACT ON EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MILITARY CHILDREN; COMMISSIONER AUTHORIZED TO PARTICIPATE. THE COMMISSIONER IS
HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INTERSTATE COMPACT ON EDUCA- TIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MILITARY CHILDREN, IF AND WHEN CREATED, AND FOR SO LONG AS SUCH COMPACT SHALL BE IN EXISTENCE, AND TO PARTICIPATE FULLY IN PROGRAMS DESIGNED BY THE COMPACT AND ITS MEMBER STATES IN MEETING THE PURPOSE OF THE COMPACT TO HELP REMOVE BARRIERS TO EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS IMPOSED ON CHILDREN OF MILITARY FAMILIES BECAUSE OF FREQUENT MOVES AND DEPLOYMENT OF THEIR PARENTS. PLACEMENT PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE AND ACTIONS REQUIRED OR AUTHORIZED TO BE TAKEN HEREIN BY THE COMMISSIONER SHALL APPLY TO THE CHILDREN OF ACTIVE DUTY MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES. S 1983. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE, UNLESS THE CONTEXT CLEARLY REQUIRES A DIFFERENT CONSTRUCTION: 1. "ACTIVE DUTY" MEANS FULL-TIME DUTY STATUS IN THE ACTIVE UNIFORMED SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE ON ACTIVE DUTY ORDERS. 2. "CHILDREN OF MILITARY FAMILIES" MEANS SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN, ENROLLED IN KINDERGARTEN THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE, IN THE HOUSEHOLD OF AN ACTIVE DUTY MEMBER. 3. "DEPLOYMENT" MEANS THE PERIOD ONE MONTH PRIOR TO THE SERVICE MEMBERS' DEPARTURE FROM THEIR HOME STATION ON MILITARY ORDERS THROUGH SIX MONTHS AFTER RETURN TO THEIR HOME STATION. 4. "EDUCATION RECORDS" OR "EDUCATIONAL RECORDS" MEANS OFFICIAL RECORDS, FILES, AND DATA DIRECTLY RELATED TO A STUDENT AND MAINTAINED BY THE SCHOOL OR LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO RECORDS ENCOMPASSING ALL THE MATERIAL KEPT IN THE STUDENT'S CUMULATIVE FOLDER SUCH AS GENERAL IDENTIFYING DATA, RECORDS OF ATTENDANCE AND OF ACADEMIC WORK COMPLETED, RECORDS OF ACHIEVEMENT AND RESULTS OF EVALUA- TIVE TESTS, HEALTH DATA, DISCIPLINARY STATUS, TEST PROTOCOLS, AND INDI- VIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAMS, AS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSION- ER. 5. "EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES" MEANS A VOLUNTARY ACTIVITY SPONSORED BY THE SCHOOL OR LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCY OR AN ORGANIZATION SANCTIONED BY THE LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCY. 6. "INTERSTATE COMMISSION ON EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MILITARY CHILDREN" MEANS A COMMISSION CREATED PURSUANT TO A COMPACT AMONG STATES, AND REFERRED TO HEREIN AS INTERSTATE COMMISSION. 7. "RECEIVING STATE" MEANS THE STATE TO WHICH A CHILD OF A MILITARY FAMILY IS SENT, BROUGHT, OR CAUSED TO BE SENT OR BROUGHT. 8. "SENDING STATE" MEANS THE STATE FROM WHICH A CHILD OF A MILITARY FAMILY IS SENT, BROUGHT, OR CAUSED TO BE SENT OR BROUGHT. 9. "STATE" MEANS A STATE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUM- BIA, THE COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, GUAM, AMERICAN SAMOA, THE NORTHERN MARIANAS ISLANDS AND ANY OTHER U.S. TERRI- TORY. 10. "STUDENT" MEANS THE CHILD OF A MILITARY FAMILY WHO IS FORMALLY ENROLLED IN KINDERGARTEN THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE. 11. "TRANSITION" MEANS: (A) THE FORMAL AND PHYSICAL PROCESS OF TRANS- FERRING FROM SCHOOL TO SCHOOL; OR (B) THE PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH A STUDENT MOVES FROM ONE SCHOOL IN THE SENDING STATE TO ANOTHER SCHOOL IN THE RECEIVING STATE. 12. "UNIFORMED SERVICE" MEANS THE ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, MARINE CORPS, COAST GUARD AS WELL AS THE COMMISSIONED CORPS OF THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, AND PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES. 13. "VETERAN" MEANS A PERSON WHO SERVED IN THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND WHO WAS DISCHARGED OR RELEASED THEREFROM UNDER CONDITIONS OTHER THAN DISHONORABLE.
S 1984. ENROLLMENT. 1. AT THE TIME OF ENROLLMENT AND CONDITIONAL PLACEMENT OF THE STUDENT, A SCHOOL SHALL REQUEST THE STUDENT'S OFFICIAL EDUCATION RECORDS FROM THE SCHOOL IN THE SENDING STATE. IN THE EVENT THAT OFFICIAL EDUCATION RECORDS CANNOT BE RELEASED TO THE PARENTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSFER, THE CUSTODIAN OF THE RECORDS IN THE SENDING STATE SHALL PREPARE AND FURNISH TO THE PARENT A COMPLETE SET OF UNOFFI- CIAL EDUCATIONAL RECORDS CONTAINING UNIFORM INFORMATION MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OR PARAMETERS ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMISSIONER. THE COMMIS- SIONER SHALL REQUIRE THAT UPON RECEIPT OF SUCH UNOFFICIAL EDUCATION RECORDS, THE SCHOOL SHALL ENROLL AND APPROPRIATELY PLACE THE STUDENT PENDING VALIDATION BY OFFICIAL RECORDS. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ADDI- TIONALLY ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR SITUATIONS IN WHICH THE STATE SHALL BE THE SENDING STATE AND ANOTHER STATE THE RECEIVING STATE. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROVIDE THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF ENROLLMENT FOR STUDENTS TO OBTAIN REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS OR MAY SET THE TIME TO COINCIDE WITH A TIME REASONABLY DETERMINED BY THE INTERSTATE COMMISSION. 3. THE RULES OF THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROVIDE THAT A STUDENT WHO HAS SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED THE APPROPRIATE GRADE LEVEL IN THE SENDING STATE SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR ENROLLMENT IN THE NEXT HIGHEST GRADE LEVEL. A STUDENT TRANSFERRING AFTER THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR IN THE RECEIV- ING STATE SHALL ENTER THE SCHOOL ON HIS OR HER VALIDATED LEVEL FROM AN ACCREDITED SCHOOL IN THE SENDING STATE. 4. THE COMMISSIONER MAY WAIVE OR SUBSTITUTE COURSE AND PROGRAM PREREQ- UISITES, OR OTHER PRECONDITIONS FOR PLACEMENT, IN ORDER TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS AND POLICY GOALS OF THIS ARTICLE. 5. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROVIDE FOR SITUATIONS IN WHICH A STUDENT WHOSE PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN IS AN ACTIVE DUTY MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, AND HAS BEEN CALLED TO DUTY FOR, IS ON LEAVE FROM, OR IMME- DIATELY RETURNED FROM DEPLOYMENT TO A COMBAT ZONE OR COMBAT SUPPORT, BY SUCH MEASURES AS ALLOWING ADDITIONAL EXCUSED ABSENCES IF APPROVED BY THE SCHOOL TO VISIT WITH A PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN RELATIVE. 6. SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY, RELATIVE TO THE GUARDIANSHIP OF A CHILD OF A MILITARY FAMILY AND EXECUTED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW SHALL BE SUFFI- CIENT FOR THE PURPOSES OF ENROLLMENT AND ALL OTHER ACTIONS REQUIRING PARENTAL PARTICIPATION AND CONSENT. 7. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROMULGATE RULES TO FACILITATE THE OPPORTU- NITY FOR STUDENTS TO BE INCLUDED IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, REGARD- LESS OF APPLICATION DEADLINES, TO THE EXTENT THEY ARE OTHERWISE QUALI- FIED. S 1985. GRADUATION. IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE ON-TIME GRADUATION OF CHILDREN OF MILITARY FAMILIES THE COMMISSIONER SHALL INCORPORATE THE PROCEDURES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROVIDE FOR WAIVER OF COURSES REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION WHEN SIMILAR COURSEWORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED TO THE SATISFAC- TION OF THE COMMISSIONER. SHOULD A WAIVER NOT BE GRANTED TO A STUDENT WHO WOULD QUALIFY TO GRADUATE FROM THE SENDING SCHOOL, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL REQUIRE THAT THE SCHOOL PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF ACQUIRING REQUIRED COURSEWORK SO THAT GRADUATION MAY OCCUR ON TIME. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL REQUIRE SCHOOLS TO ACCEPT: (A) EXIT OR END- OF-COURSE EXAMS REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION FROM THE SENDING STATE; OR (B) NATIONAL NORM ACHIEVEMENT TESTS; OR (C) ALTERNATIVE TESTING, IN LIEU OF TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATION IN THE RECEIVING STATE, IF SUCH EXAMS, TESTS, OR ALTERNATIVE TESTING MEETING CRITERIA ARE ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMISSIONER.
3. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS AS NECESSARY TO COVER A SITUATION IN WHICH A STUDENT TRANSFERS AT THE BEGINNING OR DURING SENIOR YEAR BECOMES INELIGIBLE TO GRADUATE AFTER ALL ALTERNATIVES HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED, BY PROVIDING THAT THE STUDENT MAY RECEIVE A DIPLOMA FROM THE SENDING STATE, IF THE STUDENT MEETS THE GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE SENDING SCHOOL. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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