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This Week at the Capitol: February 26

Current Events & News, Legislation | 02/26/2016

Amy Pitlik
Government Affairs Director

Amy Pitlik is Stand's Government Affairs Director

With March just around the corner, the team at Stand for Children is diligently working with legislators and monitoring bills that have the greatest impact on Colorado’s students. Many of the bills we have previously described have been delayed and will be addressed in the next several weeks. Legislation noted in the “Under the Gold Dome” portion of this blog has been voted on.

Under the Gold Dome

HB16-1121 by Rep. Jeni Arndt (D-Fort Collins) was heard in the House Education Committee on February 22. The bill would have allowed school boards to adopt their own evaluation systems that would exempt nationally board certified teachers from annual evaluation requirements for up to three years. Stand’s Policy Manager, Chelsea Henkel, testified in opposition of this measure. While we fully respect the time and hard work it takes to become a nationally board certified teacher, Colorado’s current evaluation system has not been fully implemented, and we want to give it time before making any big changes. It’s important to see how well all teachers are doing in the classroom and provide them with meaningful feedback each year. Ultimately, the bill was defeated 4-7

Looking Forward…

Stand for Children’s government affairs team regularly analyzes education-related legislation that has been introduced before the General Assembly. In the next couple of weeks, two bills that seek to make changes to our assessment system will be heard in the House Education Committee—we have concerns about both HB16-1131 and HB16-1234.

Rep. Terri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs) have brought separate bills that would alter the way in which we assess our students (HB16-1131 and HB16-1234, respectfully). Colorado has only used PARCC for one year, which is hardly enough time to measure the merits of the assessment, let alone eliminate it. We know that there’s more work to be done to successfully implement our state assessments, but we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Not only would it be expensive to create an entirely new assessment system, but we believe it would create confusion and instability for Colorado’s educators. With students preparing to take PARCC this spring, we are excited to see how students have improved from last year.

HB16-1016, Rep. Dave Young’s (D-Greeley) bill about multiple measures of student growth, is on the calendar for February 29. While we believe that Colorado can and should do more to support educators in developing student learning objectives (SLOs) as part of the multiple measures included in their evaluations, we have concerns about using SLOs to revamp the school and district frameworks.

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