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This Week at the Capitol: March 11

Legislation | 03/11/2016

Amy Pitlik
Director of Government Affairs

As the 2016 legislative session reaches its halfway point, nearly 530 bills and resolutions have been introduced at the Capitol. Of those bills, over 80 have been postponed indefinitely, and a mere three have been signed by Governor Hickenlooper. We can expect to see a great deal of action in the coming weeks as legislators try to push through bills before the state budget is finalized.

 Under the Gold Dome

Discussion continued on HB16-1131 by Rep. Terri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) in the House Education Committee on March 7. The bill, which died on a 4-7 vote, would have repealed the requirement for Colorado to participate in PARCC assessments, and sought to allow the Colorado Department of Education to recommend multiple options for future assessments.

On March 7, the House Education Committee discussed HB16-1234 by Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs). The bill would direct the Colorado Department of Education to look at methods for and costs of creating a new state assessment. Staff at Stand for Children believes that the PARCC assessment adequately measures a student’s progress in school, is superior to our previous tests, and more time should be given before we make any changes to our assessment system. Ultimately, HB 1234 passed 7-4.

Looking Forward

Since its passage in 2010, Stand for Children has been a supporter of the provisions in SB 191, a bill that revamped Colorado’s educator evaluation system. In the past several years, attempts have been made to scale back or eliminate portions of the legislation, even though it has not yet been fully implemented. While we believe that there certainly will be areas we can improve, we believe that the provisions of SB 191 must be fully implemented before legislators decide to make substantial changes.

HB16-1099 by Rep. Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) seeks to repeal the mutual consent provision of SB 191. The bill will be discussed in the House Education Committee on March 21.  This legislation would mean that teachers could be forced into schools they don’t want to join and conversely schools would be required to hire teachers they may not want to. If districts remove one of their teachers they would be required to find another position for the teacher or place them on paid leave. We will be closely watching HB 1099 and expressing our concerns over the bill. The Denver Post Editorial Board weighed in on this legislation here.

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