Like you, I have been closely watching the flow of bills that have been introduced this legislative session by the Colorado General Assembly. While I know that our legislators have good intentions, I am troubled by a few proposed education-related policies that would take our state backward. As an educator, I have testified on some of these bills, urging our lawmakers to give me and my colleagues the chance to digest the changes to standards and assessments that have only been implemented in the past year or two.
To start, Colorado only first used PARCC in 2015, which is hardly enough time to measure the merits of the assessment. To be clear, there were issues with implementation, but I am confident that these problems will be resolved moving forward. I want the opportunity to see how well my students’ PARCC scores have improved between last year and this year; the next PARCC exam is coming up in April. Legislation that seeks to pull us out of PARCC will only create more confusion and frustration for teachers and students.
Equally troubling was Senator Merrifield’s SB16-105, which sought to drastically alter the way in which educator evaluations are quantified. When I testified before the Senate Education Committee on this bill several weeks ago, I made it clear that I am responsible for what my students learn and how much they grow. Teachers deserve an evaluation system that gives them regular and fair feedback. SB1-191 has not even been fully implemented, so please give it some time.
Lastly, a bill was introduced with the goal of repealing mutual consent, a provision that requires districts and teachers to jointly agree on placement. HB16-1099 by Representative Salazar will be heard on March 21. I will be in attendance to testify about why this bill is bad for educators and schools across the state. Not only could it force teachers into a placement that they do not want, but it could also put ineffective teachers into schools that need the best, most experienced teachers.
I hope your main takeaway is this: it has taken teachers several years to prepare for PARCC assessments, and many of us are starting to embrace the policies introduced in SB10-191. Please, don’t change the rules at half-time. As we have just planted our feet and become comfortable with many of the new changes to our educational system, the Colorado General Assembly cannot pull the rug from under us now. Please, keep us grounded so we can do what we educators do best: teach our kids.