With 50 days left this session, legislative hearings are kicking into high gear. On March 28, the Long Bill (Colorado’s budget) is expected to be introduced in the House, with final passage in the House anticipated for April 1. The bill will then move to the Senate, where the process will be repeated. The 2016-17 budget process has been occurring since last November, with members of the Joint Budget Committee crafting our state’s financial plan based on requests by the Governor and various state departments. We will continue to be engaged in the Long Bill debate to ensure that education funding remains intact.
Under the Gold Dome
On March 24, the Senate Education Committee discussed SB16-005 by Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins). Currently, students in grades 3 through 9 must be tested in English language arts and mathematics once each year; this bill would eliminate all cumulative assessments for ninth graders. Stand for Children has significant concerns with this policy, particularly because it is important to track how a student is advancing as they transition between middle and high school. If 9th grade testing goes away, students will now know how they are progressing towards college and career readiness until after 10th grade—nearly half-way through high school. The bill ultimately passed on a party-line 5-4 vote.
Interested in learning more? Read why this 9th grade teacher supports assessments.
The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hear SB16-148 by Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) on March 30. The bill would require all high school students to pass the civics portion of the United States citizenship exam before they graduate. Students would have the opportunity to take the exam on multiple occasions, if necessary. While proponents of the bill believe it is important for students to have a thorough understanding of civics, opponents believe it adds to the testing burden.