Newly sworn-in Governor, Jared Polis, set the tone for the 72nd General Assembly when he named free, full-day kindergarten as a “top priority this session” in his State of the State address on Thursday. Citing kindergarten in Colorado as a “picture of inequality,” Governor Polis urged legislators to work with educators and families to find solutions and expand early childhood education. Other education issues such as the teacher shortage and graduation rates were at the forefront of the Governor’s address. You can find a full transcript of the 2019 State of the State here.
The numerous education bills that have been introduced since the beginning of session last Friday demonstrate that policymakers also feel the same energy as Governor Polis to address education issues in Colorado. On the first day of the 72nd General Assembly, quite a few education bills were introduced, as reported by Chalkbeat. Some of the early bills we are reviewing include SB-003, Educator Loan Forgiveness Program (Sen. R. Zenzinger, D-Arvada; Sen. D. Coram, R-Montrose; Rep. B. McLachlan, D-Durango; Rep. J. Wilson, R-Salida); HB-1017, Kindergarten Through Fifth Grade Social and Emotional Health Act (Rep. D. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City; Sen. R. Fields, D-Aurora); HB-1002, Leadership Professional Development for School Principals (Rep. B. McLachlan, D-Durango; Rep. J. Wilson, R-Salida; Sen. R. Zenzinger, D-Arvada); and HB-1008, Include Career and Technical Education in Building Excellent Schools Today Program (Rep. T. Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada; Rep. C. Larson, R-Littleton; Sen. N. Todd, D-Aurora; Sen. P. Lundeen, R-Colorado Springs).
On Tuesday of next week, the House Education committee will look at HB-1008, which would expand construction grants for schools. The House Education Committee will also review HB-1002, which would create a pilot professional development program for principals, later in the week on Thursday.
With Governor Polis’ energetic focus on Colorado’s education system, we expect this legislative session to be a very exciting one. We will continue to send weekly updates so you can stay on top of important education bills this year. See you next week!