Capitol Week in Review

Welcome to this week’s edition of Capitol Week in Review, a weekly update on education policy at the Capitol! 

Legislative Update 

HB22-1010 Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit, which gives educators a tax break for dollars they spend in their classrooms, is scheduled to be heard for its third reading on the House Floor on April 18.  

HB22-1202 At-Risk Student Measure for School Finance, which will update the school funding formula as well as how at-risk students are counted, passed in the House and the Senate and is now headed to be signed by the Governor.  

HB22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program, which establishes the Department of Early Childhood to elevate early childhood education and ensures that early childhood care is easy to navigate for all Colorado families passed out of the Senate.   

HB22-1260 Access To Medically Necessary Services For Students, which ensures that physically, cognitively, or emotionally impaired students will be able to access services in their schools with local providers, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on April 21.  

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students was introduced in the House. This bill updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

SB22-004 Evidence-based Training In Science Of Reading, which ensures that principals and building level administrators and are trained in current best practices regarding teaching the science of reading, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on April 21.  

SB22-008 Higher Education Support For Foster Youth, which will give children in foster care who were placed out of Colorado the undergraduate tuition rate, passed in the House Education Committee and is now awaiting a hearing in Appropriations.  

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records is scheduled to be heard in Senate Appropriations on April 19.  This bill will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense 

SB22-127 Special Education Funding, which would increase funds for each child who receives special education funding to $1,750 (rather than the current $1250) and require the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 school year, passed unanimously in the House Education Committee.  

SB22-147 Behavioral Health-care Services For Children is scheduled to be heard in Public and Behavioral Health & Human Services on April 22. This bill creates in the university of Colorado the Colorado pediatric psychiatry consultation and access program (CoPPCAP). The purpose of CoPPCAP is to support primary care providers in identifying and treating mild to moderate behavioral health conditions in children in primary care practices or school-based health centers. 

SB22-171 Privacy Protections For Educators, which will prevent teachers from being doxed, passed in the Senate Education Committee and was referred to the Committee of the Whole.  

SB22-197 Innovation School Zones With Alternative Governance, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 21. This bill allows innovation schools to set up their own form of governance, provided they also provide student success data to the state. 

Colorado Department of Education Update

Colorado is updating our Social Studies standards and the State Board of Education is poised to vote on those updates.  

The Committee updating the standards recommended the State Board remove any reference to gay, lesbian, and transgender people in standards for students under 4th grade.  

Early elementary lessons might look like understanding that some children have a mom and a dad while others have two moms or that trucks aren’t just for boys and dolls aren’t just for girls or knowing that gay people fought for their civil rights like other groups. Learn more here.  

Schools need to be safe and supportive environments for ALL students! We must ensure that efforts, fueled by misinformation, to omit complete history do not happen in Colorado. Tell the State Board not to erase the identify of the LGTBQ community and censor teachers!    

Our Take 

We are thrilled to announce that bipartisan legislation we have been working on to ensure safe and supportive schools for all students has been introduced: HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments For K-12 Students

We all agree that schools should be positive, safe, and inclusive places for students to learn. A broad coalition of partners engaged key stakeholders to identify updates to Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. Those updates include: 

  • Increasing funding for an evidence-based program (the successful Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant) that support students, teachers, and administrators. 
  • Updating restraint and seclusion policies and ending practices that have been shown to harm students. 
  • Requiring better data collection on disciplinary incidents and indicators of school climate. 
  • Promoting best practices and proper training for school security staff. 

As Executive Director Krista Spurgin said in a recent Chalkbeat article, “We want to set kids up for success. If kids are constantly getting in trouble or being told they’re a troublemaker or even getting arrested, you start to see that cycle repeat itself.” Read the full article here.  

Take Action 

ASK LAWMAKERS TO IMPROVE SCHOOL CLIMATE FOR ALL STUDENTS! 

The changes in HB22-1376 will help ensure we have information about the gaps that need to be filled to ensure safe and supportive environments for every student. 

Please email the House Education Committee and ask them to support this important policy for kids

More Information 

Colorado bill seeks changes to school discipline, less use of seclusion and restraint, Chalkbeat 

Colorado free preschool bill poised to become law, Chalkbeat 

State Board Democrats: Keep LGBTQ issues in social studies standards, Chalkbeat 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

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