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, passed out of the House and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee on April 27.  

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, which will remove barriers in educator preparation to support educator candidates entering the workforce, passed out of the House. It now moves to be heard in 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, unanimously passed out of the House Education Committee.  

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, will be signed into law by the Governor on April 25.  

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students passed out of the House Education Committee on a 6-3 vote. 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 are trained in current best practices regarding teaching the science of reading, passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee. It was referred to Appropriations.  

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records passed out of the Senate and will now be heard in the House. 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 

SB22-197 Innovation School Zones With Alternative Governance, passed out of the Senate Education Committee and was referred to the Committee of the Whole. This bill allows innovation schools to set up their own form of governance, provided they also provide student success data to the state, and sets up a dispute resolution process. 

Our Take 

We are incredibly pleased that HB22-1376 passed out of the House Education Committee and we are energized by those who testified in support of the bill.  

This bill makes several updates to Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students including increasing funding for the successful Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant, 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 and promoting best practices and proper training for school security staff. 

Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela, joined us to testify sharing her experience with her son to demonstrate her support. She shared, “the school [my son] attended showed little interest in offering any support for my son’s communication or behavioral needs, much less his social and emotional wellbeing. He was repeatedly sent home from school, moved from one class to another and was often in the principal’s office. As it turns out, the school had not been documenting when he was sent home and why. If that documentation had been provided for us, it would have painted a very grim picture of what the school’s discipline policy looked like and have helped my son get the support he needed earlier.”  

Read Pamela’s full testimony here and learn more in Chalkbeat’s recent reporting here.  

Take Action 

THANK LAWMAKERS FOR REMOVING BARRIERS TO HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT! 

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records, passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support! It now moves to be heard in the House. SB22-099 automatically seals 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. Removing these barriers to housing and employment equips everyone with the opportunity to provide for their families and become more engaged citizens.  

Will you take a minute to send a thank you note to your Senator for supporting pathways for safe and supportive families and communities? 

More Information 

Colorado bill to improve school climate, limit seclusion and restraint advances, Chalkbeat 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

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