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 

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 supports 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.

Will you email House Education Committee members to let them know you support HB22-1376?

EMAIL LAWMAKERS WITH ONE CLICK!

These changes will help ensure we have information about the gaps that need to be filled right now to ensure safe and supportive environments for every student.

To learn more about the specifics of the legislation you can see the bill here and read Chalkbeat’s reporting here

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

Legislative Update 

HB22-1064 Prohibit Flavored Tobacco, which would prohibit flavored tobacco, passed in the House Finance Committee and was referred to Appropriations.  

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, which will remove barriers in educator preparation to support educator candidates entering the workforce, was referred back to House Education Committee for technical amendments and passed 6 – 3.  

HB22-1260 Access To Medically Necessary Services For Students, which will allow students to access medically-necessary services in the school setting, was laid over in the House Education Committee. 

SB22-004 Evidence Based Training in the Science of Reading, which will ensure principals and administrators who oversee K-3 teachers will be trained in the science of reading passed out of the Senate and will now be heard by the House Education Committee.  

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, was rescheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on April 14.  

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, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on April 13.  

SB22-171 Privacy Protections For Educators, which will prevent teachers from being doxed, scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 14.    

Our Take 

We are incredibly pleased to see broad, bipartisan support for Senate Bill 22-004. Like teachers, principals and administrators should also be trained with research-based knowledge of how students learn to read so that they can support teachers in effectively utilizing the science of reading and now we are one step closer to that reality. 

We cannot say it any better than special education teacher, Laura Haller said in her testimony,

“Imagine a world where every single adult in the building knew how to teach scholars how to read using the science of reading. It would mean that principals and assistant principals could coach early elementary teachers to use evidence-based instructional practices. It would mean fulfilling the promise we’ve made to parents that schools would teach their scholars how to read.” 

Take Action 

Senate Bill 22-004 will now be heard in the House and lawmakers need to hear from you!   

Will you take a minute to ask members of the House Education Committee to support SB22-004? 

With your help, we can be one step closer to ensuring principals and administrators are equipped with the training needed to support educators in teaching students how to read! 

TELL LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT SB22-004!

More Information 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

On March 31, the Senate Education Committee passed HB22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program on a 5-2 vote. This bill takes several steps to address the existing challenges faced by families and providers, including strengthening Colorado’s early childhood infrastructure, developing a single application for families to access all publicly funded early education services, and better supporting our early childhood workforce. Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Jesse, delivered her testimony in support of the bill.

My name is Jesse Rula and I am a DPS employee for the Career and College Success Department. I am also the mother to 3 sons who were all fortunate enough to attend preschool for free. I know personally how important preschool is for children and their early childhood development. My middle child has a significant learning disability and struggles socially and emotionally.  

We were concerned about how he would adjust when entering school but were able to get him into the Head Start Program. We were fortunate enough to have him attend 2 yrs in a row and I am so grateful for that experience. My son was able to learn all the things he needed to enter kindergarten and be successful. Despite being very shy and struggling in social settings the staff took such a patient and caring approach to getting him used to the classroom and socializing with his peers.  

While I appreciate all the other academic things he learned such as his colors, numbers, and letters it was so much more than that. He learned how to navigate his classroom, how to advocate for himself, and how to socialize with his peers. It made the transition into kindergarten so much easier. So many families are in need of this kind of exposure and education for their children. So many could benefit from being able to access pre-k and start their child off on the right path.  

Being able to have a streamlined approach to accessing quality preschools that are affordable, is so crucial for all families with young children. This is especially true for families that are struggling just to put food on the table. Families who can’t afford to put their child in an expensive preschool and don’t have the time to try to navigate a complicated and confusing system to access preschool.  

All children have the right to start off life with the best chance possible. Research has shown how important preschool is for giving children a strong foundation in school and setting them up for future success. It had such a positive effect on my son and I want all families to experience that. Not only does it benefit these families but it benefits society as a whole. Getting children set up for success early on is one of the best ways to ensure future success, which benefits us all.  I respectfully ask for your ‘yes’ vote on House Bill 22-1295.

On March 31, the Senate Education Committee passed HB22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program on a 5-2 vote. This bill takes several steps to address the existing challenges faced by families and providers, including strengthening Colorado’s early childhood infrastructure, developing a single application for families to access all publicly funded early education services, and better supporting our early childhood workforce. Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Yaeel, delivered her testimony in support of the bill.

English below

Mi nombre es Yaeel Duarte y soy Fellow de la organización de Stand for Children hace ya dos años. Estoy aqui para dar tetstimonio a favor de el projecto de ley HB 22 – 1295.  

La razón por la que estoy dando testimonio   a favor  de esta propuesta, es  porque quiero asegurarme que la comunidad a la que sirvo tenga la informacion necesaria para facilitar la educación temprana de sus hijos. 

 Considero que las leyes actuales  No han beneficiado al máximo a la comunidad de habla espanol por varios factores por supuesto el primero es el factor socioeconómico el cual impide en la mayoría de los casos el que los padres se involucren en la educación de sus hijos,  otro factor igual de importante es el del conocimiento, aunque existen ciertas estrategias para pasar el mensaje de inscripción en este caso No siempre son las más efectivas algo que erra el sistema escolar es deducir que el nivel de aprendizaje de los padres es el mismo en todas las culturas y No es así. 

Muchos de estos padres se rinden al momento de buscar opciones para sus hijos en etapa preescolar No solo por el idioma si no también por No tener suficiente apoyo tanto con informacion como con el proceso en general de dicha inscripción, que para variar el personal de las escuelas lo hacen más complicado de varias formas, y es  por eso es que existe ”La Sra que me cuida a mi hijo” porque prefirió pagar menos y prefirió ir con alguien  que le entiende y No le pide tooodos los requisitos que le pide el sistema actual. 

Las consecuencias de esto Son niños analfabetos bajos en vocabulario y por ende bajos en Lectura y Escritura, lo que conlleva a esta famosa brecha académica en los niños.  

El pasar esta Ley le ofrece  herramientas a los padres de hacer hijos independientes y les dará la seguridad de tener éxito académico en el futuro. 

My name is Yaeel Duarte and I am a returning Fellow of the Stand for Children. I am here today to give testimony in favor of House Bill 1295, universal pre-school. I am testifying in favor of this bill in part because I want to ensure the Spanish-speaking community weighs in on this proposed public policy, they deserve to have the information they need to facilitate their children’s early education. I believe that the current practices regarding pre-school  have led to opportunity disparities for Spanish-speaking families for several reasons. The most obvious factor is affordability, which disproportionately punishes single income/low-income families, particularly Latinas as statistically they are more likely to stay at home and save the money than almost any other demographic.  In most cases, these same low socio-economic families are also less likely to get involved in the education of their children. In addition to the obvious language barrier, there is also a lack of access and policy knowledge, although there are certain strategies to pass the registration message in this case. They are not always the most effective. Sometimes we also forget to see how parents have quite different education levels and can help their kids differently at home. They rely on pre-k to give those supports. 

Many of these parents give up when looking for options for their children in the preschool stage, not only because of the language, but also because they do not have enough support both with information and with the registration process. The consequences of this lack of academic access are children with low vocabulary and therefore struggle in Reading and Writing, leading to one of the most notable academic achievement gaps in Colorado schools. 

Passing this Law would help ensure early success for children and more academic options for parents, please vote yes on HB-1295.